Author submission in exchange for an honest review.
Thief of Hearts: Tempted in Thailand
Romance writer Trent is forced by his friends to get out of his boring daily routine and take a vacation. His editor hopes that it will help him with a new story, and his other friends just think that he needs to get away for awhile and get laid.
Trent’s best friend Beth books him and incredible trip to Thailand, but doesn’t tell him any of the details. Instead, he arrives in Bangkok and is whisked away to the Pink Tiger, a hotel in the heart of Bangkok’s gay district. Although he doesn’t realize it at first, Trent is being followed by Reed, an American on some sort of mission. Reed was supposed to get a map from a courier at the Bangkok airport, but a customs official managed to give the map to Trent instead of the correct person. Now all Reed wants to do is get that map back from Trent. At least that’s all he wants to do until he sees Trent in the shower.
Reed is so intent on getting the map that he follows Trent around the city, hires a kid to steal Trent’s backpack, and then, when he discovers the map is not in the backpack, returns it to Trent and buys him a drink. And then invites him to dinner. Through the course of their interactions, it was really easy to tell that the weather wasn’t going to be the only hot and steamy thing in this book.
Unfortunately, Reed doesn’t quite make it to dinner. Which I suppose is understandable since he was kidnapped, drugged, and beaten by the other people who are after the map. Trent is hurt, betrayed, and probably more pissed off with himself than with Reed because he thinks he let himself be duped. Excellent setting up of the conflict. And in erotic romance, what better way is there to resolve conflict than hot sex?
Unfortunately, it takes a little while to get to that point. Reed goes to Trent’s hotel to apologize, but discovers that Trent has already left to go spend a few days in the Thai countryside. Naturally, Reed decides to go the stalker route and follow Trent. After a bus accident, Trent and Reed end up being forced to spend the night in an abandoned hut. And, since there’s nothing else to do, Reed decides to read one of Trent’s novels. He finds to be seriously lacking in the no holds barred, casual sex department. And of course, he says so to Trent, and then volunteers to show him how it’s done, strictly for research purposes. Trent, who has been fantasizing about Reed since the day they met, is firmly on board with this plan, even if he does feel a little insulted. But not quite as insulted as he feels when he wakes up the next morning and Reed isn’t there. Little does Trent know that things are going to go downhill quickly.
There is very little to not like about this book. There are Thai mobsters, Hong Kong triads, a totally clueless romance writer, and a hero who wants to be the “tough guy” but instead finds himself falling for someone. Think Indiana Jones meets Lethal Weapon. But here’s the downside: the entire plot is way too drawn out. While I do like the attention to detail, I don’t know that quite so much of it was necessary. Things really started to pick up in the last third of the book; I just wish it would have happened sooner. Once the action did get going, it was great. It was daring, and having Trent view it like he would if he were writing a romance novel plot was an interesting take. And I really liked watching Trent grow as a person and come out of his shell a little bit. I can’t deny that I enjoyed this book, but I think it would have been a much tighter story if it had been just a little bit more condensed.