Monday, May 15, 2017

Back Piece by L.A. Witt

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.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
3.5 stars
M/M Romance
Triggers: Eating disorders

Colin is a tattoo artist who loves what he does. He loves giving people art – and when he sees Daniel across the way at the gym, he has an instant attraction. Colin tried hard to keep to his workout – kicked in the rear by his trainer, whom I loved. Colin has a secret – he suffers from an eating disorder and it's a constant struggle.

I like that this story takes the subject of eating disorders and gives a fairly realistic viewpoint. We have a lot of internal monologues from Colin about what he's eating, how much he works out and why. It helps to give more credence to the situation – the taboo subject of eating disorders, especially in men.

Daniel is just figuring out that it's okay to be who he is. Despite his family loving him because they don't know him, he is scared to be cut off from them. However, because he is now his own man, has a job and friends who know and care about him, he can truly believe that being gay, being himself is simply okay. When he finds out that Colin is a tattoo artist, he asks for a few tattoos.

This is a drawn out story – it is sometimes too long in places, but the overall story is one of acceptance, taking control where it's healthy, learning to love yourself, and knowing it's okay to do that.

3.5 stars

Tattoos, military men, and LA Witt? Hell yeah! I didn’t finish reading the blurb before requesting this one. I am a huge fan of this author’s military stories. This isn’t my favourite of LA Witt’s books, but there are some really lovely moments in this story.

I found these characters simpler than most of LA Witt’s men. We learn a great deal about Colin and Daniel, but I felt something was missing – neither man felt as real as the characters I usually fall in love with in this author’s military stories. Both men have very complicated and difficult histories and I kept feeling like I should have cared more for them both.

The sex in this story is hot. After an awkward start, the retired porn star and the virgin sailor fulfil several slightly cliché but immensely enjoyable fantasies. Even though these two are close in age, the difference between their sexual experiences makes Daniel feel younger and Colin quite a bit older. This isn’t a BDSM story, but there is a natural D/s element to Colin and Daniel’s relationship that really works.

I enjoyed the tattooing storyline – both Colin’s craft and the messy, painful reality of tattooing. There were a few very touching moments between Daniel and his family – I love the shades of grey the author paints Daniel’s parents with. Daniel’s choice between coming out and keeping his family isn’t an easy one and the moment Colin realises how much Daniel stands to lose is incredibly moving. I loved the author’s depiction of a modern, inclusive American Navy – Daniel’s shipmates are fantastic.

Back Piece is about two men with completely different backgrounds. Colin is a tattoo artist with body issues and Daniel is a shy, virgin sailor. The spark is there from the first moment they see each other. Daniel grew up deep in the closet, while Colin was out and proud at fifteen.

I like the premise of this story, the completely different backgrounds, experience levels, secret keeping, commitment-phobe characters. There is a ton of inner dialogue, each character questioning where they stand but not voicing those concerns. Most of the background information learned in the first few chapters repeats throughout. I found myself skimming and that is usually not the case with this author.

Unfortunately, this read was just not for me. The characters are combustible in those intimate moments and it was extremely hot how Daniel would react to each new experience, but it wasn't enough for me.

This was a great M/M romance that I really enjoyed!

Colin and Daniel first meet while working out at the gym. The attraction is immediate but neither realizes the other is gay. When Daniel finds out that Colin is a tattoo artist, he visits the shop to get his first tattoo and things heat up. It quickly comes out that though Daniel is out to his friends in the military, his family is in the dark because of their strong religious beliefs against gays – and he’s a virgin. Opposite end of the spectrum you have Colin, who is not only openly gay but also used to be a porn star.

I really loved that these two start off as such great friends and their relationship grows into something more. My least favorite part has to have been the ending, it felt rushed and almost abrupt. Other than that, this is a great romance with a strong plotline, great characters and, though the middle was a bit draggy, it has a relatively fast pace.

This book seemed so drawn out to me. I think they could have cut 1/4 of the book out and then given us a better ending. Colin has issues from his past he is still dealing with, while Daniel is still trying to find himself. I love these two characters, I honestly felt a connection with them. I just think the story could have been cut down a little, it seemed to be the same thing over and over again. I would have liked to see more of the after. Maybe there will be a second book and we will see more after? I liked the characters and the story, just wish things would have progressed and ended differently.

I nearly didn't get past the beginning of this book, as rereading the same scene from both viewpoints didn't work for me on this occasion. However, I am glad I kept going as that device is really only used at that stage – and though we get the story from both sides, there is no more significant repetition. It meant that the pace picked up somewhat.

I liked the romance; the men are both interesting and engaging. They are easy in each other's company and they clearly have a great rapport. This is important given they both have significant issues, about which they are very open. For that reason, I'm not sure why Colin couldn't be more honest about his stress over the family visit.

The detail of the pain suffered by Daniel whilst getting tattooed was very vivid! I loved the detail of the designs. Their exploits on the aircraft carrier were fun, especially in the light of all the hidey holes that Daniel reveals.

A story which deals with a multitude of issues in a sensitive way and gives a satisfying HEA.

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn't lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don't tell Lauren. And definitely don't tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut...

Connect with L.A.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc. #1) by L.A. Witt to read and review.

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