Two-time ex-con Camden Sanders has decided that Hog Mountain—an isolated community on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia—is the perfect place to continue running small scams without the threat of more prison time. But there are a few problems with this plan. One is the neighborly citizens of Hog Mountain thwarting his dirty dealings at every turn with their kindness. Another is Jackson Rhodes, a closeted Hog Mountain police officer who can see right through Cam’s good ol’ boy act and plans to catch him red-handed despite the attraction they both can feel. But the biggest problem of all is that Cam’s past is threatening to catch up with him, and it could mean trouble for more than just himself.
Second chances. Not at love, this time, but life. And sometimes, you don't even realize you want to change, until you find yourself doing it, anyway. And that is what I loved about Snakes Among Sweet Flowers.
Camden Sanders thinks he doesn't have much of a conscience (he also lies to himself). He does have lines he won't cross, though, and because of that, Cam decided he needed a change of scenery, STAT. He's charming, but still looks like (and is) a bad boy. His specialty is small time cons. When he moved to Hog Mountain to open up his own garage, he fully intended to take advantage of what he saw as small-town backwater people. And he starts out doing just that. However, once he starts getting to know the people, it gets harder and harder to do what he has always done. Of course, it doesn't help matters that a hot cop is watching him like a hawk.
Jackson Rhodes would be the hot cop that just doesn't trust the Cam. Jackson just knows the man is up to no good, and he'd be right. But even more distressing to Jackson, is the attraction he feels toward Cam. Jackson is firmly in the closet, with no plans to ever come out. Part of Jackson, I think, also wanted to give Cam a chance to prove himself, and that surprised no one more than Jackson.
I really loved seeing Cam become the man he needed to be. He did have some trouble, at first, breaking his old habits, but he more than made up for the mistakes he made. He found himself actually caring for people and that was good to see. And I loved watching his relationship with Jackson evolve from distrust to cautious allies to friends to lovers. The progression felt natural and I really felt that both men benefited from being together.
There is some conflict, of course. The local veterinarian (and skanky ho), Grant, is jealous that Cam won't give him the time of day once Cam and Jackson become friends. In fact, the only scene in the book I really wished had not been on-page involved Grant and Cam.
They hook up, early on and the sex was on page. For me, it really depends on the characters as to whether or not sex between an MC and someone who is not the other MC bothers me. Here it did, because Grant was so slimy. I couldn't stand him from his first appearance in the book. Cam and Jackson do acknowledge it later and it never comes between them, which I appreciated.
The rest of the conflict came from Cam's past. Things do have a way of catching up with a person, and some of Cam's previous associates aren't too happy he left. But I love how it was handled and how it ultimately played out.
I am truly looking forward to reading more books by Jason Huffman-Black. Snakes Among Sweet Flowers impressed me!
ARC of Snakes Among Sweet Flowers was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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