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

HEART OF THE STEAL
Genre: MM, Contemporary Romance
Authors: Avon Gale & Roan Parrish
Release Date: July 11, 2017

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.

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I followed him up the stairs and down a hallway carpeted in thick brown shag, then through the last door on the right. Once inside, he dropped our overnight bags on the floor and began fussing with the bedcovers, the line of his shoulders tense.I slid a hand up his back and leaned over him.

“I’ve been cooking up a fantasy while sitting with your family and watching football, William.”

“Oh?”

“Oh, yes.” I crowded him, bending him forward over the bed, spread with a navy blue comforter trimmed in red. “We’re in your childhood bedroom,” I murmured into his ear, kissing the skin behind it until he shivered in my arms.

“Mmhmm?”

I slid a hand under his sweater and splayed my palm against his warm stomach. His back was pressed to my chest and I could feel his heart beating. “We’re in high school. You’re a junior and I’m a senior. You invited me over to do homework, so we brought our books upstairs.”

I licked a line up the side of his throat and pulled him more firmly against me so he could feel the evidence of what this fantasy was doing to me.

“What subject?” he asked, pressing his hips backward.

“History. The Revolutionary War.” I gave his earlobe a nip and saw the corners of his mouth draw up. “You’re very studious. Serious. You’re concentrating.”

“Mmm, and what are you doing?”

“I…am being very distracting.”

I slipped a hand inside his dark jeans and ghosted my fingers over the ridge of his hard cock.

“I keep bumping your knees with mine. Touching you. I can’t help myself. You’re so damned hot.”

He moaned softly, shuddering as I took a firmer grip on him. He made no attempt to turn around, just ground his taut ass back against my hips, teasing my swollen flesh. I pulled my hand from his pants and he gave a plaintive whimper. I kissed the back of his neck, feasting on soft skin until his hands clutched at me.

“What,” he gasped. “What do you do next?”

“Well, that all depends.” I dropped my voice low, knowing how much it turned him on. “You’re a junior, William. Are you a virgin?”

He gasped and craned to look at me. He nodded, sunk fully into this game. Lust shot through me at the idea of being Will’s first; of sliding inside his body where no other man had been, opening him, owning him.

“Well then,” I murmured. “I’ll have to be very.” I kissed his neck. “Very.” The skin under his jaw. “Gentle,” I whispered against his mouth, and felt his moan.

I pushed him forward enough to pull off his sweater, then pressed against him again.

“The first time I touch you,” I told him, “you aren’t sure what to make of it. Am I teasing? Should you react? Or am I just being friendly?” I ran my hands up his sides, tracing his ribs. “But then I touch you here.” I circled his nipples with my fingers, plucking them until he arched against me. “And you know I’m not just being friendly anymore. You know that I’m going to do things to you no one has ever done before.”

Will shuddered and I drank his reactions like the finest whiskey.

“Have you thought about them, William? Alone in your room, in your bed. Have you thought about what it would feel like to have another boy’s body against yours? A man’s hand around your dick instead of your own? The sensation of a man kissing your mouth, kissing you everywhere?”

Will shook his head, mouth open.

“No? You haven’t thought about it? Or you haven’t wanted to?”

He froze in my arms.

“It’s okay, love. I’ve got you.”

I wanted to overwhelm him, take him out of himself and everything he recognized and give him a mirror that would reflect him back to himself the way I saw him. Beautiful, brave, and scared.

This book was nothing like I normally gravitate to. It has zero angst. It’s not twisty and unpredictable. And it also doesn’t have hot man abs on the cover. What? Don’t you judge me. Like you haven’t made those ill fated purchases because man abs lure you on. God. Judgy much? As a matter of fact, if I let my inner cover wh*re do the picking, she’d merrily click right past this book. And what a shame that would be. Because this is a classic case of not judging a book by the cover.

I wondered where in the world William Fox felt completely, totally comfortable. Absolutely himself. And damned if I didn’t want to see what it was like to be there with him.

Heart Of The Steal was a super sweet romance between two men that couldn’t be more opposite of each other. You have Will, an FBI agent for the art crimes division that wears poor fitting suits and couldn’t flirt to save his life. Will is not a man that does one night stands but he’s not exactly great at relationships either. After a disastrous end to his last one, he’s not exactly swimming in suitors, but he’s perfectly content with that too. Being forced to go to an art show that his twin sister and budding party planner dragged him to isn’t his ideal way to plan the evening, but at least he can enjoy some art.

Amory Vaughn is the exact opposite of who would normally catch Will’s attention. He’s a rich philanthropist who’s not unused to people only being interested in him for his money. So why does that man that blushes when Amory catches him staring and then runs away before talking to him completely steal his attention?

Can an uptight and proper FBI agent and flirtatious, rich, would be philanthropist thief have anything beyond sizzling hot chemistry in common?

Sparks fly immediately with these two. But when Will learns of Vaughn’s art theft, he knows he can’t cross that professional line with him. He may let him walk away from a deserved arrest, but he can’t fall for his flirty smiles and smart mouth. Too bad the chemistry between them proves too strong to deny for even a stuffy FBI agent.

On Monday morning,” I said into his ear as I reached around and took him in hand. He cried out, knuckles white where he grabbed the desk. “I’m going to sit there and imagine you just like this. Legs spread, open and begging for me.”
I licked a stripe up the side of his throat.
“I’m not…begging…” Will gasped, and I smiled against his damp skin.
“No,” I conceded. “No. Not yet.”

Once these two get past their…uhem…differences, the book takes a different turn. It goes from a slightly enemies to lovers vibe to just lovers. It shows two people slowly but surely falling in love as they get to know each other. Admittedly, this would normally bore me, but in the case of this book it was just adorably endearing. I simply loved these two together. I loved their individual quirks and I absolutely loved watching Vaughn fall deeper and deeper for Will. I loved watching Will lose more of his stuffiness in the presence of the enigmatic Vaughn. And I simply loved the sides of each other that they brought out when they were together. It was sweet, and swoony, and at times just ridiculously sexy.

My only quibble is Amory’s description and comparison to Lucius Malfoy, which didn’t inspire the sexiest of images. But after a while, I’ll admit that it really suited Vaughn and I looked right past it. I loved the differences between him and Will, but not as much as I loved the two of them together.

There was no crazy drama, no angst, no twists or action. It was beautiful in it’s simplicity, actually, and I adored every page of it.


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

When 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.

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Avon 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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