Taylor Simmons has everything a guy could want: a nice apartment, a great job, and Joey Martin, his perfect geek boyfriend. But then Joey gets sick and the fever burning him up is caused by metaphysical changes taking place in his body. Joey is changing. He's not going to be human anymore. He's Becoming Lesser-Bred.
The inhuman genes lying dormant in Joey's body have awakened and Taylor, who has always taken care of Joey, can't even begin to fulfill his needs. Joey needs to feed. And that means he needs others like himself. In order to keep Joey safe and to meet his needs, Taylor must allow Joey to be taken into the Gray Zone; the no-mans-land between the city of Atlanta and the Dens, where Kin--Dragons--roam the deserted streets, and be kept by the Male Kin Pavel and fed by the Lesser-Bred Gabriel.
Because of the prejudice against the inhuman, Taylor is stripped of his job, and his cushy apartment. But Taylor loves Joey and is determined to stay by his side, through better or worse.
And things definitely get worse as Taylor learns the darkest secrets in the nightmare world of the Gray Zone, where monsters roam the streets feeding on flesh and blood and humans are nothing but food.
I’ve read all of Adrienne’s published work and I love them all. She introduces her readers to a new perspective with this installment in the Gray Zone series. I want to mention what it is that makes Taylor different, but I think it smacks of spoiler and you should just read to find out.
Taylor is human and gets his normalcy ripped out from under him when he finds out that his partner Joey is becoming something very non-human. Somewhere in Joe’s gene pool there is some Kin DNA. This is where Taylor loses all control of his life. He is human. Kin and Lesser-Bred are not. While Taylor loves Joe and will do anything for him it is all but impossible for Taylor to help Joe. Taylor no longer has anything that can actually help the man he loves.
Pavel (Kin) and Gabriel (Lesser-Bred) agree to keep Joey, to feed him, keep a roof over his head, and help him acclimate into his new life. This turns impossible circumstances into an even direr situation. Taylor feels completely useless. Joe is embracing many of the aspects of his new life. There are a few things in Joe’s new life that he has issues with though. Eventually things escalate from making Taylor uncomfortable to making impossible decisions.
I enjoyed reading Gabriel from the very beginning. His life experiences have given him a pessimistic outlook on many things. This gives him some personality traits that Taylor just abhors. Pavel seemed to me like the large quite type, yet when he spoke anyone near needed to heed his words. Joey’s character and all he endured as a human and what he becomes is absolutely heartbreaking. Taylor and his humanness keep him a constant outsider even though everything he does is for Joe.
Skin Deep is a roller coaster ride of emotions. The last few chapters have you hanging on the edge of your seat trying to figure out where the events that are unfolding are going to lead Taylor and Joey. I’m still shocked. Adrienne’s characters flesh out to be so real and I find them easy to connect with. When characters I’ve enjoyed reading start hurting in a book that I’ve become emotionally tied to, oh wow. There is a very heartbreaking story here that is a must read.
My only disappointment was the typos. I seldom mention these because the majority of the books I read come from the publisher or author. I assume they still have another round of edits to go through. I purchased this book. My feelings are that I can complain about typos in a product that I paid for. They are not so large in number that it was overly distracting, but there are enough there that it deserves a mention.
***multiple partners, ménage, and a world specific happily ever after***