Series: Crossing the Line, #3
Published by Entangled: Select on January 26th 2016
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Falling for a con man is the most dangerous game of all…
Con artist Austin Shaw’s been in disguise so long he’s not sure where his fake identities end and he begins. Now that he’s been strong-armed into working for a specialized undercover unit working with the Chicago police—criminals with unique “skills”—the last thing he needs is to risk his iron control. Especially when it comes to a certain stunningly sexy hacker who tempts him with every look of disdain.
Polly Banks will never, ever trust a con man. On the trail of a ruthless crook who destroyed the only family she’s ever known, Polly is unnerved by the shadow who follows her every move. The one who makes her pulse pound and breath short with lust. Austin. He’s infuriating, enigmatic, and pure sex appeal, and she’s determined to resist him.
But an untrustworthy man of disguise can become anyone he wants…including a man that Polly must trust if she’s to escape their dangerous game alive.
Austin Shaw’s number is up, and his allegiance to the undercover squad is only a thin veneer, as long as he gets what he wants: a glimpse of an illegitimate daughter of a woman he’d fleeced and slept with a few years back, his former partner…and more recently, Polly Banks, who has her own reasons for going after that same partner he used to have.
Frankly, this was tortuous to read and I’m excruciatingly aware that this is an opinion that clearly places me in the 0.0001% of the number of reviewers here. The lack of direction and shallow character depth are issues that I have with this story, but as with an increasing number of Tessa Bailey’s books, main characters tend to allow raging sexual need to overrule good sense. Consequently, the sheer number of explicit sex scenes detracts from – and diminishes – the entire story and its characters.
But mostly it’s the anti-hero himself who has tanked this story for me. I hadn’t warmed up to Austin (of whom I couldn’t get a mental grasp) and even if Ms. Bailey has done a credible job of making his slippery personality so ingrained that all he can do is move and talk within nebulous shades of grey, his insistence on living half-truths irked me when all it did was obscure a depth of character we could have plumbed. Even for an anti-hero, he was difficult to get behind when all I felt was revulsion for his con-man deeds, his bizarre stalkerish behaviour, leaving only a nagging feeling that he couldn’t quite earn his redemption in this tale that straddles the lines of morality.