There are secrets. There are guilty secrets. And then there’s switching places with your twin.
Paige Hollander and her identical twin Lily stopped switching places a decade ago. But Lily’s run into trouble, and Paige is on leave from the SFPD, recovering from a traumatic shooting. It’s not like she has anything better to do, and she remembers how to be feminine. Sort of. Anyway, it’s selling lacy thongs in Sinful Secrets and playing Heidi to Lily’s goats for a week or two. How hard could it be?
For Jace Blackstone, idyllic Sinful, Montana, is the perfect escape. In this town, he’s nothing but a reclusive, black-haired stranger with an Aussie accent and a bad attitude. Not the former pride of Australia’s special forces, not a bestselling thriller writer, and not a man with no more faith in women. Right up until the day a mystery fan starts getting much too up-close and personal, and his neighbor comes back from her vacation with a personality change that knocks him sideways.
Suddenly, Sinful is looking downright dangerous. And the biggest danger of all might come in the form of flashing brown eyes, a rear view to stop a man’s heart, and a wit sharp enough to slice him to the bone.
Sinful could be getting serious.
Pros – Jace. Paige. Jace & Paige. Paige trying to be Lily. Twins switching places.
Cons – I’m somewhat uncomfortable with some of the stalker stuff (see below)
Notes – There will be spoilers for the Stalker Angle of the plot. Please see my Goodreads review to avoid those spoilers. Also if the audiobook releases I need Jace to have an Australian accent ok? Ok. And not to be a sourpuss but that cover doesn’t do this book justice at all. Its a nice cover, but it doesn’t give you half the idea of how freaking KICKASS Paige is.
Review – Twins switching places in books is one of my favorite tropes. Mostly because its adjacent to my OTHER favorite trope of alternate universe selves trading places. Which in and of itself is adjacent to my ultimate favorite trope of the “What If…?” principle. So James got my attention quickly. I already knew I liked James’ writing, from her New Zealand romances and this sounded just light enough to engage me.
Slight spoiler, this isn’t QUITE as light-hearted as you might think.
From the get go I liked Paige. I liked that she wasn’t above manipulating her sister when she felt it was for her sister’s own good, I liked that she put her sister’s happiness above her own discomfort, I liked that she was practical. Well as practical as one could be when you consider how totally not prepared for it all.
Jace was the kind of romance hero perfect that you want to dislike because he’s perfect, but you can’t. We spend a lot more time on Paige’s imperfections then we do with Jace’s, so even though the beginning sounds like he has just as many demons to exorcise as Paige does, you never really get that feeling. He mentions he has trouble sleeping, but we don’t see that because he’s peaceful with Paige around. He mentions having trouble committing because he’s gotten hurt before, but he seems very committed to Paige early on so his internal “this is dangerous be careful” dialogue is easily dismissed (and indeed I did roll my eyes several times).
Paige though, she was easier to relate to when it came to why she didn’t want to commit. Aside from the fact that for much of the book Jace thinks she’s her sister, she’s always been the responsible one. The one who takes charge of a situation to make sure everyone she cares about comes out of it happier. Later in the book she explains why she felt a need to become a cop, why it was so important to her, and while I appreciated that story, James had written her so perfectly aligned that the story was just icing to a character I understood quite well.
Which is something Jace understood too. He calls her out, demanding she be just as honest with herself as she was being with him. He doesn’t want her to just “be happier” so she will be with him, he wants her to work through her demons so that she can be as strong for herself as she is for others. In return Paige tries and in the Epilogue we read about how they’ve been trying hard to find a way to make it all work. I especially liked the fact that Jace understood that Lily being a part of everything was important to Jace.
But the stalker angle. Its super creepy reading the erotica that the stalker sends to Jace…but its also pretty easy to figure out who his stalker is, which ruins the punch to who is threatening Lily’s business. Throughout the story the two of them keep circling back to “But if they are sending this weird stalker fan mail, it doesn’t gel with the threats to Lily”. And they don’t. At all. So to have everybody in the story basically keep implying the two are connected, it got vexing.
When we find out WHO is the one threatening Lily’s business, and that in likelihood there won’t be any direct consequences to this person at all, I wanted to smash something. It was EQUALLY obvious who the person threatening Lily’s business was and I can’t believe that this person would get off with a slap on the wrist. Malicious mischief? Nah brah – this person, intentionally or not, impeded the investigation into the REAL stalker because the person protecting them refused to do their job out of what I can only guess is pettiness. If that person hadn’t muddied the waters, I doubt Jace’s stalker would have gotten as far into the dangerous land has they had.
That all said, I’m looking forward to the next book involving Rafe, Jace’s brother and Lily. Though I wouldn’t mind reading about Paige and Jace running around solving crimes while vacationing either. They’re like tailor made for their own Detective Agency.
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Published by: Self Published
Release: November 2, 2017
Series: Sinful, Montana Book 1
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