REVIEW: Skin and Bones – London Love Book #3- Sophia Soames

Skin and Bones Book Cover Skin and Bones
London Love Book #3
Sophia Soames
Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, LGPTQ Romance
Jan 31, 2024
Hugo Burrows has life under control. He has a decent job, a long-term relationship and a flat in Canary Wharf. It’s all under control. It’s just becoming a little problematic trying to hold everything together. Keeping the bruises on his skin hidden away. A smile plastered on his face. Controlling the calories he allows himself to consume. And now his boss is on his back with too many questions, and the grumpy French head chef keeps staring at him like he’s a freak or something.

Everything is under control. It has to be.

Benjamin Desjardins may be the head chef at the Clouds Hotel, but he definitely hasn’t got anything under control. His relationship with his best friend is crumbling, and simply turning up for work seems to automatically cause never-ending chaotic disasters. Yet there is something about the new concierge that has crawled straight under his prickly skin.

Ben doesn’t need more complications in his life. In fact, the last thing he needs is to inconveniently, and reluctantly…fall in love.

SKIN AND BONES can be read as a standalone but is best enjoyed if read after TASTE.

Reader Advisory. This book deals the following topics: eating disorders, OCD, domestic violence and sexual assault, characters falling somewhere on the ace/grey spectrum. Please look yourself and take care if these topics could upset you.
The book has high angst but low steam due to the above topics.

Review by Xanthe
Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Ok, so firstly, please ensure you read the content/trigger warnings for this book. There is some on page content that I know will be distressing for some as well as memories of abuse and medical trauma.

Skin and Bones is another emotional story between two men who are in desperate need of love and care but don’t necessarily have it in them to find it or believe that they deserve it. Hugo is a concierge at the Clouds hotel, serving guests and just getting through the day before having to go back to the home shared with his boyfriend to await whatever mood the man will be in and what punishment he will be in for. Ben is head chef at the same hotel and has been living with life changing injuries since an incident at college and his relationship with his best friend is slightly unhealthy in its co-dependency.

Ben has been drawn to Hugo since he started working at the hotel but has never really known how to deal with those feelings. For a while, Hugo is just focusing on surviving but, when it’s needed, his hotel family steps up and Ben offers a safe haven for him to stay at. Together, they make two broken men, but they have the chance to help build each other up, giving the support and care that they desperately need.

It is a heartbreakingly beautiful story, that is a very slow burn, low heat romance. Hugo has experienced a lot of trauma at the hands of his boyfriend along with already living with anorexia and possibly OCD. Having a brain that constantly works against you is exhausting, without having everything else piled on top. What works in his favour is Ben, Mark, Finn and Mabel paying attention and stepping up when he needs help. Ben is dealing with a change to his relationship with his best friend, Mark, since the man got together with his boyfriend, Finn (Taste, book 2). It’s a lot to deal with as it’s a huge part of both men’s support to get through life but especially their darker moments. Now Ben wants to bring Hugo into his life but is unsure on how or what that would look like. I think the only downfall for me in this book was that it took a long time for Ben to say out loud to Hugo about his wants, needs and comfort levels when it comes to intimacy. Whatever each man wants, it turns out to be a perfect fit for them and, though it is a long and intense road.

I love how the characters that readers of the series have come to know all rally at the moment Hugo needs them, surprising him with just how much they care. There are definitely some tough moments to get through for the reader, but it is worth it for the outcome for Ben and Hugo, who both deserve the happiness and care that comes their way. Finn, Mark and Mabel all show their kinder, caring side and it also brings the group closer together in their shared experiences.

A recommended read from this brilliant author. They have written a story that contains some of the harder moments in life to experience but in a way that brings an emotional connection between several people and shows the way in which they can move towards a happy and loving life.

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