“I’m not bad. The world is bad and I’m just trying to survive in it.”
After a fake bride scam goes wrong Ellie Watt decides it’s time to finally return home. The daughter of two grifters, she has lived her life moving from city to city, changing her name and identity often, not forming any close attachments that she won’t be able to leave at a moments notice. Ellie wants to change, she needs to leave her criminal past behind and go straight. She just doesn’t seem to know how. A child of cons who turned into a con artist herself, Ellie is scarred both mentally and physically by her childhood. When she hits her hometown she runs into a blast from the past. Camden McQueen used to be the town freak, a skinny, lonely boy who dressed all in Goth and didn’t conform to society’s standards. At one time he was her only friend until she let peer pressure destroy their relationship.
This is a new Camden, he’s a sexy, hunky, tattoo artist who is nothing like the boy she left behind in high school. He’s quirky, and talented and they have an intense attraction to each other that she can’t wait to consummate. But she still can’t keep her mind from doing one last job…
Ellie and Camden’s story grabbed my attention from the first word. Both are so damaged by their childhoods that they can’t seem to keep from making bad decisions as adults. The physical and emotional baggage they carry around with them is what made this story so interesting. Glimpses of the past help tell their story and give a better understanding of their personalities and relationships. These are not your typical romance characters, they operate outside the law, associate with drug dealers and the mafia, and are willing to do anything for self-preservation. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen next, the story veered off and changed direction.
“You’ve never shown me your scars.”
The girl swallowed hard. “And I’m not about to.”
“Can it be so bad?” he whispered. “How can someone as pretty as you have anything that would make her less?”
Ellie is such a real character. I loved her, I disliked her, I felt sorry for her, but in the end I understood her. She is shaped by events from when she is a young girl and crime is really the only way she knows how to get ahead. She uses everyone, even Camden and her family, while at the same time telling herself she needs to stop grifting. At first I felt sorry Camden. As he and Ellie are circling around each other and seem to be about to start a romantic relationship, something deeper than when they knew each other as teenagers, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen when Ellie makes him the victim of her final scam. Then…. then, I didn’t feel sorry for him anymore. Camden is just as layered and complex a character as Ellie. He’s a victim, yet he isn’t. He’s made a success out of himself, but he also still lets people and events from his past drag him down. Just when I thought I knew who his character was he changes and becomes someone deeper and more intricate. He and Ellie really were perfect for each other. They have a rocky, distrustful relationship at first, but it does evolve into something else. There were moments between them that were quite beautiful. I loved seeing them confront the damage they inflicted on each other in the past and realize that they accept each other with all their flaws. I adored watching them realize that maybe, just maybe they were willing to risk their own well-being for each other.
Sins & Needles is one of those stories that once you pick it up and you will most likely be unable to put it down until you’ve read the last word. I was completely engrossed with Ellie and Camden’s story, it’s dark, twisted, sexy and sad. I enjoyed myself so much that I can’t even complain about the cliffhanger ending. It just seemed to fit. Book two, Shooting Stars, is set to release in May and I can’t wait to see where this couple takes me next. Final Grade: A
“Beautiful, sad, wounded, and lost,” he continued. “A freak, a work of art, a liar, and a lover.”
His gaze was starting to eat away at my insides. Razor-blade butterflies whirled in my heart.
“I hate you, Ellie Watt,” he whispered, lips coming closer to mine, “because I still love you after all these years.”