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Wednesday, January 16, 2008:
"Skin" by Karin Tabke - quickie review

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket (April 17, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1416524924
ISBN-13: 978-1416524922

From the author of Good Girl Gone Bad comes the sizzling tale of an undercover cop who shows a little skin to get in with the mob -- and the sexy mafia princess who gets in the way....
Curvaceous and feisty, Francesca Donatello is the owner of Skin, an upscale woman's magazine and her pride and joy. To boost sales, she's decided to feature a smoldering male centerfold in each issue -- even though it was once forbidden by her rigid father, a recently murdered mob boss. He always doubted her ability as a businesswoman, and now Francesca is even more determined to succeed. So when she meets sexy, charismatic model Reese Barrett, she knows he is perfect, and perfectly chiseled, for the job.

From the moment Reese sheds his clothes for the photo shoot, business becomes pleasure, and both are overcome with unadulterated desire for each other. But what Francesca doesn't realize is that Reese is a cop who's using her to infiltrate the Donatello family and find out who murdered her father. Even she is a suspect. But it soon becomes apparent that someone wants Francesca as dead as her father. As they dodge bullets and bodies Francesca and Reese shed secrets and inhibitions -- and learn that they must trust each other to survive.

I admit when I bought this book, it was because it sounded naughty and raunchy and very much like an explicit erotic romance, and at the time, that was exactly what I was in the mood for. But then it took me over 6 months to finally read it. Go figure.

I started out really liking this book. When Francesca and Reese first meet, she immediately demands that he take his clothes off for a look at the goods. She's trying to figure out if Reese has what it takes to pose for her magazine, Skin, and the only way to do that is to get him nekkid. Frankie was tough, and though instantly attracted to Reese, she wasn't going to let that get in the way of her job, her career, her life. I liked that about her, and the fact that though she had no intention of sleeping with a potential employee, she didn't try to hide her attraction. As one of the few females in a powerful Italian family, she was not easily intimidated, and she was going to get the respect she deserved.

Reese is a gorgeous undercover cop determined to get under the skin, and the sheets, of Frankie Donatello, if for no other reason than the pillow talk could get him the information he needs to bust Frankie's family for years of illegal activities. He feels no guilt for his motives, and the thought of getting the sexy, tempestuous woman beneath him is a pleasurable bonus he can't wait to experience. If he has to shed his clothes to get to her, well, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do....

Instant sizzle. Explosive attraction. Divided family loyalties. Murder and violence. Hot sexuality, stubborn pride and tragic pasts. It's a spicy mix that should set the pages on fire, and for the most part it does. One thing I enjoyed is that Karin Tabke takes her time with Frankie's and Reese's attraction, and doesn't have them giving into it too soon, but instead teases us with deliciously taut sexual tension that could ignite at any moment. I acutely felt the desire between them, and that definitely made the story hotter.

What I didn't like were the moments of TSTL syndrome. The times I wanted to smack Frankie and say "wake up already!" Those times when nothing was going to scare her, not even trained thugs with lethal guns and no conscience. Did this woman have a death wish, I would wonder? And then there's the times I wanted to deck Reese for being a little too cavalier in "just doing his job", even if it meant lying to the woman he was starting to care for. But even these lapses weren't enough to keep me from liking the book entirely. I found their attraction and growing feelings to be genuine and believable, and once they worked through their issues, Reese and Frankie had the makings for a wonderful future together. I previously enjoyed Tabke's novella in the anthology "The Hard Stuff" and I would definitely give this author another try.

Rating: **** out of *****

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  1. Stace - You've got a "Frankie" trend going on.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Hey Stacy!

    Hope you're ready for the cold weekend! I'm making a pot of chili and staying inside as much as possible!

    You know I adore Karin Tabke - I would recommend giving GOOD GIRL GONE BAD a try. She has several books coming out this year and I'm excited about all of them!

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