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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Skin Deep by SW Vaughn

Skin Deep by S.W. Vaughn
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (199 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by: Fern

Will Ambrose knows everything about love – except how to find it himself. He hosts a popular GLBT relationship radio show, but his own affairs have been rocky and abusive. With sexy, seductive tattoo artist Cobalt, it's lust at first sight. Unfortunately he's already involved ... until that night, when his late arrival home sends his cop partner into a jealous, violent rage.

Cobalt is a Fae, banished to live among humans. His studio, The Grotto, is both a hot spot for the NYC body art crowd and a haven for other Fae seeking protection. Though he's given up on relationships, since his human lovers tend to go insane when they discover his true nature, he can't help his lustful reaction to Will when the radio host visits The Grotto. He tries to dismiss it, but is compelled to get involved when a cab deposits a battered, broken Will at his door, with Cobalt's name on his lips.

Can their powerful attraction – and phenomenal sex – overcome an abusive closeted cop, a traitorous Fae who tries to divide them, and an ex-lover with inhuman powers who'll stop at nothing to take Cobalt back ... including going through Will?

Skin Deep is fascinating story brimming with magic, chaos, and romance. The title itself gives a hint of what you can expect, but goes far beyond the adage that what you see is what you get.

When we meet Will, he’s in a terrible position. His lover, who has a tendency to be violent, is a cop. Because of this, Will allows their unstable and deadly relationship to continue, which is a total hypocrisy, as he is the voice of a popular gay radio show. One night, his lover goes too far, and Will finds himself awakening from a beating that has left him broken and bleeding on the bathroom tile. With nowhere to turn, he finds himself taking a cab to the man he’s met only once but can’t seem to forget – the sexy and mysterious tattoo artist, Cobalt.

Cobalt is a fae who has been banished for the court. Unwilling to remain as the lover to one he refutes, he has carved a life for himself in the mortal realm. There is just one problem. All of those mortal men he loves go mad when they learn what he truly is. Although he knows it’s wrong to begin a relationship with Will, he can’t seem to get the beautiful, strong, and proud human out of his mind. When he claims Will for his own, a chain of events follows, and Cobalt will face the fae who would claim him for his own.

Talk about an entertaining story with memorable characters and writing that engages the attention and maintains the interest. I loved the mythos, the interwoven plots, and the world that S.W. Vaughn has created. Her attention to detail will allow you to envision Cobalt in his true form perfectly, as well as picture this fae world in which dark forces reside. While there are disturbing scenes and explicit violence that take place in the story, the source material of abuse is handled well, and I felt it was necessary to show the stark contrast between a loving relationship and an obsessive one.

Fans of the urban fantasy/erotica genre who have a yang for M/M romance will love Skin Deep. The protagonists are given equal time, and are intriguing in their similarities and differences. The dialogue is sharp and funny, and the plot keeps you guessing. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more of what S.W. Vaughn has to share in the future.

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