Review: Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

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.

FBI Art Crimes agent William Fox and rich philanthropist Amory Vaughn are drawn to each other from the moment they meet eyes. But despite a promising start, their relationship quickly sours when Amory decides to gift his crush with a stolen painting.

William finds himself torn between desire and duty. If the two want to build a relationship, Amory will have to change his ways for good.

The premise of this book sounded great - an FBI agent and an art thief find love. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble getting into the story.

William and Amory are polar opposites. William’s reserved, introverted, and lives and breathes by the rules. Amory was born into luxury, is outgoing, and doesn’t believe the rules apply to him.

Though they find it hard to keep their hands off of each other, their different backgrounds lead to the two clashing often.

My disconnect with William and Amory started early on, with the theft of the painting. Though I knew it was coming, I still found the specifics odd. At that point, the only thing the two feel for each other is lust. How powerful does lust have to be to convince a man to steal a multi-million dollar painting, and to convince an officer of the law to turn a blind eye?

That being said, I did think that Amory made appropriate amends. Once he realizes that his wealth and illegal antics won’t win over William, Amory works hard to gain William’s respect.

And I can’t deny that these two had some serious sexual chemistry!

Amory and William also clicked emotionally, though it hinged pretty strongly on the insta-lust.

It wasn’t until well into the second half that I felt that I could really get why the two fell in love, but by that point my interest had already waned.

Part of the reason I found it hard to stay engaged with the book was the verbose writing, particularly from Amory’s POV. There were too many flowery descriptions - of food, paintings, decor, clothing, and internal monologues. I was skimming paragraphs to get to the point.

Overall, ‘Heart of the Steal’ was just on okay read for me. Though I found the romance to be sweet, the writing and the characters’ odd early behaviour made it difficult to really connect with them and enjoy the book.

A review copy was provided.

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