Beautiful Redemption Chapter 5:
Liis goes to the gym during Thomas’ gym time. Damn, she’s got a spunky personality. I guess it’s her Irish shining through again! Thomas protests Liis being there a little bit, but F for effort overall.
Liis informs us that she “switched out [her ]C-cup for a sports bra.” I distinctly remember Cami telling us her bra size as well in the last book. Why does McGuire think this is pertinent information for us to have about our female protagonists?
Thomas wants to know why Liis has to come now, and she says she likes how empty it is since no one else is allowed in here. I wish we would get an explanation as to why Thomas thinks he should get the gym all to himself at this time. Selfish Maddox bullshit at its finest!
Liis and Thomas have a weird conversation, which I guess is supposed to be indicative of a soon-to-be love affair. It starts with Liis telling Thomas she’s onto him, and Thomas protesting that he’s not trying to tank her career. He wants his team to be the best they can be! So this somehow turns into a conversation about Sawyer?
“Does that include Sawyer?”
“Agent Sawyer has a history in our squad that you know nothing about.”
“So, educate me.”
“It’s not my story to tell.”
“That’s it?” I smirked.
“I don’t get your meaning.”
“You’re not allowing him to speak to me because of someone else’s story?”
Maddox shrugged. “I just like to get in his way.”
“Your tantrum in my office after Agent Sawyer left was you getting in his way. Right.”
So it’s not really a ‘fight’ about tanking Liis’ career, it’s a fight about tanking Sawyer’s career somehow? And also alluding to his mysterious past on the team?
“Why am I the asshole for keeping a fuckstick like Sawyer away from you?”
I pushed a button, and the treadmill came to a stop. “I don’t need your protection,” I puffed.”
Or it’s about feminism? Being professional?
Before this can mutate into something even more confusing, Thomas walks away. I have never appreciated a Maddox more. Liis follows him, though. DAMN IT. She again says she isn’t going to take his bullshit and won’t leave her job! Even though nothing he said above indicated that was his goal!
It’s all just a ploy leading to this moment:
“He dropped his toothbrush in the sink and walked toward me. I stepped backward, quickening my pace as he did. My back hit the wall, and I gasped. Maddox slammed his palms against the wall on each side of me just above my head. He was inches from my face, his skin still dripping from his recent shower.
“I promoted you to supervisor, Agent Lindy. What makes you think I want you gone?”
I lifted my chin. “Your bullshit story about Sawyer doesn’t add up.”
HOW ARE ANY OF THESE THINGS CONNECTED? He promotes Liis, but he actually wants her to quit? So he yells at Sawyer in order to…get Liis to quit? Then to complicate matters he makes up a story about Sawyer pissing people off in order to…get Liis to quit? Now that I’m really breaking it down, it all makes a lot more sense.
But then it’s really just about whether or not Liis and Thomas want to make out:
“What do you want me to say?” he said.
I could smell the mint on his breath and the bodywash on his skin. “I want the truth.”
Maddox leaned in, his nose tracing my jaw. My knees nearly gave way as his lips touched my ear.
“You can have whatever you want.” He leaned back, his eyes falling to my lips.
My breath caught, and I braced myself as he moved closer, closing his eyes.
He stopped just short of my mouth. “Say it,” he whispered. “Say you want me to kiss you.”
I really want to know whether McGuire has ever had a real life interaction with another person. Conversations in her stories are always written in English but never quite have a logical progression. She’ll have people fight about 8 different things in a conversation like this just to get them to a moment where the man backs the woman against a wall and asks if she wants to kiss him. Who cares if those 8 things they’re fighting about make any sense or are at all connected to one another! Look at the sexual tension!
Liis strokes Thomas’ abs, but she resists the temptation to kiss him! Liis finishes her workout and then leaves. Val grills her on it, but seems to believe Liis when she says she just ran. I thought Val was basically psychic? What gives?
“I tried my best to keep my shoulders and expression relaxed. “I ran. It was great.”
“Let it go, Val.”
“You just…ran?” She seemed confused.
“Yes. How was your lunch?”
“I brought a sack—PB and J. Did he yell at you?”
“Try to kick you out?”
I chuckled. “What’s to understand? He’s not an ogre. Actually, at this point, he might think I’m the ogre.”
This deeply upsets Val because Thomas IS an ogre, and one time he yelled at her when she was retrieving a sneaker from the locker room.
“Maybe he’s changed.”
“Since you got here? In three days? No.”
Except we all know that’s exactly what happened.
“Her dismissive tone annoyed me.
“You’re being a tad excessive.”
“That’s just how I talk.”
“Yes. Stop listening for ways to judge me, and hear what I’m trying to say.”
“Okay,” I said.”
SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?
Val also informs us she just had lunch with Agent Marks (and that his name is Joel, “pay attention”!) and that he said that Thomas has been really weird lately because he’s going to see Cami next month! When Travis and Abby renew their vows! Faaaaaanservice.
This does lead to a moment I found pretty funny:
“He told Marks that he was kind of glad you transferred here.”
“Oh my God, Val! What do I do?” I hissed, feigning panic. “He is kind of glad?” I made the most awful face that I was capable of and then began to pant.”
Good response, Liis.
What is strange, though, is that Val goes on to say how this is crazy because Thomas hates everything. But she was the one who just said he couldn’t possibly have changed in three days!
Liis does some vague work, and then gets called into a surprise meeting with Thomas. I swear if they just argue about their non-relationship again…I don’t know what I’ll do. Keep recapping this book, I guess. My threats sure are intense.
Thomas has a nice office, but not many mementos. He does have three picture frames on his desk, but they’re facing away from Liis. This will definitely be an important plot point later, so I’m including this seemingly non-essential detail. Aren’t you glad I read ahead? I’m keeping some things close to my chest, but I can give a little bit.
“I had a meeting with the S.A.C. earlier, and he feels you could be a solution to a recent issue,” he said, finally sitting in his chair.”
I wonder what very professional issue this could be.
I opened the thick card stock to the first page, and then I continued to look over the numerous FD-302s, surveillance photos, and a list of the dead. One report contained charges and court transcriptions of a college kid named Adam Stockton. He was an organizer of some sort, and he had been sentenced to ten years in prison. I skimmed over most of it, knowing that wasn’t what Maddox wanted me to see.
Several of the photos were shots of a man who looked a bit like Maddox—same height but with a buzz cut and arms covered in tattoos. There were more with a pretty young girl, early twenties, far more years of wisdom in her eyes than there should be. Some photos were individual shots, but most were of them together. I recognized her as the girl in some of the photos I’d posted on my office wall—Abernathy’s daughter.
This is not the last time someone in this book will point out how wise beyond her years/smart Abby is while giving us absolutely no evidence. Like how the fuck is Liis getting this from a picture?
Liis also gathers that Travis and Abby are a couple and are madly in love. More importantly, Abby clearly only married Travis to protect him from going to jail for the fire that we’ve read about in three separate books. 132 people died, but a couple Maddox bros and Abby lived, so no one really seemed to care, but apparently it was actually a bigger deal than THREE books would lead you to believe. This poor Adam guy has been taking the heat on his own for this. But it’s fine because we love Trav.
“Maddox sighed, finally facing me. “I wish I were. They’re renewing their vows at the end of next month in St. Thomas…so the family can attend. Their first wedding was in Vegas almost a year ago—”
I held up the paper. “Just a few hours after the fire. She’s a clever one.”
Clearly not if everyone seems to have figured it out at this point.
In order to protect Travis from actually doing time for a crime, the FBI wants to recruit him because he’s dating Abby. Rather than just making him an informant…they are recruiting him as an agent for some reason…But he will have to keep this a secret from Abby! Will he choose to go to jail rather than lie to Abby? Well, obviously not because we already read that insane epilogue.
But so where does Liis come into…
“I need a date for the wedding. I need someone else from the Bureau to attend and witness the conversation. I don’t know how he’ll react. A female agent will be a good buffer. Polanski thinks you’re the perfect candidate.”
I have been handed the greatest gift in the history of the world. Better than Abby losing the bet to Travis so she moves in with him. Possibly better than the ‘twist’ at the end of Beautiful Oblivion.
Liis doesn’t understand why it can’t be another FBI agent.
“He suggested someone who would fit in.”
“Fit in,” I repeated, confused.
“Two of my brothers are in love with women who…lack finesse.”
Even McGuire understands that she’s just been writing the same characters over and over again.
“Are you fucking serious?” I craned my neck. “Have you met Val?”
“See?” Maddox said, pointing at me with his whole hand. “That is exactly something Abby would say—or…Camille, Trent’s girlfriend.”
I love how this was like the blandest thing Liis could have said and Thomas is like, “Wow! That’s such a unique thing that these other two unique women would say.”
Thomas bangs on about how difficult this will be for Travis. He’s very emotional and wants to talk about how great Trabby is. Especially Abby
“We’ll have to be exceptionally creative to keep Abby from figuring it out.” He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. “She’s sharp as a goddamn tack, that one.”
“We’ll never give you any evidence of this, but damn it, take all of our word on how brilliant Abby is!”
Liis agrees to go along with all of this because why not? And she promises not to tell Thomas’ family he’s in the FBI because they don’t know because ~mysterious reasons~.
Liis goes back to her office, angry that she lacks finesse! But then Thomas calls her and tells her she’d also be the only woman comfortable enough with him to make this whole thing believable.
“Good to know it’s not solely because the S.A.C. thinks I have no class.”
“Let’s get one thing straight. The S.A.C. didn’t say that, and neither did I.”
“You kind of did.”
“That’s not what I meant. I would throat-punch someone if he ever said anything like that about you.”
Now, it was my side of the line that was quiet. “Th-thank you.” I didn’t know how else to respond.”
There’s that old Maddox bro violence we all so love <3
Liis is super excited about all of this AND SO AM I!!!!!!