Touch of a Thief is an erotic romance with layers of suspense and paranormal in an international setting during 1857. It has three main characters without being about a love triangle. The romantic couple, Viola and Quinn. And Sanjay, whose story leads up the premise. Every one of them experienced a loss that marked their destinies. All of them know injustice, abuse and deceit. Being wronged by the successions laws of the time.
Lady Viola Preston loses everything when her father dies without a male heir, hence his title and possessions go to an uncaring relative. And she is forced to steal in order to support her mother, her sister and her niece. Viola becomes the Mayfair Jewel Thief.
Lieutenant Greydon Quinn is a British noble returning home after serving in India. He also carries a painful secret akin to being the heir of an aristocrat.
A worse fate has befallen Prince Sanjay of Amjerat, who has lost his princedom under the British rule in India, because he is an adopted son to the late prince. The loss of his principality coincides with the stealing of a rare and malefic red diamond from the temple of Shiva. The diamond must be returned to the temple where its evil powers are bridled, or the outraged people of Amjerat will be in uprising against the British authorities costing the lives of innocents. When Quinn and Sanjay learn that the red diamond is going to be added to the English Queen's royal collection, they follow its trail of sorrow and death, intending to bring it back where it belongs.
When Lieutenant Quinn returns to England, Sanjay accompanies him posing as his Indian servant. They set a trap to catch the Mayfair Jewel Thief with the purpose of blackmailing the burglar into stealing the red diamond for them. Surprised when he discovers that Viola is the infamous thief, Quinn coerces her into helping to retrieve the evil gem in exchange for her freedom and half of his personal jewels. Quinn needs Viola's abilities to open a safe, and other related skills of her profession, but he ignores her biggest gift of all, Viola channels gems's chronicles into voices and sometimes disturbing visions. Which is a blessing and a dangerous gift that threatens her sanity and health. This paranormal element in the plot is one of Touch of a Thief's strongest original appeals.
At one point in the story, Viola demands to know more of Quinn other than his body. He refuses to reveal anything personal. In her quest for the truth, she touches one of his rings, the gem reveals a grievous secret from his past. I nearly cried reading those pages. Although, the heartbreaking event will be the catalyst that unites their souls.
The sexual attraction between Viola and Quinn leaps out of the pages, their sensuality and their camaraderie gifted us with a wonderful romance. The only part I didn't enjoy was the use of Sanskrit words for genitalia during some of the love scenes. This is a personal peeve of mine, but it doesn't take from the story as a whole. I love historical romance books, and I've read many this year. Sadly, due to lack of time, I can only write reviews for those which I like the most. Touch of a Thief is one of the best historical romances I've read in years. It has everything I enjoy in a book - a great history setting, romance, suspense, drama, wittiness, eroticism, friendship and adventure. I highly recommend it.