Skintight by Susan Andersen
Series: Vegas Showgirls #1
Also in this series: Just for Kicks, Just for Kicks
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2010
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Professional poker player Jax Gallagher should have known better than to wager a World Series baseball that wasn't his to lose. Now the man who won the collectible is demanding his prize…or else. Trouble is, the ball is owned by his estranged father's widow—a flamboyant Las Vegas showgirl. Jax will do whatever it takes to get it back.
Yet Treena McCall is anything but the ruthless gold digger Jax expects. She's built a life for herself filled with good friends and hard work. And she's got enough on her plate trying to hang on to her job as a dancer without being wined, dined and seduced by sexy Jax Gallagher….
Skintight is the first book in Susan Andersen‘s Showgirls series. I wasn’t sure what to think when I started it. Not only is the heroine a Vegas Showgirl (the kind who dances without a top), but she’s also the hero’s stepmother. Creepy, right? Except..it works.I’ve always enjoyed Susan Andersen’s novels. I think she excels at writing fun, witty characters who deal with serious issues in a wonderfully warm way.This book is no exception.
Jax is a professional poker player who got drunk the night he found out his father was dead and bet the most valuable thing he doesn’t own – a signed world-series baseball. He tried to buy it outright from his father’s widow, but she wouldn’t sell. Now he has to figure out a way to get close enough to her to get the ball before the crazy Russian Elvis Impersonator he lost it too breaks his knee caps – or worse.
Treena is pretty much drowning in debt after taking time off to nurse her sick husband. Now she’s struggling to get back in shape for auditions for the next season of shows so she can replenish her savings. Her dream is to open a dance studio, and she was well on her way to having the down payment she needed, but she drained her savings to pay for her husband’s health care. She’d love nothing more than to sell his prized possession – an autographed baseball – but she promised she’d save it for his estranged son, Jackson.
When she meets Jax, the last thing on her mind is love. But the more time they spend together, the more she’s willing to risk it. Until Jax’s secret it revealed and it threatens to ruin them both.
I loved Jax. I have to get that out of the way right now. A professional poker player isn’t really my idea of hero material, but Andersen proved it’s just as sexy as a firefighter or cop. Jax was awesome. He was strong, caring and tough, but also vulnerable and in need of someone to care for him. He wasn’t irresponsible normally, so his feelings of guilt over losing the baseball made him that much more lovable. At first he thinks Treena is just a gold digger who married his dad for money, but the more time he spends with her the more he realizes that isn’t the case. It was great that he had to readjust his thinking about her.
I really liked Treena, too. She was a down-to-earth woman who just wanted to have a secure future. She didn’t think she needed a man for that, either, which was refreshing. I liked that her profession was something outside the box. I think Andersen did a credible job of showing us the demands of being a dancer, and also how respectable it is. Yes she danced topless, but it wasn’t a dirty stripper-like show.
Her reasons for marrying Jax’s dad seemed murky, though. If she didn’t need a man to make her future secure, why did she marry a man twice her age without having a passionate relationship with him (they were never intimate – he wasn’t able to)? It was kind of alluded to that she had a strained relationship with her parents and he acted as a father-figure for her, but it didn’t make sense to me that they had to marry to have that kind of relationship.
I didn’t like that Jax kept his reasons for seeking her out a secret. When he thought she was just a gold digger I kind of understood it, but he realizes pretty early on that he was wrong about her, so I’m not sure why he didn’t come clean.
I loved the two of them together though. It was sweet how they interacted. There was also some great humor laced throughout.
I really liked the secondary romance between an older couple that lives in Treena’s building. It was sweet and cute. I also liked the other secondary characters.
This is a great light read if you’re in the mood for something fun and fast.
4 out of 5
This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.