Thief - Ava March An m/m historical set in the Regency.

A weakish 4 stars, but 4 stars nonetheless. If I could bifurcate my rating, I would give the first half of the story 4.5-5 stars and the second half 3 stars. The set up of the story and the introduction of the characters and their struggles were really wonderfully done, and they engaged me right off the bat. The resolution of the story, while still a good read, didn't make as much of an impression on me as the story did out of the gate. Even so, overall, I found this story to be a very sweet and enjoyable read.

The story, in brief.
Lord Benjamin Parker has finally decided to give himself one night of passion to answer the question that has been burning in his brain - and his body - for years: is he attracted to men? Cavin Fox is a hustler whose objective that night is to find a mark, seduce him, then leave him so sated that he won't notice Cavin's leaving with all of the blunt in his pockets. When these two meet, each gets more than he bargained for.

The class differences aspect is the biggest obstacle and tension point in this story. Cavin lives in a flash house in St. Giles; Lord Benjamin lives in a townhouse on Brook Street in Mayfair. Cavin thinks he has nothing to offer a fine gentleman like Ben. What Cavin doesn't know is Ben couldn't care less what Cavin brings to the table other than Cavin himself. I liked how this conflict was presented and the internal POV from each character. I didn't find the resolution and their ultimate HEA all that fulfilling, but it was fine for what it was and served its purpose.

The characters.
I liked both Ben and Cavin. They had their strengths and weaknesses. I thought they were very sweet together, and the chemistry they had sparkled on the page. Ben's openness to his homosexuality was refreshing, if a tad unbelievable given the Regency period setting. There was so much sweetness in their interactions with each other, and it made me smile when Cavin - rough and hard-living Cavin - couldn't deny Ben any of the physical pleasures Ben wanted to experience with Cavin. Cavin knew it was Ben's first time, and that honor stunned him. I loved that part of it. It was just so sweet.

Romance and sexytimes.
Like I said, this was just really really sweet. The sexytimes are on the erotic side, but they fit the book and Ben's discovery of his sexuality. Overall, the romance and sexytimes were very well done, except my minor quibble with the HEA, which I found a little...unfulfilling. It made sense, I guess, but was both a little too convenient and a little too unbelievable.

I really enjoyed this book and the characters. It wasn't angsty or anything; it was a heartwarming story of two men who didn't know they needed each other...but then once they found each other, they found they couldn't stay apart. We get to watch them move heaven and earth to stay together and be "right" for each other when they do find each other. And that, my friends, was very sweet, indeed.

Note: Thank you to Carina Press for providing a copy of this book through NetGalley.