Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
“Even in the barely-there light, he was a bolt of colour. Vibrant. Stealing all my thoughts. Just as, in the shower, he’d stolen some piece of I didn’t know I’d had until it was in his possession.”
And with that single line, Jolie Vines shows us the gravity of her story in Stolen. The next in her Wild Mountain Scots series, and another story of her McRae family, Vines grabs us once again and leads us deftly into a world that you hate to leave. Following Maddock, the twin brother of Max, and the son of Scarlet and Ally McRae, we reenter the world of mountain rescuers who we’ve encountered in her Obsessed and Hunted. At the end of the latter, Vines left us hanging as to whose story would be revealed in Stolen. In this book, Maddock’s heroine is Rory, the half-sister of Elise in Hunted. And it’s a slow-burn yet steamy tease of a story. Here’s the thing. Rory has no interest in relationships given that her mother and step-father didn’t provide her with the best example of one. Given that she’s now responsible for herself and her mother’s care, she’s overwhelmed with life, and the last thing she needs is a man in it. Until one enters it. On holiday in Scotland, visiting her sister and her newfound friend Max, she ends up accidentally kissing Maddock, and their connection is born. Besides their insta-attraction, their geographical differences are another hindrance to beginning a relationship. For much of this story, Rory fights her growing feelings for Maddock, and Maddock hides his growing feelings so as not to scare her away. Is it possible for these two to find a happy ending?
Everything you adore about Jolie Vines’s romances is in Stolen. The reticent heroine who pushes away the hero along with the hero who falls deeply for his heroine are standards of her romances, and this makes for a read that’s easy to gobble in one sitting. I will say that I think Vines’s last half of her stories are oftentimes the best parts. In Stolen, as Maddock and Rory fight their feelings for each other, you find yourself a bit frustrated with their choices, especially with Rory. It takes a serious situation to finally wake them up, but until that point, Vines puts her readers through their paces, waiting out Maddock and Rory to “figure it all out.”
What do I love most about Vines’s stories such as Stolen? The fact that the landscape and geography are as much of a character as the actual McRae characters. I found myself searching Google Maps for the places described in Stolen. This connects you as a reader to a world beyond your own front door. I love that the common thread of family continues to be woven through her books. While we are used to, I think, more faces from the McRae family than you’ll find in Stolen, they are still there in celebrations and as support for the hero and heroine. Obviously, Cameron, Elise, and Max play bigger parts in Maddock and Rory’s story. But we’re introduced to new characters and reminded of some of our favorites such as Uncle Gordain, ever the puppetmaster behind the scenes. And ultimately, there is a deep abiding love between Maddock and Rory that is commonplace in Vines’s books. Interestingly enough, in terms of the steam level of Stolen, in my opinion, Maddock’s story is tied with his cousin’s book, Hard Nox. Maddock is a big package of pleasure, and he doesn’t hide it.
Each story that comes from Jolie Vines is a treasure, and her latest book, Stolen, is another one for the treasure chest. Maddock and Rory’s story asks you to be fearless even when the future is unknown, and it seems to me that that’s a lesson we should live by. Why not consider it while you’re wiling your weekend away in Stolen.
In love and romance,