Wednesday, August 23, 2017

ARC Review: Pins and Needles by A.J. Thomas

Pins and Needles
The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

Jewel's rating:

I enjoyed Pins and Needles, but not quite as much as I've liked the other books I've read by this author. The pacing felt a bit slow for me. Still, I found the story intriguing and I liked both MC's and I didn't mind sticking it to the rich oil company, either.

Sean Wilkinson had a lot of disadvantage growing up, but he worked hard and overcame it. People often made assumptions about him, based on class and his tattoos and the fact that his closest-thing-he-has-ever-had-to-a-father, Hawk, looked disreputable. So Sean learned how to blend in, when he went to college and because he was brilliant, he did well and got a good job (for as long as it lasted, anyway). Sean is a gifted tattoo artist and, now, a brilliant engineer, but he presently feels that all that education, that he still has gobs of loan debt for, is pretty useless if he can't work in the field he was educated for.

Sean always played his cards close to his chest, never really letting other people get to know him. Very few people make it past the wall. Hawk, of course, as well as the family friend and fellow tattoo artist, Tonya, and now Nate. No one on the rig really knew him at all, and he liked it that way, in spite of the fact that he was having an affair with his boss, and had been since he was an intern. Not the best judgement there, for sure, but he was 19 when that started, and spending weeks or months at sea...well.

Nate Delaney, on the surface would seem like the over-privileged guy with everything handed to him, but he has family issues, just like everyone. He discovered that no matter how hard you work, sometimes the only thing people see is your last name and that they will make assumptions about how much was handed to you vs. how much you earned -- and sometimes that includes your own family.

Also, his parents bent over backward to accommodate the bigoted attitude of their oldest son so that they could get to know their grandchildren, but in the process of doing that, they essentially erased Nate from the family photo albums and family gatherings. He spent many years feeling like his family didn't care about him at all. That made me so angry. And what made me even angrier was that his parents thought that would even be ok! That they didn't see how that would make a person feel less-than or unwelcome.

After Nate quit his fathers's firm, deciding that striking out on his own would be more fulfilling, he took Sean is his first client. The case seemed pretty cut and dry, but they were fighting an oil company that has gobs of money and teams of attorneys. But there is more here than just an accident claim. There's also a question of intellectual property and there might just be someone trying to kill Sean, as well. Sean's having a rough year, for sure -- give the guy a break, already!

The romance is slow burn, which I always like in a romance, there is some steam, but not a ton, and I love the theme of family -- sometimes the best family is the chosen family. Hawk and Tonya were both great characters -- particularly Hawk.

Hawk may have looked like a thug with all the tattoos and the Harley and the lack of cash, but he didn't have to take in his ex-girlfriend's 12 year old son when he got tossed out for being gay. He didn't have to teach him a trade, so that he could both support himself and his art. He didn't have to stick around when Sean was nearly killed in an accident on the oil rig. But he did. And he never asked for anything in return. That's what real family does. He gave a damn and I admire that. Hawk was more family than anyone Sean was blood related to.

I also enjoyed the intrigue bits, though the big reveal was a touch over the top, in my opinion (but thank goodness for monologuing villains, who don't think things through!). All in all, I'd give Pins and Needles 4 stars.


ARC of Pins and Needles was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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