By Her Touch
"Anders has created wonderful variations on the beauty and the beast theme and the damsel-in-distress trope, a greatly tormented hero, and a powerful mix of menace and romance." —Booklist
He thought he was beyond saving. A cop turned undercover gang member turned…whatever he is now.
He thought no one would ever see him as anything but a beast.
Until he found her. Until she changed everything.
Undercover cop Clay Navarro left the Sultans biker gang a changed man. Its ringleaders may be awaiting trial, but he wears the memory of his time in that hell tattooed across his skin. He figures he doesn't have space in his messed-up life for anything gentle?not now, maybe not ever.
Besides, what woman could possibly want the man he’s become?
Dr. Georgette Hadley is drawn to the damaged stranger's pain, intimidated but intrigued by the warmth that lies beneath Clay's frightening exterior. She thrills at the way he gentles at her touch…and under his rough hands, she burns with a passion she never thought she’d know.
But when the Sultans return looking for revenge, Georgette finds herself drawn into the dirty underbelly of a life forged in violence...that not even her touch may be able to heal.
Blank Canvas series:
Under Her Skin (Book 1)
By Her Touch (Book 2)
In His Hands (Book 3)
Praise for the Blank Canvas dark romance series:
"A dark and emotional tale that will make your spine tingle as well as your heart."—SARINA BOWEN, USA Today bestselling author of Bittersweet for Under Her Skin
"The perfect romance...a hint of danger, a whole lot of spice, and an HEA you believe in."—ANNE CALHOUN, award-winning author of Under the Surface for Under Her Skin
“Emotionally riveting page-turner.”—Publishers Weekly STARRED for Under Her Skin
“Incredibly sexy, heartbreaking, and intense.”—Kirkus STARRED for Under Her Skin
“Gripping [and] emotionally satisfying.”—Publishers Weekly STARRED for By Her Touch
Anders returns to the town of Blackwood, Va., in this gripping, emotionally satisfying second Black Canvas contemporary (after Under Her Skin). After infiltrating and exposing the Sultans, a vicious biker gang that killed his sister, undercover cop Clay Navarro just wants to stay alive long enough to testify in trial, but the tattoos covering his face and body especially the one that says "DEAD MAN" make hiding difficult. Recognizing a fellow wounded soul, dermatologist Georgette Hadley, still mourning her late husband, offers tattoo removal off the books and after hours, no questions asked. Sparks begin to fly as soon as skin contact begins, testing George's professional boundaries and fanning Clay's fears that both his untreated PTSD and the gang members hunting him down put George's safety in jeopardy if they indulge their growing passion. Once again, the town's citizens, particularly the astute and kindly Sheriff Mullen, begin to gently break down the walls around two compelling and deserving lovers, drawing them into the community and giving them the courage to risk their hearts.
Romantic and Suspenseful
By Her Touch is a lovely small town romance with a dark side. Clay Navarro and George both have their own troubled pasts and were good people. I was so happy to see George find someone who could potentially be the one to help her heal after being a such a self-less and caring person and losing her husband. Adriana Anders does an amazing job at combining small town romance and suspenseful mysteries.
I also loved the little glimpses of characters from the first Blank Canvas book 1, Under Her Skin and I'm hoping the trend will continue in book 3, In Her Hands.
I voluntarily received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
**This is book 2 in the Blank Canvas series, but it can be read as a standalone**
4 touching stars!
By Her Touch is the second book in the series, however, it can be read as a standalone. I have read book 1 and since it's based on a small town, you do see the characters from that book into this one but you will not be confused if you skip it.
However, I would recommend reading both books, just because I really like this authors style and enjoyed both stories. They may have some triggers for readers. Main characters, as well as some of the side characters, have lived through abuse and real life tragedies.
Our main characters in By Her Touch have both seen their own heartbreak and violence. Dr. Georgette Hadley is a dermatologist but also specializes in removing tattoo's. We got to see a glimpse of her in the first book when Uma sought her out to remove tattoos that were forced on her by her abusive ex.
George has known tragedy in her life as well. Her husband died of cancer 10 years prior and she has lived a pretty solitaire existence since. She meets our hero, special agent Clay Navarro when he seeks her out to remove tattoos forced on him while he was undercover.
Clay went undercover to become a Sultan MC in hopes to take down the men who killed his little sister. When the club finds out Clay is a cop, they tattoo his eye lids and knuckles branding him as a cop and a dead man. He barely makes it out alive and now he is in hiding until he can testify. Clay seeks George out to get the tattoos removed. Like a lot of cops coming out of undercover work, he's struggling with the things he did while undercover and becoming the cop he once was.
This is a beautiful series by Adriana Anders. I always want to see people overcome tragedy in their lives and have that happy ever after they so deserve. It's one of the things I'm enjoying about this series. She's providing real life characters and situations in these books and I love how the author is taking us step by step in these peoples lives, from hopelessness to awareness to happiness.
Arc provided by Netgalley
I couldn't put it down
Some wear large and often ugly scars on the outside, others hide the ugliness that they feel on the inside with complex artwork on their bodies, visible reminders of moments they will never forget. Oh sure, a tattoo can celebrate something good and wonderful, a cherished memory, or even a ‘what the heck’ moment, but for Clay, these tattoos mark every bad and evil moment in his life. Evil that he sees every day, reliving it, feelings of guilt that override the pride he should feel in being a key element to removing several evildoers from the streets. But his time as an undercover operative in the Sultan’s MC have taught him to eschew softness and gentleness – how could he not destroy that with all that he is, was and did?
Dr. Georgette Hadley specializes in tattoo removal, and is quite good at her job. When Clay appears for a consult, looking to remove much of the visible reminders (and marks) ‘earned’ in his time with the Sultans. Arriving and presenting a solid face of intimidation, George is intrigued, for deep within she sees something of the man deep within…. Whether it’s his eyes that don’t quite hide the hurt, or his proper manners and the way something deep within him cries out to her.
Poor Clay has really had a hard time of it – he wasn’t entirely ‘together’ before going deep under in the Sultans, and as often happens, there are a few who escaped capture still out there, vowing to hunt him down. And, in some ways, Clay actually believes that he deserves it – discounting the fact that as part of his job, the tasks he did ALLOWED him to stay and achieve success. And then there’s Georgette. Talented, funny, sweet Georgette with an aura he wants to absorb, but is afraid he too, will hurt her. Widowed very young, she’s not taken another chance with her heart, and the attraction to Clay has her willing to risk it again. But, there are dangers and threats, and some Sultans still out there…..
Anders drags the reader in, and you can feel the character’s pain with the honest and raw way they bare their souls. No one is all good or bad, and we can often find those nuggets of qualities unexplored, and grab to those, hoping that the character will grow and heal enough to find their own worth. Like the first in this series, both characters have issues, but Clay is far more broken and in need of kindness and gentleness, while Georgette’s concerns, until the threats from the gang appear, are far more common to us all and are based in the fear of being hurt. A deft ability to see her characters and make them speak and be vulnerable when it is most important characterizes Anders’ writing in this series, certain to make her a favorite to watch for many.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.