Review: AJ Thomas – Pins & Needles

Author: AJ Thomas
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 


The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.


Wow, just wow! This story was amazing! Where to start? This is a romance, but it’s also a mystery/thriller, a hurt-comfort story, and a simply-can’t-put-it-down book that packs a wallop.

Sean Wilkinson loses a leg in a freak accident on board an oil drilling ship when his lover, who happens to be twice his age and his boss, orders him to dismantle a hose or risk losing not only the ship, but the invention the two have put together over the past two years that makes fracking efficient and cost-effective. Refusing to blame his lover, he’s nevertheless devastated when the man doesn’t show up at the hospital and he’s facing multiple surgeries to save his other leg and hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills. It hurts even more that he was an intern on the ship for two years and now that he’s graduated, it was only his third day on the job as a petroleum engineer when the disaster occurred.

Nate Delaney has been working in his father’s prestigious law firm for the past two years, since finishing his law degree. An associate of one of the other attorneys—because his dad doesn’t want to show prejudice—Nate worked sixty to eighty hours a week to win a patent lawsuit for his dad’s firm and his boss has not only taken the credit for it, he’s discredited Nate in front of the clients, his father, and the entire law community. On his way out the door to freedom, his personal assistant tips him to a potential lawsuit involving an oil company and that’s how Nate and Sean eventually meet and set out to win Sean’s case.

But there’s more to this story than a negligence case against the company that hired Sean. There’s an entire side plot about the fracking invention that Sean created, primarily on his own time during the school year, and then shared and tested with his lover and boss when he was interning. The ownership and rights to patent the invention are questionable and form the basis for a deadly plot that nearly ends in murder.

There’s also the love between Sean and his pseudo-foster father, Hawk, Sean’s mother’s former boyfriend who has taken care of Sean since he was in his early teens. Sean has worked all his life to overcome his poverty and the circumstances that brought him to living on the streets, willing to do whatever was needed to survive, before he landed at Hawk’s place, initially just to panhandle a meal. Hawk is his real father, in all but name, and he protects his charge fiercely, while providing him with a tattoo business in which he can practice his art—something that clearly relaxes Sean and helps him focus. And then there’s the love that develops between Sean and Nate Delaney, something Nate tries to avoid because he fears it violates his code of ethics but can’t seem to stop, regardless of his best intentions.

My review is a very simplistic summary for such a multifaceted story. The author obviously researched this topic to the minutest detail—from the law and all its implications to the engineering of the invention and life in the oil industry. And though much of the complexity of Sean’s invention and the oil industry is above my interest and ability to comprehend, I’m nevertheless left in awe at the pure beauty of the complexity described. Amazing is not a strong enough word.

The author takes the time to fully develop the characters, making them real people with real relationships and real problems. The secondary characters were also rich in detail and felt like close friends and family members. Two days after reading this, I still feel connected. This was not one of those stories you should count on reading in one day—it needs time to be savored. But if you want a fulfilling experience, one that leaves you feeling like your world was rocked, this should be the book to strongly consider. I very highly recommend this story.


Dreamspinner Press 

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