Cover Up (Skin Deep Inc. #3) by L.A. Witt

After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.
Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.
From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?

So evidently I’m not only on a L.A. Witt kick, I’m also on a military kick… Like I’ve mentioned before, L.A. Witt is on a role and I haven’t read all her available titles, but there are a few that I just couldn’t resist. The Skin Deep Inc series is one of them. On a side note, if I hadn’t already decided to go back and read Back Piece (the first book in the series – I have no idea how I missed that one) Cover Up would have made the decision a no-brainer.

Nate pretty much broke my heart in Pounding Skin – his break up with his husband of 10 years almost convinced Jon that true, long standing love didn’t exist. Thankfully, things worked out for Jon and and Matt, but I’m equally thankful that Nate got his chance at a true HEA.

Lucas may have been an apprentice at Skin Deep Inc, but he was really just using that title as a crutch. He was especially talented at covering up tattoos that people weren’t happy with for one reason or another. He could have become a full fledged artist, but he lost his confidence with one screw up. He was still trying to get over it when he met Nate.

I gotta admit, even though I wanted Nate and Lucas to be each other’s HEA, I thought things moved a little too fast. Yet, I felt the connection that these two had. Nate had no intention of getting close to anyone else and Lucas had been burned himself a couple of times. He had no intention of being anyone’s rebound. Love had other plans for these two, but that didn’t mean things were easy.

On a side note – isn’t it great when books take place in areas that you recognize? I live really close to Virginia Beach, which is where the naval base and the tattoo parlor are. Cover Up was even cooler for me though because Lucas and Nate traveled across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and took Rt. 13 north through the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which is where I actually live. It was a quick trip, but it was really fun reading about such a familiar area.

It was great being with Jon, Matt and the rest of the characters again. Colin and Daniel – who were the first couple introduced in Back Piece – also played a fairly important role in Cover Up. Which is just one of the many reasons why I need to go back and read their story from the beginning. You can read any of these stories as a stand alone, but I bet once you read one, you’re going to want to read them all. 😉

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Rank & File (Anchor Point #4) by L.A. Witt

Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.
Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.
When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.
But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.
Except—too late.

Readers met Will in Chief’s Mess. Although he was a supporting character, he suffered a lot in that book, but he also offered a lot of support for Noah. So, going into Rank & File, I already had a soft spot for him.

Since his break up, Will hasn’t been interested at all in even looking at another man…until he met Brent. It wasn’t a normal meeting, but after that, neither man could get the other out of his head.

There was nothing simple about their relationship though, even when they tried to trick themselves into believing that what they have is casual. A relationship, even a casual one, is forbidden by their ranks. As long as they keep the careers that they have worked hard for, any kind of relationship is impossible. My heart broke for both of them because regardless of what they did, they were destined to lose something.

I’m really loving this series and getting glimpses of the previous couples, even small ones, is one of the best parts. Going Overboard is next and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 

Get A Grip (Blue Water Bay #19) by L.A. Witt

If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?
A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.
A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.
But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.
This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

Yep… it’s another L.A. Witt addition to my review pile. She’s been one busy author lately, but I’m NOT complaining. Especially when she found time to introduce readers to another Bluewater Bay couple. Aaron and Shane turned out to be among my favorites. 😉

Besides the fact that I loved Aaron and Shane in Get a Grip, I loved the twist. Neither one of these guys were looking for anything serious, as a matter of fact, Aaron hardly ever looked beyond a single encounter. There was something about Shane that pulled him in though. Shane felt the same pull, but he had his kids to think about as well as the fact that he had only really experienced long term relationships, which hadn’t exactly worked out so well. He was definitely not ready to tie himself down again. And there was the twist… the playboy found himself ready to settle down and the family man wanted to keep things casual.

There were a couple of other things that I really loved about this story. The supporting characters were great (especially Leo… I liked Leo a lot 😉 ) The mutual love and respect that Shane shared with his ex was great. That love and respect carried over to the kids, which won me over even more. (I’m secretly kind of hoping that readers get to see more of Leo… ❤ )

Needless to say, Get a Grip was a great addition to the Bluewater Bay series. The next book in the series is Three Player Game by Jaime Samms, which I’ve already read and reviewed. Coming in October is Anna Zabo’s Outside the Lines.

Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by L.A. Witt & Cari Z. – Bout of Books 20 Review

Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.
For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.
Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

I made a prediction when I finished Risky Behavior, the first book in L.A. Witt and Cari Z’s Bad Behavior series. I’m happy to say (and not surprised, I might add) that I was right. I’m not only really going to like this series, but by the end of Suspicious Behavior I had fallen head over heels in love with both Darren and Andreas and I can’t wait until the next book is released. *sigh*

This book takes up pretty much where the last one left off. Darren has pretty much recovered from his close call and both he and Andreas are back at work. To say that they were welcomed back would be a stretch. Pretty much the entire police force has turned against them because of the fallout from their last case. Cops don’t turn on cops and even though Andreas and Darren had no choice and did the right thing, their actions turned them into pariahs. They did have a few allies, which turned out to be a very good thing…

Things start to get even more complicated when the cold case falls in their laps. Not only are things not exactly what they seem, but they have to rely on turning enemies into allies and use deception to gain the truth, more than once. If those complications weren’t enough, real life keeps barging in and making things not only more complicated but heart wrenching.

There were so many layers to Suspicious Behavior that I think that’s what drew me in even more. There was the romance, the mystery, the family issues on both sides, the conflict at work and the lack of peer support – which escalated more than once. All of that combined help turn this series up a notch. Readers have to wait until January of 2018 for Reckless Behavior, but knowing L.A. Witt and Cari Z, I have no doubt it will be well worth the wait. 😉

Pounding Skin (Skin Deep #2) by L.A. Witt

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.

I just realized that I’ve been on quite a L.A. Witt run lately. It wasn’t intentional, she’s just had a LOT of books on my review list. Plus, she’s one of my go-to authors (if she writes it, I read it.) Which is rather ironic because I somehow missed the first book in the Skin Deep, Inc. series, Back Piece, but I’m sure I’ll be rectifying that shortly.

Matt and Jon were an interesting mix. Jon had a reputation of being out and totally casual when it came to his sexuality, but he was a total tattoo virgin with no desire to change that status. Then he lost the bet. Matt was totally straight, or at least he thought he was. After a threesome birthday surprise for an ex turned friend, he wasn’t so sure. Then Jon walked into Skin Deep, Inc. and he really had his doubts.

These two guys were clueless and I mean that in a most endearing way. Jon had no intention of settling down, ever. He was perfectly content to jump from partner to partner with no strings attached rarely even a repeat ‘date’. Matt wasn’t exactly looking for a long term relationship either, but his attraction to Jon had him more than a little curious. Jon was more than happy to help him with his curiosity and have some fun while he was at it.

Matt wasn’t exactly in denial about his sexuality, he just never considered being gay, bi or anything but straight an option – mostly because of the environment he grew up in. Jon didn’t have to look far for examples of why even the most solid relationships never worked out, so he wasn’t willing to take a chance. These two falling for each other was inevitable… and more than a little entertaining.

As I mentioned, I haven’t read Back Piece, but after reading Pounding Skin, I really want to go back and read it. The supporting characters were great in Pounding Skin and Colin and Daniel made me want to get to know them better. The next book in the series is Cover Up and I can’t wait to see Nate find his true HEA. ❤ 

Chief’s Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.
When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.
But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.

I feel like this book should come with an “excessive sex” disclaimer. Honest, I’m not complaining, because the heat between Noah and Anthony was worth it, but at times it seemed like that was the only thing they had in common.  Aside from that one minor issue – which wasn’t really an issue at all – I really liked Noah and Anthony.

Anthony had no intention of starting a relationship. He was just trying to find an escape from the drama revolving around his sister and ex brother-in -law – even though there was a lot less drama than he expected. He had a harder time letting go of what his sister’s ex put her through than she did, but as close as he was to his sister, he was on the outside looking in. Regardless how things were now, he had his reasons for being ultra sensitive when he started picking up signs from Noah that were heavy reminders.

Noah wasn’t exactly blind to his problem. He did things that scared even him, but he talked himself down and made promises to himself that he deep down knew he couldn’t keep. It took almost loosing something that he didn’t even know he wanted to shake some sense into him.

An added bonus to Chief’s Mess was spending some time with Travis and Clint from Afraid to Fly. It was kind of hard to see Clint from Anthony’s perspective, but it was worth it to see thing turn around for all of them.

Risky Behavior (Bad Behavior #1) by L.A. Witt & Cari Z.

It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not.
Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes.
As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox—and borderline unethical—methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder—is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty?

I’ve read several books by Cari Z and even more by L.A. Witt. Whenever I see a book written by either one of them I’m intrigued. Having them join creative forces? Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate to pick up Risky Behavior.

I love well developed ‘broken’ characters and Andrea definitely fell into that category. He had everyone convinced that he it was safer to keep their distance and he worked hard at keeping it that way. He also had a secret that he worked even harder to keep hidden.

Even though Darren wasn’t necessarily broken, he still had his own secrets. He also had a sense of honor and loyalty that kept him from jumping to conclusions before he had the whole story. It didn’t take him long to figure out there was a lot more to Andrea than what was on the surface.

This book had everything I love in a new series. Plenty of heat between the good guys, suspense, action and characters that were easy to fall for. I can’t wait to see what this talented duo has in store for Andrea and Darren as the Bad Behavior series continues.

Afraid to Fly (Anchor Point #2) by L.A. Witt

afraid-to-fly_600x900Once a fearless fighter pilot, Commander Travis Wilson is now confined to a desk. It’s been eight years since the near-fatal crash that grounded him, and it still rules his life thanks to relentless back pain.
Lieutenant Commander Clint Fraser almost drowned in a bottle after a highly classified catastrophe while piloting a drone. His downward spiral cost him his marriage and kids, but he’s sober now and getting his life back on track. He’s traded drones for a desk, and he’s determined to reconcile with his kids and navigate the choppy waters of PTSD.
Clint has been on Travis’s radar ever since he transferred to Anchor Point. When Clint comes out to his colleagues, it’s a disaster, but there’s a silver lining: now that Travis knows Clint is into men, the chemistry between them explodes.
It’s all fun and games until emotions get involved. Clint’s never been in love with a man before. Travis has, and a decade later, that tragic ending still haunts him. Clint needs to coax him past his fear of crashing and burning again, or their love will be grounded before takeoff.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I really liked the first book in this series. Just Drive was the perfect introduction to Anchor Point. I was hoping that the second book would be just as strong and Afraid to Fly did not disappoint.

Readers met Travis in Just Drive. He was and still is Paul’s best friend, which is great because readers also got to check in on Paul and Sean. 😉 Paul returned the favor of being Travis’ sounding board and boy did he have his work cut out for him. The cards were stacked against Travis and Clint. Travis put up his own walls because of a tragic relationship in his past. Clint couldn’t afford to give his ex-wife any more reasons to keep him away from his kids. He was also shouldering a lot of unnecessary guilt because he was ordered not to talk to anyone about the events that led to his PTSD. Once again L.A. Witt made the impossible probable. She really made these two work for it though.

I’m really enjoying seeing how these couples face what they’ve been through head-on. They make mistakes and come close to losing even more than they’ve already lost. They’re men who put their life on the line and are used to having each others’ back, but find it hard to depend on anyone or show any weakness. I can’t wait to see what’s next in Anchor Point.

DragonFlyRating4

Just Drive (Anchor Point #1) by L.A. Witt

justdriveFor Sean Wright, driving a cab in the tiny Navy town of Anchor Point isn’t an exciting job . . . until he picks up just-dumped Paul Richards. A drive turns into a walk on the pier, which turns into the hottest hookup Sean’s had in ages.
After a long overdue breakup, Paul can’t believe his luck. Of all the drivers, he’s picked up by the gorgeous, gay, and very willing Sean. Younger guys aren’t usually his thing, but Paul can’t resist.
One taste and neither man can get enough . . . right up until they realize that Paul is Sean’s father’s commanding officer and the last man Sean should be involved with.
With two careers on the line, their only option is to back off. It’s not easy, though; the sex and the emotional connection are exactly what both men have been craving for a long time. But Paul has devoted twenty-four years to his career and his dream of making admiral. If he’s caught with Sean, that’s all over. He has to choose—stay the course, or trade it all for the man who drove off with his heart.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Oh how I loved this book and I’m more than a little excited that it’s just the first of a brand new series.

Having said that and as much as I love L.A. Witt, I spent most of this book not knowing how in the heck she was going to make the relationship between Paul and Sean. The frustrating part was that Paul and Sean were so good for each other, but their relationship was doomed from the start.

There’s not a whole lot more that I can say because I don’t want to give things away. Just know that the romance was amazing, the only logical solution was heart breaking and the author’s ultimate twist that ‘fixed’ everything was brilliant. Afraid to Fly is the next book in Witt’s Anchor Point series and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Travis and Clint.

DragonFlyGreen4-5

Kinky Sprinkles by L.A. Witt

kinkysprinklesJoel has finally walked away from his abusive ex and is ready to meet new people. But that isn’t easy for a guy who’s shy, self-conscious, and struggling with his body image.
Andre has wanted Joel since the first time he laid eyes on him, and finally Joel is single. But Andre is a Dom and a sadist, and Joel is unapologetically vanilla. There’s no happy medium—either Andre reins in the kinky side that took him years to accept, or Joel grits his teeth and subjects himself to kinks that aren’t his thing. No matter who bends, someone’s going to be unhappy.
They agree to walk away, but they keep circling back to each other. Though their kinks might not line up, the chemistry between them sizzles and the emotional connection keeps getting deeper. But none of that will get them anywhere if they can’t find some kind of middle ground in the bedroom.
 

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I know I say this every time I review a BDSM book, but this genre is definitely not my ‘go-to’ in either F/M or M/M romance. However, every once in a while a description, title or author catches my attention. All three happened with Kinky Sprinkles. I mean, come on, how can you possibly NOT want to find out what a title like that has to do with this genre?

When it comes to L.A. Witt, you never really know what to expect. That is not a complaint. I like the unexpected. She has a knack (especially in the last two books I’ve read by her) of making the impossible, possible. After reading the description, it’s kind of hard to figure out how in the world these two guys could ever get over their differences enough to make any kind of relationship work.

Joel and Andre eventually find a way that works for them. It’s unconventional and definitely not anything a lot of people would even consider, but it works for them. Regardless of how they worked it out, I liked these two enough that I was happy for them in the end. Oh, and the title? Yeah, it made perfect sense… just wait for it 😉

DragonFlyRating4