Title: Heart of the Steal
Authors: Roan Parrish & Avon Gale
Publisher: Philtre Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 11th, 2017
Length (Print & Ebook): about 80K words
Subgenre: Contemporary queer romance
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.
Will and Vaughn are in Vaughn’s haunted house at Halloween
As we crossed the threshold into the hallway, Will relaxed, seeing nothing coming. Which was precisely the idea.
The man in coveralls and a chainsaw jumped out from behind a curtain, accompanied by chainsaw revving noises. It was the first time I’d experienced it, and it was a very good effect.
But rather than grabbing my hand or gasping, when the man jumped out, William pushed me behind him and scrabbled at his side for his gun, tearing his cape off in the process. When he realized that his gun wasn’t there, he jumped forward, and the man in the costume dropped the chainsaw, and backed away, hands raised. All told, it only took two seconds, maybe three. Then William backed up, bent down to rest his palms on his thighs, and ran a hand through his hair.
“I’m sorry,” he said to the man in costume, voice shaky with adrenaline. “Sorry, man.”
I stepped forward slowly, not wanting to get hit by accident, and when I knew I was in Will’s line of sight, I put my hand on his shoulder. “Are you all right?”
He nodded, clearly embarrassed. “Yeah, uh, sorry, I just. You know.”
I took William’s elbow and led him a few steps down, where I knew there really wasn’t anyone else waiting to jump out, and pushed him against the wall.
He wouldn’t quite meet my gaze.
“You pushed me behind you.”
His eyes flicked up, then he gave a one-shouldered shrug and looked back down.
I leaned forward and tilted his chin up, kissing him deeply. He returned the kiss, grabbing my hands and squeezing them. “It’s almost done,” I whispered. “Okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry,” he muttered sheepishly.
“No need to be sorry. You just almost shot an actor in a Halloween costume, that’s all. Good thing you didn’t actually have your gun.”
“I wouldn’t have shot him,” William grumbled, but he pulled my arm closer and linked our elbows.
“Gentleman,” a voice said a few minutes later, once we’d exited the library, and an arm pointed us in the direction of the rest of the party.
“Jesus!” William yelled, and jumped backward, almost into me. I grabbed his shoulders to steady him.
I looked where Will was looking, but all I saw was a man in a clown wig and makeup with a stuck-on red clown nose. The man didn’t react to Will—or, if he did, his painted on expression hid it.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
William walked in a purposely wide arc around the clown, keeping an eye on him and grabbing my hand. “Yeah, nothing. Just, clowns, man. They’re…they smile so big, it’s like…I uh. Just. I’m not a super-big fan, that’s all.”
“Did you read It at an impressionable age, William?”
“No, it’s not the, um, scary clowns. Just the…” He nodded toward the regular old birthday party clown at the exit.
“I’m trying very hard not to tell you how adorable I find the idea that you rushed in to kill the man wielding a chainsaw, protecting me with your life, but you’re scared of children’s clowns.”
“Shut up,” he muttered.
“I did say I was trying very hard, not that I was going to succeed.”
William started to give me that look, but I grabbed him and pulled him around the corner, and away from any prying clown eyes. I looked at him for a moment. William Fox, who’d leaned his head on my shoulder, then pushed me behind him to keep me from harm’s way. Then…nearly shrieked at seeing a clown, and who was now regarding me suspiciously.
I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed. I held him to me, my nose in his hair, and just stood for a minute, maybe two. He relaxed into it, his body molding against mine, finally hooking his chin over my shoulder. Immediately, all I wanted was for everyone to be out of my house so I could lead Will by the hand to my bed, get him out of his horrible suit, and possibly find some utility for the staff I was carrying as part of this Lucius Malfoy costume. As I began narrowing down its possible uses, Will’s stomach growled loudly.
He glared at his stomach as if it had let him down, then looked up, a hopeful little smile playing on his lips. “Hey, can we go back to the candy?”
About the authors:
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.
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.