Tag Archives: Beneath the Skin

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Lauren Dane

YOU GUYS! Today we have Lauren Dane visiting with us. Yes, the Lauren Dane! Believe it or not I actually emailed her about this fifteen months ago! (Um… have I ever mentioned that I like planning in advance? It’s totally not as if I’m scheduled well into 2014 or anything…) >.> Anyway – point being! I heart Lauren Dane like whoa. Oh and yanno, her books are pretty good too. 😉 I haven’t read all of them – but what I have, I give a big thumbs up to. But you’re not here to read my babbling. You’re here for the post!


No not that kind, though there’s that too, but what I mean is the combination of two people (sometimes three) who comprise the main character roles in a romance novel.

It’s been done before. Most of it anyway. In a zillion ways. What isn’t old is how much we love to watch the process of two people falling in love. To me, that’s the heart of any romance. Who these people are and what about them makes the other person’s heart speed.

Sometimes they know right away. They meet, sparks fly, they date and bam there’s love. Other times there’s a slow fall into love. There are things that may threaten their relationship directly like an ex or something. Or outside forces that work to tear them apart (the world ending, for instance, LOL)

In Beneath the Skin, Gibson de La Vega is the Bringer for his jamboree. He’s responsible for meting out justice and for keeping the cats in line. His family is powerful, as is his connection to them.

Mia Porter has done two tours in Iraq. She’s a pilot, it’s what she loves most in the world. But upon her return home she was attacked, nearly killed and that’s sent her reeling because her injuries may prevent her from doing what she loves best. She’s not a fragile flower. She knows how to use a weapon. She knows how to deal with bad guys. But it’s not her life anymore. She wants a quiet life and a good job. Maybe settle down and have some babies in a few years.

What she doesn’t need is another bossy alpha male in her life who wants to tell her want to do at every turn. She’s already got two brothers and a father.

She’s back in Boston, looking for a job, going to physical therapy and trying to plan her future when Gibson’s life slams straight into hers and holds on.

Thing is, despite the heavy duty physical and chemical attraction between them from the start, they’re not for each other. Porters and de La Vegas have been at odds for three generations.

So there’s an undeniable spark there between them and despite their best efforts (well maybe) to resist, they soon find themselves hot and heavy, as things on the outside begin to break down as well.

Gibson and Mia aren’t necessarily opposites, but he’s most certainly an alpha, bossy male. She’s got to push back a lot, which annoys her and also, deep down, comforts her. But she’s alpha enough to push back. And he is annoyed right back, but also deep down is comforted by.

There’s give and take, push and pull and a lot of family dynamics. Shifters aren’t humans after all, so Mia and Gibson’s way of problem solving isn’t always as polite as you might see in one of my contemporaries, but in the end, they find a balance because love makes you do that 😉

Here’s the first time they clash (though not the last!)

de La Vega CatsBeneath the Skin by Lauren Dane
Copyright 2012, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing

“Where are you?”

His savior came back with a shirt and some sweats.

“Where am I?” he asked her as he pulled the sweats on.

She rattled off an address that he didn’t bother relaying to Max, who’d have heard it the first time.

A fact his brother underlined when he began to give orders in the background before turning his attention to Gibson again. “Sending a car now. We’ll have a doctor for you. Do you need the hospital? Who are you with?”

“She’s one of ours. A cat.” He turned his attention back to the woman. “You never said what your name was. At least not while I was conscious.”

She looked him up and down as she decided to tell him or not. “Mia Porter.”

Well, shit.

“Did she say Porter?” Wariness edged Max’s voice.

She sighed. “Yes, that Porter family.”

“How do you know she’s not part of it?” his brother asked.

The brown of her eyes went amber as her cat rose close to the skin. He liked that. Though the look on her face was scary enough that he’d give her some space.

One hand on her hip, she snarled in response to Max, and Gibson was glad he got to see the glorious fury of this female. “You’ve got some nerve to make accusations while your brother’s blood is all over my sheets. Get this straight, asshole. My family may not love yours, but if I wanted anyone dead, I’d come straight on and do it so you knew it was me.”

Gibson liked some moxie in a woman. This one had that in spades. Too bad she was a Porter. “He didn’t mean it like that.”

She rolled her eyes, totally unimpressed by his name, or Max’s, for that matter. “Of course he did. Your grandpa wasn’t all that. Just a serial cheater with a swelled head. Not rare and not special. Dumb assholes getting shot and when you help them they accuse you of being part of it. How do I know you didn’t need getting shot anyway?” When she pointed a finger in his direction, her breasts jiggled a little bit. Enough for him to lose his train of thought a moment.

Max cursed in the background. He wasn’t usually this clumsy when it came to dealing with the cats in his jamboree, but he’d touched a nerve and Mia Porter was one pissed-off woman.

He tried for a sexy smile, most likely watered down by the blood. Though she was a shifter so maybe not. “I probably do merit it.” He spoke to Max again. “But this is Bertram’s doing. I scented his cats before I went down. I’ve got my men on it. I’ll be over in a bit.” He hung up and took in the wreck of her room before he went back out to the living room in her wake.

She favored her left side but was clearly right handed, and he remembered the freshly healed spots on her chest and arm.

“I’m sorry about that. He didn’t mean it, not the way you think. He’d have asked the same thing of any other person who happened to be around.”

“Clearly you seem to think I’m unaware of how your family runs things. I know how he meant it. Just like I notice he didn’t ask the question until he heard my last name.”
He sighed but didn’t argue because she was right in part.

“Did I hurt you?” He tipped his chin to indicate her right side.

Something passed over her features for long moments before she put it away. “No.”

I’m giving away a copy of BENEATH THE SKIN to one commenter to this post! International entries welcome.

Giveaway guidelines, and end dates/drawings can be found here.

Review: Beneath the Skin by Lauren Dane

Liz’s Review:

Beneath the Skin by Lauren Dane
Paranormal romance released by Samhain Publishing on April 3, 2012

A whole world exists…beneath the skin.
De La Vega Cats, Book 3
Gibson de La Vega is the Bringer, one of the Alpha’s right-hand cats. It is his job to mete out justice and defend the law that holds their jamboree together.
After a contentious meeting with another jamboree, he’s shot—Mia stumbles onto the scene and saves his life. He’s immediately drawn to the female who dug three silver bullets from his body. Even after he discovers she’s a Porter, a family his own harmed grievously half a century before.
Mia has enough in her life. She’s recovering from a vicious hate crime—an attack using silver has affected her ability to do what she loves most. The last thing she needs is a bossy alpha cat like Gibson. A de La Vega no less.
Despite the myriad reasons to stay away, even as they continue to hunt down the would-be killers, their attraction deepens into something else entirely.
The answers they find bring that threat far closer to home than anyone could have imagined and it’ll be up to Gibson to end the mess once and for all. And up to Mia to stand at his side, even as he risks his life…
Warning: A super hot alpha male with a gruff façade, and an uppity female who’s not buying it. Some violence. Some red-hot sex. Bad words. Lots of fun.

Lauran Dane’s De La Vega Cats series revolves around a world that is both fantastic and plausible. Even in human form, the were-cats act like real cats in the wild, following hierarchy, protecting territory, and finding their mates. The clear hierarchy and laws of their kind were very well drawn and fascinating.

Mia comes across as a no-nonsense, stubborn, feisty woman and were-cat. But it’s clear that her nature – that fighter under the skin – isn’t just because she’s a were-cat, but because she’s a strong woman and she won’t back down no matter what. She proves herself again and again to be a worthy woman that any man would be lucky to have by his side.

Gibson is a great character. Typical alpha male, he’s used to people following his orders until he meets Mia. She takes all of his pre-conceived notions about women and throws them out the window. Mia tells him at one point that underneath the gruff exterior that he’s a marshmallow, and it’s very true. Hard when he needs to be, but soft when it’s called for. A worthy hero to the story.

What I really enjoyed about this book, aside from the suspense and action packed fighting, was the interaction between Mia and Gibson. There is no abrupt “I’m in love” action between either character, but a slow burn to the point that neither of them can ignore it and neither choose to. Their conversations, in and out of bed, punctuate the story with funny quips, bossiness, and exasperation on his part when he realizes just how little he knows about women.

Packed full of steamy love scenes, old grudges, betrayal, and witty banter between the characters, Beneath the Skin is a great story about were-cats standing up for their people and finding love in the middle of war.

Grade: B

You can read an excerpt of the book here, or buy it here.