A Skin Deep, Inc. Novel
Fighter pilot Jon Russell never sleeps with the same man twice. Known for his lack of shame when it comes to hooking up, Jon has no interest in commitment—even friends with benefits sounds like too much work.
Matt Huffman has slept with lots of women. He’s had loads of girlfriends. So why does the hot as hell pilot getting a tattoo as the result of a lost bet stop his breath? And how come he can’t stop thinking about him, even after he’s gone?
When Jon returns to Skin Deep the second time, he doesn’t want another tattoo. He wants to hook up with the gorgeous artist he spent hours agonizingly close to, and Matt wants to explore some curiosity about men. Fulfill the desire he can’t stop fantasizing over. And he wants to do it with Jon.
As their casual hook up becomes more than just skin deep, both Matt and Jon are faced with questions they don’t want to answer. Matt understands he’s bi—but are these feelings he has typical of hooking up with a man? Or is it only Jon that can make his heart pound? If Jon wanted nothing more than a fling, why does he find himself needing not just Matt’s body, but all of him? And can their relationship withstand the hardships that makes Jon avoid them in the first place?
The Skin Deep, Inc books can be read in any order—come enter a world where gorgeous tattoo artists and hot Navy men find passion, pleasure, and a happily ever after together.
L.A. Witt also writes under the name Lauren Gallagher.
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
I finished this one last night, but was just so freaking tired I just sort of stream of consciousnessed out some thoughts before going to bed. Now I need to figure out what I wrote and make it make sense. All of which I really didn’t need to include in this review, but in case I miss something and it sounds jumbled, that would be why.
This was a solid read, definitely leaning more towards the erotica end of the spectrum… I can never figure out what the line in the sand is for when a romance is labeled an erotica. Like, this book definitely had romance, but there is a LOT of sex in it. I actually forgot just how much sex was in the first book, so it caught me off guard in the beginning of this book. And funny story, I always bring my Kindle everywhere, and when I was on the bus taking me to the football game on Friday, I pulled it out, but forgot I was in the middle of a sex scene and I had to keep tilting it away from the guy beside me. I took a picture to show my hubby (because he was standing near the back), and he laughed and told me if they peak over my shoulder, they get what they get! And what they would get is a LOT of c*ck!! ROFL. OK, enough of these asides…
Let’s talk characters!! I felt a stronger connection to Matt than Jon in this particular story. I did feel like we jumped into his story at a weird point, I almost wish we’d actually seen the scene where he has the threesome, instead of seeing him ponder it. Even if it was a flashback. Then again, maybe not. It just felt like we jumped into the middle of a story sometimes. BUT! I loved how Ms. Witt portrayed Matt’s struggle with coming to terms with his newly discovered bisexuality. I loved the way his past played into him being in the closet for so long, and being so genuinely surprised when he figured it out. I loved the discussion about how his father’s toxic masculinity really influenced him heavily. I also liked that they addressed how his constant vehement denial could hurt people (like Troy). I will say I was not too keen on the fact that it seemed no one was surprised when he came out. Not that that isn’t necessarily realistic, but we never really find out what exactly gave it away for them. Having SOMEONE be surprised would have been nice. Or at least not sitting there saying “we were just waiting for you to say something.”
I felt like Matt’s financial struggles were added in at the beginning, and then didn’t really go anywhere. Like the story got too cluttered, so that thread just got dropped unsatisfactorily. I really hate that, because I was interested in seeing how it was going to be resolved because it seemed to be building up to something, but then it just…fizzled, I guess. So then why was it there at all?
On to Jon! Jon was harder to warm up to. I never could figure out where he got his negative view on relationships. I guess some people just are that way, but in books it’s nicer to read them having some incidence that leads to it (a rough childhood, divorced parents, no good role models, bad early breakup, SOMETHING). So that was a bummer. However, I loved that he was so confident in his sexuality, and very forthright about what he wanted, and very comfortable in his own skin. I loved that he was very good at his job and loved it, and they conveyed how smart he was. I also loved seeing some of the interactions with his squadron, but that fizzled a bit too…would have liked even more.
And Matt and Jon had amazing chemistry, and the steamy scenes were spot on (if prolific). I really did feel their connection and insatiability in the bedroom. But not at the expense of other connections. I felt friendship, and even romance too. I liked that we got to see their relationship slowly developing over time. You could tell they cared about each other. Frankly, it made the constant talk of casualness really grating on this romance reader. I think that was the point, but it’s not something that this reader enjoys. I get it was the whole conflict of the book leading up to the climax, but it got tiring. And the turnaround in the end was a mite quick.
As for side stories, the subplot with Nate and his husband really broke my heart. It kind of threw off my mood, and if you know me as a reader at all, you know I HATE cheating. So it was hard to see it happening to a secondary character that was so important to one of our heroes. I get now that it was setup for book 3 though.
I liked getting glimpses of Colin and Daniel, but still wish we knew what happened to Daniel’s family (particularly his relationship with his sisters). I guess nothing. That’s the impression we’re given. And I hated how they made Daniel sound like he was always so calm and cool and there for Colin, when often I felt like he was oblivious to Colin’s problems. But that’s a problem with a different story in the end.
All in all a solid romance that leans more towards the erotica end. I think the relationship was more satisfying than Colin and Daniel’s from book one, but I enjoyed the extra elements in the first book’s story a wee bit more, so they kind of balance out in the end. I will say I’m looking forward to the next book in the series though! That sneak peak was tantalizing!