Series: Second Circle Tattoos

Guest Review: The Darkest Link by Scarlett Cole

Posted September 9, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Darkest Link by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
The Darkest Link by Scarlett Cole
Series: Second Circle Tattoos #4
Also in this series: The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1), The Fractured Heart, The Purest Hook
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

When her car breaks down off the side of a lonely highway far from her sunny Miami home, tattoo artist Lia never expected her very own white knight to ride up on the back of a barely street-legal motorcycle...and she never expected to fall for her dark savior. After a string of failed relationships and a bruised heart, Lia is not looking for forever, and the hot mechanic, with his sexy scruff and shaggy hair, is simply impossible to resist and the perfect candidate for mind-blowingly-perfect, no-strings-attached one night stand.

Reid left his life in Chicago far behind him and hasn't been back, but he's never been able to escape the guilt he feels about his own painful role in inviting a monster into his baby sister's life. A monster who almost destroyed her. Being with Lia is an unexpected gift, one he doesn't feel he deserves, and their one night together has him wanting more than he should. Especially since she doesn't know the truth about his past. However, when he finds Lia’s bracelet in his bed, he has the perfect excuse to drive down and surprise her at her tattoo studio, Second Circle Tattoos, in Miami. He's in for an even bigger shock - and a fist to the face - when his past and present collide in the humid Miami weather when he runs into the last person he’d ever expect to see in a tattoo studio: Harper, the sister he betrayed, and the last link to his former life.

Tattoo artist Lia Carlisle is on her way from Miami to an expo in Orlando when her car breaks down at the side of the road.  She gets out to wait and then along comes Kenny – a hot guy on a motorcycle.  He happens to own a garage and contacts his guys to bring a tow truck.  While Kenny and Lia wait for the truck they get to know each other a bit and like what they see.

Little by little the pair get to know each other better and soon Kenny is riding to see Lia in Miami.  A shocking revelation throws them off but not enough to quench the fire that’s burning between the two of them. Unfortunately they have to deal with Lia’s family.

Lia’s father has decided to run for governor – in three years – but insists that Lia “comes to heel” as she’s just too wild and opinionated.  At the age of 27 Lia is her own woman.  Lia dresses like she wants to and she certainly won’t cover up her tattoos to make him happy.  While Lia is trying to deal with her father and her mentally fragile mother someone is trying to kill Lia and Kenny (whose real name is Reid) and they can only hope they survive.

Book four in the Second Circle Tattoos series brought us some answers that were asked in book one.  I was happy to see that Harper got those answers and that she could lay to rest some of the concerns she had about her family.

Lia was amazing.  She’s strong and confident and sexy as hell.  She’s the embodiment of the buxom pin up girl with 2 sleeves of tattoos and a full leg piece.  She dresses and does her hair like she lives in the 50’s and I loved that she could be her own woman – especially after finding out how her father had put her down and degraded her for years while she was growing up.  While she tends to fall in love easily (by her own admission) she realizes that there’s something different with Reid as she’s never felt that way before.

Reid was a great guy as well and while he’d been hurt by his family he had carried guilt for so long he wasn’t sure how to handle it all.  He didn’t want to fall in love with Lia but he found himself unable to stay away from her and I loved that he didn’t question himself – just went with the flow.

The story had a bit of a twist at the end that I saw coming. I would have also liked to have seen a bit more during the final scenes with Lia’s father but I still enjoyed it.

Second Circle Tattoos has been a great series and this was a good addition to it. I’m looking forward to her spin off series of Preload (Dred’s band from book 3).

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Purest Hook by Scarlett Cole

Posted August 29, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Purest Hook by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
The Purest Hook by Scarlett Cole
Series: Second Circle Tattoos #3
Also in this series: The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1), The Fractured Heart, The Darkest Link
Published by Swerve, St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 1st 1970
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Can a love built on secrets survive?

Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs...and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn't need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.

But Dred has other ideas. Pixie's sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.

Pixie is just 22 years old and works at Second Circle tattoos.  She was just sixteen when Trent and Cujo, the owners of Second Circle, found her in the doorway and helped her clean up her life.  She had been a drug addict for two years and they helped her get clean and then gave her a job managing the studio.  She’s been clean for 6 years and is proud of the progress she’s made in her life.  She had a pretty horrific life from the age of 13-16 but she’s on the right path now and is looking forward to starting her own business eventually.

Dred Zander is a heavy metal rock star who works with Trent on a tattoo TV show.  Because of this Dred is around a lot and from the first minute he saw Pixie, Dred was hooked.  He keeps asking her out but she keeps turning him down.  When she finally says yes one date isn’t enough for either of them and they get closer and closer.  Unfortunately, Pixie’s past doesn’t want to stay in the past.  When the step-father who made her life hell resurfaces all of Pixie’s secrets come out and they may be too much for Dred to handle.

Such a good book but very emotional!  I have to admit that parts of this book were very hard for me to read.  Pixie’s past was horrifying and I felt for the young teen she had been.  Dred’s life had been shit as well with a junkie mother and then living in a boy’s home.  (Of course that’s where he’d met the other guys in his band so that was a plus.) Reading about Dred’s childhood wasn’t much better than Pixie’s but definitely still heart-wrenching.

Dred had some serious crap to deal with in his life – especially when he found out about a baby he knew nothing of and then of course dealing with the mother who was a piece of work.  Of course the baby, Petal, stole the show whenever she was on page.  Dred and his band were wonderful with her and I loved seeing them all rally around her and take such wonderful care of her.

Because of his past Dred made some asshole decisions when it came to Pixie and of course regretted it.  I was happy that he finally pulled his head out and figured out how wrong he was which of course gave us our HEA.  This was probably my favorite book so far as I just loved Dred and Pixie together.

This series just keeps getting better as the books go on.  If you haven’t started this one yet I suggest you do.  Not light, easy reads but most definitely satisfying.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Fractured Heart by Scarlett Cole

Posted August 25, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fractured Heart by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
The Fractured Heart by Scarlett Cole
Series: Second Circle Tattoos #2
Also in this series: The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1), The Purest Hook, The Darkest Link
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 5th 2016
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

All things, when placed under pressure, eventually break or leave a mark.

Tattoo artist Brody "Cujo" Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn't want, he's intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent's engagement party, which means working with Trent's fiancée's best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.

Andrea "Drea" Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she's at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.

All things, when placed under pressure, eventually break or leave a mark.

Tattoo artist Brody “Cujo” Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn’t want, he’s intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent’s engagement party, which means working with Trent’s fiancée’s best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.

Andrea “Drea” Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she’s at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.

Drea is a caretaker.  She’s always trying to take care of people, and she does a great job at it.  She’s been taking care of her mother since she got sick with COPD when Drea was just 17 years old.  She put off college and all of her dreams to work to pay the bills.  Her mother is definitely a handful and makes Drea crazy but she still takes care of her as best she can.

Drea met Cujo when her best friend, Harper, started dating Trent.  Cujo (who finally admits that his name is Brody) and Drea’s personalities as such that they rub together like to sticks trying to start a fire.  They’ve been put in charge – together – of planning Harper and Trent’s engagement party and neither is happy about it.

Drea is at her place of work one day when a woman is attacked and possibly abducted.  A few days later bother her and Brody are at the coffee shop after hours and they get held at gunpoint again.  Drea is determined, on top of everything else she has going in her life, that she’s going to find out what happened to the woman who got abducted.  Brody would love to help but his mother, who left him, his father and his two brothers 25 years earlier is suddenly back and has retrograde amnesia.  Life is crazy but as it all goes on Drea and Brody manage to fall in love.

The love story between Brody and Drea was really great.  I loved so many things about it that I was almost disappointed when it was done.

Brody was an incredible hero.  He was a wonderful son (even though he and his father didn’t always see eye to eye), a fantastic brother, a loving uncle to his twin nieces, a good friend and a hard worker.  He was one of those characters that I just wanted to hug as he pretty much seemed like a gentle giant.  Yeah, he could brawl with the best of them but he was pretty chill on the inside.  He’d never gotten over his mother leaving them when he was very little.  When she resurfaces but has no memory of ever leaving them Brody is torn as to what to do.  Should he act like he’s not heartbroken and pissed off at her?  Brody’s emotional state really brought an added layer to the book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Drea was a great woman and perfect for Brody.  She was the epitome of a hard worker and while she was torn as to what she wanted to do with her life when it was finally her own to decide, I knew that she would figure it out and make a great decision.  With Brody backing her how could she not?

The story, in the end, was wonderful.  I really enjoyed reading this romance and definitely recommend the series so far.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole

Posted August 24, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Strongest Steel by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1) by Scarlett Cole
Series: Second Circle Tattoos #1
Also in this series: The Fractured Heart, The Purest Hook, The Darkest Link
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She's determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.

Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and--under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen--totally hot. He's happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.

But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she's started to put down roots in Miami, she'll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.

Harper is a woman who lives in Miami but tries to hide herself from everyone.  She doesn’t like to be touched and wears baggy clothes to mask her body even though she’s fit and toned.  She was hurt horribly by an old boyfriend and wants to get a tattoo to cover her scars.  She finally gets up the nerve to talk to Trent Andrews, owner of Second Circle tattoos, and from the moment her life begins again.

Trent is very understanding about Harper and her issues and little by little he gets her to open up about what happened to cause the scarring on her back.  The more Trent gets to know about Harper the more he likes her but he’s not sure that the woman he’s falling in love with is emotionally ready to fall in love with him.

So…I received an eARC of the fourth book in this series, The Darkest Link, and started reading it.  Right off the bat I liked the writing and the characters and decided to put TDL down and start the series from book one.  I’m really happy I did as I really liked all of the books in this series.

This is the book that introduces most of the characters in future books but it mostly focuses on Trent and Harper and their love story.  I really liked how the author blended that story in with Trent’s shop, friends and eventually his TV Show.  The romance blossomed little by little and the trust grew between the two slowly but steadily.  I was quite happy that Cole didn’t try to rush things as Harper had been hurt so badly both physically and emotionally by her ex-boyfriend that she really couldn’t have handled it.

Harper was an incredibly strong woman.  Sure she seemed meek and mild but when you really looked under the façade she created you could see her strength.  Everything she’d been through, and was still going through, made her see herself differently but Trent made her realize that while she may be different from her previous self she was better for it. She was 27 years old but she really seemed a lot younger. At times I was a little annoyed by it but when I thought about it, I got it.   Because of the horror she’d lived through she really hadn’t grown since she’d been with her ex-boyfriend.  When I remembered that her personality seemed on par.

Trent was amazing and from the description, gorgeous.  He was talented with his tattoo artistry, a good businessman and a good friend.  He did pull one asshole move during the story but it was easily forgiven.

Overall I really liked the book and can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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