After a bet gone wrong with some of his squadron buddies, Jon Russell ends up in a tattoo parlor getting inked. He has no interest in a tattoo — his fear of needles ensures that — but he also won’t chicken out in front of his friends. Jon is immediately attracted to his tattoo artist, Matt Huffman, and Jon is kind of getting signals Matt may be interested as well.
Matt has always sworn all his life that he is not gay; everyone has always assumed he is and between that and his jerk of a father’s disapproval, Matt has kept that door firmly closed. That is until a drunken three way with his ex and her boyfriend led to Matt experimenting with a guy in ways he never expected — and liking it a lot. Now Matt is forced to consider that just maybe, he is into guys as well. When he meets Jon and immediately is attracted to the sexy pilot, Matt decides maybe it is time to explore his interest in men and see if there is really something there.
Jon is not interested in relationships. He considers himself an unrepentant manwhore and likes it that way. But Matt isn’t interested in anything serious either; he just wants a chance to explore being with a man. And neither guy can deny the chemistry between them. So they decide to keep things casual and just about the sex. But it isn’t long before the guys begin spending more time together, hanging out after work and attending events together. When Matt realizes that his feelings have changed, and more than that, that their relationship has changed, he is eager to see where things might go between them. But Jon is determined that it all stays nothing but casual. Now the men have to figure out if they want the same things from their relationship, or if it is time to walk away.
Pounding Skin is the second book in L.A. Witt’s Skin Deep, Inc series. Like the first book, Back Piece, the story features a tattoo artist from the Skin Deep shop and a military man. Although the books have the shop in common and Daniel and Colin make some appearances here, this story pretty much would stand alone.
This is a hot and sexy story and the physical connection between the guys is what carries most of the book. Jon and Matt are hot for each other right from the start, and while Matt is still sorting out his attraction to men, it doesn’t take long for the guys to jump into bed together. While they don’t realize at first that their relationship is growing, as readers we can see the men getting closer. They support one another and clearly enjoy spending time together. Both are likable and this is a fun, steamy story.
I did wish for a bit more to happen here though. There is some mild early conflict as Matt comes to terms with being bisexual, but that resolves pretty early on, and towards the end of the story they deal with Matt wanting more from the relationship than Jon. But most of this book is the guys hanging out and having sex. We don’t really get to know either of them that well, though Matt has more backstory as we learn about his family and he deals with coming out. But we really learn very little about Jon other than the basics. Given that the first book in the series is also focused on a military man with a tattoo artist who start out wanting something casual and then it turns into more, I needed a little more from this story in either depth of plot or character development to really make it stand out.
That said, I still found this story enjoyable. Witt knows what she is talking about in the military department and both that and the life of a tattooist felt authentic and well incorporated into the story. The guys are sexy and steamy and I liked them together a lot. So while this one doesn’t go super deep in either plot or character, I still found it a lot of fun to read and am definitely looking forward to catching up with the next story in the series.