Opening Line:“This will be the last time. I’ve said that before. I’ve said it a lot.”
Well this was different, different good, and a welcome change. And while I don't think I’m the age demographic this book was aiming at (not telling) I still couldn’t put it down. Right from the opening chapter that plunks you straight into the chaos that is con artist Ellie Watt’s life as a scam goes bad and she’s climbing out a seedy bar window, running to her stolen car and trying to figure out which one of her multiple fake identity’s to use next, I knew this was going to be something special. And that was even before I met Camden!
Camden McQueen, what can I say… he is the ultimate beta antihero, written in such a way that you can’t help but lust after his hot inked up bod. With ongoing descriptions of his tattoos, piercings, spikey hair, nerd glasses, muscular arms and ripped abs this former high school reject has a lot going for him these days. After a stint in LA he’s now the owner and proprietor of Sins & Ink, he also plays in a band and has girls (and I’m sure some boys) salivating after him and his talented tattoo gun.
Both main characters here are flawed, damaged and charming, so that as much as you like them there are also times where you just don’t and can’t believe the way they’re using and hurting each other. That’s also what makes this awesome though, I was constantly surprised.
Ellie Watt is on the run again. The daughter of a grifting team she grew up on the make, often used by her parents in whatever their latest scam might be. As an adult she has excelled in making this her chosen profession, changing her name and appearance on a whim while leading a life on the run. But this last close call has made her rethink her choices and why she’s going back to California and pulling out the one identity she hasn’t touched in years. Her own.
Told from a first person POV Ellie alternates between “now” and “then” slowly aging Ellie through the “then” chapters, revealing her shocking past and history with Camden. I have to say I loved how everything wasn’t exposed all at once, sure it was frustrating (what happened to your leg!?) but it also helped me gain a level of understanding and sympathy for both characters I otherwise wouldn’t have had.
So now that Ellie’s gone straight she needs a legit job, which let’s be honest, is going to suck. Luckily on one of her first days back she runs into Camden and damn the years he spent in LA have been good to him. No longer the high school freak, he’s, well he’s freakin hot. So in about a minute they’re chatting each other up and then going to a gig together and then Ellie’s back at his place and try as she might temptation rears its ugly head in the form of a cash register and safe full of cash. Is she really going to rob the one person who actually knows her?
The romance here is more cat and mouse than true love story and something about the chemistry was just off for me somehow. I’m not sure what it was exactly because their scenes together are smoking hot (the one on the hood of the car in the middle of the desert when he rips her designer dress off… Jesus!)
So in the end this was a great read however I could have done without the cliff-hanger ending. Guess I’ll be reading (Shooting Scars) next. Cheers 388jb4
A couple of my favourite quotes;
“Good morning” he said as if we were old friends. Old friends that didn’t want to kill each other. I glared at him. “Is the gun really necessary?” “No" he admitted. "It’s just fun to have one” “Like an extra penis” I mused. He smiled unkindly. “Something like that.”