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Thief of the Heart by Rena Koontz is a Celebrate Weddings Event pick #romanticsuspense #giveaway

Title: Thief of the Heart

Author: Rena Koontz

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Book Blurb:

From the moment he saw Jennifer Roberts, his instinct was to protect her. But she wanted nothing to do with him.

In fact, the last thing Jennifer wanted to do that Saturday afternoon was call the police. She didn’t trust them. She’d fallen hard for a cop – the exact person every child is told to run to for safety – and he betrayed her and broke her heart. She wouldn’t make that mistake again.

But she has no choice when she discovers her apartment has been broken into and five simple words turn her world upside down: “You called for the police?” When blond-haired, blue-eyed Max Domer walks in her doorway he is ready to protect and serve. It is his motto. It will be her downfall.

Max is ready to leave Center City behind, cut all ties and make a fresh start as a detective on the West Coast. There is nothing unusual about the burglary call he catches, except that the woman is stunning and, for some reason, antagonistic toward police. But she’s caught in someone’s crosshairs – her car is stolen, her father dies and murder comes to her doorstep – and, like it or not, she needs his help.

But while Max is on the trail of a master crime ring, the real thief sets about stealing his heart. And Jennifer, who innocently let’s her guard down, learns she can’t judge a man by his uniform. They are polar opposites destined to stand together and fight for their future.


The thought first occurred to Jennifer as she refolded the contents of her lingerie drawer. She’d sensed over the last few weeks that someone had been in her apartment but had no factual basis for suspicion. Individual moments that raised the hairs on the back of her neck when a picture frame looked out of place or a door stood open that she was certain she’d closed. And incidents she couldn’t explain.

The missing wine bottles. The two other rings she’d assured herself were simply misplaced and would eventually reappear. How was she going to make this police sergeant understand?

This conversation already wasn’t going well, mainly because she could barely make eye contact with him. Sitting here, looking at Sergeant Max Domer with his sandy-blond hair and blue eyes that appeared to glimmer behind his eyeglasses was difficult. Extremely hard, in fact. She harbored a general distrust bordering on hate for a man in uniform. Any man. Any uniform. And with good reason.

Over the past few years, her therapist had tried unsuccessfully to persuade her otherwise. To most “adjusted” people, whether it was police, fire or military, a person in uniform represented safety and implied a measure of comfort. It was practically a given. But not for her.

The childhood memory of her friend’s father being escorted out of the house resurfaced in her mind’s eye, his hands locked in handcuffs behind his back and his starched, white police shirt splattered with blood. He’d slaughtered his entire family, his wife, their son, and daughter, who’d been Jennifer’s best friend, and left them lying in pools of blood in the living room where days earlier the best friends celebrated their start of first grade.

Her horrific experiences with men wearing uniforms didn’t end there. The neighborhood mailman had been jailed for masterminding a burglary ring when homeowners on his route vacationed. And she’d initially liked the uniformed school crossing guard who’d touched many of the children inappropriately, including her, while he escorted them across the street. She enjoyed no comfort in knowing he was serving time for the sexual assault of a minor. So was the utility meter reader.

Her stomach lurched when she added Police Officer Jimmy Mariposa to her list. A fraud and a cheat. She’d made a dreadful mistake falling in love with him, letting her guard down, and giving the uniform a chance. He’d slaughtered her too, as if he’d stabbed her directly in the heart. The wound was still raw and festering.

She glanced up to find Sergeant Domer watching her, even as that dreaded cloak of fear threatened to smother her while she responded to his questions. Did he sense her trepidation?

“Miss Roberts? You were saying?”

She focused on the wine rack next to the sliding glass doors and struggled to explain. “A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a bottle was missing from my wine rack. I didn’t remember opening it and I joked with my best friend, Lane, that there must be a ghost. I was positive the rack was full one day and missing a bottle the next. It happened three times, actually. Lane teased me that I might be drinking in my sleep and we just kind of forgot about it.”

The longer she talked, the stronger her voice became. The faster she told the story, the sooner this man in uniform would be gone. She pointed to a small, round table just outside the galley kitchen, which she called Catch-All Island.

“I have a terrible habit of dumping my purse, taking off my jewelry and leaving it and the mail or whatever, on that table first thing when I come home. I’m not really good about putting it all away and sometimes, a few pieces of jewelry will sit there for a day or two.”

The day she discovered two of her favorite rings missing resurfaced, along with the pang of loss. She gritted her teeth, giving herself a moment to renew her reserve and continue.

“About two weeks ago, when I was cleaning just like today, I realized two rings I’d left on the table weren’t there. I thought maybe I’d knocked them on the floor, and I frantically crawled over this whole apartment on my hands and knees searching for them.”

She must look like a game show hostess, spreading her hands wide to display the room to Sergeant Domer. At least he seemed to be listening. Did he hear the crack in her voice? He was staring again. Did he detect her struggle to contain the tears that threatened to spill?

“I thought perhaps I’d accidentally thrown them in the trash with the junk mail. I hauled a plastic stepstool and flashlight out to the two green dumpsters at the end of the parking lot and searched for my garbage bags. It was raining and the water kept rebounding back into my face. It was a horrible experience.”

Nerves caused her to babble but the whole incident still bothered her. “You’d be surprised the amount of trash my neighbors accumulate. It smelled awful.”

She raised her head when he suppressed a cough then turned his face toward the balcony, rolling his lips into a thin line to suppress a laugh.

“It’s not funny.”

“No, ma’am. I can’t help but envision...never mind. Please continue.”

Well, it might have been a little humorous. She smiled. “It is a little funny. Now. I almost fell in the thing. I kept hoping no one was watching.”

She crinkled her nose. “Even my own bags were disgusting. But I sifted through them and,” she shrugged, “nothing.”

She’d chastised herself and pouted for days. “I couldn’t believe I was that careless. Now, I’m wondering if maybe I wasn’t.”

Buy Links (including Goodreads):

Free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

What makes your featured book a must-read?

This is more than an enemies to lovers story. Jennifer Roberts grows into a woman who fights for herself and saves her man.

Giveaway –

Enter to win a $15 Amazon gift card:

Open Internationally. You must have a valid Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to win.

Runs June 6 – June 12, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on June 13, 2023.

Author Biography:

Rena Koontz is an award-winning author who was a career journalist. She writes about real events she covered as a news reporter in Pittsburgh, PA. and Cleveland, OH., weaving them into intriguing love stories. Her passions are her husband and her dog. Not necessarily in that order.

Social Media Links:

TikTok: authorrena_koontz

1 Comment

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Jun 09, 2023

Thank you, Rena, for sharing your book in our Celebrate Weddings Bookish Event!

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