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Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Series: Skin, #3
Hero: Zeke Noble
Heroine: Geneva Harper
Date of Publication: January 4, 2011
Started On: August 9, 2013
Finished On: August 19, 2013
After more than a year’s hiatus since I read the 2nd book in this 4 book series by Ava Gray, I finally managed to delve into Skin Heat, the 3rd book in this delectable series featuring Zeke Nobel, a hero from the wrong side of town and Geneva Harper, the only daughter of the richest family in the town of Harper Creek.
Zeke is a changed man after his escape from those that had held him under captivity and tortured him until he had thought that he wouldn’t be able to carry on. Given his family history, Zeke is a man who keeps to himself and that alone forces himself to shoulder his burdens all alone and take one step at a time to bring at least some semblance to normalcy into his life.
Neva is the owner of Paws & Claws, a veterinarian, defiantly standing tall and proud in her quest to be true to what she wants in life and not what her parents want her to be. Though her choice of a career drives a wedge between her and her parents, Neva refuses to give up the one thing that gives her happiness.
When Zeke comes knocking on her clinic’s door looking for work, this marks the beginning of a relationship that grows slowly amidst a lot of misgivings on both Zeke and Neva’s part. Zeke because though he has yearned for Neva more than half of his life, knows deep down inside that Harpers and Nobles will never mix believes that he is not good enough for the likes of a woman who is as wonderful as Neva. Neva feels that being Zeke’s boss, she should not be the one who cannot keep her thoughts from straying into more sinful ventures when it comes to Zeke.
But the time Zeke and Neva spends together finally pushes their frayed control to the edge until the break brings with it a passion that refuses to be denied, no matter what. But then, there is a darkness that seems to hunt Neva, a killer on the loose whose victims bear a striking resemblance to her, with the web of danger around her closing in until it all comes down to who will win; her or the killer.
Though my memory might be faulty, Skin Heat seemed to deviate a bit from its usual pace and setup and seemed to offer a story that was a bit laid back when compared to the rest of 2 books in the series. Even then, Skin Heat is a book that invoked a lot of mixed reactions from me. The biggest one of which was related to the villain, who definitely turned out to be a surprise. His background and the life he had led as a child was one that haunted me while reading and I believe it is still haunting me even as I write the review. There is this hint of something almost desperate in his last thoughts before succumbing to death, a fact that I don’t think I will get over anytime soon.
Zeke makes for a heartbreaking hero. I loved him. Oh my god, how I loved the broken but yet strong man he is. There is a fire that burns in his soul that refuses to be tamped down though life hasn’t been all that great to him. And when the bastards who held him captive and tortured him for days changes something fundamental inside of him that renders him almost completely helpless if you judge the world through the modern standards people have to live up to, simply put it just broke my heart to read about him. Ava Gray did a marvelous job out of creating Zeke, and she has achieved what she set out to do, especially given the fact that I wouldn’t be able to forget him soon, if ever!
For more than half the story and beyond I thought that Neva would never be able to earn my wholehearted approval as she always seemed to be hesitating and reserving a piece of herself when it came to Zeke. But when push came to shove, she stepped up beautifully and replaced all that lingering doubt with love for the way she accepts Zeke and loves him and accepts him for who she is.
A review of Skin Heat would not be complete without mentioning the very interesting ABI agent Emil Hebert whose happily ever after I would definitely love to read!
Recommended for fans of the Skin series, fans of Ava Gray and fans of romantic suspense with a dash of paranormal in the mix.
Final Verdict: Skin Heat is a novel that has a haunting quality to it, and that alone is a testament to Ava Gray’s remarkable talent.
“Take me,” she whispered.
A shudder rolled through him. He pounced on her. That was the only word for it. In one graceful leap he had her in his arms. He ripped his own shirt off her back, tore the fabric with his hands. A low growl escaped him as he buried his face in the curve of her neck. This time he used his teeth on her, not hard enough to break the skin, but fierce animal nips that made her want to fall back and give him her throat.
He entered her in one fierce thrust. Hard. Fast. His hands hurt a little, but it was a pain that made her lift up higher to push back against him. Her field of vision went white with the pleasure sparking through her. His low grunts of pleasure woke an answering atavistic need in her. Nothing mattered, nothing but this.
Neva came in a cascade of heat. Moaning, she swept a hand beneath and wet her fingers, riding them as she flicked her clit to another orgasm. Then she eased it outward and encircled his throbbing shaft. Squeezed.
“Mine,” she whispered. “I marked you. You smell like me.”
He gave a possessive growl and went with a raw groan, spurting hot from her hand all over her thigh.
Her contractions drove him over. His whole body tightened and he urged himself into her over and over, trying to imprint himself on her. Nobody else for you, ever. Only me. Just mine. Love you. Mine. The words melted into a kaleidoscope of cascading colors and feelings. He wrapped his arms around her while they both trembled. Tingles spilled through him, lighting him up from base of spine to base of skull. He’d never known anything like it.
“Spread for me.”
She almost came at his white-hot instruction and rose on her tiptoes, quivering from head to toe in anticipation. Zeke sank himself home in one long thrust; a satisfied growl tore free as he pumped into her, rough and hard. Neva tried to support herself on her arms, but they trembled. She couldn’t think, only feel.
Her whole body felt flushed and hungry. “Now? Please, now.”
His reply came when he hitched her up and sank into her. Neva locked her ankles behind his back, gloriously full. He made her feel soft and small and so cherished. She rolled her hips, tightening her muscles on his cock. Zeke moaned. He gripped her hips and thrust in long, deep strokes.
“Mine,” he whispered.
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