Review: Skin Game by Ava Gray

Format: E-book
Opens with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Skin, Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Porfirio Ten-Bears Reyes
Heroine: Kyra Marie Beckwith
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: November 3, 2009
Started On: February 12, 2011
Finished On: February 14, 2011

My first Ava Gray certainly has left me begging for more. My expectations for this book were at an all time high since reviewers who are pretty picky in giving high ratings for books have seemed to love the 1st book in the Skin series and thus I wanted this one to rock my world unlike any had done in a long time. Though I had a bit of tussle in getting into the story at the beginning, once Reyes showed up and things started getting interesting, I was hooked line and sinker and never looked back.

This story has got to be one where the hero and heroine have the weirdest names I have come across. Porfirio Ten-Bears Reyes or Reyes as he is known as is a professional assassin for hire. Its hard to say much about his past though there are glimpses into his less than ideal childhood every now and then. Reyes had picked up the skill of killing when he had served time for allegedly raping a white girl who had evidently liked her sex a bit rough, who had been too scared to own up to the fact when others had found out about it, thus convicting Reyes of raping her. Though Reyes kills for money he has one rule that he doesn’t mess up with ever. He kills only the worst scumbags that he comes across, the ones that he knows with conviction that deserve their life on Earth to be brought to an end.

Kyra Marie Beckwith or Kyra as she is known as grew up with a father who had conned people to make a living. Always travelling around nomad style, Kyra had never gone to school and is self taught with whatever skills she had been taught by her father. Having never had a home base of her own, Kyra is a restless soul as they come until she vows vengeance on the man who leaves her father to die after giving him a brutal beating. From that moment onwards it is Kyra’s mission to make Gerrard Serrano suffer, and that is exactly what she does when she cons him and humiliates him unlike anyone has done in a long time, earning her his wrath and vow to exact revenge of the worst kind on her. Kyra has a strange power which enables her to suck the abilities of the people she comes physically into contact with which makes it difficult for her to to touch and be touched because she never knows just what she might pick up along the way.

It is Serrano’s need to exact revenge from Kyra that sets Reyes on her path. Dispatched to kill her after being fed with a bunch of lies convincing Reyes that Kyra deserves what is coming for her, he is not at all prepared for the intense attraction that takes a hold of him when he comes in contact with her. From the first encounter itself, Reyes is intrigued to learn more about his contract and thus he cons his way into her life, earning her trust and deeper feelings along the way whilst the mutual attraction between them burns out of control every moment they spend together. When the truth does inevitably come out, Kyra feels more betrayed than she has ever felt and no matter what Reyes does to convince her otherwise, Kyra is too hurt to really take stock of Reyes’s actions and behavior the past couple of weeks to arrive at the conclusion that Reyes really does love her and wants only her happiness.

This is a pretty interesting debut of a series that combines romance, red-hot loving, suspense with a touch of paranormal to make it a very a good well-balanced read. For those who are icky with the paranormal stuff, it doesn’t play much of a role in the story apart from Kyra’s abilities that comes in pretty handy throughout.

Couple of things I loved about this one. First of all Reyes who is hot, lethal and definitely my kind of hero when he would practically lay down his life for the woman he falls for. He doesn’t apologize for who he is, but rather when Kyra does enter into his life Reyes realizes the darkness that is his constant companion and yearns for the peace that he finds in Kyra’s arms which I couldn’t just help but sigh all over the fact. The next thing about this story that I loved was the fact that at the end, Kyra’s need for vengeance and revenge over the man who threatens to destroy everyone who means something in her life doesn’t just end with the typical forgiveness-will-make-you-the-bigger-person crap. Rather, Serrano meets his very well deserved death at the hands of Kyra and that fact alone makes this a story well worth my time! And loved the intense chemistry between Reyes and Kyra that set the pages afire, each and every time that they come together.

Though I loved the story that unfolded, I had an intense dislike for the way Kyra makes Reyes feel when she discovers who he  truly is. I just found her holier-than-thou attitude a bit annoying though I did understand where she was coming from. Yes, I always tend to be a bit biased towards my heroes and maybe that’s why I couldn’t muster up much love for Kyra towards the end.

I’m hoping that I would be able to see Reyes and Kyra in the coming story which features the enigmatic Foster and Kyra’s best friend Mia whose journey towards happily-ever-after begins in this one.

Favorite Quotes

His actions made no sense and didn’t follow the rules by which she’d lived. In her experience, one warm body was much like another, interchangeable. Sometimes the skill levels varied, but with enough imagination almost anyone could serve the purpose. Hell, given her lifestyle, she often worked in that capacity alone.
He shook his head, darkly intent. “You’re out of your mind if you think that anybody else will do. I could f**k a hundred women, and still go to sleep with this ache in my gut. It has to be you.”

Reyes reached for her then, not calculating the probable outcome of his actions. He pulled her into his lap and sifted his hand into her tangled curls. She surprised him by yielding, not fighting him like a wildcat, and her body felt like seven kinds of heaven in his arms.

They listened to music on an old radio until the batteries gave out. They napped, talked, and made love with a gentleness that often left her weeping. He was so careful of her leg that she almost felt breakable in his arms, not because of his vast strength, but because of her great vulnerability to him.
Each time he touched her now, she rocked with a quiet little earthquake of the soul. Because he could. Out of the billions of people on the planet, all of who were prospective marks on her, targets from whom she could steal, he could wrap his arms around her and bury his face in her hair. She would have felt impossibly exposed, if she hadn’t sensed that he soaked in the contact as much as she.

Recommended for fans of contemporary romantic suspense with a dash of paranormal tossed into the story.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo



  1. Hoooooorayyyyyy! Thanx 4 the juicy sexy wicked review MBR I picked up SKIN GAME by Ava Gray 2 day..iam soo excited & eye just cant hide yaya,yayyyy!



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