Shay is part of a small, four-person team out to steal one of the rarest objects in the galaxy: the Heart of Ailonsileah. The last remaining artifact of a dead race, the Heart is heavily guarded, which makes this a challenge. It isn’t helped that there’s a new person on the team, Jerran, who has a love for guns and giving orders, but Shay’s willing to let it pass. When they manage to get — and sell — the Heart, they’ll all be quite rich.
Standing in their way is the art appraiser, Dr. Galenn Moone, who wears a fortune in technology and who just so happens to be looking at the Heart when Shay breaks into the viewing room. Thinking quickly, Shay offers to give the man a blowjob to distract him from why, exactly, he’s there … and it almost works! If they’d been quicker, maybe the two of them could have finished before Bekkah, the very rich, very powerful, and very surrounded by armed guards current owner of the Heart came to take a look at her prize.
So now Shay has a giant case, still locked, holding the Heart itself inside, and Jerran has Dr. Moone with a gun to his back. Either way, they’re leaving with what they came for. If they can just get it out of the small, heavily armed box it’s locked in. And if they can just figure out what to do with Galenn. Well, Shay has at least one or two ideas of what he can do to Galenn …
This book is, at its heart, a heist story set in space, with an old spaceship, a mismatched crew, and an alien artifact. And on all those things, it succeeds. And then there’s the romance, where it doesn’t. Shay and Galenn could have had a nice enemies to lovers vibe going on with a slowly learning to trust one another aspect. Instead, Shay trusts Galenn instantly and immediately because he’s in love. Galenn— seduced, kidnapped at gunpoint, held naked in freezing conditions, constantly threatened, mocked, and belittled — also falls head over heels with Shay because … well, to be honest, it seems like it’s because Shay fucked him. When the two men aren’t racing to swear their forever and eternal love, when they’re treating each other as potential allies or potential threats, there’s an honest chemistry. However, the romance was forced too early and pushed too hard, making the scenes where Galenn and Shay flirt and fuck feel out of place with the rest of the story.
Again, the story itself — the world building, the politics, the space stations and scattered colony worlds — are so well done. A lighter hand might have been better here as far as the main love interests are considered. However, that said, I would be delighted to read more stories that take place in this world if the author decides to make this a series, because their writing is good and their storytelling skills are very nicely polished.