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The Story Behind the Story: SECOND SKIN by Jesse Pearl + Giveaway

Today, I am hosting a stop on the Virtual Book Tour for Second Skin by Jesse Pearl, a romantic suspense book available now from Etopia Press.


VBT Second Skin Tour Banner copy


Jesse will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Remember, the more stops you visit, the more chances you earn to win.




Obsession is never just skin deep.

Sam Blanco’s greatest desire is to escape his abusive father and violent neighborhood the only way he can—by earning money as a tattoo artist for a street gang. He’s befriended their leader, the deadly Leo Reyes, and gained a measure of safety under their protection. But just when things are going right for the first time in Sam’s life, Leo’s girlfriend, Pilar Flores, walks in and requests a tattoo in an unusual location. Sam obliges, but the experience leaves them both reeling. Unable to focus for days, Sam finds himself craving Pilar’s touch, but she’s exactly the kind of trouble he doesn’t need.

Pilar Flores is her father’s daughter. Being the daughter of a drug lord is not an easy role to fill, but she aspires to live up to the title and make her father proud. But her father has no plans to allow her into the business, and Pilar hates being sidelined. She hates that Leo is away for days on end, and she especially hates being treated like an incompetent female by every man she sees. Except for Sam. She decides to take control of her life the only way she knows how—through seduction. But she’s not prepared for how eager and passionate a lover Sam is, or how deeply she’s drawn to him. Even though she knows their ill-fated affair can’t possibly end well…


The Story Behind the Story

What inspired you to write SECOND SKIN?


The true inspiration for Second Skin was from a fan fiction I wrote back in 2012 that needed a fresh, original character to play a small role–the role of a rough and world-weary tattoo artist approaching his 50s. The character sprang to life so vividly in my mind at the time that I just had to know what his life story was, so I began writing it, beginning with the character as a teenager. Sam came first, then the other characters gradually began to evolve out of my imagining of the story of this young artist who aspires to be a famous tattoo artist like his idol. Sam’s little sister, Celie, came next, followed by Pilar and Leo, then Benny, then the rest of the cast of characters came to life, one by one. They each told me their stories as they evolved.

But it was just a fan fiction at first, so publishing wasn’t even on my radar. I had no plans to do anything else with it. Even when asked if I’d consider reworking it to publish I adamantly denied that I would, citing the difficulty in divorcing it from the IP it was based on. I also didn’t want to be lumped into a category with other authors who had done something similar. But, believe it or not, there are a ton of authors who have done just that, with varying levels of success–whether they started with fan fiction and pulled to publish, or whether they merely got their writing gears greased in that arena and went on to write original stories. One of this year’s Rita Award winners even admitted to getting her start with fan fiction, so I’ve changed my tune about keeping that aspect of the story’s inspiration under wraps. I’m already in good company.

When I was about halfway through writing Sam’s life story, I discovered this great writing crit website called I’d never been a member of a true writing crit site, so I joined, thinking, “what the hell, I’ll check it out.” As an experiment to see if I liked the site, I picked a piece of my fan fic to rework into a short, standalone erotic romance, about a young Marine on leave who meets a gorgeous young doctor at a New Year’s Eve party in New York. They just want a hookup–a one night stand–but learn more about themselves in the process. It was part of what will be the sequel to Second Skin, and rewriting it to remove the canon from the video game world I’d based it on turned out to be much easier than I expected.

Shortly thereafter, one of the groups I’d joined on Scribophile started a contest, with sort of a NaNoWriMo theme–write a novel in a month, or complete one you’d already started, then they would be judged. First prize would be a publishing contract for the book. I decided I had nothing to lose, so I sat down and started rewriting the first part of Second Skin into a full length novel. I added about 40k new words to it, and cut out a bunch, too. I didn’t win the contest, but got such fantastic feedback from the judges that it started my gears turning and I started submitting my manuscript to agents and publishers. What I ended up with is the novel that got published.

The sequel is in progress and does, indeed include a 21-year-old Sam meeting a beautiful woman at a New Year’s Eve party while on leave from the Marines. That’s about all I’ll share right now, but many of the characters from the first book will make appearances, along with a few new characters (not the least of which is the doctor who captures Sam’s heart).

My overall plan for the Second Skin series follows Sam through significant milestones in his life, every event shaping him into that older, wiser, but still rough around the edges and incredibly sexy man.







(Leo’s POV)

The small plane touched down on the runway of the airfield outside Los Angeles. After taxiing to the hangar, Leo powered down the engines and pulled off his headset. He felt like a weight had been lifted, but anxiety twisted in his gut as he worked through his explanation to the old man.

Gustavo had needed to be taken care of, that fact had been clear to him for months. The only reason he hadn’t gone to Arturo Flores about Gustavo’s consistent series of fuckups was because of his promise to Pilar to leave her father out of it.

The deed was done, the memory of the corpse he’d left behind in the little shack in the Sonoran desert still left him ice cold to his core. He’d had to ignore the spark of memory of another pair of eyes whose light the same gun had extinguished two years earlier. Two years to the day, he thought.

Leo no longer regretted any of those bullets, starting with the very first one from his brother’s gun that had pierced his own chest. Each had brought him closer to her. Now all he had to do was claim what was his.

The phone at his hip buzzed as he made his way across the tarmac to the parking lot. He settled in his car and started the engine, turning the AC on full blast while he checked his messages.

911! Call me when you land!

It was from Pilar. Goosebumps rose up on his arms in spite of the hot August air that baked the interior of his car.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


MEDIA KIT JessePearleHeadshotJesse Pearle grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina in a place where there was no danger in dancing naked in the moonlight at the top of a mountain. Always possessed of a creative mind, but never quite the right amount of focus, she wandered for decades. She received a degree in fine art which she put to poor use working an uneventful desk job for an engineering company when she started writing her first really ambitious piece of fiction. She lives in sunny Southern California with her ever supportive husband and four attention-whoring cats.








Remember, the more stops you visit, the more chances you earn to win.


All Romance:




Enter to win one of two $25 Amazon gift cards – a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 responses to “The Story Behind the Story: SECOND SKIN by Jesse Pearl + Giveaway

  1. Mary Preston ⋅

    An interesting inspiration.

  2. Jesse Pearle ⋅

    Thank you for hosting today!

  3. Elena ⋅

    I like the excerpt. Thank you!

  4. Serena S. ⋅

    I liked how you were inspired for this story.

  5. bn100 ⋅

    Interesting info

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