Book Review

Within the Skin

Within the Skin

The Skin Quartet #3

Zara West

The Wild Rose Press, Inc., Sep 17, 2018

245 pages, Kindle, paperback

Contemporary Romance, Second Chance Romance



The cover fits with the others in this series and with the story. The Brooklyn Bridge and a couple in love caught in the throes of passion fit perfectly into this story. Both figure big time in this book.

This third book in the series is Toro’s story, more or less. Toro’s been painting, and she’s damn good at it. She’s won a big prize. Unfortunately, it’s brought her the attention of the one man she needs to avoid. Shark Man has her brother, Hanger, and now he’s plotting to get his hands on her.

But wait, isn’t Toro the young punk who runs the street art gang? The ones that go higher, paint better, and disappear faster than every other gang in the city? Yeah, that’s Toro all right. But Toro isn’t a he, he’s a she and she’s using her real name and dressing as the woman she is with Bella’s help…borrowed clothed and some quick make-up lessons included. The prize money’s supposed to be for Hanger’s college education, but Shark Man is really complication things by insisting that Toro marry him. He claims to know who she really is, princessa! She has the one person who can verify who she is. But she has no intention of marrying Shark Man. She’s in love with Pharaoh. But she’ll have to find him if she wants him.

Just as Ms. West has brought these characters out of the shadows, she has created them as real people in this book. Hanger is still the rebellious younger brother, but now you understand his side of things. Pharaoh sees Toro and Hanger as vulnerable and he would do anything to protect them, even spend time in prison for them. So why didn’t he check to be sure Hanger wasn’t inside that garage before he walked away? Why didn’t he check to be sure he’d gotten away? Why has he tried twice to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge? Both times he’s been stopped by Toro. So, why does he take off when things finally calm down? Was it just because she wouldn’t marry him?

And Toro. What kind of a woman is she when she has spent the last six years living with and as a young man? Having to act as one and be one up close and personal. Living side by side with them having to conceal the fact that she is indeed a young woman. Seeing and hearing things a young woman shouldn’t. And she is the leader of her street artist gang, not just a follower. She’s the one in charge, making the decisions, and leading the way. And she is highly respected, too.

The pace of life and struggle is with us once again. The tension of the strife and gang-like behavior of Shark Man and his thugs adds a level of tension that really tightens your nerves until you just can’t put this down without knowing what happens next. Yes, Zara West has done it again! It’s hard to say this is the best because the first two books were so good as well. But this is outstanding! I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Highly recommended.

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