Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-589-6
Contemporary Romance, 2007
If there was one thing Leilani knew like the back of her hand, it was her effect on men. Courtesy of her African-American father, she had an all-year-long tan, a booty that wouldn’t quit and curly black hair. The exotic tilt of her chocolate-brown eyes came from her Sansei mother. Men had been chasing her since she sprouted breasts in middle school.
Because of her ass and tits, she looked older than she actually was and had men of all ages following her around. She wasn’t supermodel-gorgeous – her nose was a little too big, and lordy, she loved to eat – but she had in spades what a lot of pretty girls didn’t. Sex appeal. She knew how to move her body in a way that drove men crazy and didn’t hesitate to use it to her advantage.
I think I want to be Leilani “I Can Get Any Man I Want” Howard when I grow up.
Poor Leilani. She has the hots for the new neighbor Oliver Clayton but she can’t imagine why he hasn’t risen to the many baits she has thrown his way. Wearing the skimpiest outfits just enough to prevent her from being arrested by Oliver for indecent exposure whenever she leaves her house just so that he can take a look at her assets isn’t working. I’m sure if she knows he’s a cop any earlier she’ll probably start shoplifting in the nude to get his attention. At any rate, what she doesn’t know is that Oliver actually very interested in what she has to offer. The thing is, he’s a cop who’s currently recuperating from a wound that, if it were any higher, would have destroyed some body part that would render him completely useless as a sex object. He’s not in the mood to indulge in any extra-curricular activities with a woman, needless to say, until Leilani shows up on his radar.
But as temperature soars to new heights – literally, as there is a heatwave in this story and everyone is sweating from the heat while finding it impossible to sleep – the day is only beginning for these two.
Leilani is such an over-the-top sassy and confident sista on the hunt for her man that, if this story is any longer, she’d probably be in dire need of some vulnerabilities to make her come off as a more realistic character. But she is a perfect fit for Skin To Skin as she makes a great extroverted girlfriend to coax and tease the introverted Clayton into being naughty. These two are polar opposites in some ways but they fit together very nicely. There is a nice playfulness in their relationship that convinces me that they like each other as much as they want to jump each other’s bones. The story is too short for the romance to be as well-developed as it could have been, but what the heck, this story makes me smile. It’s naughty, sizzling, and the main characters are fun to follow.
My only major complain is that the conversations in this story can sometimes contain too many expletives that seem to be inserted often for the sake of… well, having expletives. You know me, I don’t mind if the characters cuss, but the cussing here sometimes feel overdone in a forced manner, as if the author is trying too hard to show how tough and street her characters are. I suspect that, like Leilani, the constant “Look at me, I’m so tough and street, bitches!” cussing will become really tedious if this story is any longer.
However, in its current form, Skin to Skin is a pretty enjoyable sexy little teaser to introduce Dionne Galace to readers apart from the regular visitors of her popular online blog It’s Not Chick Porn. There’s plenty of sass and a hard-to-miss ball of energy behind the prose. Now all the author has to do to seal the deal is to write something that is a little longer to show the world what she is really capable of.