Review: Love Bites (Tales from the Alpha Art Gallery Book 1) by Cynthia St. Aubin

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B Reviews / Book Reviews / 4 Comments


A girl’s gotta eat—and so do her three cats. Recently divorced art history grad student Hanna Harvey has just fibbed her way into a job as the assistant to dangerously drool-worthy art gallery owner Mark Abernathy. For Hanna, working in the field she desperately loves provides the perfect opportunity to begin putting her life back together. Soon her cheese budget is in the black and her feline life partners are no longer eyeing her like a six-foot can of Fancy Feast.

But when her boss’s lady friends start turning up dead, Hanna finds herself in the cross hairs of a murder investigation. Even worse, hunky homicide detective James Morrison fears hers might be the next body he discovers.

With the “help” of the gallery’s quirky cast of resident artists, Hanna will have to hunt down the truth about Abernathy’s dark secret—before it hunts her.

I got the book on Kindle Unlimited.


Dear Cynthia St. Aubin,

A friend mentioned that Ilona Andrews recommended your book on their blog. I went and glanced and I saw the article with the recommendation, but I have not opened it (I saw the first sentence but that is it).  The reason why I am mentioning it here is because if something in my review resembles anything Ilona Andrews said in theirs, it was totally accidental and I apologize in advance if that happens.

Apparently there are six books in this series.  I overall liked this one a lot, but I’m not hundred percent sure whether I am ready to invest in reading the rest of them.

The main reason I liked this one? I thought that it was really, REALLY well-written. I read the first sixty percent of the book on my kindle during my morning commute to work and had I not arrived at my office I would have continued to read it, I was that engaged in the story.

As the blurb tells you, Hanna desperately needs a job and she managed to convince the mysterious and sexy gallery owner that she would be his perfect assistant.  Hanna never worked as an assistant, but she starts her job with gusto and her first self-imposed task is to help her boss organize his office. On the one hand he does not mind, on another he is more than a little resistant as to having some modern technology, for example he did not have a computer before Hanna started working for him.

But never fear everything is going to change now.

“Sounds like you’ve been busy out there this morning,” he said around a yawn. He scratched at the dark stubble shadowing his jaw. “Indeed I have! Now it’s your turn.” “My turn for what?” I picked up the laptop box and laid it in the small clearing before him on the desk. “Merry Christmas,” I said. He blinked at the box like it was a large insect that had just lighted on his desk. “It’s a laptop,” I informed him.

“I can see that.” “You know, for sending emails, organizing electronic files, keeping track of receipts. Crazy things like that.” “I don’t have any electronic files.” “Ta da!” I lifted up the scanner for him to see. “What’s that?” I blinked in disbelief. “Please tell me you’re joking.” Dark eyes regarded me with guileless invitation. “This is the Canon Pixma TR8550 compact MFD,” I explained. “Only the best thing that ever happened to office equipment. It scans business cards, documents, and receipts and creates electronic copies.””

The whole story is written strictly from Hanna’s POV and her narration is snarky and funny like that and I enjoyed that.

Very soon after she starts in the gallery she meets the cast of characters that work/live there and she begins to notice that some of them are a little strange. Moreover, one of the women whom she imagined being a girlfriend of her new boss turns up dead and her boss is amongst the suspects (or probably the only suspect for most of the book) and then more women of his acquaintance turn up dead and the story speeds up.

Did he do it or did he not?

As I said I enjoyed the story a lot, even though it does not have a full resolution by the end of it, which I kind of expected, because it is book one of six. The villain is revealed, but very significant information is revealed in the last line of the book (talk about a good hook for the next one) and quite a bit of the information still is not revealed.

What I did not quite enjoy?  I know that I should not be annoyed about that, because despite it being a mystery, it had a vibe of a romantic comedy and of course when Hanna and Mark meet as a potential boss and employee it also felt as a meet cute of the potential love couple. But Hanna? He is your boss, maybe a little less commentary about his hotness and how much you want to sleep with him? It is funny and all that, but was a little much.

Do not get me wrong Hanna did seem to want to be a good personal assistant (not as if she fully neglected her work, what with all the murders around), but she really, really wanted Mark, too. A lot.

““Hanna.” “Hanna.” “Hanna, get up. We’re late.” I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. The last wisps of dream evaporated, and I yawned and indulged in a delicious stretch. “Mmmm.” My voice was a sleep-heavy purr. “I knew you’d come. After our shower last night…” “Our shower?” My eyes snapped open. Abernathy loomed over me, larger than life in a freshly pressed suit and shirt.

His dark hair fell around his eyes as he leaned forward. He’d shaped his stubble into a rough goatee. Breakfast anyone? My own state came to me in spastic bursts. I was in a hotel room. I was in Germany. I was in a t-shirt and underwear, in the presence of Abernathy. I sat bolt upright and pulled the floral comforter to my chest. “What are you doing in my room?””

I also appreciated that the author managed to make me wonder whether the love story will go in the direction I expected or not, but at the same time that is one of the main reasons I am not sure if I want to continue with the series.

Grade: B

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Sirius started reading books when she was four and reading and discussing books is still her favorite hobby. One of her very favorite gay romances is Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark. In fact, she loves every book written by Tamara Allen. Amongst her other favorite romance writers are Ginn Hale, Nicole Kimberling, Josephine Myles, Taylor V. Donovan and many others. Sirius’ other favorite genres are scifi, mystery and Russian classics. Sirius also loves travelling, watching movies and long slow walks.

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