Close to the Skin

cttsRELEASE DATE: AUG 18, 2017

The Skin Quartet #2
Zara West
The Wild Rose Press, 2017
Kindle ed, 264 pages
Genre(s) Contemporary romance, Ink, and Bad Boy Romance
Source Author’s rep

Other books in this series: Beneath the Skin #1

Synopsis:
Head of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise, Vernon Newell doesn’t let family ties or misplaced sympathy get in his way. But there is one chink in his armor—Bella Bell, a prospering tattoo artist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Despite her attraction to the fabulously sexy man, Bella wants nothing to do with a hard-headed, ruthless criminal. But when threatening messages start arriving, and Vernon disappears, Bella must choose to abandon the man she loves or risk her life to save him.

This not the typical military or spy romantic suspense. It is a gritty, urban thriller about criminals and tattoo artists, where the hero and heroine would rather not have anything to do with the law, and who eventually get their happy ending, but only after facing down incredible odds to do so. WINNER of the 2016 Pages of the Heart contest.

About the Author:

zwAward-winning author Zara West loves all things dark, scary, and heart-stopping as long as they lead to true love. Zara spends winters in New York City where the streets hum with life, summers at the shore where the sea can be cruel, and the rest of the year anywhere inspiration for tales of suspense, mystery, and romance are plentiful.

An accomplished artist by training and passion, she brings a love of art to every book she writes. A fan of handcrafted and ethically produced clothing, Zara’s original clothing designs and artistic creations have been sold in numerous venues including Bloomingdales, Putumayo, and the Museum of American Folk Art.

In a life full of misadventures, she has had sunstroke on the top of a Greek mountain while doing ethnographic research with shepherds, been stranded on the banks of the Rhine with no money and one chocolate bar, and while she has never been kidnapped, she has been abandoned on an uninhabited island in the middle of the wilderness for longer than she wants to remember.

In her spare time, when not writing award-winning books, magazine articles, and flash fiction stories, Zara tends her organic herb garden and whips up ethnic dishes for friends and family.

A member of RWA, Zara is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, and she has received awards from Women on Writing, Stone Thread Publishing, Tryst Literary Magazine, and Winning Writers. Her novels have placed first in the Pages from the Heart, Romance Through the Ages, second in the Touch of Love, and long listed for the Mslexia Award.

My Disclaimer:
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author’s representative. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review: ✰✰✰✰
This was a great story to follow the first book. The pacing was a bit uneven and I found my attention wandering a bit in parts with all the description of dark alleys. But this answers the questions I had from the first book about the other couple, Sirena/Bella and Vernon.

Remember the first book was Ari the former Olympian and Melissa. Sirena is Ari’s sister and best friends with Melissa. The older couple has gone back to the island they own and living their peaceful life. Sirena’s life is far from peaceful.

Sirena is desperately trying to build up her tattoo business and take care of her colony of feral alley cats. Her drawings for the big job get stolen and she loses the chance there. Her cats are attacked. She’s attacked. Her shop is vandalized. She ends up teaming up and sleeping rough with some street kids. Actually, they are Ari’s team of street kids.

But the love of her life is trying to go straight during all of this. He was a total thug and crime boss. Now he’s an “ex”. He’s also her ex, but he wants her back. He’s trying to go straight, but he’s a bit naive about it. His stepmother and half-brother aren’t being helpful at all because they want what he has and could continue to provide. It gets messy and a bit confusing with everyone running around in the dark. That’s when it drags a bit, I think.

There are scary parts and sweet parts in this second book. The absolute sweetest thing is when Vernon brings Sirena three tiny kittens to care for. He couldn’t have done anything more right if he’d brought her the moon or a million dollars! This might not be quite as good as the first book, but it is certainly a good read. The relationship between these two is funny and sweet and on-and-off. You just have to read it!

I’ve been unable to find a release date, yet, for Under the Skin Book #3.

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