Skin Game By Ava Gray

A beautiful fugitive—wanted dead or alive.

Kyra is a con woman and a particular kind of thief. She steals with a touch, but she only takes one thing: her target’s strongest skill. Which means she can be a fighter, an athlete, a musician, an artist—anything she wants… for a limited time. Heartbroken, she turns her gift toward avenging her father’s murder; with deadly patience, Kyra works her way into casino owner Gerard Serrano’s inner circle. After pulling off the ultimate con, she flees with his money and his pride.

A hit man who never misses the mark.

Reyes has nothing but his work. Pity for Kyra, he’s the best and mercy never sways him once he takes a job. He’s been hired to find out where Kyra hid the cash—and bring her back to face Serrano’s “justice.” Dead will do, if he can’t locate the loot. He’s never failed to complete a contract, but Kyra tempts him with her fierce heat and her outlaw heart. So Reyes has a hell of a choice: forsake his word or kill the woman he might love.


The Drama:  When we first meet Kyra, she is working a con at some trashy bar.  Reyes has already tracked her down, and they have a seriously explosive encounter within 15 minutes of meeting.  Kyra ditches Reyes the next morning, and carries on with her life.  Little does she know, Reyes intends on finding her again to carry out the contract on her life.  Of course, nothing goes as planned and before they know it, Kyra and Reyes are on the run from angry meth-heads.  Texas-sized sparks fly between the two, and in keeping with standard romance protocol, they are madly in love within days.  But as secrets are revealed, Kyra realizes a relationship with Reyes can never work.  Unfortunately, she needs his help to end Serrano and save her friend Mia, so they head back to Vegas where the real drama unfolds.

The Rant:  This book was an odd one for me.  This is one of few books I have read where I like the main duo little more than the villain.  I mean, this is the love story of a hitman and con-artist, I get it, but still, I thought they would be more likeable.  I had a hard time with both of them being life-long criminals, but justifying it by only hurting people who ‘deserved’ it. The only supernatural element to the book is Kyra’s ability to steal other people’s talents with touch.  Everyone else is just…human.  Well, let me rephrase, most everyone in the book is a scummy human (with the exception of Serrano’s assistant Foster, who has his own secrets).  They encounter rapists, other hit men, meth-heads, modern-day gangsters…you get the picture.  For some reason, when an entire supernatural world is created around the story, I don’t mind the scum so much, because they are demons and the like.  It’s still an escape even if they are awful creatures.  But parts of this book just remind you of all the creeps that actually exist…I just wanted to bathe or something.  On the other hand, I found the whole concept of these two people with no one else in the world but each other intriguing.  I enjoyed the details of Kyra’s cons, and her gift was a fresh idea.  I felt like both the cons and the action sequences were so well thought out they could actually happen.  I honestly can’t say anything bad about the book other than I didn’t really love the main characters, but I did love their interactions with each other.  Does that make sense? Probably not. 

The Smut:  There is something to be said for a book where using a HOT one-night stand that occurs in the first 10% (kindle-speak) as a plot device actually works.  I was really shocked by the early smut arrival, and even more shocked by the fiery chemistry of two people who just met.   Of course then you have to wait 200 years for the encore, but it’s pretty worth it.  Reyes and Kyra are intense, morally-flawed characters, so you can expect few inhibitions when it comes to the smut.  My only complaint is all the condom talk.  I know, I know, safe sex, blah blah.  But our girl can become a black-belt by touching a sensei, should we be so concerned with the realistic portrayal of condom use every time?  Especially when the absence of said condoms actually interferes with the smut?  I guess the realistic use of condoms in fantasy novels is a whole other discussion, so I will just say, I was over it.  But otherwise, this book has some well-written, extremely steamy scenes that get even better as Kyra and Reyes’ feelings deepen.  After I successfully blocked out the cover’s questionable hotness, I found both Reyes and Foster (and his pin-stripe suits) to be oozing with yumminess and I look forward to learning more about Foster in the next book.

Rating: 8


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mandi
    Jun 20, 2010 @ 16:00:16

    I found the fact that they are criminals kind of refreshing..LOL. And they don’t really redeem themselves…which I liked.

    I get what you say about not loving the main characters but they are hot together. Are you going to read the next one? She turns Foster into the hero…which really intrigued me. He is so creepy in this one.

    I really enjoyed this review 🙂


  2. Fantasy
    Jun 26, 2010 @ 03:47:46

    Nice =)


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