A darkly possessive relationship has left Uma alone and on the run. Beneath her drab clothing, she hides a terrible secret—proof of her abuse, tattooed onto her skin in a lurid reminder of everything she’s survived.
Caught between a brutal past and an uncertain future, Uma’s reluctant to bare herself to anyone…much less a rough ex-con whose rage drives him in ways she will never understand. But beneath his frightening exterior, Ivan is gentle. Warm. Compassionate. And just as determined to heal Uma’s broken heart as he is to destroy the monster who left his mark scrawled across the delicate tapestry of her skin.
Uma started out as a photographer but that's a far cry from what she's doing now, working as a live-in help for a truly cantankerous older lady but some things are worth putting up with because Uma has plans. Her plans don't include a man because what hides beneath Uma's clothes is something she cannot bear, not even to her own eyes. Yet the neighbour, Ivan, keeps cropping up. This giant with a good heart seems kind but Ivan has a dark past which has shaped the man he has become. Still, Uma can't stop thinking about him, listening to him at night working in his forge and then when she's locked out of the house, it's Ivan who comes to her rescue in more ways than one!
Yes, there's a romance but it's the story of how Uma becomes her own woman again that pulled me in. I had seen wildly conflicting reviews for Under Her Skin, so had to satisfy my curiosity. Yes, she has been through a traumatic event and has genuine reasons to be afraid but she is an odd conundrum. Nervous yet fierce, wanting to be alone but attracting friendship, and then there's her ability to change from a mouse to a lion that roars! The opening line to this book mentions the old hag that is looking for a home help and admittedly that surprised me, but Uma takes on her employer to glorious effect yet even then, there's a twist I just hadn't seen coming!
The word dichotomy describes Uma, particularly when it comes to her interactions with Ivan. Without saying too much, I think this is where we first start to see Uma gaining in confidence as Ivan lets her call the shots. I really liked that Ivan was man enough not to be phased by that and it made a wonderful change from all the macho alpha type males that often feature in romance with a darker side. This is not in my opinion a dark romance, but it is one with a heroine who has and indeed still is living in a dark place.
Under Her Skin is Definitely a story of hope but the abuse mentioned is sickening. I would have liked to know more about her ex as his character just didn't feel real, although I do understand true evil and madness can often be found under the face of an angel. Yet Uma triumphs and regains that which is most precious, her feeling of self-worth. Not a preachy story and it's definitely an adult one as Ivan doesn't just stoke the fires when he's working!
A copy of this was provided for me which I have voluntarily read and these comments are my own honest opinion.