Title: Heart of the Steal
Author: Avon Gale & Roan Parrish
Publisher: Philtre Press
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, MM Romance
Format: eBook, Print
Length: ~80,000 words
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Responsible, disciplined William Fox channeled his love for art and his faith in the rules into being an FBI Art Crimes agent. Right and wrong, justice and injustice—the differences are clear, and Will has spent his career drawing a line between them. Maybe his convictions have cost him relationships, but he’s not willing to compromise what he knows is right. Until the night he meets Amory Vaughn.
As the head of his family’s philanthropic foundation, Vaughn knows very well that being rich and powerful can get him almost anything he wants. And when he meets endearingly grumpy and slightly awkward William Fox, he wants him more than he’s wanted anything. Vaughn is used to being desired for his name and his money, but Will doesn’t care about either.
When Vaughn falls back on old habits and attempts to impress Will by stealing a painting Will admires, their nascent bond blows up in his face. But Vaughn isn’t willing to give up on the glimpse of passion he saw the night he took Will apart. Before Will knows it, he’s falling for the man he should have arrested, and Vaughn has to realize that some things can’t be bought or stolen. Love has to be given freely. But can a man who lives by the rules, and a man who thinks the rules don’t apply to him, ever see eye to eye?
Heart of the Steal is a standalone romance with a happy ending. It features a Southern gentleman who thinks he’s always right, a buttoned-up FBI agent who secretly likes his buttons unbuttoned, and wall sex. And desk sex. And picnic blanket sex.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
The introduction gambit to the author’s collaboration series had a strait-laced FBI agent being wooed by an older, wealthy, and somewhat gray character. Now I’m new to Avon Gale and Roan Parrish‘s books so it’s safe to say that I absolutely had no idea what to expect from this book, except the enemies-to-lovers and opposites attract that hinted from the blurb.
I’m gonna be upfront and admitting I’m not much fond of too many steamy scenes; so encountering one so close on the start of the story was not so promising. However, with each pages I got quite fond of the characters. Yes, there’s plenty boinking on whatever space or surface available; but it’s also sweet, conflicting and wacky.
Vaughn and William came from different world, and polar opposites in manners. A lonely rich kid growing up, Vaughn’s occasional thrill-seeking exploits – also a way to impress Will – often crossed the line. The quirk that didn’t sit well with Will and almost caused them their relationship. While the fiery clash and attraction of the characters felt instant – I did mention the premature gratification earlier – how the whole thing developed from that first quickie into wary friendship and more was interesting to follow.
Of the two, I’m more taken to Vaughn; his snobbery and eccentricity, also strong feeling to Will. The – often mentioned – portrayal of Lucius Malfoy look-alike might play part on it (at least when I pictured Jason Isaacs on that role) but his quirky snobbery also caused some of the good laugh in the story, not to mention his impulse to make everything better for Will and what’s with Audrey the cat (that’s just too cute, btw). While the attraction was mutual, Will’s too by-the-book view often exasperated me. For a competent FBI agent, his procrastinating – and thus, self-anguish – was tiring. But then his proactive step to fix it more than make up for it.
For an intro to the both authors’s writing, this is an interesting experience for me. Of course, I couldn’t guess which author penned what chapter/character/scene. The flow of the story and word play mixed and blended nicely. And I’m hopeful to crack open the authors’s individual books that I already have on my stash. 🙂
Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.