Written by: Ava Gray
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 307 (Mass Market Paperback)
The premise: taken from the author's website: A beautiful fugitive—wanted dead or alive.
Kyra is a con woman and a particular kind of thief. She steals with a touch, but she only takes one thing: her target’s strongest skill. Which means she can be a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist—anything she wants… for a limited time. Heartbroken, she turns her gift toward avenging her father’s murder; with deadly patience, Kyra works her way into casino owner Gerard Serrano’s inner circle. After pulling off the ultimate con, she flees with his money and his pride.
A hit man who never misses the mark.
Reyes has nothing but his work. Pity for Kyra, he’s the best and mercy never sways him once he takes a job. He’s been hired to find out where Kyra hid the cash—and bring her back to face Serrano’s “justice.” Dead will do, if he can’t locate the loot. He’s never failed to complete a contract, but Kyra tempts him with her fierce heat and her outlaw heart. So Reyes has a hell of a choice: forsake his word or kill the woman he might love.
Worth the Cash: another tricky rating, because by all rights, the book is very solid with an engaging premise and interesting characters. I liked all the details surrounding Kyra's ability, how those details made her more human than super-human, and Reyes was the type of character you could sympathize with (even though he's a hit man). But whether it was because I read this book during an EXTREMELY busy week or I was turned off by Kyra and Reyes's initial meeting, but I wasn't engaged by this book like I expected. Maybe it's because I know the author, under her real name Ann Aguirre, does a fantastic job with angst, and there was very little angst in this book until the end, and then, of course, Gray had my full attention. Perhaps I prefer my romances to be slightly more subtle or more in the background, but that's not fair to say either, because I've read books that are straight up romance that I connected with better. So maybe my reaction is more of a "I had a horribly busy week while reading this" kind of a thing. I'm certainly interested in the sequel, Skin Tight, which focuses on two secondary characters that appear in this book, as Gray does introduce larger plot elements that don't get resolved (no worries, the immediate story is DEFINITELY resolved), so I'm curious to see what she's going to do with the four-book cycle. Plus, even though I wasn't fully engaged, I like this author a lot, and have faith that the next installment will work better for me. If it doesn't, no skin (ha ha) off my back. :) At any rate, if you're a fan of Ann Aguirre, you of course have to pick this up. If you've never heard of Ann Aguirre, but you're a romance reader, know this book includes rough sex and characters who are certainly darker than your traditional hero/heroine. If you can handle that, you'll be just fine.
Review style: no spoilers, which surprises me, since I thought there would be. But if you're paranoid, then there's no need to click the link below, which leads to the full review. However, if you're interested, comments and discussion are most welcome!
REVIEW: Ava Gray's SKIN GAME