Sins and Needles by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #1
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
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There's a Fine Line Between Sin and Salvation . . .
Ellie Watt is a woman on the run. Raised by a pair of thieves who taught her the art of the grift-and pursued by a mobster who fell for her con-she hopes to find refuge at her uncle's farm in quiet Palm Valley, California. Ellie swears she's through with her life of crime. But before she knows it, she's right back in the game when she meets an easy mark who's too good-and too hot-to be true.
His name is Camden McQueen. A master tattoo artist and a total inked stud, Camden is nothing like the awkward kid who crushed on Ellie back in high school. Now, as owner of the wildly successful Sins & Needles, he's got tats to kill for, muscles to die for, and money to burn. Ellie can't believe the transformation-and can't resist pulling off one last con. But when Camden catches Ellie red-handed, the tables are turned. The mark becomes the master. And when the ultimate player gets played, you never know who's going to end up on top . . .
When Ellie was growing up she hated what her parents did for a living. They were grifters and criminals. She wanted nothing to do with that lifestyle. Unfortunately they used her for one of their schemes and she got horribly hurt physcially. From that time on she could think of nothing but revenge for the man who hurt her. She started grifting and has been doing it for the past 10 years or so.
She’s finally decided that she’s going to go legit and heads to the one place that’s she’s always found help – her uncle’s house in Palm Valley, California. Her uncle, however, won’t let her stay. He’s in a bad way financially as well and doesn’t want her bad reputation put onto him. While in Palm Valley Ellie heads into town to get an application at a coffee shop and runs into a man who was once her best friend.
Camden was an odd-ball in High School – just like Ellie was. They hung out, were best friends and had a great time together…until Ellie betrayed their friendship just to try and fit in. They haven’t seen each other since graduation and Ellie’s shocked that the goth guy has been replaced by the hot tattooed guy. Cam doesn’t seem to hold any grudge against Ellie for her high school sellout so she goes along with him and starts to get friendly. Yes, she wants to have sex with the man, but even more, she wants to rob his tattoo shop of all its money. Under the guise of friendship Ellie cases the place and decides to make her move.
Camden isn’t the softy that Ellie thinks he is. He has issues of his own (including some pretty nasty rage) and doesn’t take to being conned. He seeks Ellie’s help to get him out of his trouble but they find themselves on the run from Ellie’s ex-boyfriend who is a drug dealer, Javier, and that guy will stop at nothing to get to Ellie. While on the road the anger that they feel toward each other starts to dissipate and soon they realize that they are in love. Too bad that life doesn’t always give you the HEA you’re looking for.
This was a very different book than what I’m used to reading. It was darker and grittier and pretty damned shocking in parts. People I thought I had figured out turned out to be the opposite of what I believed.
Ellie was a strange heroine. I wasn’t sure, even at the end of the book, if I liked her all that much. She had wanted to go legit but asked for ONE application in a coffee shop before she starts the con on Camden. WTF? That’s your idea of legit? One application? I guess the road to hell is truly paved with good intentions. I did admire her by the end of the book – she had to make some very difficult decisions and did them with thought and dignity.
Camden was a surprise to me. I liked him at first – then I didn’t at all – then I liked him again. I was all over the map with him and I think even he wasn’t sure he liked himself all that much. As the story continued I could see the hurt and betrayal he felt when Ellie turned on him in high school. He was deeply affected by it and I believe it was behind a lot of the decisions he had made in his adult life.
I want to read the next book in the series but I that will have to wait. I think I need recover from Sins and Needles first before I can delve into Shooting Scars as I hear it’s even darker and grittier. Crazy!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5