The Academy: Thief (Scarab Beetle Series #1) C.L. StoneThief by C.L. Stone
Series: The Scarab Beetle Series #1
Published by Arcato Publishing on February 24, 2014
Pages: 348
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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You can check out my reviews for the other books in The Academy Series here and a spotlight on C.L. Stone here.

You might want to steal away for a day to read this book.

Dun, dun,  DAA DAA, dun, dun,  DAA DAA, dun DUN! The first chapter of Thief reminded me of the Mission Impossible theme song. It was clever, exciting, and perfect. I found myself imagining certain scenes of Thief set to this music on more than one occasion. Thief is the first in The Scarab Beetle series; an Academy book that takes us into New Adult territory.

Kayli Winchester is a thief- but not because she’s bad, she’s just been dealt a tough hand and is trying to survive. Her mom is deceased and Kayli’s been living out of hotel rooms with her drunk-ass dad and brother Will ever since. Kayli is a thief with a conscience and this quality paired with her undeniable skill to lift a wallet has caught The Academy’s attention.

Kayli is similar to Sang from the first Academy books in only the most basic ways: she comes from a shotty living situation and she has some ”talents” that she doesn’t realize are ”talents” yet. Other than that, Kayli is unique. She’s fearless and embraces her warring emotions about each guy in Thief much easier (and sooner) than Sang does (Thank, God). I really liked that she was much more willing (and maybe eager) to ”test the waters” with more than one guy than Sang was. Kayli is a tough chick and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Marc is like a puppy dog. A sexy puppy dog with mismatched eyes that you want to take home with you…or go home with. Marc is the first Academy dude that Kayli formally meets and he also happens to be one of my favorite Academy guys introduced in this story. He has a warm and sincere personality and is eager to make Kayli feel safe and secure.

His hair was rich brown and soft-looking and his skin had a nice tan. And the dark brows complemented his two-toned eyes. He wore a deep blue collared shirt, unbuttoned to reveal the white ribbed tank shirt underneath. His fine sculpted chest was more defined as the tank shirt was snug…..I glanced away, not liking where my thoughts were going staring at his body.

I'm likin' Matt Lanter as the sexy and sweet Marc in Thief.
I’m likin’ Matt Lanter as the sexy and sweet Marc in Thief.
Marc- Theif- The Academy
Marc- Theif- The Academy

 

Raven. Ahhhhhhh, Raven. He’s my guilty pleasure in Thief. I guess you could say he’s the perfect balance to safe and thoughtful Marc. Raven is a d-bag but he is OH-SO-HOT. He comes on strong when he first meets Kayli and when she pushes back to deflect his intensity, Raven has no qualms about getting physical with her. It’s the shared time between him and Kayli that I enjoyed most about this book.

 He had thick brown hair, cropped short, but left a little long in the front near his face so he had a little bit sticking up. Brown eyes, a couple of days worth unshaven growth around his strong chin. His black tank top revealed heavily tattooed arms…..His deep voice had a gruff tone, like he talked a lot. He had an accent. It almost sounded Russian.

“Hey, Kayli. It’s you and me, girl.”
The yummy Diego Fragoso is not my perfect Rave, but he comes close.
The yummy Diego Fragoso is not my perfect Raven, but he comes close.

 

The Academy has a job for Kayli, if she’ll take it. The guys want Kayli to get into the pants of a certain Mr. Coaltar but it’s not what you think! They just want her to snatch his wallet.  Mr. Coaltar is the convoluted antagonist in Thief and I found myself drawn to him just as much as my two favorite Academy guys. There’s something fishy about this million-dollar playboy and the Academy has been keeping a close eye on him. Mr. Coaltar’s character is heavy on Southern charm and buttered me up just right. I love it when an author makes me fall for the ”bad guy” as hard as the ”good guy(s)”.

Mr.Coaltar turned.

The world shifted.

His whole appearance was surprising because part of me had expected him to be middle-aged, but he didn’t appear much older than twenty-two or so. A dirty blonde eyebrow arched up. His face was slightly unshaven, but it seemed intentional, making him even more photogenic….And, god forgive me, I paused for a millisecond to admire the view……His eyes dead locked on mine. They were a stunning hazel with flecks of gold around the center.

I could see this hottie pulling off Mr. Coaltar with some Southern charm.
I could see this hottie pulling off Mr. Coaltar with some Southern charm.
"Hey, Kayli. Wanna go for a dip?"
“Hey, Kayli. Wanna go for a dip?”

 

Thief is like an intense game of chess and cleverly ties into Drop of Doubt in a few scenes. Kayli’s feelings get in the way more than once in this novel and she’s troubled- trying to decide who’s the pawn (her?) and who’s the knight (Academy or Coaltar) in this game of espionage and double-agent she’s gotten herself into. While C.L. Stone uses the same formula to develop Thief as she does with the Ghost Bird series, it’s not redundant; it’s the point. The Academy adopts people who are in less than desirable situations and when you add a girl to the mix of a boys club, things get interesting….And sexy. I didn’t like Thief as much as any of the Ghost Bird series books but the Scarab Beetle series is just warming up. I’m excited for the next Scarab Beetle book, Liar, due out this Summer. I’m challenging C.L. Stone to make me fall for these older Academy fellas as much as I did for our high-school crew. God knows I’m excited as frig about Push and Shove: Ghost Bird Series #6 coming out this June!

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