In my very humble opinion, I think Pamela Clare is one of the best Romantic Suspense authors out there. I may be blinded by her awesome sex scenes and dreamy heroes, but that’s what I believe. And hey, if dreamy heroes and sex scenes aren’t part of what makes a romance great, then I don’t know what is.
Skin Deep is the latest installment in her I-Team series about a bunch of investigative reporters and the alpha males who love them. This time we get a novella and none of the leads are reporters, instead we get to see a former secondary character fall in love.
Megan Hunter has had a very difficult life. I won’t go into details but it’s been an odyssey of tragedy after tragedy. She’s finally putting the pieces back together, she has a job and a nice home. The only problem is that her ex is after her and her money.
Nathaniel West is a former Marie who got severely injured during his last tour. Half his body was burned and his fiancé broke up with him. Ever since then, he’s been a bit of a recluse working at his father’s ranch. But when he meets Megan is almost love at first sight for him. However, he feels so inadequate that he doesn’t even introduce himself. When Megan’s ex attacks her, he helps her and that’s how they finally meet. Forced to spend time together, Megan and Nate will end up falling in love and finding the emotional health they desperately need.
Megan has come a long way from the lost girl she used to be, and she has managed fairly well in the meantime. She was really concerned about her job, even though she technically didn’t need the money since she got plenty after the court settlement. I appreciate that she knew that to keep the stability and sanity, she needed to live a normal life, job included. But she also came across as helpless and overly dependent.
Nate is adorable, but he’s pretty much the same as every single scared hero out there: he falls for the heroine, but feels worthless and to ugly for love. Been there, done that. Fortunately for all of us, the heroine doesn’t see him that way so there’s not much opportunity for self-pity. Of course, it helps that the side left unmarred looks like an angel. Ms. Clare’s heroes tend to be overprotective alphas, and Nate was definitely that, but what set him apart from the rest was his shyness, or maybe that’s not an accurate description, he was more of an introspective type of man, not brooding, but really serious. And of course, all the scenes with Megan’s daughter, Emily, were adorable.
There’s some action in the novella, some beloved characters from previous stories have secondary roles, and overall it was a fast, fun read, tailored to the I-Team fans that I think outsiders will be able to enjoy but not love. Personally, I think Skin Deep is a gift to the fans more than a book for everyone. Is not that first-time readers won’t be able to enjoy it, but it helps a lot if you’re familiar with the series and emotionally invested in the heroine. Of all of her books, this is the first that doesn’t stand alone well. If you’re a newbie to the series, this is not the best place to start.
Overall it was an entertaining novella, filled with emotion and a touch of danger. It’s a good addition to the series and a great gift to the fans. Also, there’s a bonus short at the end, featuring all the men from the series. A bit over the top, but lots of fun and I’m sure fans will love it.
Review by Brie
Broken on the inside
Megan Hunter has worked hard to get back on her feet, leaving the nightmare of her teenage years behind. The last thing she wants or needs in her life is a man. But when she is attacked by someone from her past, a scarred stranger intervenes, saving her life and that of her little girl. Looks can be deceiving, for despite the man's rough appearance, she feels safe with him. And for the first time in her life, she knows the stirrings of desire.
Broken on the outside
Nathaniel West paid a high price serving with the Marines in Afghanistan. He returned to his family's ranch in the Colorado mountains to heal--and be alone. Disfigured as he is, he has put all thoughts of sex and romance aside. But something about Megan brings him back to life, heats his blood, makes him feel like a man again. As danger pursues her, and the truth about her past is revealed, he vows to protect her -- and to heal her wounded spirit. But confronting the past is never easy -- especially when it's carrying a gun. Megan will have to learn to trust Nate to survive and to claim a passion that is much more than ... Skin Deep.
Pamela Clare. May 15, 2012