Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Trilogy, Book 1
Hero: Randall Rowe
Heroine: Kayla Denton
Date of Publication: April 22, 2011
Started On: August 13, 2011
Finished On: August 14, 2011
Heart Stealer by Tiphanie Thomas which takes place in the small town of Summerdale for most of the story and parts of it in Los Angeles was a book that provoked conflicting emotions in me. It tells the story of how play boy and movie star Randall Rowe finally succumbs to the lure of love and happily ever after, even though the journey he takes towards the final destination is one fraught with difficulties and a lot of growing up.
Randall is the only child of the preacher in Summerdale. When Randall’s dreams and ambitions takes him away from following in his father’s footsteps, it creates a rift between father and son that seems to be incapable of ever healing. At the age of 18, Randall leaves home with Hollywood beckoning him to come and make his dreams a reality. It is when Randall makes his way back home for the first time in 6 years since he left that he meets the stick-thin and belligerent run away from home Kayla Denton.
Kayla runs away from home at the age of 16 after being forced to live with her aunt upon the death of her mother in a car accident that continues to haunt her. Her father had immersed himself in drink, oblivious to the damage it was doing to his one and only child. It is Randall who sees Kayla’s vulnerability and finds a way for her to live with his parents.
The story continues 8 years on, with an all grown up Kayla working as a fourth grade teacher in Summerdale. When once again Randall returns home, this time to mend fences that he has neglected for far too long, the most surprising turn of events seems to be the way he reacts to the luscious older version of Kayla whom Randall has always considered to be nothing but a child.
Kayla knows that nothing can come out of her feelings towards a man whose lifestyle differs so much from hers, who would never be content with settling down to small town life. But with each searing kiss and touch that brings down the walls of reserve around Kayla’s heart and emotions, Randall wins her over making Kayla yearn for so much more than Randall seems to be capable of giving. For a man who has closed off himself for such a long time, relying and depending on someone else is a foreign concept and Randall finds himself hard pressed to be everything that Kayla needs.
It is the differences that they can’t seem to work out that drives them apart until once again it is Randall who comes back, determined that this time around he would convince Kayla that he is here to stay for now and always.
I liked the whole premise and set up of Heart Stealer, quite an appropriate title considering the fact that Kayla steals Randall’s heart whilst he is totally unaware of what is happening. I loved Randall for the fact that he was willing to be the grown up about things, for loving Kayla enough to be everything she wants him to be, even try as far as to open himself up to her even when its the hardest thing for him to do. For me, Randall turned out to be the best thing about the story, his patience and perseverence when it comes to Kayla being what won me over.
Kayla is a totally different story. I found her to be a bit self absorbed and childish, never really growing up enough to tackle the issues that cropped up between herself and Randall in their short lived relationship. Kayla always seemed to be jumping to the worst of conclusions, always willing to look for a mistake that would give her the perfect excuse to give up on a relationship that brings her more happiness than anything else in her life.
Though Kayla’s character turned out to be a trifle bit disappointing, I still liked how Tiphanie relates the trials and tribulations of an actor who wants with everything in his being to make a name for himself in the world of stardom, a man who feels as if the only way to ease the loneliness and pain in his heart is by immersing himself in doing the one thing that he loves.
Recommended for fans of contemporary romances that loosely feature the modern version of guardian/ward romances that you encounter in historical romances.
He leaned in, and his lips swept hers, capturing and rubbing them in a tantalizing tease. Lust rolled through her like wildfire. For all she knew, seconds could have passed, minutes, or an eternity. Too dazed to notice anything except the searing passion from Randall’s lips on hers, Kayla’s tongue dueled and played with Randall’s until her whole body felt like it would combust. She floated back into the sky, a slice of heaven filling her.