Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.
Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.
As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?
Back Piece is a sexy, emotional journey of two people learning to love and finding acceptance for who they really are.
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
I have lots of mixed feelings about this one. I honestly finished it and was just completely uncertain how I felt. And not necessarily in a bad way, there was so much I genuinely enjoyed. I just knew there was another part of me that was hankering for a bit more. But I think the things I enjoyed outweighed my nitpicks this time so I’m totally rounding up.
This book dealt with a crapload of odd and intriguing issues. You have Daniel, shy, sweet, and incredibly naive. A virgin in SO MANY ways, occasionally his naivete would make me a bit skeptical, but at other times I felt like it was intriguing and refreshing. I could really feel his panic and worry about not knowing what to do. It wasn’t the sex naivete that threw me off, I totally got that and thought it was handled really well. It was the relationship stuff. It was so odd that he felt so unsure about how relationships worked. I’m not entirely sure I buy into that, but I can’t completely convince myself that it couldn’t happen with the way he was brought up…that he would somehow assume that gay relationships would work any other way than every other romantic relationship.
I really appreciated the struggles he went through with his parents, and that the author showed that just because they were homophobic didn’t mean they didn’t have great qualities. And inevitably Daniel had to make the decision about what was important to him. I thought that was handled rather well.
And I even enjoyed his introduction to sex, and the strange amount of detail we got as a result (about pitfalls of bottoming or topping for the first time). To be frank, there was a LOT of sex in this book, but I didn’t mind that so much as that I wanted a bit more on the relationship side. The steamy scenes were quite delicious, and the chemistry between Daniel and Colin was awesome. I just found myself occasionally puzzled about the relationship progression, and why some choices were made, and even if I guessed the reasons, why did they not ever discuss it and any hangups they might have had? I needed some more depth there.
And then there’s Colin. I can’t decide if I want to spoil the “secret” or not, I’m not sure if it really affects the enjoyment of the book to know here…you find out pretty early on (or at least there’s hints from the first chapter). So if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip to the next paragraph in this review. Still with me? OK, I LOVED that Colin struggled with an eating disorder. I felt like it was given so much authenticity and realism, and I could really FEEL his struggle. I thought it was respectful, and I appreciated its addition to the story. I also LOVED that his being a former porn star wasn’t some horrible shameful thing. It added a strange layer onto the story. I will say that while I LOVED Daniel’s reactions to learning these secrets, I kind of wished he considered Colin’s struggles more often. I know he was overwhelmed with his own issues, but Colin was there for him with his family and thinking about him, why didn’t Daniel give more thought to how he could help Colin cope? I wanted some development there that I didn’t get.
There were the occasional parts where some of their conversations got a little repetitive. I’d be thinking “didn’t they have a similar conversation” (like Daniel comparing Colin’s situation to friends who came home with PTSD), and I get that that happens in real life especially with important stuff, but in romance books it feels kind of odd and unnecessary.
I enjoyed the tattoo stuff, and the meanings behind the back piece. I would love to see it, even as I understand it doesn’t exist in real life.
My only other nitpick is that I would have liked to see more of an epilogue. I was totally anticipating seeing how things fell out with Daniel’s family, and particularly the sister and maybe other siblings. I’m not sure if the next book will be Daniel and Colin again or other characters. If it’s other characters, then I definitely wish we’d gotten that bit more since the ending came kind of quickly.
So yeah. It was a mixed bag, but definitely more to love. Will be intrigued to see what’s next in the Skin Deep Inc series.