One Night Stand: Sins & Needles by Karina Halle


Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle
Metal Blonde Books (January 24, 2013)

Rating: A
Heat: Hot

Heroine: Ellie Watts – Grifter, Scarred 
Hero: Camden McQueen – Tattoo Artist, Musician 
Setting: USA



Sins & Needs is a story about tattoos, second chances, con artists, sexy tattoo artists, forgiveness, atonement, vengeance, and the ultimate bad guys -The Mafia. I was amazed and compelled by this dark and edgy original contemporary romance that is definitely not your typical love story.

I was used to running and always kept a spare life in the trunk. Spare clothes, spare driver’s licenses, spare Social Security Numbers, and a spare tire.

Ellie Watts is the daughter of grifter parents and has spent most of her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents con schemes. When her parent’s latest con goes terribly wrong, Ellie is left with some painful memories and a scarred leg she will have to live with for the rest of her life. Eventually her parents run into some trouble while on the road, so they decide to move to Palm Valley, California where Ellie’s Uncle lives. Not long after Ellie enrolls in high school, her parents pull a fast one on some locals and took off leaving a very angry and hurt Ellie behind. When she graduates, Ellie takes off with the intentions to find the man who scarred her and to exact her vengeance.

Many years and enemies later, Ellie has become the product of her parents… a liar, cheat, thief, con artist. She’s exhausted by the life and is ready to try her hand at a normal, legitimate life. She decides to go back to the only home she knows, hoping to work on her Uncle’s date farm and start a new life, making legitimate money.

After Ellie comes home, she finds out her Uncle has been struggling for a long time and is barely making ends meet. Not only that, her Uncle doesn’t approve of the way Ellie has lived her life. Which means Ellie needs to find a job, make some money, and move on again. But finding a job in her home town takes a back seat when she runs into her old friend from high school.

Camden McQueen was once known as a freak in high school and, at one point, was Ellie’s only friend. He’s now a very changed man. He's devilishly sexy, a musician with tattoos, piercings, and a fabulous body that will make any woman swoon. He's also become a very talented and very successful tattoo artist. And, because Ellie is an opportunist, she sees Camden as an easy victim to rob…once a con artist, always a con artist. When Camden discovers Ellie is running a con on him, Ellie is left with no choice but to take him up on his offer. This offer turns into a con that takes these two on a very reckless and very dangerous journey where they are not only running from The Mafia but also Ellie’s past.

"We all make our own paths in life. Everyone we meet, everything we do, it changes us. It makes us who we are. And, if we’re lucky, we’re given the chance to make things right again.”

At first, Ellie was a hard pill to swallow. She isn’t your typical heroine. She’s a flawed individual who has been hardened and jaded by her chosen lifestyle. But, even with all her faults, I did eventually learn to like her more and more as the story progresses. I even formed some respect for her survival skills.

The flashbacks from her childhood also gave me a good look inside Ellie’s head, to see the woman behind the scars she bears. These scars are a constant reminder of how her crappy parents used her to their advantage and then abandoned her later on. Not only has she been hurt and manipulated by her own parents, but the first man she thought she loved betrayed her as well. To say she is emotionally stunted is an understatement.

This doesn’t mean I wasn’t frustrated by some of her decisions, especially when she saw Camden as an opportunity to make some quick cash and run again. I didn’t agree with her insensitivity towards him even when she knew deep down that he was a good guy and she felt guilty. The fact that she could swallow her guilt so easily and still continue with the con…really bothered me. But then the author turned the tables on me. Ellie gets a taste of her own medicine from Camden.

He was like a caring, hulking nerd. And I wanted him.

Camden with his dreamy eyes, beautiful tattoos, and quirky sense of humor completely and utterly surprised me. I didn't think he had it in him to be such an edgy bad ass. Miz Halle proved me wrong. Camden is not what you see is what you get. He's extremely intelligent and has lived a very difficult life that has taught him to be bigger and badder. Camden did not easily forgive or forget what Ellie did to him in high school. And what Ellie didn’t realize is that he knew her better than she probably knew herself. Ellie completely underestimated Camden. He may have loved Ellie since he was a teenager, but he knew better than to trust her even though he really wanted to. This sexy man absolutely melted my heart and soul with his brutal honesty and kindness. I didn't think I would fall so hard for him in the beginning but I'm glad I was wrong.

Though his gaze, his pose, his very being, reminded me of a wolf about to pounce, he didn’t move. I felt his eyes roam up and down my body like silk, sending shivers down my back. He was turning me on without laying a hand on me.

The chemistry between Camden and Ellie is incredibly strong and extraordinary. The way their relationship forms is in no way conventional. It never felt forced. They both come into their feelings naturally with a slow burn. I think that is my favorite part of this book. The author certainly did a terrific job making me anticipate the little touches, whispers of sweet nothings, and kisses between Ellie and Camden. If there were any two wounded souls meant to be, it would be Ellie and Camden.

“You know how I feel about your scars. They only make you more beautiful.”

This story is not only amazing but it rocked my world with the clever and snappy writing, sassy heroine, and sexy, nerdy hero. But their story is not over yet… This story has a cliffhanger. Yes, that’s right…a damn cliffhanger that will leave you breathless, speechless, and jonesing for the next book. I need Shooting Scars now!

Thoughts While Reading:

30.0% - "I'm loving the nerdy, sexy tattoo artist, Camden. He makes me drop my panties.”
100.0% - "Damn cliffie's! This book rocked.”


  1. Just finished this book & agree - need shooting scars!!
    Great review - so many times in this book I was frustrated with Ellie... and a little concerned about Camden's sanity.
    Very unique, fast paced read!

    1. Thanky you Elizabeth! Oh yes, Ellie was frustrating at first. But, I love this couple now. The ending was so unexpected. I can't wait for Shooting Scars.


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