Pins and Needles, by AJ Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 25th, 2017
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.
Content Warnings for:
Trigger warnings: There is some talk of a previous relationship not being consensual, but it was a super minor part of the story. While both the characters involved considered it consensual, I felt that this was potentially triggering for some people.
Pins and Needles is a SUPER slow burn romance, but is really well done. I liked that the plot was not solely about them getting together. There was a criminal mystery/law sort of thing going on, which I really enjoyed, but if you just want to get into the romance you might get annoyed. This is less of a traditional romance book and more of a John Grisham-type book with romance, if that makes any sense. It had the potential of being a really slow paced and depressing read, but Thomas’ characterization and writing style turned this into a captivating– and romantic– legal mystery.
The story had really good pacing and was interesting enough that the romance’s slow build up wasn’t annoying. It felt natural and not like it just suddenly showed up halfway through the book. You’d think a story about petroleum engineering, law, tattooing, and an injury would get super cluttered, but it was more about two people and their separate worlds coming together than just shoving keywords into the book. It was like you were really watching things happen as they would in real life. AKA Thomas really nailed the “show don’t tell” part of writing.
The different aspects of the book, particularly the legal and scientific aspects, were really well researched. I think this contributed to how realistic this book felt. Also, Thomas picked a few things to go more in depth with instead of trying to fact drop a bunch of stuff that they researched just to do it.
Nate and Sean had such opposite interests, but they had similar personalities (loyal, hardworking) that it made them have an interesting dynamic. They had to navigate through some minor misunderstandings to get to the romance, but from the beginning you could really tell that they liked each other. They didn’t have to really force it or get over personality conflicts to get to the romance. The biggest “block” to the romance was the fact that they needed to work on Sean’s injury case, but that was really interesting and added a lot of depth to the story, so I am not going to complain. Also Thomas made Nate, the lawyer, really sweet and Sean was kind of the mouthy, aggressive one. It was a nice departure from the whole mean, bloodsucking lawyer trope.
The secondary characters, especially Sean’s “family”, were well developed for the most part. Where the development kind of fails is with the “villains” of the story. No spoilers, but at the end suddenly some stuff happens and you’re like “okay that was a bit sudden.” However, both Sean’s and Nate’s family are well developed and end up playing a bigger role in the story than I thought they would. I was happily surprised!
This was just a really good book that I enjoyed. I read it really quickly even though it was kind of involved. I was really pulled in and rooting for the MCs, especially Sean. This is something I could reread a few times and still find new information, so I would say that it would be a good investment if you enjoy romances with a lot of plot. 5/5 would recommend!
A.J. Thomas writes romantic suspense. She’s earned a Bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of Montana and worked in a half-dozen different jobs from law enforcement officer to librarian before settling down. Life as a military spouse has tossed her around the country so many times she doesn’t know how to answer when people ask her where she’s from, but she delights in living as a perpetual tourist, visiting new places and discovering amazing things.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.