My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is, in my opinion anyway, easily the best in the series with two characters who felt relatable and believable.
Nate has been on the periphery of the other two books in this series, he’s Jon’s best friend, his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer), his wingman, the guy who’s always had his back. At the end of book two, the reader was left with Nate’s discovery of his husband Caleb’s cheating and his 10-year marriage crashing around him.
Lucas was the new guy at Skin Deep, an expert at covering up other tattoos and, at 28, already divorced twice from impulsive relationships both as a teenager and at college. He’s struggling running two other jobs and his confidence has been knocked by a mistake he made freehanding a tattoo and not looking for anything when his and Nate’s worlds collide.
Now, a disclaimer here, I think LA Witt is one of the finest proponents of emotionally driven characters and her talent for writing sex scenes which bounce off the page with their chemistry isn’t matched by many, so this book was just my cup of tea.
The instant attraction between the two is palpable, you can feel it like a lightning strike and it’s a no brainer for them to fall into some hot sex. But, as the weeks go on, the hook-ups start to feel a bit more like friends-with-benefits and then the months lengthen out and everything slides a bit more into a relationship.
For both men there are unforeseen consequences. Lucas realises, as Nate’s tiger tattoo – the one his ex-husband also has – remains uncovered, that he’s become the crutch Nate’s using to avoid dealing with his pain and grief from the divorce and Caleb’s cheating.
Nate hurts Lucas, unintentionally, but it’s something which needed to happen because he realises he hasn’t dealt at all with the the end of his marriage and covering up his tattoo isn’t going to help at all. There some real conversation between Nate and his ex which allows him to realise that what he has with Lucas is even more precious to him and leaves him wondering how he’s going to fix things.
The ending is a sweet conclusion to what has been a slow and steady falling in love of two people who never set out with the intention of doing that. There is an honest expression of emotion and hopes for the future and we also see Colin and Daniel from book one concluding their HEA with a truly sweet proposal and wedding and expectations that both Jon and Matt, and Nate and Lucas, will be following them down their own HEA aisles in the not too distant future.
I don’t know if there are any other books planned in this series, there’s no obvious other characters to pick up the narrative, but I’ve enjoyed each one for different reasons.
#ARC received from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review