"Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents' latest scam. Now she's much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for - Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie's counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she's not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie's plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn't dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it's one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road."
June 4th 2013
by Forever. I received a digital ARC of this story.
This book is different than all the other ones I have reviewed here, because it is the most mature. The protagonist is 26, and that is the very end of the New Adult age range. No, make that Naughty Adult. Yes, there are some graphic sex scenes. I don't think it's meant to be NA, but as I was reading the book, it seemed like it to me based on the plot. That also explains why I really liked it.
You know when you're reading a book and you think "I wish such and such would happen," but it normally doesn't go the way you would write it? Well, this one did. While reading, I kept picking up on small things and I kept thinking "wouldn't it be great if this was leading to such and such?" and normally, it lead to such and such (I don't really give too many spoilers, sorry)! You could call that predictable, but I wouldn't really say that because most books just don't have the fun plots you come up with in your head while reading, so you can't really see it coming when it does happen.
Now that I've said that, I'll reveal a bit more and say that most of it has to do with the relationship between Ellie and Camden. It played out perfectly. He became the bad boy I wanted him to be. Bad boys like these aren't for all readers, because he's obsessed with Ellie, has control issues, and he's really overprotective. But the thing is, this isn't a story about a good girl being with a bad boy; it's about a very bad girl being with a bad boy. Camden's actions and feelings are justifiable (that's actually a theme in this story... "justified") and she's not some victim... even if Camden does sort of kidnap Ellie, but it's not like it's completely against her will. Ellie is no angel and she's done far worse to others than he does to her; plus she's had way worse things happen to her. As Ellie says before she even comes into contact with Camden, "There wasn't a car or a soul around for miles. It was just me and Jim Morrison and the extreme landscape. The endless sky, the searing heat, the relentless sun that made the highs pop and the lows sink. This was a high contrast land and I lived a high contrast life." This was just how her life was and this was the type of guy she kept ending up with. I have to say that Camden was the best choice out of all the other guys, and he helps her become a better person. Unlike many obsessive, controlling male characters in books, Camden is actually quite nice and isn't abusive. To add to that, he's not only a bad boy but a good boy too! How is it possible? And that's the best combination. Let me just say it, I fell for him. You probably will too.
Wow, that was really wordy, but it was the best way to describe it. They're both justified in how they think and act, and what you want to happen between them does happen. That's a much shorter way to say it.
Ellie is not a likeable character for most of the book, so I was pretty shocked that there were actually two men who were obsessed with her. Two men who she had majorly screwed over. Not the most believable, but it does make it a bit romantic that Camden can love her despite her serious flaws. I'm more confused about what the other man, Javier, sees in her and the great lengths he goes to in order to make her his again. Not the most life-like. Neither is the fact that both Ellie and Camden are having trouble with dangerous gangsters (different gangsters).
Oh well. So yes, there were story lines that were meh, but I really did love this book, and I will definitely read the rest of the trilogy!
I completely forgot to mention that there were Nine Inch Nails references! This book gets bonus points for that.