Under Pressure (No Pressure, No Diamonds #1) by Kara Greenan
To Catch A Thief…
… starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid.
I loved this film. Maybe that is the reason why everything revolving around a heist fascinates me, be it a movie or a book. Hence I could not resist when Under Pressure popped up on the site of a publisher and of course had to click the download button. And what can I say? I don’t regret it.
London is a thief and good at his job.
The best, as a matter of fact. A legend, despite his young age.
Nobody knows any details about him and that is exactly the way he wants it. The less attachment, the better. So you won’t get hurt when people abandon you, right? He learned that lesson at a very young age, when his mother submitted him into foster care, but kept his siblings. That is why it hits him hard when he thought he had found someone special in Sebastian, a colleague during a planned heist in Venice. He thought he had found someone he could love, someone he could trust, only to be dumped after a few nights of passion, hot sex and something London thought, would be more. Deeper.
One year later. A new heist. A new team. A team, London calls his friends, his almost only friends. When the heist proves not to go to plan, not to be as smooth as they hoped it would be….
Sebastian comes in.
Sebastian is a grifter. The son of an Earl, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and because of the wealth of his family and his good looks used to get what he wants.He is able to charm his way into the coldest of hearts and everybody is happy to please him. My initial thoughts were “spoiled brat” and that is true to some degree, but there is more to him than meets the eye. The only problem? When you are used to telling lies left, right and center, nobody will believe you when you tell the truth. Especially not London, who is set hard on revenge, when Sebastian joins the team. Getting it without endangering the heist proves to be difficult.
And resisting Sebastian’s charm and the chemistry between them which is still there, even more so…
Obviously, the heist plays an important role in this book…
… but the main focus lies on the relationship between London and Sebastian and their dance around each other.
The story, told in British English, is very interesting, albeit a bit slow, and with the setting in three of the most beautiful metropolises in the world, London, Venice and Paris, it is absolutely refreshing. Add great characters to the mix and consider me hooked.
You might ask yourself now, why only four stars and not five, then?
For one, Under Pressure contains two of my pet peeves: present tense narration and flashbacks. It is virtually two stories in one, the present day when London and Sebastian meet again and one year ago when they met in the first place. Where I adapted to the present tense pretty soon this time – which surprised me the most, because that is something I normally don’t like at all -, the flashbacks yanked me out of the story sometimes, even if I understand that they are necessary to comprehend everything, especially Sebastian’s motives for dumping London a year ago. On the positive side, because of the flashbacks, it did not really feel like the insta-lust/~love that it actually was. We get to know the story bit by bit and that was something I have not experienced before.
Probably it is just me, but sometimes I found it hard to keep track of in which head I was in because for me the perspective changed at the whiplash-inducing speed at times. I had to read some sentences twice to know whose thoughts I was reading about.
And then there was the first sex scene, or rather the nonexistent first sex scene… Well, to say I like sex scenes would be an understatement, but I even survived a whole series without real sex scenes. But then there was no sex! The first sex in this book was off-page and clueless me did not even get it at first. A few pages later (after another flashback) London claimed that he and Sebastian had sex and me: “Huh? When?”. I actually had to turn back and yes, there it was. The clue. Don’t get me wrong, the following sex scenes were absolutely hot and they so made up for the lack of the first one (just to give you a hint, not to say an appetizer: rimming over a balcony rail. Do I have to say more???), but it was a bit disappointing at that moment, although I know where the author is coming from.
All in all, though, this was a very enjoyable read…
…which I can only recommend and of course. I cannot wait to read more about London and Sebastian and the team planning a new heist.