Review by Annie: Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale & Roan Parrish

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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.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

reviewedbyannie

I’ve read this book in various stages of its life; back from when it was an “Avon-only” story to what it is now. With each transformation it went through, it just got better and better.

Will follows the rules to a point – except for when it comes to Vaughn – and he’s rather shy and quiet, though he can be very resolute and forward as well, if needed. He also has a deep sense of justice. Will doesn’t just do his job because it’s an obligation, but because he really believes in right and wrong. For him there are no grey areas. That’s why, in a way, Amory is the most perfect partner for him – he’s the Ying to his Yang – and at the same time the worst option possible because they’re pretty much polar opposites.

Vaughn is more the person for whom rules are there to be bent. He grew up having everything he wanted and more; he grew up with the sense that when things are not to your liking you can just change them with enough money and persuasion. He’s not an asshole about it though, flaunting it, rubbing it in everyone face. No, Amory Vaughn is more subtle than that.
And to Will’s surprise, Vaughn has a very big heart – he supports good causes without taking credit for them or wanting it known that he donated money.
While he generally thinks more in shades of grey, Vaughn does have a sense of right and wrong; it’s just not as straight as Wills.
Vaughn is so charmingly snobby there’s just no way not to like him. And he’s not just buying the best or most expensive because he can – though he definitely does – but because he wants what’s best. Why settle with the cheap sheets in a hotel room when you can buy the million thread count ones? 😉 Why not live your life to the fullest by changing things that you don’t like?

Will and Vaughn (as you can see) are pretty much polar opposites in everything and yet they just work together.  I loved their banter, the witty, sometimes snarky, back and forth, the humour and the romantic moments.
The push and pull throughout the story was delicious. It was awesome to see both Will and Vaughn influencing and challenging each other to be their best version of themselves without changing who the other is.
My favorite, though, was how they took care of each other. No matter what it was – and not just in the bedroom (or on the desk) – but also in their everyday life. Some of those things might have not been morally right, but they were done with the best intentions. And after all, those little imperfections make the characters more human and relatable.

Everything in this book was so vivid. From the various events Vaughn took part in/hosted, to the food – seriously the food in this book *will* make you hungry! – to their first date and Will’s birthday. I felt like I was there with them – and I wished I was.

I didn’t expect to love Will and Vaughn as much as I do, but somehow I fell for them. To me they are absolutely perfect together. I could have spent 10.000 more pages with them and it wouldn’t be nearly enough. They’re the kind of characters that just stay with you. Same goes for various side characters. First one is definitely James Novack, the art student/forger Vaughn meets early in the story and Samantha, Will’s sister is another character I wouldn’t mind *wink wink* reading more about.

Avon is one of my absolute favourite authors. I love her writing style, her characters the stories – just everything – which is also no secret. And Roan is definitely a “order immediately” kind of author for me too, so I was really excited to see them writing together. This writing team just works so well. Their writing styles complement each other and create a great atmospheric story that truly comes to life on page and won’t let you go. In short I absolutely loved it all from first to last page.

There’s a “1” on the spine of the book, so surely this means there’ll be more? I’ll just go and sit down right here to wait for the next book. 😉

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Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.

b&w author picWhen not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

Website | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

reader-breakAvon Gale HeadshotAvon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Avon is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.

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Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Review Self Published Tag: Art / Artist Tag: Enemies to Lovers Tag: Insta-Love / Insta-Lust Tag: Military / Uniform

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