Title: Pounding Skin
Author: L.A. Witt
Series: Skin Deep Inc. #2
Genre: M/M Hot Contemporary
Available: 11th July
A Skin Deep, Inc. Novel
Fighter pilot Jon Russell never sleeps with the same man twice. Known for his lack of shame when it comes to hooking up, Jon has no interest in commitment—even friends with benefits sounds like too much work.
Matt Huffman has slept with lots of women. He’s had loads of girlfriends. So why does the hot as hell pilot getting a tattoo as the result of a lost bet stop his breath? And how come he can’t stop thinking about him, even after he’s gone?
When Jon returns to Skin Deep the second time, he doesn’t want another tattoo. He wants to hook up with the gorgeous artist he spent hours agonizingly close to, and Matt wants to explore some curiosity about men. Fulfill the desire he can’t stop fantasizing over. And he wants to do it with Jon.
As their casual hook up becomes more than just skin deep, both Matt and Jon are faced with questions they don’t want to answer. Matt understands he’s bi—but are these feelings he has typical of hooking up with a man? Or is it only Jon that can make his heart pound? If Jon wanted nothing more than a fling, why does he find himself needing not just Matt’s body, but all of him? And can their relationship withstand the hardships that makes Jon avoid them in the first place?
The Skin Deep, Inc books can be read in any order—come enter a world where gorgeous tattoo artists and hot Navy men find passion, pleasure, and a happily ever after together.
L.A. Witt also writes under the name Lauren Gallagher.
Source: ARC from SMP Swerve via NetGalley
Having really enjoyed the first book in this series – Back Piece – I couldn’t wait to start this one. And for the most part it delivered everything I wanted: hot guys, one a Navy pilot, the other a tattooist, some emotional issues, good friends and so much heat. But at the same time, it also suffered from the same problem as the last one – not quite enough plot to last the whole book, leaving a bit of a lull towards the end as I waited for the long expected conflict to finally occur.
It starts well. Jon makes a stupid bet and is too macho to back down from letting his buddies pick any tattoo to go on any part of his body, despite his fear of needles. Matt is the tattooist who gets the job and is already questioning his sexuality. The attraction between them is instant, but both of them hold back as they’re each trying to work out whether or not Matt is actually interested. This isn’t a Gay For You story, it’s more an internalised homophobia that has seriously messed up Matt’s head and left him questioning himself a little later than some.
However, this sort of issue is one that has to work itself out quite quickly or we can’t get on with all the hot sex this book needs to pack in. Sure, there are some lingering doubts, but they clear up swiftly enough in the face of all the evidence. All that really remains is Matt’s coming out nerves, but they’re on the minor end of the scale. I did, however, love the way he realised why he’d denied his bisexuality for so long. That was great.
As for Jon, his only real issue is his fear of commitment. Which clearly isn’t going to cause problems, oh no. Although a little more exploration of just why this was such a big problem for him would have been nice.
Other than that the only plot point happening between Matt’s discoveries and Jon’s issues is a side plot containing one of Jon’s friends. In between there’s some cute relationship stuff and a lot of Jon and Matt having sex. Which is all fine and good and enjoyable, but also nothing is happening. We get some cute Colin/Daniel stuff, which is lovely for fans of the previous book but also not really connected to what’s happening here, and we definitely get hints about what’ll happen in the next book, but it’s also unnecessary padding that could have been filled with a lot more development around Jon’s issues – both why he is that way and how he changes his mind. The last definitely needed more, because his turnaround was far too quick.
So it’s not perfect. However, if you enjoyed the first book, you’ll likely be able to read past the same issues in this one. Also, if you like two guys having lots of hot sex, you can probably deal with the plot lulls. I did and I liked enough to definitely keep my eye out for the next one.
Pounding Skin is out July 11th.
Visit L.A. Witt for more details.