Series: Under My Skin #4
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Length: 255 pages
Reviewed by Jenn
Successful financial analyst Michael Walsh leads a picture-perfect life that anyone would envy—unless they caught a glimpse beneath the surface. Haunted by failed relationships and self-doubt, Michael harbors a soul-deep loneliness that no number of casual hookups can fulfill. So why can’t he stop thinking about his New Year’s fling with a man whose quiet desperation matched his own?
Barista Stewart Jenkins has an abysmal track record with relationships, and no matter how hard he tries to keep things tightly under wraps, his life is spinning out of control. His hookup with the gorgeous Michael was only supposed to be sex—hot, dirty, uncomplicated—but that small taste leaves him yearning for more.
Every no-strings encounter that follows between Michael and Stewart peels away more layers, blurring the lines, until they’re left with a raw tenderness and acceptance they both crave. A relationship seems out of the question—they come from drastically different lives and are plagued by inexcusable sins. Being vulnerable is sure to reveal old wounds, and forgiveness seems out of reach, unless they can find a way around their fears on the road to redemption.
I was super excited that Michael and Elijah from the Under My Skin world were getting a book. They seemed so nonredeemable in the other books, but there was something there, and I was right! Michael and Elijah refer to themselves as “antiheroes” among other less flattering names, but they’re wrong...they just needed each other to bring out the hero in them.
I am crazy about this book, I admit to having certain expectations with this one. I don’t normally do that, I think it often sets a book up for failure. My expectations were pretty simple though, keep their flaws and make us understand why they have them. Christina Lee far exceeded my expectations, she stayed true to her characters and let us see them grow.
There are no quick fixes in this book, Michael and Elijah have to do the work. The vulnerability in each character is both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. They may not be perfect people, but together they are perfect for each other. It was a pleasure watching each man navigate, making changes in their lives individually and as a couple. The support given to them by new friends and by characters from past books was amazing to see.
Asking for forgiveness is so hard, but granting forgiveness...is something so pure. These guys made me love them, the author couldn’t have chosen a better title for this book. Redemption is not something we all get and not something we all deserve, Michael and Elijah deserved it! This book just gave me all the feels and I loved it so much. Speaking of feels...there is a lot of really hot sex in this book. This is not something I often mention, but it’s necessary to do so for this one. Sex isn’t just a physical release or a next step in the relationship with these two. It’s a form of communication, it’s a way of forming trust and it’s a safe zone for two men who feel so much that they can’t express it with words. The sex is so much more than just sex and it was very clear to me why it played such an important role in the relationship. I love how free these two could be when they’re wrapped up in each other’s bodies.
Redeem has become my new favorite of this series, I honestly loved everything about it! As with a series, it’s always great catching up with past characters. Never more so here because of the hurt that had been caused. Seeing each couple happy, in love, and willing to give second chances was a wonderful treat. These men have formed a family and maybe Michael and Elijah will have a space in there one day...baby steps, right?
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