Mad Dog - Second Skin, Book 1


LGBTQ: A few years after losing his virginity to Celeste, a crime lord's daughter, Maddox "Mad Dog" Santos returns home to Los Angeles with a Navy discharge. All he wants is to live his life and ink skin in the tattoo shop he’s opened next to his Mom's dance studio. Mad Dog nurses a secret crush for his repeat gangbanger customer, Leo; and he’s shocked to learn Leo has a secret crush on Celeste! When she appears in his shop with one of her father’s enforcers, their worlds collide once again. Mad Dog’s feelings for Celeste haven’t died, and his feelings for Leo must be denied. A criminal deal goes sideways and his conflicting attractions are exposed during the aftermath. Mad Dog must decide if he is willing to pay the cost if Celeste’s dangerous father learns about his secret wishes.

"Mad Dog" is an intriguing tale of a complex love triangle mixed with the dangers of L.A.’s dark world of organized crime. The version reviewed is a precursor to the full novel, providing enough details to whet a reader’s appetite for the complete tale. Main characters are written as flawed individuals with relatable hopes, dreams, and desires. The sample doesn't include M/M love scenes; however the titled character does identify as a bisexual male and discusses his feelings for another man. Secondary characters are an ensemble cast without any standout performers. Some readers may consider the language crude, but it goes with the territory the tale is set in. Ms. Bell provides a raw, gritty lover's tale of second chances fraught with hazards of the underworld and blazing with unconventional affairs of the heart.

Tonya Mathenia