In Under Your Skin (For Your Love #1) by Shannyn Schroeder, Norah O'Malley has returned home to be with her family, knowing she'll need them more than ever with her being pregnant. However, they don't make her feel all that welcome, especially when she won't reveal anything about the baby's father. She's know they're just being overprotective, but if she doesn't do something soon they'll drive her nuts. Knowing she needs to confront the past to move forward with her life, Norah is determined to tell the father about the pregnancy and find a job. Unfortunately, finding a job doesn't seem all that promising until the handsome Kai Ellis makes her an offer she can't refuse.
Kai Ellis can't handle living under the same roof as his mother, but she has no where to go after having knee surgery. Hiring someone to care for her seems a great idea, but having Norah O'Malley in his house could prove dangerous, especially when he's so attracted to her. Can he finally overcome his past to have a relationship with someone? Or will his troubled past always haunt him?
I always like discovering new to me authors, and this first book in a new series for Ms. Schroeder has me looking forward to reading more of her books, and most especially more of this series. Right from the beginning, this book was entertaining, fast-paced and captivated my undivided attention by what the heroine is going through. She's so young to be having a baby, and it isn't easy for her because her overprotective brothers.
The dialogue was intense due to the main characters back stories, the decision Norah has to make about her baby's future, and what's holding Kai back from pursuing a long term relationship with Norah. It isn't easy for him to overcome his past, especially when he feels indebted to a mate of his. Moreover, I liked the playful banter between the hero and heroine. Certainly, Norah keeps Kai on his toes. She's relentless in her mischievousness
to flirt with the hero, and get him to let his guard down because she finds him interesting and worth getting to know.
Both the main characters had compelling back stories, and it made them the interesting hero and heroine that they were. Norah has always felt separate from her family, and it was palpable why she felt that way after what they did to her so soon after her mother died. They let her down when she needed them most. She's also strong, brave and faces a tough decision on deciding what's best for her baby? Can she raise the little one on her own? Or will she give her baby to a couple that will be able to provide a better life for her? She faces a lot of pressure from her family, but in the end, it was her decision. Did she make the right one? Honestly, it was hard not to shed a tear for the heroine.
While Kai, he's done well for himself to overcome his past, even though he's still dealing with it. He's hard-working, kind and caring and would do anything for his family, even though he loves living on his own and having his mother living under his roof is a nightmare he could do without. I could understand why Kai was loyal to his friends, but it seemed like one of his friends kept continuing to drag him down with the guy's desire not to change his criminal ways. So, I liked the decision Kai made about the guy in the end.
Nicely-detailed sex scenes spice up the story, even though it takes a while for Kai and Norah to finally consummate their relationship because of Norah's pregnancy. However, once there's nothing holding either of them back, their relationship spills onto the pages and does justice to this couple's intense chemistry, which is there from the moment they meet. The moment where Norah feels an instant attraction, although Kai was surly and did his best to steer her away.
Overall, Ms. Schroeder has penned a wonderful novel in this first book of her For Your Love series where the secondary characters -- especially Kai's mother -- entertained me almost as much as the main characters. The growing friendship between Kai's mother and Norah is sweet, and I liked that Norah won over his mother almost immediately, because it seemed she's not a woman that's easily pleased when it comes to people in the hero's life. The way this story ended was satisfying, as Kai makes every effort to prove to Norah that he wants her in his life. I would recommend Under Your Skin by Shannyn Schroeder, if you enjoy a story that encompasses remarkable characters, well-written dialogue and a storyline that will keep you flipping the pages quickly to see how the couple's relationship will progress.
BLURB: Blood Is Thicker Than Ink. . .
Norah O'Malley has been alone for a
long time. It's been ten years since her father and four brothers shipped her
off to be raised by her aunt. Seven months since she's seen the guy who got her
pregnant--who still doesn't know. And it's two weeks since she came home to
Chicago and discovered none of her family wants to talk--or listen.
She never expected to walk into a
tattoo shop seven months pregnant and get her socks knocked off by instant
attraction. She can't even see her socks. But Kai Ellis is big and gruff and
sexy as hell, and if he has a past, well, so does she. Even more, Kai knows how
to listen so that Norah feels just a little less alone . .
All the chemistry in the world can't
help Norah make her decisions. And no sizzle of desire will make Kai believe in
happy endings. But a little time with someone who understands might just change
everything . ..
Kai Ellis came from the back room to the musical sound of female laughter. The girl sitting across from Tommy at the front counter had an awesome rack spilling out of her tank top and her tits jiggled as she laughed.
“Hey,” he called, “I told you no girls while you’re on the clock. Get busy on your own time.”
Tommy dropped the food in his hand. “Gross, man. This is my sister.”
She wiggled her fingers. Then she pointed. To Tommy, she said, “Let’s ask your friend here, I’m sure he’s made mistakes in his life.”
“Boss.” Kai crossed his arms. He had no intention of answering questions about his mistakes, but it annoyed him that she jumped to the conclusion that he’d made them. Part of the reason for opening his own business was so he would never have to answer to anyone about his past again.
“I’m his boss.”
She continued on as if he hadn’t spoken. “It’s normal for people to make mistakes, right? Even if they’re huge mistakes, you still learn from them. Life lessons and shit.”
He knew all about making life-altering mistakes, but he still wasn’t about to discuss them. Addressing Tommy, he said, “Girlfriend or not, she needs to go.”
Her eyes popped wide and she slid from the stool. Tommy laid a hand on her arm. “It’s fine.” He twisted on the stool. “Kai, this is my sister, Norah. She just moved back to town.”
Norah stepped around Tommy with her hand extended. Her belly stuck out full with a baby. He’d forgotten about Tommy bitching about his pregnant sister.
When he didn’t move, she dropped her hand. “Sorry. I thought I’d catch Tommy before his client came in. I brought him lunch and dessert.” She turned and picked up a plate from the counter. “Want a Rice Krispies Treat?”
Her smile was friendly as she spoke, but her light blue eyes filled with mischief. Like she was offering up more than marshmallows and cereal. It was a good thing that belly was between them. He stayed rooted to his spot. Then his phone rang. Again. He’d ignored Jaleesa all morning, but if he planned to get any work done, he’d have to deal with her.
With his phone in hand, he spun and walked back out the way he came. “Yeah.”
“It’s about time. I’ve been calling you all morning.”
“Mom’s surgery went fine. She came through with flying colors.”
He’d figured as much. It was just her knee. “Good to know.”
“Are you coming to the hospital today?”
He walked until he hit the back door of the shop and stood in the alley. “I don’t know. Depends on how busy I get.”
“Kai, it’s not like this was some surprise. We scheduled it. You could make sure you’re free. You’re choosing not to.”
His sister’s sigh whistled in his ear. “We need to talk about where Mom will go when she’s released from the hospital. She’ll only be here a few days.”
“I thought you were looking into a rehab facility.”
“I tried, but it made her upset. She thinks we’re going to dump her off and leave her for good.”
“So explain to her that’s not the case. She knows she won’t be able to get around your house. It’s not like she lost her mind.”
“She’s feeling vulnerable and she’s worried about being alone.”
“I don’t know what you want from me, Jaleesa.”
“Maybe she could stay with you.”
“I have stairs in my house.”
“Five, Kai. Five measly steps to get up to your door. Everything else is on one floor. You have the space.”
What she really meant was that he could make the space for his mom to move in. He didn’t want to. His house was set up exactly as he wanted. He would have to move all of his workout equipment somewhere, probably to the basement or the garage. He had no furniture for her. No bed or anything. He didn’t have guests and he liked it that way.
“I can’t take care of Mom. I don’t know what to do with her.”
“And I do? You figure it out, Kai. That’s what you do for family.”
“I have a business to run and I keep long hours.”
“At least think about it. We can probably hire someone to fill in when you’re not around so she’s not alone, but she’ll feel secure in your house.”
“Why can’t we hire someone to help at your house?”
“Maybe we can convert some space to make it work.”
“My whole family isn’t losing our living room so you don’t have to man up.”
He shook his head, not wanting to lose this argument. “We’ll talk about this later. I have to go.”
“Try to stop by the hospital. It’ll make her happy.”
“Yeah.” He clicked off and stared at the brick building across from him. He was tempted to throw his phone to hear the satisfying crack of plastic against the wall. Instead, he inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. The air he sucked in was rank with the smell of rotting garbage. Tomorrow was pickup day and the heat did no favors for the Chinese restaurant on the corner.
The sun beat against his skin, searing it. Five minutes of quiet without thinking about his mom at the hospital. Anything was better than the damn hospital. Leaning against the back door, with his eyes closed, he allowed the sun to sink into him.
The door thumped against him and he stepped away. So much for his five minutes.
Shannyn Schroederis the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a
large Irish-American family in Chicago and the Hot & Nerdy series about 3
nerdy friends finding love. Her new series (For Your Love) will release this
summer with the first title Under Your Skin.
When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and
loves to bake cookies. Find out more at: www.ShannynSchroeder.com
In my latest release, the hero, Kai Ellis, is the owner of a
tattoo shop called Ink Envy. To have a little fun for this blog post, I decided
to write about the top 5 tattoos that people request. When I was doing research
for this book, I did a lot of reading about tattoo artists and shops, so this
was interesting. Obviously, there are different trends each year, and this list
is only based on my research.
1. Gang tattoos – This isn’t really one of the trends, but
it fits into Kai’s life. Kai used to be a gang banger, but he left that life
behind years ago. When he opened his own shop, one rule he made for himself was
that he wouldn’t do any gang-related tattoos and in fact, he won’t work on
anyone who is affiliated with a gang. I included this on Kai’s list because
it’s still a big part of who he is.
2. Finger tattoos – from a simple symbol, like a hashtag to
more personal one, like names and birthdays, or even miniature portraits of
animals, people like small designs.
3. Arrows – from simple lines to more complex designs. Many
people have taken a minimalist approach to tattoos. (Some people have a row of
dots or lines)
4. Tribal designs and mandalas – People want them everywhere
from their skulls to the length of their entire arms.
5. Florals – These are a perennial favorite
Norah makes references to Kai’s tattoos often, but she’s not
specific about many of them. He has a tribal band on his forearm and a
complicated twist of thorny vines that covers his side from armpit to hip. The
one that strikes her as out of place, though, is the compass over his heart.
She stared at his chest.
Specifically at the ornate compass tattoo inked over his heart. She didn’t
believe for a minute that Kai let his heart act as his compass.