REVIEW: Skin Deep by Anna J Evans
Dear Ms. Evans:
On the positive side, this is one NAL Heat that I actually finished. Most of the other books in this line seem to be about wife/partner swapping (O_o) and that is not really my thing. Skin Deep had a great premise. A tattoo artist and star of a reality tv show about his Miami based tattoo business cannot seem to move on from his illfated high school romance with Nicky. Jackson Bledsoe decides that if he can just remake the angel tattoo she wears that matches his, he’ll finally be able to wipe her from his heart. Jack believes that there is some mystical connection between the tattoos he inked when he was 19 and she was 18.
Jack hatches a plan to kidnap Nicky, spirit her up to his mountain hideaway and redo her tattoo with or without her permission. Not being tattooed, I can only assume that marking someone without their permission is a huge taboo and an emotionally damaging one as well.
Both Nicky and Jack have become known for their distinctive angel tattoos. Nicky, before she was married, was a well known fetish model and the angel is the hallmark of Jack’s body art. (I was surprised that there was no mention of their connection given Jackson’s reality tv star status. It would have been a topic on the internet.)
Honestly I didn’t understand why Jackson didn’t modify his own tattoo. It could still have been an angel as he only intended to remake the angel on Nicky into a different type of angel, one that didn’t match his. It just made little sense that he would go to the extreme lengths of kidnapping and battery for someone he hadn’t seen in 8 years.
Nicky is working ever job she can to obtain money for a lawyer. Her marriage fell apart and her baby girl was taken by her husband. Here’s the kicker though. When Jackson offers to help her, even with lawyer bills, Nicky replies that she can’t because getting a lawyer would put her daughter in danger. Her husband has threatened to hurt their daughter if she fights for custody. Huh? And much of the conflict between Nicky and Jack is premised on the idea that she wants to keep her tattoo because its her signature and she’s going back into modeling. If she actually is going back into modeling then why isn’t she doing that instead of dancing on tables?
In short course, Nicky discovers Jack is a dom. Her husband is a dom but he was an insecure one, leading to a very unhealthy relationship. Jack helps her understand the true nature of dom/sub play (I note that he specifically uses the word "play" which I assumed to be less of a lifestyle choice and more of a sexual preference which is different than other BDSM books).
Nicky makes her husband out to be ominous and I found him to be cartoonish instead, particularly at the end when there was an attempt to make him a more nuanced character. As noted throughout the review, I had issues with consistency and of the story just making sense to me in general. Yes, the sex is hot in the book and there is lots of it. It gets high marks for the erotic part.
Yet, the rest of the story suffered. I never really did understand leaving your baby with a man who threatens to kill her. That seems beyond foolish. Nicky’s lame explanation that this was done to keep her safe really made no sense but then neither did most of the other character motivations. I really would have liked some attention paid to the tattoo issue in terms of worldbuilding. That seemed like a real lost opportunity. C-