Series: Station Seventeen #1
Published by Kimberly Kincaid Romance on September 20th 2016
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Where there’s smoke…
For firefighter Kellan Walker, checking his emotions at the door doesn’t just keep him on the level. It keeps him alive. A gut-wrenching find at the scene of a blaze threatens to blow his ironclad composure, but when the detective assigned to the case is the same woman who put his sister’s life at risk three months ago, all bets for Kellan being calm, cool, or collected are definitely off.
There’s bound to be fire…
Keeping people safe is Isabella Moreno’s number one priority, no matter how tough the case. Working without solid leads and with the gorgeous, broody firefighter who believes she’s responsible for endangering his sister on a previous case isn’t ideal. But someone is hurting women in the here-and-now. Isabella will do whatever it takes to find justice.
As Kellan and Isabella reluctantly team up to catch a criminal, they realize they have more in common than they’d ever imagined. With every move, the stakes grow higher and the passion sizzles hotter, but can they race against the clock and the odds to catch a killer? Or will they lose their hearts—and their lives?
Kimberly Kincaid surprised me with this one. I’ve come to expect many firefighting books to be about arson-related cases or about bush-firefighting, but ‘Skin Deep’ deals more about sex-trafficking crimes and sexual slavery than it is about firefighting itself. It works very well as a standalone, even if it’s a full-fledged continuation of Liliana Hart’s Kindle Worlds Mackenzie series, which Kincaid was a part of.
’Skin Deep’ is quite a ride from start to end, with a deliciously filthy villain (channelling all sorts of odd shades of serial killers, Lady Macbeth and the local mafia) and characters who could well be plucked out from primetime TV. The criminal case that emerges is engrossing enough and I found myself liking the pacing as well as the solid cast of characters that come and go from the story.
The leads were credible, even if I did find myself gravitating towards Kellan Walker more than I did Isabella Moreno. Closed-off and distant, Isabella assumes the role of most male protagonists in the romance genre, staying off commitment and relationships because they tend to hurt more if they care – along with the rather stupid belief that forming close relationships would somehow lead the other person to die.Despite this clichéd behaviour trait, she did seem competent initially, if reckless and foolish for launching a private investigation without telling everyone else about the danger she’d placed herself in. I liked how she was called out for her lonewolf, untrusting behaviour early though, first by her colleague and then by Kellan, who muscled his way into Isabella’s private investigations and past her defences. Kellan on the other hand, seemed like a godsend: loyal, discerning, not afraid to show her as much tough love as her colleagues do, then led by example by putting his faith in her so she could do the same for others.
Even if I’m not entirely convinced by the rightness of this pairing (after all, sex did seem be a way to skip the serious talking business too much here), the slight twist at the end upped my enjoyment of the book, leaving me only hanging a little by the abrupt ending and a very battered HEA.