Review: Stealing from Mr. Rich by Anna Hackett

Review: Stealing from Mr. Rich by Anna HackettStealing from Mr. Rich (Billionaire Heists #1) by Anna Hackett
Format: eARC
Source: author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genres: contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: Billionaire Heists #1
Pages: 286
Published by Anna Hackett on May 21, 2021
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

To save my brother, all I have to do is steal from a billionaire.
My brother is in trouble. Again. But this time he’s in debt to some really bad people, and I’ll do anything to save him. Even be blackmailed into cracking an unbreakable safe belonging to the most gorgeous man in New York. And one of the richest.
Steal from Zane Roth—King of Wall Street and one of the famous billionaire bachelors of New York—sure thing, piece of cake.
You see, some people can play the piano, but I can play safes. My father is a thief, safecracker extraordinaire, and a criminal. He also taught me everything he knows. I’ve spent my entire life trying not to be him. I own my own business, pay my taxes, and I don’t break the law. Ever.
Now I have to smash every one of my rules, break into a billionaire’s penthouse, and steal a million-dollar necklace.
What I never expected was to find myself face to face with Zane. Tall, dark, handsome, and oh-so-rich Zane. He’s also smart, and he knows I’m up to something.
And he’s vowed to find out.

My Review:

On the surface, the first meeting between billionaire Zane Roth and “Lady Locksmith” Monroe O’Connor reads like a slapstick version of a meet-hot-and-cute with more than a touch of the movie Maid in Manhattan.

Unlike the movie, Monroe is only pretending to be a maid, while Zane is a bit too naked to be on his way out to walk anybody’s dog. (And I’m so tempted to keep this joke going, but it’s going to hit the gutter really fast. Sorry, not sorry)

Monroe is in Zane’s apartment to “case the joint” so that she can steal a priceless piece of jewelry as ransom for her not-as-mature-as-he-ought-to-be younger brother, who made the mistake of gambling with the Russian Mafia. Literally. Stupidly. And entirely too typically for Maguire O’Connor.

So Monroe is going to have to break into an unbreakable safe that’s hidden in the penthouse of one of the richest men in New York, break every vow she’s made to herself to stay on the straight and narrow and not follow in her daddy’s criminal footsteps in order to save Mags. Again. From his own idiocy.

But those moments of slippery slapstick on the floor of Zane’s penthouse shower are the most fun and the best sexytimes that either of them have had in weeks, months, possibly even years. Which means that even though Zane learns that Monroe shouldn’t be trusted, and even though Monroe knows that the only ending to their instant flirtation is either a pair of broken hearts or her brother’s broken body, she can’t resist trying to have the little bit of Zane that she thinks she can have.

Neither Zane nor Monroe figure out that they’re playing for even higher stakes than the Russian Mafia. And that they are both already all in.

Escape Rating B+: I enjoyed Stealing from Mr. Rich more than I expected after reading the blurb. That’s partly because there were parts of the description that reminded me a bit too much of the parts of the Norcross Security series that I had some trouble with. In that series, it seemed like the heroines were much too re-active and didn’t have nearly enough agency. There was often a creeptastic element in that series where the villains were sexual predators who intended to add the heroines to their “collections”, whether that was part of the initial evil plot or not.

One of the things I liked about Monroe and her story is that it was all strictly business from the villains’ point of view. Not that there weren’t some disgusting dudes along the way, but the big bads are strictly business. Mags owes them money, Monroe has a skill that they can use to get her to do their dirty work for them, and there’s nothing about their deal that expects Monroe to do any of her work for them on her back. So I enjoyed Monroe’s story – and Monroe’s first person perspective – all the more because she’s actively pursuing a solution to her problem that doesn’t require a rescue and she never loses her agency while she works – however reluctantly – to win her brother’s freedom.

Something else that happened in this story is wrapped around the way that books often remind me of, of course, other books. Like the way that The Specialist, my favorite book in the Norcross Security series, reminded me of Rock Hard, another big favorite.

So it’s not actually a surprise that another interesting thing I realized about this story has to do with my love of J.D. Robb’s In Death series. Whenever a romance features a billionaire, I kind of expect to see someone either very like Roarke or his direct opposite. Like him if it’s the hero, the opposite if it’s the villain.

I am not digressing, I swear.

Zane and Monroe are both Roarke, or Roarke if he’s split into two characters. Zane is the self-made billionaire who gives megabucks to charity, plays the part he has to play while keeping his real self separate, has created a circle of real friends to rely on, knows how to take care of himself in a fight – and is, of course, devilishly handsome.

Monroe is the child of a thief and a conman who has done her best to distance herself from her dad’s criminal ways, but has used the skills he taught her to create a business and make both a living and a difference. People keep trying to drag her back into the muck, but she keeps right on fighting to get out. And has also created a circle of real friends she can rely on – even if she has a difficult time trusting that other people will be there for her.

And all of that is also Roarke, so it’s inevitable that these two parts of a whole will find each other and be drawn together like iron filings to a magnet.

That both Zane and Monroe have SERIOUS trust issues – with good reason – both gives them a lot in common and pulls them apart on a regular basis. After all, they meet because she’s planning to rob him. That’s not exactly a scenario that builds trust.

Neither of them is all that good at relying on others – or on anyone at all outside a tiny, trusted circle. They shouldn’t reach out to each other – and they especially shouldn’t hold on to each other. That they do it anyway, in spite of all the voices on both the inside and the outside saying that they shouldn’t, is what gives this story its zing and its spark.

Although the naked slapstick start sure didn’t hurt – AT ALL!

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