I always find it fascinating how gray Sandra Brown’s characters are. How they skirt the line of truth in so many ways; how they often do bad things for the right reasons (or maybe it’s more accurate to say they often do bad things with good intentions).
With Thick as Thieves, Brown’s romantic suspense that just released 08/25, Brown writes a hero who lies, lies, lies. But I still (mostly) liked him (see CW below).
Maybe it’s because in many ways Ledge Burnet is Brown’s most sensitive hero I’ve met yet. He’s certainly pretty sensitive in his initial consideration—if not fully his treatment—of Arden Maxwell, who, months after suffering a public miscarriage at the grocery store, approaches him for help with a house reno.
Ledge says no. The problem is that Ledge is already intimately acquainted with Arden’s family, something Ledge doesn’t want to admit to Arden. (After all, being one of the perpetrators of a store robbery that Arden’s dad was accused of committing before he abandoned her & her sister doesn’t seem like a great basis for a relationship, professional or otherwise.)
The other problem is that whether she knows it or not, Ledge *is* aware that Arden’s being watched by the orchestrator of that long ago heist.
As always, Brown’s book held my interest. The gray, unpredictable characters; the air of the forbidden (or at least the supremely complicated) between the leads; the twists & turns of the mystery. Those are all well done.
I was less enamored by (trying to keep it pretty spoiler-free): how easily Arden forgives; how little I ended up actually knowing Arden; and something else mentioned below in the CWs.
In the end, I simultaneously enjoyed this book a lot in the moment & also felt like there are big issues for me, including that from a romance perspective, Ledge & Arden’s relationship doesn’t exactly have a rock-solid foundation to me.
CW: character (not a lead) uses racist language; reference to sexual assault of minor; murder; specific flashbacks to miscarriage. And the hero makes reference to attempting to touch his teen friend intimately (who had previously been a victim of abuse) when he was a teen after, as she says, “I had told you that no man was ever going to touch me that way again.” She laughs off the memory but several aspects of the incident are troubling to me.
Give me that HEA, please.
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