Best in the series for me and a passionate romance

Cover Up (Skin Deep Inc., #3)Cover Up by L.A. Witt

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

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Needs its own heat rating – seriously packs a sexy punch

Wheels Up (Out of Uniform, #4)Wheels Up by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book needs to come with a heat warning. And an ice pack, probably a fan and definitely should be enjoyed somewhere the reader can artfully swoon because it is – without any shadow of doubt – the sexiest and downright kinkiest of the series.

Ben and Maddox remain my favourite pair but Dustin and Wes are approaching the top quickly in their bid to win my affections as best Out of Uniform couple yet.

This book had everything, kinky scenes which bucked the stereotypes, steamy and emotional sex, actual angst caused by real conflict and situations not just for plot points, the detailed military elements I’ve come to expect from this series and, finally, an ending which leaves you sighing at the beauty of a loving relationship overcoming all obstacles.

Bravo Annabeth, this one is gorgeous – just like the scorching hot cover.

#ARC received from Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Hot as the cover with a great story inside

Pounding Skin (Skin Deep Inc., #2)Pounding Skin by L.A. Witt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely as hot as the photo on the cover! Overall I enjoyed this one more than book one, even though I’ve given them the same rating.

There’s far less angst in this one, for most of the book the MCs are happily together just getting on with having some of that amazing sex LA Witt is so, so good at writing.

There’s little in the way of outside forces creating tensions, it all comes from the relationship development itself and even that isn’t particularly bad.

Jon needed his eyes opening to see what he was potentially throwing away and Matt needed to wake up and realise he wanted more and that he wouldn’t wait around. Thankfully some proverbial head knocking resulted in some top class grovelling and an epic HFN nudging into a HEA.

Nice to see Colin and Daniel from book one not only still together but thriving and I’m loving the book three pairing.

#ARC received from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Loved this military Japanese set romance

Conduct UnbecomingConduct Unbecoming by L.A. Witt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say, I’m a sucker for military romances and this one set on Okinawa was a real delight.

Both Shane and Eric were well drawn characters with unique personalities and the first person narrative worked well for seeing into their heads as they moved from the initial lust into love.

Okinawa as a setting absolutely shone too, I felt like I was travelling around with the two men as they explored and LA added enough explanation about the military rates and ranks for me to understand why their relationship was a risk without it feeling like an info dump.

Hot men, beautiful location, amazing sex, happy ending epilogue, what more is needed 🙂

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I’m stumped by what I want to say about this book

Any Given Sunday (A Southern Scrimmage Companion Book 6)Any Given Sunday by Mercy Celeste

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
3.75* conflicted stars

So, this book is the scorching hot sexual adventure all of the Southern Scrimmage series of stories have been but I’m confused over just what I think of it.

The timescales in this one fluctuate between Bo and Dylan’s childhood, through the six years Dylan was in the Marines and Bo was playing ball and the time period after Bo thought Dylan was dead up until his rescue.

So it’s mostly both men with other people, which didn’t bother me as much as it may other readers, but it’s just a bit too much of everything other than Bo and Dylan for it to be truly enjoyable.

Book one gave Bo and Dylan an epic romance and then subsequent books seem to have shafted that with cheating or if not that, some very definitely dubious morals encounters.

I felt I understood Levi a bit more after reading the last book but this one’s just confused all that again as well. He goes back to giving off the mixed vibes of being a selfish git and a complete slapper instead of the far more nuanced and complex person his “autobiography” gave us.

Understandable as this is set at the same time as the events in the two earlier books so it’s unfortunate it’s been published later! On a reread I’d definitely add this one in before book one I think.

This whole book just threw things into a pot, stirred them, but then never cooked them up into a cohesive unit, certainly not one that tied in with events in all the other books.

Don’t get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s smoking hot, has the same great world building as the rest and it gives more background to events happening in the first two books.

I just seriously hope we get Blindsided and the final book released soon as there’s plot lines and narrative threads still left hanging all over the place at the moment.

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My favourite yet – this is a perfect friends to lovers military romance

On Point (Out of Uniform #3)On Point by Annabeth Albert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is nothing more delicious than a friends to lovers story, especially when there’s a bit of spice added to the mix and with On Point, Annabeth Albert has done both.

Ben and Maddox have been best friends since basic training, each of them providing the encouragement and support the other needed to become Navy SEALs. They’re both top of their skill trees and together they’re almost unstoppable.

Unfortunately, a drunken semi-encounter a few months before their latest deployment has made their friendship awkward and they’re not sure how to move on. Fighting for their lives after an incident on a jungle mission might be the catalyst for fixing everything or the final straw which drives them apart.

I loved how Annabeth made both men flawed, this wasn’t a case of one of them having issues which prevented their friendship from turning into love. Both Ben and Maddox had real, believable fears about damaging their relationship and they were handled well.

It’s military men, so there’s the usual hot alpha men doing what they do best, but Maddox also has a more gentle side. He loves to bake and has a secret desire to open his own shop, while Ben is career Navy and can’t think of anything else he could do. This adds the necessary friction needed to bring tension to what could otherwise be an all too familiar trope.

The way they resolved their issues was well crafted, again a realistic exploration of what happens when two people realise they would be far worse off apart. As it’s Annabeth Albert, there’s some seriously hot smexy times which really do pay off as part of the romance narrative. She is an auto one click author for me and her Out of Uniform series is seriously competing with her #gaymers for my favourite from her.

Release date for ON POINT is June 5, 2017 and it will be available from all major retails. The title is up for pre-order on Amazon.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Lots of feels with this new series

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gave me many feels, some of them very good, a couple not as good, but overall it weighed out on the side of being a great read.

I loved both Colin and Daniel, I liked how each of their special hang ups were dealt with and I absolutely loved that there was no magic dick cure just because they fell in love.

I also liked that Daniel’s family weren’t portrayed as one dimensional homophobic religious bigots but as complete and complex people and how Daniel could love them at the same time as hate them for their views.
Throughout their visit I could feel the weight of the pressure on my shoulders, something LA Witt is excellent at writing.

Something else she’s great at writing are sex scenes, and the steam level is high in this one with some stupendous virgin sex.

The angst levels were moderate. I’d guessed what Colin’s background was going to be before it was revealed and, while it was a big part of his mental illness, it was never treated lightly but was explained and explored in the context of his continual eating issues.

World building was great and, as this is book one in a new series, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming next.
Oh, and that cover, yeah that could have stars all on its own, so hot.

#ARC kindly provided by the publishers through NetGalley in return for an unbiased and honest review.

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