Review: SKIN DIVE by Ava Gray

She can’t remember what home is like
Gillie is a fugitive. She has the scars to prove her long-term incarceration, but it’s the kind of story that would land her in another cell if she tried to present it to the authorities. Now that she’s free, she’s determined never to be bound again. She has a powerful healing gift—and a fierce resolve never to use it, unless it’s her choice.

He can’t remembering wanting anything more
Taye is keeping a powerful secret. He cannot remember everything about his past, but he knows he used to be homeless, one of the crazy-tinfoil-hat-wearing brigade. He knows his own family threw him away when he became too much trouble. He also knows he has a limited amount of time to make sure Gillie gets the life she’s always wanted. It just hurts because he can’t be a part of it. Because his ability is killing him, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

But he’s determined not to seduce her, and to do one thing right before he dies–save Gillie Flynn. But she’s busy making plans of her own…

Title: SKIN DIVE
Author: Ava Gray
Series: Skin, book 4 (final book)
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year of release: 2011, July 5
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Bought a copy at the big RWA book signing in NYC

First line:
Gillie froze at the knock on her door.

Memorable Scenes:
– the scene where they have to escape from the mercenary the Foundation sends after them in Detroit > awesome action
– truth or dare game > hot is too tame a word for it!
– Taye and Gillie together after the separation > both heart-breaking and spine-tingling

Gillie Flynn is sweet and selfless. She embodies goodness and kindness but not in an innocent naïve way. She’s also strong and determined to enjoy the small things people take for granted. She’s both afraid and eager to get into the world again after being imprisoned for so long. I loved Gillie’s character! She is one tough cookie.

Taye (aka T-89 aka Tyler Golden) has the ability to manipulate energy. He’s honorable and doesn’t want Gillie’s admiration because he thinks he has nothing to offer her and his “gift” is shortening his lifespan.

We first met Taye and Gillie in SKIN TIGHT. I was immediately intrigued by both of them and was thrilled to find out they were going to get their own book. After SKIN TIGHT and SKIN HEAT there were a lot of speculations going around in my head. Also expectations were set about Gillie, Taye and the others in this group trying to destroy the foundation. Now, not all of these expectations were met but I didn’t mind that because the spin Ava Gray gave to the suspense plot was satisfying even if it wasn’t how I had formed it in my mind.

Skin Dive starts with a prologue that’s set 10 months before the actual events in the book. The prologue takes place during SKIN TIGHT (book 2) and describes Gillie and Taye’s first meeting at the facility they were held in. The first chapter describes their escape from the facility a month later.

After a few brief introductory chapter to establish the setting and a little back story the action kicked in to gear and it didn’t let up until the very end. I love the way Ava Gray sets up, builds up and wraps up the plot in these books.

The Foundation stuff and the plotline about the traitor were brilliantly done. However I did find the romance less strong than in the other books of this series. Especially the part where Gillie and Taye were separated was less powerful than the parts where they were together, and this was noticeable in the romance.

Still, even if this book wasn’t my favorite of the series, it was a book worthy of closing the series because Ava Gray saved some of her best for last in this final installment of the Skin series. She stealthily crept upon me and unleashed some heavy emotional blows that had me sobbing towards the last page.

I am sad to see this series end! I embraced all the books as every book had its own uniqueness and Ava Gray is a master at intricate suspense. I hope there will be more to come from her hand as these books have taken up their permanent spot among my favorite romantic suspense series.

Favorite Quotes:

He had a roguish wanderer’s charm, like she imagined gypsies used to be. He wasn’t a stick-around-forever guy; he was a steal-your-heart-and-run-off-into-the-night man.

He usually tried to hide any hint of attraction, fearing she’d get the wrong idea about his intentions. Tonight he smiled at her with his heart in his eyes, and it thrilled her from head to toe.

Their eyes locked and held. Her breath accelerated. She felt the heat of his desire as if it were a hidden flame, burning him from the inside out. For the space of four heartbeats, he let her touch him.

He smiled and shook his head. Incredibly her delight dulled his own ache. It felt manageable, almost pleasurable, down to a low hum instead of that endless roar. She was the cool river that could slake his most dire thirst; he would like to lie down in her like a green valley and let his soul absorb her peace.

“Take out your contacts. I need to see your eyes.”
Oh. Something in her melted a little. Gillie hurried to the bathroom so he wouldn’t realize just how completely he owned her heart.

Gillie didn’t cherish some idealized vision of him. She loved his moods, his temper, his bad attitude, his hidden laughter, his sometimes surly nature and the fact that he would burn the world down to protect her.
She was prepared for refutation and for him to recite all the reasons this wasn’t real, why it couldn’t work. That had been the deal for so long. Gillie braced for more of the same.
Instead, he said softly, “I know. And I love you…with all the heart that’s in me. That’s not much, maybe, but I’ll give you everything.”

“Even before we got out of Exeter, I knew my time was limited. I tried not to get too close to you because of it…but you’re impossible not to love. For me, anyway. You’re the answer to every question I never asked, nothing I deserve and everything I need.” (Taye to Gillie)

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