When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden’s safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier’s plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.
Meanwhile, Camden’s new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he’s hunting.
*Spoiler Alert *
Ellie has been blackmailed by Javier to help him kill Travis or he will kill Camden. What Ellie doesn’t know is that Camden has been set up by his ex wife and her brothers and has been tricked into an ambush meant to kill him. The plan goes awry, and Camden leaves with the upper hand and finds himself wanted for assault and murder. Camden tracks down Gus and the two of them set out on a suicide mission in Jose, loaded down with guns and weapons, to save Ellie. Their journey takes them from California, to Mississippi, to Mexico, where they track down Ellie at a hotel in Veracruz, and on the eve of Javier’s plan to have her assassinate Travis. A last minute change of plans puts Ellie in the lion’s den, as she is whisked away to a cocktail party and private dinner at Travis’s house. Ellie’s cover is immediately blown when she takes a glass of champagne from a waitress who…surprise surprise…is her long lost mother. The book ends with Javier and Camden coming together to save Ellie, and the discovery that Gus has been shot and kidnapped by the Los Zetas.
Ellie shows her true strength and will to survive in this book. Javier blackmails her into the role of femme fatale, and threatens to kill Camden if she does not use herself as bait to lure Travis in so that she can kill him. He convinces her that she is a bad person, like him, that they are one in the same, and that she should be with him.
In Ellie’s one act of love and selflessness, she surrenders to Javier’s wishes in order to save Camden, the man she loves and must let go of. In a strange country and with one of Javier’s henchmen making passes at her, Ellie seeks protection and comfort from Javier and engages in a sexual relationship with him. Ellie is truly conflicted over her feelings for both men and in the reality of the situation she is in. She discovers that Javier’s intentions are not as clear as he had convinced her of, and that the plan he has forced her into could turn out to be nothing more then a suicide mission.
Once Camden finds her, she discovers that she has possibly ruined everything in not trusting him when he said that he would come for her. Ellie’s heart brakes and her love for Camden shines through. They are the catalyst for her decisions and the inner transformation that she goes through as she changes from cold con artists, into a woman who believes she is better then the life she was born into.
I had mixed feelings towards Ellie in the previous books, however, in Shooting Scars she won me over. She is strong, and deals with the emotional warfare that Javier has launched on her without falling apart, and while turning herself into a better person despite the evil deeds that she will be forced to carry out.
I LOVED Camden in this book. He goes through such a drastic transformation. His love for Ellie and the future that he wants with her propels him to do things that he never thought possible. What he doesn’t expect is to embrace it and to get a thrill of excitement from playing the vigilante. Camden proves himself to be tough, he deals with the rage issues that he struggled with in the first book, and keeps his wits as he navigates the new world of crime and murder that he has been fully submerged in. All does not end well in Camden’s quest to save Ellie, however. He discovers that she has quickly fallen back into Javier’s bed and is heartbroken. This does not deter his motivation to protect her and to give her the option to leave it all behind with his help. Camden is a badass with a sensitive romantic side, but he speaks his mind, says what he feels whether it is brutally honest and hurtful or not. He is real. I heart the hell out of him in a big way.
Gus also proves to be quite a dynamic character. He opens up to Camden and they form a trust and quiet friendship based on their need for survival and their love for Ellie. It becomes obvious that there might be more to Gus’s relationship with Ellie then has been revealed as Gus confesses bits and pieces of his past and openly professes his deep love for Ellie.
I thought that Karina did a fantastic job with Javier in this book. On Every Street started my love/hate feelings towards Javier, Sins and Needles had me hating him, and Shooting Scars has me seeing so many sides to him that I feel apathetic towards him. He is never uninhibited in his conversations with Ellie so his true feelings, all of the details of they’re past, and of the mission that he is on to kill Travis are never fully revealed.
What I saw in Javier were flashes of so many different emotions, as if they were all lying under the surface and he had to work to smother them, to preserve his level of power. I can’t quite figure out if he is still in love with Ellie though. He tells her that he wants to take care of her, that he wants her to be his queen, but he also blackmails her into agreeing to kill Travis and encourages her to seduce him if necessary. These actions confused me, made me think that possibly Ellie was nothing more then a beautiful accessory for him, and a pawn in his game. I thought that it all worked so perfectly to reflect the conflict between the man that he used to be and the man that he has grown into. Javier is so complex, so secretive, and then you see flecks of vulnerability in him, and it turns him into this dangerous character that I didn’t know if I should love or hate.
I LOVED this book, LOVED the characters, LOVED the story line, LOVED everything about it. The series keeps getting better and better with every addition, and I can full heartedly say that The Artist Trilogy is a must read. I’m counting down the days until I get my hands on Bold Tricks which is due to release October 15th, 2013!
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