Sunday, April 23, 2017

ARC Review: Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc., #1) by L.A. Witt

Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

Back Piece is a sexy, emotional journey of two people learning to love and finding acceptance for who they really are.

Jewel's rating:

It's no secret that I generally love LA Witt's military stories. There's just something about a man in uniform finding himself head over heals in love that I just can't get enough of. Also, I really love men with tattoos, and that's no secret either.

Back Piece is about a sailor who finds love with a tattoo artist. Both men are, to varying degrees, pretty messed up and seeing them work their way through to their own personal acceptance is what the story is all about.

Colin Spencer has more issues than National Geographic. I'm not going to spoil and outline them here, but suffice it to say he needs a support system (and thankfully, he has one) and he is also his own worst enemy. Colin seems confident on the surface, but he is anything but. With his work, he is confident and very talented and skilled, but personally he's been burned by supremely toxic relationships and even those that weren't toxic would often have trouble accepting Colin's past. So much so, that he expects everyone to leave.

Daniel Moore could not wait to turn 18 so he could run as fast as he could away from his small town and super religious and homophobic family. The military was pretty much his only option, so he went Navy. He's been in for 8 years now and figures he'll be a career guy. The one really good thing now, is that he can be out and he is -- on the ship. The problem? Well, Daniel is a virgin, but he doesn't want his coworkers to know. But seeing Colin at a local gym is making Daniel think he might just be ready to give up that V card. If only he can get past his anxiety.

I loved the basic premise of Back Piece. The virgin from a religious family, finally figuring out that you can't change other people. That your control begins and ends with yourself. And the tattoo artist who is undeniably more experienced, but who has insecurities of his own. The execution missed at times, though. There was way too much inner dialog with each of them second guessing the other and telling themselves that the other one really wasn't feeling the same. It got very repetitive. Also, the actual dialog felt awkward. I'm not used to that coming from this author. And, lastly, there was a bit of a martyr issue, on the part of Colin, that just made me sigh.

What I loved though is just how their relationship evolved from 'friends with benefits' to 'boyfriends' without either of them really noticing. And their smexytimes -- oh, yes -- LA Witt knows how to write the smex. Also, I truly appreciated the fact that there was no 'magic dick' cure for either of them, but especially Colin.

So, while Back Piece isn't my favorite by this author, I did enjoy it and would give it an overall 3.5 "gimme more tattoos" stars.

ARC of Back Piece was generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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