Skin Deep by Pamela Clare

Skin Deep

by Pamela Clare

Genre: Western, Crime, Romance, erotica, Drama.

Kindle Edition, 181 pages, Published May 15th 2012 by Pamela Clare
Book 5 in The I-Team series, althought it can be read as a stand alone.
Megan Hunter has worked hard to get back on her feet, leaving the nightmare of her teenage years behind. The last thing she wants or needs in her life is a man. But when she is attacked by someone from her past, a scarred stranger intervenes, saving her life and that of her little girl. Looks can be deceiving, for despite the man’s rough appearance, she feels safe with him. And for the first time in her life, she knows the stirrings of desire.  Nathaniel West paid a high price serving with the Marines in Afghanistan. He returned to his family’s ranch in the Colorado mountains to heal—and be alone. Disfigured as he is, he has put all thoughts of sex and romance aside. But something about Megan brings him back to life, heats his blood, makes him feel like a man again. As danger pursues her, and the truth about her past is revealed, he vows to protect her—and to heal her wounded spirit.  But confronting the past is never easy—especially when it’s carrying a gun. Megan will have to learn to trust Nate to survive and to claim a passion that is much more than …  Skin Deep.

There is something about a scarred and broken hero; I fall for them all the time.  (See Z in BDB, V in V for Vendetta and The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera for examples of scarred and broken men who own me.)  Add in the fact that the male character in this book is not only scarred but ex-military AND a cowboy and well, I never stood a chance.  I was in love with Nate before I even read the first page of this book and luckily he didn’t disappoint me.

I really liked this story.  It was short, sweet and had all the elements needed for a good book.  I loved the story line even though I have seen similar stuff before.  What is different with Skin Deep is the way the characters handle the situation they are in.  There is no unneeded angst or drama.  Megan isn’t some self-pitying, dramatic victim that we are all used to reading about.  Nate is not some over protective borderline abusive Neanderthal.  In Skin Deep the characters act like actual human beings, which was really refreshing.

All the characters are likeable in this book apart from the bad guys who are just awful.  They were all well-rounded and believable.  The author has also managed to write a child character that is not teeth grittingly annoying, instead she is cute.

I loved the romance in this book.  It was not about sex; instead it was about two people learning to trust again, it was about rebuilding your life after losing everything.  I liked Megan and Nate apart but I loved them together.

I have read a lot (and I mean A LOT) of western/rancher romance this year and so far Skin Deep is by far my favourite.  I look forward to reading more from this series and more from this author.

My Rating 4 out of 5 stars 

Check out the links: Goodreads, Amazon, AmazonUK, Authors Webpage

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Sunday Book Haul (1)

On Sundays I will be posting the books I bought/borrowed/was given this week!

I got some great books this week, here is what I got:

From Publishers for review (ARCS):

 

Read any of these books? What did you think?

What did you guys get this week?

FBI/US Attorney series – by Julie James

Title FBI/US Attorney series

Author: Julie James

My rating 4/5 for the whole series.

Something About You: Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago- and for nearly ruining his career.  Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes- and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

A Lot Like Love: Jordan Rhodes is invited to all of Chicago’s best parties, but there’s only one the FBI wants to crash. To get her brother out of jail, she agrees to take Agent McCall as her date. But when the mission gets botched, requiring their “relationship” to continue, it starts to feel less like an investigation-and a lot like something else.

About That Night:  Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.  Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten.

I could not have a book blog and not say something about the FBI/US Attorney series by Julie James.  I really, really like these books.  As contemporary fiction goes they are pretty awesome and pack a punch that a lot of other books in the genre just do not have.

So why do I like this series so much? I will start with the ease of James’s writing.  She manages to put together detailed descriptions, tense moments, erotica and snappy dialogue seamlessly.  These books never stray into cheesy, over the top territory.  Somehow James manages to keep the flow of the books going and it never fails, not once in the three books in this series.

She crosses the clichés without harm and dares to do things a little bit differently.  These books are also a lot funnier than they have any right to be, which I absolutely love.

James manages to create characters that you care about.   Every single one is likeable and easy to get behind.  What helps is then fact that at least one of the main characters

(in a secondary role) in the book before so you are already familiar with them.

The romance in every book is believable.  The sex scenes are hot but not overdone and bogged down with too much detail.  You are given the perfect amount of loving at perfect moments in the book.  (Not nearly the whole second half like a lot of other romance novels)

Sure these books are not perfect, they are not going to win major awards but they are great fun.  If you like crime/romance then I think you would love these books.

Goodreads

Fatal Embrace by Aris Whittier

Title: Fatal Embrace

Author: Aris Whittier

Genre: Romance, crime, western romance, mystery, suspence.

Average Goodreads rating: 3.65/5

My rating: 3/5

(ebook, 280 pages, published 2nd October 2005 by Five Star Trade)

Blurb (From Goodreads): High-spirited horse trainer Jessica Stanson stumbles into the perfect job on one of the most elite ranches in Montana. Or at least it would be if her boss, ex-detective Michael Carven, stopped acting like he didn’t want her there. Jessica has to prove herself to him on the ranch, and also try to penetrate his armor to get to the man inside. Michael Carven is a man who has left a difficult past behind him, and now works at his dream job raising horses under the Montana sky. But he knows that the past has a way of coming back to him, and soon enough, it does. A wave of violence hits the nearby small town of Riverside, nestled deep in the mountains, as a cunning serial killer preys on the population.
Against his will, Michael finds himself both drawn into the case and coming to care for his independent new trainer. And if having a killer on the loose wasn’t enough, his two worlds collide when Jessica becomes the only material witness in the case. Before it is over, Michael and Jessica will put everything they know and hold dear on the line to catch a vicious, cunning killer – and to protect each other as well.

My thoughts

This book had all the right ingredients but none of the fizz.  There was drama, romance, sex, angst and crime but it never quite hit the mark for me.  The characters, although well put together, changed their minds about things all the time.  Their personalities also seemed to change a lot too.  One minute he was hot then cold.  One second she was tender and caring then sarcastic and snappy.  There is nothing wrong with that in general but it seemed like the changes were occurring in the same sentence, it was hard to keep up.
I liked that the romance was a slow burner, it took it’s time and built up throughout the book.  My main problem with it was that I didn’t care that much for the characters; sure I thought it would be nice for them to be together but I was never truly invested in them.  I didn’t get that agonising feeling in my gut where you want characters to be together so much it almost hurts.   Also, everything was a little fast in the beginning.  The set up appeared to be in the middle of the book and not the start which I found a little bit bizarre, but once it had settled in it was much better.
There were times when this book seemed to step right out of reality and read a lot more like an over done Fan Fiction but those moments were few and far between.  Also, if you are going to write erotica then write erotica.  This felt half-hearted and cautious as thought the author wasn’t quite sure if they were comfortable writing about sex.  It was distracting, a good book doesn’t need to have explicit sex included but if the author has decided to add it then it needs to be done well.
What this novel does get right is the crime.  About half way through I was pretty sure I know who the killer was but was surprised to find that I was well off base.  It was a well done twist that really raised the level of the book for me.  I didn’t see it coming and I often do so I give the Author credit for that.
If you are a crime-romance fan this is a short and pleasant read that you will probably enjoy.  It could have been a lot better but it was still a nice way to waste away a rainy bank holiday afternoon.

Goodreads / Amazon / Author’s blog