“Engrossing and romantic, with an edge of nostalgia, THE STEAL took me on a Parisian adventure I absolutely loved!”
—Rebecca Zanetti, New York Times Bestseller
The Steal, a fun and action packed romantic caper from New York Times bestselling author M.J. Rose and international bestselling author C.W. Gortner is out now!
They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend—until they’re stolen.
Ania Throne is devoted to her jewelry company. The daughter of one of the world’s most famous jewelers, she arrives in Cannes with a stunning new collection. But a shocking theft by the notorious thief known as the Leopard throws her into upheaval—and plunges her on an unexpected hunt that challenges everything she believes.
Jerome Curtis thinks he’s seen it all, especially when it comes to crime. Until he’s hired to investigate the loss of Ania Thorne’s collection, his every skill put to the test as he chases after a mysterious master-mind responsible for some of the costliest heists in history—and finds himself in a tangled web with a woman he really shouldn’t fall in love with.
From the fabled Carlton Hotel to the elegant boulevards of Paris, Ania and Jerome must race against time to catch a thief before the thief catches them. With everything on the line, can they solve the steal or will the steal take more than diamonds from them?
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I turn to the two people slumped on chairs by an empty table. A man and a woman, both looking queasy. The man holds an ice pack to his face, but when he looks up at my approach, he lets out a gasp of recognition. “Curtis?”
It takes a moment before I place him. “Darcy? What the hell . . .?”
“I could say the same.” He rises unsteadily to his feet, all six foot three of him. I didn’t recognize him at first because he’s put on at least twenty pounds since I last saw him in ’48. He thrusts out his hand. “Of all the joints in France,” he quips in a faux-Bogart drawl.
I feel how clammy his palm is. “Quite the coincidence. How’d you end up in this mess?”
John Darcy was one of the operatives on my team after the war. While our unexpected reunion is startling, I’m glad to see him. He was always honest. Reliable. And dedicated. Whenever we got word of a potential target, he didn’t let up until we had the
monster out of his bolt-hole and in a jail cell. No one will ever give him a medal for it—what we did after the war remains top-secret—but if anyone deserves one, it’s Darcy. He took down more of those mass-murdering fascists than anyone else. And if our unit hadn’t been shut down, he wouldn’t have stopped.
“I need to pay my bills,” he says, putting the ice pack back to his forehead. “You know how it goes. Thorne & Company pays me well, and ex-grunts aren’t exactly rolling in dough.” He winces. “Can you believe that sonofabitch hit me with chloroform?” “Chloroform? Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. I could smell it. Still can. Like cotton candy. Bastard.”
“Damn,” I say.
He chuckles. “My head feels like I got hit by a truck. Better than a bullet, I suppose. But, yeah, damn is right. I didn’t see a thing.” He eases back down on his chair. “And you?” “Insurance,” I say. He meets my eyes. He gets it. This isn’t the time or place for long winded explanations. Besides, he knows as well as I do that’s the least of what I do. Insurance is my cover. My skills go far beyond it. Like his.
I turn my attention to the woman. “I’m from Lambert Securities, Thorne & Company’s insurance firm. Do you speak any English, Miss . . .?”
She nods. “Sylvia Morton. I’m Miss Thorne’s personal assistant.”
“Did you see the culprit, Miss Morton?”
“Yes. He—he came in after Mr. Darcy delivered the cases. We were waiting for—”
“Our boss,” Darcy cuts in. He swallows. “Ania Thorne. She’s the only one with the codes.”
“Codes?” I understand what he means, but I want to hear it from him.
“Yeah. You know. Numeric codes. Each case has one. Unique, no two alike. She always unlocks the cases herself. But before she got here, he hit me with the chloroform.”
“And then?” I return my gaze to the woman, who casts a worried look at John. It’s obvious to me they’re involved somehow and trying to hide it. The boss’s personal assistant and the security detail making nookie . . . Not what you’d call professional behavior.
“He just walked in.” Her voice is barely a whisper. “He had a gun. He pointed me into that corner and took the cases.”
“Six minutes,” Darcy says. “The bastard did it in six goddamn minutes!” “Did he say anything?” I ask her.
She shakes her head.
“What was he wearing?”
“All black. A mask. Like . . . like a ski mask. Gloves.”
“What kind of gloves?”
She hesitates. “Normal? They were black, too. I’m sorry, it happened so fast …” Normal. Black. Not what I’m hoping to hear.
One of the Leopard’s signature stunts is flaunting leopard-print gloves during his heists; it’s how he earned his moniker and captured public attention. But it’s been six years since his last job in London, and that went very wrong. He’s kept a low profile since, but only because he made his first mistake. To me, this new heist bears his trademarks: Fast. Efficient. Executed to perfection. All witnesses left alive.
About M.J. Rose
M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… Books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.
Rose is a the Co-President and founding member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz. She runs the blog, Museum of Mysteries.
In 1998, her first novel Lip Service was the first e-book and the first self-published novel chosen by the LiteraryGuild/Doubleday Book Club as well as the first e-book to go on to be published by a mainstream New York publishing house.
Rose has been profiled in Time magazine, Forbes, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Working Woman, Newsweek, and New York Magazine.
She has appeared on The Today Show, Fox News, The Jim Lehrer NewsHour, and features on her have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, including USAToday, Stern, L’Official, Poets and Writers, and Publishers Weekly.
Rose graduated from Syracuse University and spent the ’80s in advertising. She was the Creative Director of Rosenfeld Sirowitz and Lawson and she has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
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About C.W. Gortner
C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California and a degree in fashion marketing. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has experienced life in a Spanish castle and danced in a Tudor great hall. Half-Spanish by birth, his novels have been translated in over 20 languages to date.
C.W. enjoys talking to book groups. To schedule a chat or find out more about his work
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