Title: Back Piece
Author: L.A. Witt
Series: Skin Deep Inc. #1
Genre: M/M Hot Contemporary
Available: 25th April
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.
Source: ARC from SMP Swerve via NetGalley
Take one sexy man in uniform, throw in a sexy tattooist, add in a lack of experience and an adventurous need for sexual exploration, plus a truck load of emotional and mental health issues and you get this seriously hot read with a heart. I loved it.
That’s not to say it’s perfect, though. Because while I adored both Colin and Daniel, and loved that they are multifaceted and complicated people, with issues surrounding eating disorders and homophobic parents, at times there really wasn’t enough plot to last the whole distance. Mostly this gap is filled with hot sex, which I’m not complaining about, but it’s also filled with conversation. And while I’m definitely here for characters who talk to each other, the repetitiveness of having the same conversation over and over again did get a little old.
Which is a shame, because Daniel is gorgeous. A sexy sailor without any experience. He’s shy and adorable and prone to panicking over not getting things right, but when he relaxes with Colin it’s just perfect. I loved these two together. The way he accepts everything about Colin, and the way Colin never makes him feel lacking is wonderful. I also really liked that his family were real people too. They have some truly abhorrent beliefs, but they’re not completely evil people, which is of course why Daniel struggles so much over whether or not to come out. Poor guy is twisted all inside out about it, but I loved how he still managed to grow and become his real self for the first time, thanks to Colin’s acceptance.
Colin is far more messed up than Daniel, and I really appreciated that even with an amazing support network and a great guy like Daniel on his side, he still struggles. There is no magic fix for him, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. He is incredibly supportive of Daniel and the way he eased all his anxieties was lovely. They’re a great pair, even with all the drama and discussions. I do wish we’d learnt more about his tattoos, though. I expected more of a story behind at least some of his ink, but that never came up.
I also wish the ending had been a little less rushed. The big drama towards the end was a little too overblown for my tastes, and the solutions somewhat simple, but more than this, there were some seriously big parts of their relationship that weren’t fully resolved. This definitely feels like a HFN, because with Daniel’s career and family and Colin’s problems, I felt like they didn’t really have any kind of plan for the future. I know, they haven’t known each other long, but it would have been nice if things hadn’t ended quite so quickly.
Still, if you’re looking for a hot read that involves fully fleshed-out characters and doesn’t believe that love (and sex) can cure everything in an instant, then give this a go. I’m certainly glad I did and will definitely be looking out for more from this series.
Back Piece is out April 25th.
Visit L.A. Witt for more details.