Kitty Thomas-The Con Artist

So, we have another Kitty Thomas book on the blog today with The Con Artist.

Here’s our story. We have Saskia. She’s a very talented artist. She used to create her own original art, but after a fire, she just hasn’t had the energy to start back up. It wasn’t like she was selling anything anyway, so now she’s a starving artist. She paints forgeries, or more accurately, she paints reproductions for people who want to have their copies of the great art. The difference between a reproduction and a forgery is basically whose signature she signs on the picture. If she signs hers, it’s a reproduction. If she signs the original artist’s, it’s a forgery. There’s more to it than that, but that’s a good basic difference.

Saskia has run into Lachlan Niche. He is a tech whiz, and is worth piles and stacks of money. He wants a particular painting by Joseph Quill. Quill had died years ago, and he specialized in nudes. This particular painting is one of his early nudes. Lachlan has tried to buy the picture more than once, but the owner isn’t selling. So he hired Saskia to make a forgery and to steal the original for him. She’s supposed to switch the paintings around, easy peasy, lemon squeezie. Except, yeah, it never is.

For one thing, Saskia isn’t any kind of art thief, no matter what she told Lachlan. And for the second thing, she’s not planning on giving him the original. She’s running the long con. Her goal is to get her own pile of money from Niche, who is sleezy and who she feels perfectly justified in stealing from, then go to a tropical island and spend the rest of her life happy and creative, painting her own art and not caring if anyone buys it.

And again, it’s not as simple as it sounds, because if it was, the book wouldn’t be all that exciting or all that dark, would it?

This is a very Kitty book. I don’t think it’s the darkest one I’ve read of hers, but it is dark. It’s like a sensual dark though, thick, and rich, and velvety, and layered, and nuanced. Does that make sense? It does to me, and that’s about the best I can explain it. Part of what makes it a very Kitty book is her “hero”, not that I would call our MMC a hero, really. She writes these men that you want to hate and hate to want and yet can’t pull yourself away from. You know how, in nature, the venomous and poisonous bugs and critters are all brightly colored and basically scream leave me alone? Well, imagine that some of her heroes are neon pink with acid green stripes. Everything is saying to stay away from them because they are dangerous, deviant, and dark. You know that they are the bad guys, but you just need to be with them, no matter what. There isn’t necessarily a whole lot of redemption arc for the guys to go through, and in some books, they get worse as the books go along, but you still can’t manage to stay away from them.

That’s not to say that her women aren’t strong or they are pushovers, because they aren’t. They are flawed, deeply flawed, often broken, and are basically just like every person out there. You can really see yourself in her women, even if you aren’t an artist or whatever, because they are so real.

Saskia got cocky, and thought that she could get away with everything she wanted, and she ended up in trouble because she found someone who had this whole dominant huge personality thing going on. He’s also more broken than she is. But even in that damage that both of them have, he does what he does for a purpose. Might not be the way that you or I would do them, but, he has his reasons.

There are some really hot scenes in books that always stick with me, and the performance art installation is one that is in my personal top 10 list, because dayum.

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The first time I read this, I wondered what went through the MMC’s head sometimes. And frankly, I still do. There’s a lot that runs through there. Fascinating though.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. Go check out all of Kitty’s work, you won’t be sorry you did. Happy reading!

Zoe Blake-Bad Babygirls

Zoe is giving us a set of dark and dirty Daddies. The Bad Babygirls are a set of three stories, The Con Artist, The Thief, and The Expert. There is also a prologue called The HackerThat story originally appeared in the anthology Daddy’s Demands as Daughter #13.

The only one of these books that’s a standalone is The Hacker. The other three are more or less a serial and must be read in order. If you don’t, you aren’t going to understand what’s going on. There’s an overarching storyline that runs through the three of them. Each book does focus on a different couple, but the other people show up in the other books.

I’m basically going to treat the 3 books as one large book for this review, just because it’s going to be easier for me, I think.

So, Piper is the con artist, Lyla is the thief, and the expert is Quinn, whose particular expertise lies in customizing guns. They are old friends who have gotten up to some very, very bad things. They all met in high school, and hung around with Quinn’s sister Julie, and another friend named Mary. However, things happened with Julie, and Mary fell away from them. But the three of them are thick as thieves.

Our couples are Piper and Ethan, Lyla and Roman, and Quinn and Ryder. Ethan and Roman are partners in a huge construction company, as well as huge crimelords. Ryder is the top assassin in the world.

Ethan and Roman have a problem, and they need Piper to fix it. She’s not only a top con artist, she’s also an excellent forger of art. So, Ethan manages to drag her into it, and then ends up being her Daddy. When something happens, Lyla has information that Ethan needs, so Roman says that he will go get it out of her. That turns out to be so awesome, mostly because she stabs him and then smacks him in the head with a brick. More things happen, and Roman and Ethan make a stupid mistake, which causes Ryder to grab Quinn, and sort of threaten our boys. Which, frankly, I would’ve done too.

Love my synopsis? I think it’s kind of perfect. Or, at least, sort of mostly. Really, I’m not giving anything away, because we all know that things are going to happen, lol.

I like Piper, Quinn, and Lyla. I think that Lyla is my favorite. I’m not a fashionista like she is, by any way, shape, or means, but she’s totally kickass. I mean, all the ladies are pretty much kickass, but seriously, Lyla beats Roman up. Of course, he spanks her for it, but she still hit him in the head with a fucking brick. She is also one of the reasons that The Hacker is tied into these books. I’ll get into that in another minute.

I liked Quinn. When you look at her or talk to her, you don’t get the whole kind of mad genius vibe she has going on, but she really does have that happening, and it’s kind of interesting. I think she might be one of those people who wants to go out and try something just to see if she can create it. I do think that Ryder is perfect for her though. And for more than the fact that they can have lively discussions about ammo and weapons.

For me, Piper was the weakest of the bunch. I liked her, but not as much as I liked Lyla and Quinn. I don’t know why or what it is about her, but there it is.

As for the guys, I never really warmed up to Ethan. I mean, like not at all. In fact, at the beginning I downright disliked him. As the books progressed, I stopped disliking him as much, but I never really liked him. And as to why I like Ryder and Roman and not Ethan? I dunno. There’s just that chemistry, you know? You either do or you don’t. Ethan also made me madder than the other two did at times. And it’s not like he did really did anything different to what Ryder and Roman did, or anything. In fact, Ryder could be said to have been stricter or harder, and definitely more stalkery, than Ethan, but you know what, there you are. Of all the guys, I think that Ryder is my favorite.

OK, for The Hacker, here’s how it ties in. Devon, the hacker and #13, and Reid, her Daddy, and the Father of the Compound, where she was trained, and BTW, so was Lyla. They get pulled into the job that Ethan and Piper are doing. They are also there at the end of the series.

That’s all for today. No spoilers today. Go check out all 4 of these great books, especially if you like the dark Daddies that Zoe writes. Happy reading!

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