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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-

Best regards,


This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. joanne
    Jul 11, 2009 @ 07:19:22

    Two of my guilty pleasures: L.A. Ink & Miami Ink. I just came out of the closet to friends a few weeks ago about watching those two shows and although the laughter went on for quite a while I now have several friends who take time for the same WTF tv moments. Sort of As The World Turns meets the Hells Angels television viewing.

    All of that is to say that I would have loved a romance story about a tattoo artist but not for one moment can I imagine Kat Von D being taken anywhere without her permission or sleeping with a man who sounds beyond stupid. The baby issue would make me stomp the book before it it the wall.

    Of course I would never have read the story because the generic title —and that it has what might possibly be the only book cover model without a tattoo on him or her— does not tell me anything about content. Anyway the review means money saved and leaves me with the hope that someone else will write a better story about these (to me) interesting artists.

  2. Jill Sorenson
    Jul 11, 2009 @ 09:21:18


    Eden Bradley’s Art of Desire, from this anthology, features a tattoo artist hero. I absolutely loved it. Very erotic, mild BDSM, and several scenes with the heroine getting tattooed.

  3. joanne
    Jul 11, 2009 @ 11:54:51

    Thank you for the recommendation Jill, I’ve just ordered the antho and look forward to reading it…. along with the two other books I ordered while on the site, lol. No wonder Amazon thinks they rule the world. Thanks again.

  4. Anion
    Jul 12, 2009 @ 12:21:31

    Huh, I’m surprised. I thought the explanations about why Jackson didn’t modify his own tattoo, and why Nicky couldn’t take his money for a lawyer, made perfect sense; it was one of the things I liked best about the book. I actually really enjoyed this one a lot. :-)

  5. Chitephi
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 22:44:42

    @Anion: I thought the same thing. I actually thought the book was almost perfect :)

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