Title: Willing Skin (Space Grit #4)
Author: Ella Drake
Genre: Scifi Romance/Space Opera
Available: Amazon $3.99 (Kindle) 207 pages
Sylla Viola has never put down roots. When she's forced to abandon her life, she leaves everything behind. Nothing to miss. Nothing to regret. Not even the loss of her body. Using a DNA mod that changes her into a male half-human Scoriah, she's poised to get away from the hunter on her trail. Until she runs into the one man who can see through her disguise.
Docked at Station Viesel, Echtei Bronson helps a lost male Scoriah. One minute in his company threatens Echtei's control. One glimpse of the woman inside and he can't keep his hands off. One heated touch and he gives in to the need to wreak havoc on anyone who touches Sylla--a woman who could never stay with a man forever tied to family and home.
But even Echtei can't defeat what's chasing Sylla--a ruthless cyborg hunter who has shown that a Scoriah is no match for him. Echtei won’t give Sylla up without a fight. It's face the impossible or die trying, even if survival means war.
Willing Skin is a full-length science fiction romance, standalone novel in the Space Grit series with a happily ever after ending.
Warning: This novel is intended for readers 18 and older. It contains explicit female/male and (female as male)/male scenes, language, violence.
Keywords: f(m)/m, explicit sex, violence, alien romance, space opera, Twelfth Night trope, What you Will, disguise, gender swapping, woman disguised as man, android, cyborg, romance, genes
What I liked:
I wasn't sure if I would like this but I decided to take a leap of faith, and I'm glad I did. Take a deep breath because the tension and action never let up for a second! It didn't feel at all like 95K, in a good way because of the seat of your pants pacing. The tech elements were intriguing and appealed hugely to my SF side without being overwhelming for anyone who isn't that into SciFi - the concept of the skin suit for the heroine and all the mental and physical conflict it involved was hugely original and completely fascinating to me. Plus the author excels at writing explicit sex scenes but in a way that doesn't set me cringing at the words used. I was also fascinated by the cyborg bounty hunter.
What I didn't like:
Some of the phrasing got a bit repetitive toward the end, and the constant to-ing and fro-ing to the same places got a bit wearing. Also the amount of time the central couple spent snogging, fondling, and/or more involved pushed my believeability limit considering how much danger Sylla was supposedly in. These were very minor niggles overall though.
While a bit heavy on the sex scenes for my personal taste, this is one hot, exciting, tense, and all-round fun romp on a space station, with some uber fascinating tech including the heroine's ability to gender-flip. I'm still thinking about the story and the characters weeks after reading. If you find the idea of switched gender sex offensive, this is not for you. About the closest comparison I can make is maybe an X-rated version of Farscape where the Scarrans are more human and sexy rather than scary, and with a Terminator-style assassin. Although book four of this series, it reads perfectly fine as a standalone so you can jump in mid-series without feeling lost.