Review: Under the Skin by Nicki Bennett, Ariel Tachna @dsp_mm_romance

    Under the Skin
Nicki Bennett, Ariel Tachna; Paperback, 200 pages
Published September 5th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 4th 2011)
Police detective Patrick Flaherty has no illusions about Russian mobster Alexei Boczar, but that doesn’t stop his fascination with the bodyguard to one of the most ruthless families in Chicago’s growing Eastern European crime community. From the moment Patrick meets Alexei’s eyes over the body of another Russian mobster, Alexei is a thorn in Patrick’s side, refusing to cooperate with the police and turning all of Patrick’s questions back on him. Alexei’s hard-as-nails persona whets Patrick’s professional determination to get the information he’s sure the gangster is hiding, while personally Patrick just wants to get his hands on Alexei’s hard body.
The tattoos marking Alexei’s skin tell the story of his criminal past, but the more Patrick learns about Alexei, the more he wants to know, until he finds himself over his head in a relationship that might cost him his job and could well cost Alexei his life. Alexei is equally fascinated by Patrick’s willingness to overlook his past and even his present associations, but he has secrets of his own that could drive a wedge between them forever.

Man, I had SO much fun reading this little darling! Of course, I’m very partial to russian mobsters with awesome names and an accent, so…

I loved a few things about this romance story a lot; like the fact that it’s a “stolen” love, the MC-s are a detective working organized crime and a russian mobster. Now, it may be naughty of me to think so, but these illicit love affairs are the most fun xDD and it helps, of course, that they’re both really hot and intense. I love intense characters.

It may be mentioned that there’s a whole lotta smex going on, and less emotional connecting for a while there, especially towards the beginning of their liaison. Now, I may be crude to point that out, but any relationship is based on the physical attraction, at times explosive, between the partners, isn’t it? Sure, things evolve, they become deeper, more emotional aside the physical fun part, and that happens with this story as well. I’ve read some opinions on this “too much smex” angle, and while I live by the motto “to each his own”, I can’t help but wonder if anyone signaled that about other books, where there was a lot of hot one on one action. Because I know I read a few, and they had considerably less interesting plot, considerably less tension, and just as much or more smex, and I didn’t really read any boos about them. But, you know…to each his own.

I found the dynamics of the Alexei and Patya (xDDD love the pet name) relationship very interesting, and they felt very real, not overly romanticized or idealized, somewhat raw and hungry and gorgeous. Of course, I’d think that, I love these intense in your face sort of relationships, and if they’re illicit as well, it’s like a goldmine of entertainment.

I loved the ending too, a lot. I loved how they had a very happy ending, these sort of odd couples, where the partners come from two so different worlds don’t always get a happy ending, so I was totally happy they did. I’m not telling you what their happy ending is, though, so stop giving me the puppy eyes :p Go ahead and read it, I loved it.

Now, if you like hot smutty angsty romance, and especially if you’re like me and love these secret, forbidden love stories, with hot characters (and have a crush on mobster characters…*yum*), I say you totally need to read this. It’s hot, it’s good writing, it’s fun, intense, and it delivers a happily ever after (sort of). What more could you want from a love story, right?

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