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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Illicit Intent is a fast-paced, action-packed novel written by Debbie Baldwin that is bound to entertain fans of romance novels and thrillers alike. While working undercover for the hedge fund billionaire Phipps Van Gent, Calliope Garland, a journalist writing for The Harland Sentry, unwittingly comes into possession of two rare portraits stolen in Boston during the robbery of the Isabella Stewart Museum in 1990. As she finds herself chased by art thieves and mob hired assassins, Calliope finds unexpected help and security through Miller "Tox" Buchanan, an ex-Special Forces operative working for Bishop Security. While events continue to spiral out of control around them, Calliope and Tox steadily grow closer and find comfort and joy in each other's company. But their relationship is in jeopardy as the men tracking Calliope soon put everyone's lives in danger.
A steamy and seductive romance combined with an intricate plot involving art thieves, assassins, and undercover intelligence operatives make Illicit Intent a ravishingly entertaining read that hooks you in from the first page and simply refuses to let go. Author Debbie Baldwin's novel is a pulsating page-turner that I couldn't get enough of. Baldwin provides engaging backstories to her characters that make them relatable and come alive in a way that feels like a breath of fresh air. The chemistry between Calliope and Tox is palpable, and some of the scenes involving the two are intoxicating. I also found the familial dynamic between Tox and his team members extremely relatable and enjoyed every moment of it. I would highly recommend Illicit Intent to readers of romance-oriented thrillers.