The Montgomery Ink series continues with the long-awaited romance between the café owner next door and the tattoo artist who’s loved her from afar.
Hailey Monroe knows the world isn’t always fair, but she’s picked herself up from the ashes once before and if she needs to, she’ll do it again. It’s been years since she first spotted the tattoo artist with a scowl that made her heart skip a beat, but now she’s finally gained the courage to approach him. Only it won’t be about what their future could bring, but how to finish healing the scars from her past.
Sloane Gordon lived through the worst kinds of hell yet the temptation next door sends him to another level. He’s kept his distance because he knows what kind of man he is versus what kind of man Hailey needs. When she comes to him with a proposition that sends his mind whirling and his soul shattering, he’ll do everything in his power to protect the woman he cares for and the secrets he’s been forced to keep.
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About Carrie Ann Ryan New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan never thought she’d be a writer. Not really. No, she loved math and science and even went on to graduate school in chemistry. Yes, she read as a kid and devoured teen fiction and Harry Potter, but it wasn’t until someone handed her a romance book in her late teens that she realized that there was something out there just for her. When another author suggested she use the voices in her head for good and not evil, The Redwood Pack and all her other stories were born. Carrie Ann is a bestselling author of over twenty novels and novellas and has so much more on her mind (and on her spreadsheets *grins*) that she isn’t planning on giving up her dream anytime soon.
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Hidden Ink Excerpt:
Soon she found herself with only one drink on her tray along with a single cherry and cream cheese pastry.
Behind Maya’s work area sat another station.
All six-foot-four, two hundred something pounds of muscle covered in ink, his light brown skin accented perfectly by the designs. The man was sex. All sex. Sloane had shaved his head years ago. She was convinced he kept it shaved just to turn her on. He kept his beard trimmed, but that and the bald head apparently jump-started a new kink in her.
He was a decade older than Hailey, and though he didn’t speak of it, she knew he’d been through war, battle, and heartbreak.
And she loved him.
Only he didn’t see her. He never took a step toward her. He also looked as if he were ready to growl at her presence most of the time.
Much like he did now.
“Thought you’d forgotten me,” he said, his voice low and gruff.
She shook her head then raised her chin. “No, I have yours here.” After she had handed him his drink and pastry, careful not to brush her fingers along his, she glanced down at his client, who was in the middle of getting his back done.
While Sloane looked dangerous and battle worn, this guy looked gentler, but not soft in the slightest. His hair was longer on top and flopped down over his forehead and into his eyes, but the sides had been clipped short. He had a short beard and a smile that looked as if it came easily. His green eyes sparkled, and Hailey could only smile back.
“Hello there,” he drawled.
Oh, my. A southern accent—just a hint of drawl but not too much. If she hadn’t been in the presence of the one man her body and soul had chosen for her, she might have gone weak in the knees at the sound of it.
“Hi,” she said back, well aware that Sloane was staring daggers at her.
“What’s your name?” the stranger asked. “I’m Brody.”
“Hi, Brody. I’m Hailey. I own Taboo next door.”
His smile widened, showing a bit of dimple. “I’ve walked by there a few times, but now I know I need to go inside.”
She shook her head on a laugh.
“I see. You scent my baked goods and now you’ll come inside.” “It wasn’t your baked goods that made me want to step inside.”
What was she doing? Flirting with another man in front of Sloane like this? And why did she care? He wasn’t hers. He never would be. She would never have Sloane Gordon in her life beyond a few curt words and grunts of thanks. She was young, healthy, and alive. She should be able to flirt whenever she wanted.
Hailey and Sloane have been circling each other for far too long. Hailey finally decides that it's time to stop pining after the quiet tattoo artist and move on with her life. She''s been through too much to not live life to the fullest. But when Sloane realizes that he's too close to losing Hailey before he ever had her, he gives up on the silent treatment and claims what's his.
I loved these characters and I was happy that I finally got to see them get their HEA. Neither Hailey nor Sloane had a happy past and they both are still suffering the aftermath of what they went through. I loved seeing them together and helping one another with their issues and insecurities.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable novella. Most of the story focused on the two MC's but we did get to see some of the other characters from this story and I liked catching up with them. If you haven't read this series yet, you really need to meet these characters!