Title: Within the Skin
Author: Zara West
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Alba Vargas, known on the street as El Toro, is on the cusp of fame and fortune. Winner of a prestigious award for young artists, she is the toast of the New York City art scene. Or at least she will be, once she figures out how to act like a woman after living disguised as a boy for six years. If she is lucky, she might even attract the attention of the tattoo artist she has long loved from afar.
Tattoo artist Fernando Pharaoh has betrayed everyone who has ever cared about him, including El Toro, the street-wise graffiti artist who saved his life when all looked bleak. Depressed, he turns away from his friends and finds himself ensnared in a criminal enterprise run by a former enemy.
Then Toro’s younger brother, Hanger, is kidnapped by the crime boss. Blaming himself, Pharaoh sets out to rescue him, resolved to do one good thing in his life. But Toro has her own desperate plan to save her brother—one that will not only break Pharaoh’s heart, but will also destroy every hope and dream she has ever had.
Toro (Alba) has spent the last six years living on the streets disguised as a boy but with her award-winning status, she’s become the toast of the art world. Thrust into a world where she doesn’t feel she belongs, she yearns to attract the attention of the only man she’s loved: Pharaoh. But everything turns upside down when her younger brother, Hanger, is kidnapped by Shark Man. Shark Man wants Toro and devises a wicked plan to make her marry him. But her heart belongs to Pharaoh. Will she give up everything she’s worked so hard for to free her brother from the clutches of an evil crime boss only to trap herself in the gilded cage?
This was my first Zara West book, so I knew I was diving into a series mid-way. Normally, I can catch on pretty quickly, but I had a little more difficulty trying to piece together the characters and backgrounds. But once I figured it out, it was smooth sailing.
Within the Skin is a dark romance with suspenseful undertones. I connected with Toro right away and I love her view on the world. Her world of street art is one I have no experience in but by the end of the book, I feel like I understood it better.
The dynamics between Toro, Pharaoh and Shark Man created an interesting triangle. I personally prefer Pharaoh for his undying love and willing to do anything for her. He’s a tortured hero, my favorite kind, and I even swooned a couple of times.
If you’re looking for a dark romance you won’t be able to put down, pick up Within the Skin today!
Favorite Character/Quote: She was no longer that girl. Tonight she would be the new Alba Vargas, reborn and re-baptized as a woman with power.
My Rating: 4 stars
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Award-winning author Zara West loves all things mysterious, adventurous, and heart-stopping as long as they lead to true love. Swept off her feet by her own Indiana Jones, Zara has followed sheep and goats up and down mountainsides in Greece, Crete, and Italy, been stranded on the banks of the Rhine with no money and one chocolate bar, and while she has never been kidnapped, she has been abandoned on an island in the middle of the wilderness for longer than she wants to remember. Now she writes books for the romantic adventurer in us all.
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AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
Reviewed by: Mrs. N