ARC Review – Sin and Ink by Naima Simone

Posted December 18, 2018 by smutmatters in ARC, Contemporary, Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review – Sin and Ink by Naima SimoneSin and Ink by Naima Simone
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Scorched) on October 15, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 260
Format: eARC
Source: Entangled Publishing
Apple Books

There's sin, and then there's literally going-straight-to-hell sin...

Being in lust with my dead brother's wife pretty much guarantees that one day I'll be the devil's bitch. But Eden Gordon works with me, so it's getting harder and harder to stay away. I promised my family—and him—I would, though.

My days as an MMA champion are behind me. But whenever I see her, with those wicked curves and soft mouth created for dirty deeds, it's a knock-down fight to just maintain my distance. "Hard Knox" becomes more than just the name of my tattoo shop. However, surrendering to the forbidden might be worth losing everything...

Whew. This one was all angst. Alllll angst. Fortunately, it was the perfect read for me when I read it – I needed all the angst. 

Poor Knox. He was just buried under the weight of the guilt he felt over his brother’s death. Some of it was his own guilt, and some of it was guilt that was thrust upon him by a mother who just couldn’t get past her own heartbreak to see what she was doing to him. 

And it’s so easy, isn’t it, from the outside, to see that Knox didn’t deserve the guilt. I could see it, and I was frustrated with him even while I understood it. Emotions aren’t rational. You can’t just explain to your guilt that it shouldn’t be there and have it go away. So Knox took it all on and just let the guilt eat him alive. 

Eden did her damnedest to show Knox that he was taking on too much, but he just wasn’t in a place to hear it. He didn’t even reject what she told him; he just didn’t even recognize what she was saying. At this point, the guilt was so much a part of him that he couldn’t even fathom not having it. 

Eden is dealing with her own conflicted feelings about falling in love with Knox, who is her late husband’s brother. But it was a little different than her. Her guilt was a different level. It wasn’t the soul-destroying, crushing guilt that Knox was dealing with, it was the same level of guilt that most of us would feel falling in love with someone we’ve deemed the wrong person, no matter the reason. She feels guilty about her growing feelings, but more because she still felt a bit like she was cheating on her husband, not because she felt like she was responsible for his death and didn’t deserve happiness ever again the way that Knox did. 

Their tortured feelings for each other came out in some seriously hot sexual tension, and eventually some seriously hot sex. It was I loved that Eden was the aggressor here, she didn’t wait for Knox to get his shit together and make a move because she knew she’d be waiting forever. 

If I had one quibble with the book, it’s that it got a little repetitive in the middle. Eden and Knox would fight their attraction, give in, Knox would be eaten alive with guilt, beat himself up, both figuratively and literally, fight his attraction, give in, be eaten alive with guilt, beat himself up, etc, etc, etc. As much as I was in the mood for angst and was really enjoying the story, I could have done with fewer of those cycles. 

I also would have liked to have seen a little more of how they worked everything out. It had a pretty standard HEA, and I was happy that they were able to get together, but I wanted to see what happened next. Guilt like Knox’s doesn’t go away after one conversation with your family and with your girlfriend. Knox needed therapy at a minimum, and they both had a lot of work to do on themselves individually and as a couple. I would love to see Naima Simone do a novella follow-up with Knox and Eden at some point, just to see how they are. 

But overall, I loved this book, and I loved these characters. If you’re in the mood for angst, I can’t recommend this one enough. Definitely pick tis one up and just settle in with a cozy blanket, some tea, some whiskey, and a box of Kleenex to mop up your tears.