This gentle giant’s scarred hands may be the warmest touch she’ll ever know.
…if only life were a fairy tale where Beauty got to keep her Beast
Ivan thought the world was through giving him second chances.
Hell, who was he kidding—he wasn’t good enough for them anyway. And he certainly wasn’t good enough for her.
But the moment Uma walked into his life, Ivan knew he had to put all that crap aside and do everything he could to help. She was like nothing he’d ever known. Beautiful, lost, alone, she had the kind of sad eyes that were just begging for someone to save her…
…and despite his rough exterior, despite the nasty rumors, despite all the bad decisions following him around like the strays he couldn’t help but rescue, Ivan was nothing but willing to be the kind of man she needed.
Yeah, he’d thought the world was through giving him second chances.
Until she came into his life. Until she changed everything.
Until he realized he would do anything, fight anyone, tear the world apart if it only meant saving her.
Blank Canvas series:
Under Her Skin (Book 1)
By Her Touch (Book 2)
In His Hands (Book 3)
Praise for Under Her Skin:
"A dark and emotional tale that will make your spine tingle as well as your heart."—SARINA BOWEN, USA Today bestselling author of Bittersweet
"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
In this emotionally riveting page-turner, debut author Anders creates two broken but highly sympathetic protagonists who elicit each other's inner strength as each seeks to heal from poor choices and toxic relationships. Uma is on the run from her abusive boyfriend after a night of torture in which he covered her body with horrible tattoos. She lands in tiny Blackwood, Va., where a local skin clinic offers free tattoo removal for abused women. After getting a job as a live-in companion to an elderly woman, Uma is drawn to her gruff new neighbor, Ivan, a metalworker and self-defense teacher that strays of many species turn to for nurture. The kindness, integrity, growing trust, and playful, steamy chemistry between Uma and Ivan allows them both to find hope in the possibility of a healthy relationship. Anders's strong cast of supporting characters includes Uma's reclusive employer, Ivan's sister, and the local bartender, and the town becomes a character in itself. Readers will be hungry for more from Anders's pen.
I Was Immediately Hooked
The first line of Under Her Skin had me hooked. I was expecting a steamy romance, and the start of the book had me doubting my own expectations, but I soon found out I was right all along. Getting to know all of Ander's characters and their difficult pasts was delightful.
Uma and Cookie had me laughing with their back and forth. I admired Uma's strength to fight against her fears and stand up for herself. She even stood up for Cookie when it came down to it, which only made me like her more. Ivan is dreamy. Let's just get that out there. He is a blacksmith, hunter, and an empathetic and caring soul. Plus, he knows how to handle himself in a fight and treat a lady right.
Under Her Skin combined just the right amount of mystery, romance, and steam to create a compelling debut novel for Ms. Anders. I have already added book 2 in the Blank Canvas series to my TBR list hoping to spend more time with these characters.
That’s a good book!
I’ve been reading a lot of romances - studying the genre. What I’ve learned is that really, most aren’t very good. “Under Her Skin” is a definite cut above. The characters are broken but still likable; their motivations are honest and natural. The progress is appropriate - and the attraction between Our Girl and The Hero is very definitely steamy. Delicious sex scenes. In an age where the need to ask permission can be so awkward, this book is graceful, fluid, satisfying. There are unexpected plot twists and a fully satisfying conclusion. Well done, indeed!
A wonderful debut.
Insightful and perfectly messy, the book and plotting mirror the lives of the two main characters, Uma and Ivan, and their attempts to find a way to move on and forward.
Uma had a horrible relationship and ran from her ex Joey, but the need to run from her abuser, combined with 2 fortuitous (or so she thought) advertisements landed her in nowheres-ville, as companion and helpmate to Mrs. Lloyd, a cantankerous and darkly humorous old woman who seems to offer a devil’s bargain, and a tattoo removal clinic that works out financial arrangements for abuse victims. Tucked away in this little town, with no friends and fewer leads to find her, Uma has started to find a ‘safe’ space to exist.
And then there is Ivan, recently out of prison and neighbor to Mrs. Lloyd. While he appears to be all broody, dark and dangerous, Ivan has a heart of gold, always bringing in and healing the strays he encounters, and Uma strikes him as one of those strays who needs him.
Both of these characters have pasts: although Uma’s is more dramatic, you can’t help but feel for Ivan and his struggles. And just as he is believing he could, can and does provide Uma with something, she starts to retreat, throwing his own plans into tumult. Like many victims, even as Uma has decided for herself that she was moving forward, she hadn’t really dealt with it all, stuffing reactions and impulses down, all but for the run. And her rehash and comparison of Ivan and Joey, did more harm than good for their growing relationship: until she started to see Ivan for what he was. Gentle and not so gentle pushes, comments and asides from Mrs. Lloyd helped to push Uma into some tentative growth, and from the beginning of those moments, she did start to become less guarded, less timid, and more honest and open with Ivan.
Not an easy or comfortable read, it is a read that is well worth the time, as both Ivan and Uma seem to be better as a couple than either is alone, and with some insights into Mrs. Lloyd’s past, Uma is able to see that she can take charge of, and change her own life. A wonderful debut.
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.