Tattoo Thief by Heidi Joy Tretheway





22-year-old Beryl doesn’t know why Gavin Slater trashed his penthouse, abandoned his dog and fled the country. But as his house sitter, she must pick up the pieces for the front man of the white-hot rock band Tattoo Thief.

When ultra-responsible Beryl confronts the reckless rock star, she wants to know more than just what to do with his mess. Why is he running? What’s he searching for? And is he responsible for the death of his muse?

New York newbie Beryl must find her footing in Gavin’s crazy world of the ultra-wealthy to discover her own direction and what can bring him back.

Steamy, sassy and tender, Tattoo Thief is a story of breaking from a comfort zone to find a second chance.



In Tattoo Thief, Beryl leaves her sleepy hometown to become a house sitter for New York’s elite, including Gavin Slater, front man for the rock band Tattoo Thief. He’s trashed his apartment, abandoned his dog and fled the country—leaving Beryl to clean up the wreckage and unravel the mystery of why he fled and what can bring him back.


In this scene, Beryl and Gavin’s second online chat, Gavin is in Kenya, and he went to visit Njoro, the birthplace of Beryl’s namesake. Beryl is staying in Gavin’s apartment in New York with his dog. She finds herself increasingly obsessed with him, even watching old interviews of him on YouTube where he confesses to one talk show host, “I’m looking for my opposite and my equal.”



[Message from Gavin:] Beryl. Chat me. I’ll be here at the café for half an hour or so.

I squeak with excitement and then check the time, dismayed. He sent the email almost an hour ago, and I’ve been gallivanting all over Central Park with his dog. I kick myself for leaving my phone behind, and then kick myself for kicking myself.

How lame is it to be waiting online for a guy? Is this the new version of waiting by the phone?

I ditch my phone because it’s almost out of juice and as my laptop wakes up and Gmail launches, I find myself cheering it on.

“Come on, come on,” I urge.


Me: Gavin. I’m here.

Gavin: Beryl.

Me: How are you?

Gavin: Lost, but in a good way. I went to Njoro.

Me: You did? That’s pretty far from Nairobi.

Gavin: Yeah, it was a few hours, but I wanted to see where the Beryl prototype grew up.

Me: The prototype?

Gavin: Well, I couldn’t call her the “Original Beryl,” since I met you first.

Me: No, you couldn’t. So … are you having fun?

Gavin: Fun’s not the word for it. I’m on a mission.

Me: For?

Gavin: I’ll tell you when I find it. I think I’m getting closer.

Me: Is it something you lost?

Gavin: Yeah.

Me: Someone?

Gavin: Yeah.

Me: Tell me.

Gavin: No. Stop pushing. I just wanted to say you can replace the couch, except don’t get the same kind.

Me: Why not?

Gavin: I need a change. I want things different.

Me: Is that why you were trying to wreck everything you owned?

Gavin: I don’t know. I think I was trying to wreck myself.


I want to ask why but I hold silent.


Gavin: So anyway, just make some changes, OK?

Me: Anything I want?

Gavin: No pink. Or girly frilly crap.

Me: Rats. That’s just what I had in mind.

Gavin: You wouldn’t dare. I take it back. Don’t change anything.

Me: Really?

Gavin: Shit. I’m no good at this. I usually have my assistant to figure this out.

Me: What happened to her?

Gavin: I fired him. So you’re it, Beryl.

Me: OK, then, how can I assist you?

Gavin: Tell me about yourself.

Me: Um, that’s kind of a weird request.

Gavin: No, it’s not. Not for what I have in mind.


A bolt shoots through me, hearing a sensual connotation I’m sure he didn’t intend. But I want it to be there. Gavin Slater wants to know about me? What could I possibly tell him that would be enough?


Me: OK, then, what do you want to know?

Gavin: Tell me something real. Not something you make up to impress me.

Me: Hello, ego? What makes you think I’ll try to impress you?

Gavin: Because everyone does. It’s kind of gross. People who have no business making moves on me—teenagers and much older women and taken women, and even some men—act like I’m a piece of meat. Or like I’m a lion; if they just dangle a piece of meat out in front of me, I’ll pounce.

Me: Gross.

Gavin: It was awesome at first. But then it got weird. Now it bugs me. A lot.

Me: I don’t believe it.

Gavin: Well, I did earn my bad boy reputation the regular way.

Me: That’s more like it.

Gavin: What about you? Tell me something real. Really real.

Me: I’ve only had one boyfriend.

Gavin: And …

Me: And I love passion fruit gelato and I’m terrified of spiders.

Gavin: You’re stalling.

Me: True. You can Google me. I guess I could Google you to figure out your secrets…


Me: Seriously? What are you hiding? Is it juicy?

Gavin: DO NOT. Seriously.

Me: Now I need to know. I need to know what you’re looking for and you won’t tell me. I can’t help you.

Gavin: That’s different.

Me: Like hell it is. Look, Mr. Rock Star, I know you have an exciting life and a pretty carefree one, judging by the way you treat what you have and take things for granted. But you can’t presume to measure your life against mine. You have no idea.

Gavin: Then we’re equal.

Me: And opposite.


The words fly from my fingers before I think about what I’m saying. After a long pause, Gavin types back:


Gavin: Physics. You saw that interview.

Me: Yeah.

Gavin: Beryl, I changed my mind. I really do want you to make my place different.

Me: How different?

Gavin: So I don’t even recognize it. So it doesn’t feel like mine.

Me: What should it feel like?

Gavin: Figure it out. Transform it. That’s what I want you to do for me.

Me: I can do that.

I suck in my breath, not even sure where to start.

Gavin: I’ve got about five minutes left before they close the Internet café and kick me out. So I’ll ask you one more time: tell me something real.

Me: Quid pro quo?

Gavin: Yes. One question, and one answer. Each.

Me: When my dad died, I was 13. I had to become the parent. My mom was no good at it; she enrolled in school and turned into a stranger for, like, years. I don’t know if she would have eaten if I hadn’t cooked for us.

Gavin: Why do I feel like there’s a ‘but’ in there somewhere?

Me: The ‘but’ is that I didn’t always do a good job. Parenting myself. Setting boundaries. Watching out.

Gavin: With your job and your businesslike notes, you seem really responsible. Really capable.

Me: Survival skill. I wasn’t always successful, but I figured it out. Instead of being daring, taking risks like a normal teenager, I had to be more careful. I feel like I missed out. Time’s up, I answered. Your turn. Tell me something real about you.

Gavin: Her name was Lulu. And I couldn’t save her.


Gavin’s bubble abruptly turns from green to gray and I slam my hand on the table in frustration. The connection is gone. Just as he’s telling me about this mysterious someone he lost, I lose him.

But maybe I haven’t.

Maybe I’ve just gained something from this chat. Some thread of a connection.

I vow to do the best job I can making his apartment new. Maybe it’s the seed he needs to start a new life.




A bad boy rocker + a good girl + some pretty good writing = Tattoo Thief by Heidi Joy Tretheway. While there are plenty of books in the marketplace that follow this same basic storyline, Tattoo Thief puts a nice spin on it which made it quite enjoyable to read. What really excited me was that Gavin and Beryl’s relationship wasn’t one of those typical insta-romances. Whew, what a sigh of relief!!! Tattoo Thief is a great reminder that sometimes we must look deeper than what we see at face value because a “rebel/bad boy” is more than likely simply someone just in search of  another that will take the time to truly understand and love them.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of Tattoo Thief in exchange for an honest review.







Heidi Joy Tretheway


Heidi Joy lives in Happy Valley off Sunnyside Road. She swears she did not make that up.

Heidi’s obsessed with storytelling. Her career includes marketing, journalism, and a delicious few years as a food columnist. Media passes took her backstage with several rock bands, where she learned that sometimes a wardrobe malfunction is exactly what the rock star intends.

You’ll most often find Heidi Joy with her husband and two small kids cooking, fishing, exploring the Northwest, and building epic forts in their living room.

She loves to hear from readers via messages at





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