on 11 July 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, M/M Romance
Published by Philtre Press
Source: A Novel Take PR
Copy for review provided by A Novel Take PR in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish is the first collaboration between this author duo. I’ve read a story by each and very much enjoyed their styles separately so I was delighted to see them working together. They lived up to my expectations with this story of two men from very different backgrounds discovering a passion impossible to resist.
Amory Vaughn is a billionaire philanthropist. He can get what he wants whenever he wants it. When he meets William Fox at an art event being catered by his Will’s sister, the attraction is swift and explosive, resulting in a sexual encounter that leaves them both a little stunned. Amory’s way of convincing Will to go out with him is rather unorthodox – he ‘liberates’ a painting from the home in which they met (one they had discussed at the party at length) and leaves it on Will’s doorstep. While this might be a unique way to get someone’s attention, it’s a definite problem for Will – who just so happens to work in the FBI’s art crimes division. He can’t believe Amory stole a painting for him, and now he has the painful task of figuring out what to do about it – a situation where he’d not hesitate normally to arrest the perpetrator.
To make matter’s worse, Will’s sister is just getting her catering company off the ground and could really use a boost, especially from a well-connected man like Amory. Amory’s not above using this to his advantage to get Will to see more of him. Eventually, Will can’t resist the obvious attraction between them and goes along for the ride. But can two men from very different circumstances find enough common ground to build a real relationship?
I really enjoyed this story! The contrast between the characters is pretty clear. Will always does what’s right and see things in black and white, while Amory does things that seem right ‘in the moment’. His habit of thieving art objects (always from people he believes deserve it) is one Will has trouble reconciling obviously, but Amory manages to do things in such a way that he doesn’t get caught, nor does it seem like he’s doing anything really wrong. Also, he makes it clear to Will once they are dating that he will keep clear of doing anything illegal and sticks to his word.
There is some great banter between these two as well as some very steamy scenes (and some fun role-playing). The conflict (besides the obvious) also has to do with Amory’s habit of manipulating things to what he wants and being in control of every aspect of his life – and the life of the man he wants. He oversteps and has to pay the price for it. There is a bit of an age difference between the two characters (and Amory’s hair has turned prematurely grey) but that was no deterrent for these two (or me as a reader). Also, cute kitten alert! While this story starts out with some insta-lust, it soon gives way to real emotional depth. Heart of the Steal is a thoroughly enjoyable and sexy opposite attract romance.