After years of struggling, Haven Daly has finally accepted that she’s nuttier than a fruitcake. Why else would she see visions of a beautiful but tormented male every night . . . and actually believe she can talk to him, even feel his touch? But thanks to those dream journeys, she can paint images nobody else on earth can duplicate. In each brush stroke, she captures the blatant masculinity and raw desire in his eyes that promise he’s coming for her…and soon.
She’s the light that keeps him going. . .
Quade Kayrs has already suffered a lifetime of pain and torture. Completely isolated, he kept his sanity thanks to one beautiful female, a vision with kind emerald eyes. In the end, her soft voice led him out of hell. Now, naked and alone, he’s in a strange world that bears little resemblance to the one he left behind. All he knows is Haven. All he wants is Haven. His final mission? To protect her from the evil hunting them both—whether she likes it or not . . .
Quade Kayrs has spent more than a few lifetimes living and dying in pure hell. The only thing that seems to keep him going are those few moments, those glimpses of a beautiful woman invading his realm. Haven Daly thinks she’s crazy but unique is a more appropriate way to describe her. A fiercely independent woman, an amazing artist and a girl on the run.
Driven by visions and a pull Haven and Quade start the wheels of motion on something that makes epic look small. Through an action packed, fast paced, dangerous story Haven and Quade build a sexual tension that practically just off the pages. The banter between these two is top notch. Their chemistry is intense as is everything else going on in the book. The depths they easily went to for one another made every bit of craziness so worth.
Hero’s Haven is a true on the edge of your seat read. Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading until I was done. Strong characters and fabulous world building are just the start of why I enjoyed. The action scenes are spot on and engaging. And let’s just say those hot moments are definitely on fire. Ms. Zanetti kept Haven and Quade’s story moving yet nothing felt rushed or unnatural for the story. A true heart pounding, blood pumping read.
Lorraine Bartlett with Gayle Leeson
Victoria Square Mystery Series, Book 6
Published December 31, 2019
Berkley Books, 304 pages
The charm of Victoria Square may prove to be only skin deep when murder follows the arrival of a tattoo parlor in town in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.
A tattoo parlor on Victoria Square? Some of the merchants get hot under the collar at the proposal, but could they be driven to kill to stop it? That’s what the sheriff’s office and Katie Bonner want to know when the building’s owner is electrocuted with his own saw.
Meanwhile, tensions rise when a hot chef takes over the square’s tea shop. Will Katie have three men vying for her affections, or will her rival take the tea cake?
When a tattoo shop plans to open on Victoria Square it shakes up more than the merchants view of what business should be on the square. When the owner of said tattoo shop dies one of their own is the prime suspect.
Katie is the owner of Artisans Alley and Tealicious as well as president of the Victoria Square Merchants Association. She is a strong woman, not intimidated and an amazing entrepreneur. Katie finds herself in the middle of murder, trying to help a friend, playing detective and trying not to second guess everything she sees. There were moments when I thought Katie was overreacting and other when I thought, girl you got this together.
Murder Ink is my first read in the Victoria Square and an enjoyable one. It did take me to be to catch up with who was who and how they all worked together but I got it. I enjoyed the mystery that kept me guessing. I’m a romance reader first and foremost so Katie and Andy’s romance and squabbles were a bonus to this read. The writing style of Lorraine Bartlett is fun and keeps the pages turning. I was able to feel like I was right at home with these characters even though this was my first read of the series.
Dark Protectors Series, Book 10
Lyrical Press, Published June 25, 2019
To hell and back . . .
Though he has vampire, demon, and Viking blood rushing through his veins, Ivar Kjeidsen’s soul-crushing trip to hell broke him in ways he can barely fathom. One vow keeps the deadly immortal standing: To rescue the vampire brother who had sacrificed freedom for him. To do that, Ivar needs the help of a brilliant physicist with wary brown eyes, fierce brilliance, and skin that’s way too soft.
Dr. Promise Williams understands the underpinnings of the universe but has never figured out the human beings inhabiting it. Her function is to think—and not feel—until she’s touched by a vampire who’s nowhere near human. The primal hunger in his eyes awakens feelings in her that defy calculation. As she shows him the way to step between worlds, he brands her with a pleasure that could last more than a lifetime . . .
Ivan Kjeidsen make the average person shake in their shoes. He is a vampire-demon hybrid after all. Having seen hell with his own eyes leaves Ivan not quite right. He may be damaged in ways but not broken. Ivan made a promise, that is his driving force. The man is primal and determined. Not to mention sexy and hard headed, like many of the alpha that we love. Ivan sets himself on a mission to save a friend and in turn gets blindsided by something he didn’t see coming.
Promise Williams trusts numbers and science. Facts, that can be explained and seen. It’s a matter of logic. She was raised not to feel only to think. Mathematics is her world. A very lonely kind of world. Promise is beyond smart. Dr. Williams is an extremely talented physicist who just may hold the knowledge to be able to travel to worlds not her own. Promise is a bit quirky and takes some time to get used to, however in the end I truly enjoyed her character. Don’t let the smarts fool you Dr. Williams has some sass and spunk.
Ms. Zanetti rocked it hard with Alpha’s Promise. Excellent world building, great story, intricate plot and deep characters. Promise and Ivan get pushed into each other’s worlds and get more than their asking for. A talent physicist teaming up with a vampire-demon hybrid who on a mission to keep a promise and protect something precious. I very much enjoyed the banter between these two and the way the played to each other strength. They captivated this reader! Now I would like to note that I have not read every book in this series, but I was able to follow along with the overall plot of the series fairly well. I will also say I could tell I was I miss out on something but that didn’t take away from the story of Alpha’s Promise. It just makes me want to go back to the beginning of the series and learn more of this world and the interesting characters within it.
People will think I’m crazy when I say I have not read many books by Ms. Zanetti. Yes, I know. I’m smashing myself on this one. Paranormal is what brought me into the world that is Romance reading. Ms. Zanetti checks off everything I love in a paranormal while delivering a story that keep you going until the end. Alpha’s Promise is a fantastic read that I highly recommended.
Netgalley provided an ARC for an honest review.
Bad Boy Homecoming Series, Book
A high school reunion is about to get down and dirty and a whole lot more complicated in this new romance from USA Today bestselling author Avery Flynn.
Brains and a badass attitude. That’s all troublemaker Leah Camacho took with her when she left Catfish Creek. She’d promised herself she’d never go back, but when the invite to her tenth high school reunion arrived along with the chance to show everyone who doubted her what a success she’s made of herself, she couldn’t resist. However, when she discovers a 15-carat, stolen diamond in her rental car’s glove box, there’s only one man she can turn to for help—the same sexy, stubborn domineering man who’d smashed her heart all those years ago.
Sheriff Drew Jackson knew a long time ago that Leah Camacho was nothing but trouble and has sworn to never get caught up in her again—no matter how damn sexy she is or how badly he’d failed to forget her. But, when the woman who test drove his heart right into a concrete wall rolls into Catfish Creek with some serious bad guys on her tail, it’s up to him to keep her safe—even if that means guarding her hot bod 24/7 without giving into temptation or losing his mind.
Sexy, sassy and a whole lot of trouble.
Avery Flynn’s contribution to the Bad Boy Homecoming Series is the best kind of trouble.
Drew is Mr. Law and Order, Leah is the Geeky girl gone bad. Two people who have gotten under each other’s skin for years get a second chance at a high school reunion.
Personality, sassiness and hot passion are weaved together with some action and laugh out loud moments. I loved Leah. She’s bold and sassy. Even in the face of danger, she does it with her own style. I really enjoyed her. Drew made my heart beat just a bit fast. Both characters were extremely well written and I so enjoyed their tension, banter and passion.
A quickie read that will leaving you wanting some trouble of your own!
Lily Bound Series, Book 1
Lily O’Connell, a succubus, owns Lily Bound, an elite sex salon in the Blood Night District of Seattle. When a client is murdered in her house, a patch of skin missing from his chest, she knows there’s something evil afoot. Then comes the news that the Souljacker—a tattoo-artist-turned-vampire—has escaped from an institution for criminally deranged Supernaturals. And he’s hunting and killing everyone he has ever inked.
With one of the Souljacker’s tattoos on her thigh and nowhere else to turn, Lily hires Archer Desmond, a chaos demon and PI, to help her track down the vampire before he finds her and her friends. But Lily didn’t plan to fall for Archer. And as the old tales say—a succubus who falls in love will destroy the heart of the one she seeks to claim.
Souljacker is a fantastic beginning to what looks to be a great new urban fantasy series.
Lily is smart, snarky and a succubus. She’s fun and feisty. Lily runs Lily Bound. A salon that will cater to clients and in return Lily is able to feed on the chi she needs without harming. I liked Lily. There is a uniqueness to her that I enjoyed. Her personality shines, she cares deeply and is willing to take on the would. Lily is challenged from the first pages of the book, causing exciting and unexpected changes in her life.
One of things that I love about Ms. Galenorn’s work is her world building. The settle and atmosphere of the story are like a character themselves. Rich details allow the reader to perfectly visualize the world in which they have stepped into. Ms. Galenorn’s personal touch to myth and legend adds to a creative and unique feel to the story. Secondary characters play just as important of a role to the story as do the primary. There’s a vast array of personality and paranormal creatures to touch on everyone’s tastes. Not to mention readers do get some pretty steamy naughtiness as an added bonus.
I really enjoyed Souljacker. Ms. Galenorn offers up something a bit different and thoroughly enjoyable. The cast of characters make the story. ghosts, satyrs, witches and vamps. That’s just the beginning. Souljacker is a fast moving read. Darker in nature with some funny moments. If you’re looking for something a bit different in a paranormal I highly recommend Souljacker.
A copy of this title was provided for review.
Too Wild To Tame
Romancing the Clarksons series, Book 2
Paperback, 336 pages
Sometimes you just can’t resist playing with fire . . .
By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country’s most powerful senator, he’ll have to keep his eye on the prize. That’s easier said than done when he meets the senator’s daughter, who’s wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.
Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron’s presence reminds her of a past she’d rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it’s the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it’s because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle . . .
Aaron is a self-proclaimed manipulator, self-assured, smooth talking politician. The man is a player. All about the one night stands, no strings attached. The less feelings involved in the matter the better. This dirty talking, looks too good in a suit man has some deep emotion lying behind his get lost in eyes. Aaron is a complex man, as the layers begin to shed I realized that Aaron is a completely different man than I perceived him to be.
Grace is a very equine and quirky character. She’s the black sheep of a family in the political spotlight. Grace suffered a horrific tragedy during her teens, that caused her to vow to live life to the fullest. To be true herself. Grace is a wild, free spirit that I came to really enjoy . Her heart is huge and she’s a bit weird. Once you get to know her, Grace grows on you, not helping but to like her.
Tessa Bailey takes readers on an emotional ride with a panty melting, dirty talking man in Too Wild to Tame. The Clarkson’s are a complex family with vas amounts of personality. Aaron and Grace’s story is like peeling layers slowly to reveal the goods of the core. An untimely meeting ignited chemistry between two very opposite people. The pull of passion dances with Grace and Aaron leading to some very hot and steamy scenes. I believe they balance each other in ways they are unable to do themselves. I enjoyed Too Wild to Tame and am definitely looking for to reading more of the Clarkson’s their road tripping adventures.
Wanting It All
Naked Men Series, Book 2
Published by Loveswept
E-Book, 224 pages
In the follow-up to Risking It All, hailed by Lauren Layne as “the perfect escapist read,” the heartthrobs of the Naked Men blog and podcast get a little too real about friendship, love, and sex. For one wealthy bachelor, the trouble starts when all three collide. . . .
After narrowly surviving a bus crash in high school with his best friends, science geek Knox Davis resolved to become so successful that he could have anything and everything he wants. Now he’s über-wealthy, a huge business success, and a notorious ladies’ man. Knox refuses to limit himself to one woman, but when his latest conquest—a blond beauty from the Alaskan bush—challenges his superficial ways, Knox begins to see the world through her eyes, and finds he likes what he sees.
A nurturer at heart, Madison Abbott wants to put down roots. She left Alaska to meet Mr. Right—and to track down Logan, the half-brother she’s never met. Instead, she finds Knox. Although the sexy-as-sin bachelor may not seem like marriage material, Madison’s starting to think that Knox is The One. But Knox refuses to settle down, especially once he learns that Madison is his best friend’s little sister. Now it’s up to her to convince Knox that she’s everything he really wants.
Knox Davis was the resident nerd and charity case. After surviving and almost fatal accident, he makes it his mission to make more money than he knows what to do with, enjoy every pleasure he can and lose his flippin V card. Fast forward years Knox used his geeky brain and became a very businessman. He’s also a little bit of a man whore too. Relationships are not his style and women only last for about a night. The man lives life to the fullest. Hard and fast, until a super sweet blonde knocks his step off and he finds himself want more.
Madison Abbott has a mission for herself. Moving across country to find her dream job, meet a half-brother she’s only discovered and find the perfect man to marry. With one of three of the girls out of the way, Madison gets knocked from nowhere with goal three while working on goal number two. Making this tenacious woman show you just what she’s capable of.
Christi Barth gave readers a fun and witty story with Wanting It All. Madison and Knox are perfect for each other. His brashness and her tenacity keep the pages flying as these to explore the chemistry between them. I loved the back and forth banter between the two. I also enjoy the dates and wish I was in her place for a few! A quick read with a perfect balance of passion and fun.
Review copy provided by Netgalley.
Reaper’s MC Series, Book 6
August 9th 2016 by Berkley
It’s time for more men and motorcycles in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Reaper’s Fall…
The club comes first.
I’ve lived by those words my whole life—assumed I’d die by them, too, and I never had a problem with that. My Reaper brothers took my back and I took theirs and it was enough. Then I met her. Tinker Garrett. She’s beautiful, she’s loyal, and she works so damned hard it scares me sometimes . . . She deserves a good man—one better than me. I can’t take her yet because the club still needs me. There’s another woman, another job, another fight just ahead.
Now she’ll learn I’ve been lying to her all along. None of it’s real. Not my name, not my job, not even the clothes I wear. She thinks I’m nice. She pretends we’re just friends, that I’ve still got a soul . . . Mine’s been dead for years. Now I’m on fire for this woman, and a man can only burn for so long before he destroys everything around him.
I’m coming for you, Tinker.
Gage is as egotistical and arrogant as he is sexy. All alpha, loyal to the core and a true brother. The Club always come first. Always! Until a woman who should have never been in his path, throws him for a loop. His loyalty never wavered, however it was a bit of a personal hell for the man. Walking a dangerous line, Gage plays a balancing act between what the club wants and what the man needs.
Tinker is a kick ass woman. A survivor. The strongest of women. She’s beyond loving and caring you. She continuously gives part of herself to though she loves. Surviving hurdles that with most people down, she stands her ground and goes on with life. Her sass and spunk just add to the admiral person she is. Tinker is now my favorite heroine that Joanna has given to her readers.
The only thing thicker than the sexual tension among the pages is the smoke in the sky. Tinker and Gage have instant chemistry and more than a healthy dose of lust going on for each other. Their relationship/attraction to each other is beyond intense. Ms. Wylde gives the reader the true meaning of slow burning build up, with and explosive outcome. Two people from very different world have created a fire that neither one can control. Add club politics, brotherhood and betrayal, it all because on crazy ride.
Review copy provided by Netgalley.
By Shayla Black
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
A tragic past threatens to destroy a passionate future in this dangerously sexy new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wicked for You.
After a violent tragedy nearly destroyed her, Lily Taylor ran away, changed her name, and started over. When her deadly nemesis resurfaces to eliminate his loose end, she turns to the last man she should trust—a stranger with a history of violence and an intoxicating sexuality she can’t refuse…
Though strong-armed into locating Lily to help put away a drug lord, ex-con Stone Sutter isn’t anyone’s snitch. When he finds the terrified beauty, he vows to keep her safe—but he isn’t sure he has the strength to shield her from his own desires.
As an unquenchable fire sparks between them, Lily’s tormentor stalks ever closer, and she must overcome her darkest fear to survive. Can she trust the bond she and Stone have formed as they’re falling in deeper?
ABOUT SHAYLA BLACK:
Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty novels. For over fifteen years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold well over a million copies and been published in a dozen languages.
Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past seven years.
Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and a very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.
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“Oh, fuck. You’re so beautiful. You need this now, don’t you? Yeah,” he agreed when she nodded frantically. “Let it take you under. Let me hear you scream.”
Lily couldn’t think of anything she wanted more. As she circled her hyperaware nerve endings again, her body jerked. Desire surged. When Stone bent to take her nipple in his mouth, she clasped the back of his head and anchored him to her. Not that he’d do anything except help her drown. But this time nothing would be sweeter.
He dragged a hand up to her other nipple and tangled his fingers with her own. Together, they manipulated the tip of that breast while he sucked the other hard and scraped the very tip with his teeth.
Sensations mounted again. She felt like a vessel filling up with blood, with need, with an imminent explosion. It was right there . . .
Her legs shook. Her hips jerked. She whimpered, strained for it. She tasted need.
But she couldn’t seem to fall over the sweetly sharp edge.
Lily pressed harder against her clit, narrowing her circles, focusing on just how good this was going to be. The seconds ticked off in her head, slowly becoming minutes. The exquisite need was its own form of hell, and she couldn’t seem to escape.
The torture dragged on, and she saw no way out. She squeezed her eyes shut, feeling defeat begin to creep in.
Stone sprang into action, popping her nipple from between his lips and grazing her ear with his lips. “You got this, baby. Focus on my voice and close your eyes. Yeah, I know that’s hard, but I’ve got you.”
Oddly, she already believed that.
“Picture yourself naked and me standing over you, stroking my cock. You know I’m going to tell you how sexy you are and how much I want you. Imagine that I’d fall to my knees between those pretty thighs. When you hold your arms open to me, I’ll go right into them. Then I’m going to kiss you, touch every lush, tingling curve of your body, and when you’re begging, that’s when I’ll slide inside you. Deep. That’s when I’ll stroke you slowly and thoroughly and make you claw my back as you come.”
As he spoke, her desire and racing blood clashed, merged. Everything inside her roared to a screaming crescendo. The wall she’d been slamming into, preventing her from falling over, disintegrated. She envisioned exactly what Stone told her to picture. She saw herself being not just perfectly able but eager to lie back and welcome him inside her as he gave her mind-blowing pleasure and she surrendered herself completely.
Lily is a complex yet sophisticated character. I instantly liked her. She has a past that plagues her on every level. Yet she finds a way to continue on. She knows her weakness and works hard to keeps herself balanced. When push comes to shove, Lily stands her ground. Her strength and will are beautiful and amazing.
Stone is commanding, demanding and very much in your face. An ex con and a man on a mission, Stone hits a bump in the road that he was not expecting. A natural dominate and born protector with a gentle touch and a mountain of patients. Upon first meeting I was very iffy about ste patients. Upon first meeting I was very iffy about Stone, by the end, in love.
Shayla Black sizzles the pages while deeply hitting your heart. Falling in Deeper is one of the darker tales within the Wicked Lovers Series. With elegance and grace Ms. Black dives deep into sensitive issues, pulling on the heartstrings hard. Lily and Stone’s dynamic complement each other so well. The compassion, intense passion and all the emotions make Falling in Deeper one of my Wicked Lovers book. A remarkable read!
A complementary copy of this title was provided for an honest review.
Rock Steady by Dawn Ryder
Series: Rock Band, Book 2
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Erotic Romance
About the Book
Second in Dawn Ryder’s sizzling new Rock Band series.
HE KEPT IT CASUAL
Superstar guitarist Ramsey’s reputation as a bad-boy rocker is exceeded only by his dedication to his music. He’s worked hard for the success of his hit metal band Toxsin, and he intends to enjoy it—completely. When a jilted groupie gets back at him for a one-night stand with an intimate—and completely inappropriate—tattoo, he needs it fixed, and fast. Sparks fly between Ramsey and his new tattoo artist, and Ramsey finds himself hoping for more than new ink.
UNTIL SHE MADE HIM WANT MORE
When a high-profile tattoo job lands Jewel an invite on Toxsin’s latest tour, she can’t say no. It’ll be great exposure, after all. What she’s really worried about is ruining the gig by hooking up with the first guy to completely rock her world. She knows she should resist—Ramsey’s not the kind to stick around for a morning after. But the way he makes her feel—as an artist and a woman—could be worth any risk.
Buy the Book
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About the Author
Dawn Ryder is the erotic romance pen name of a bestselling author of historical romances. She has been publishing her stories for over eight years to a growing and appreciative audience. She is commercially published in mass market and trade paper, and digi-first published with trade paper releases. She is hugely committed to her career as an author, as well as to other authors and to her readership. She resides in Southern California.
Connect with Dawn
Letter from Dawn
That word brings a ripple of anticipation to everyone who has been longing for warm weather, sandals, beaches, carnivals, and so much more. Rock Steady is the perfect summer time read. It’s hot, it’s edgy, it’s got bad boys—hey, what would summer nights be without a little misbehavior? And the one thing I really wanted Rock Steady to have was a lack of people shooting at people.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to write a hard suspense plot but sometimes, you want to read a good, hot, romance without all the life and death struggle. All the edge, all the heat, but with a focus on the personal issues that come with having to make a relationship work beyond the physical attraction.
Rock Steady will take you back onto the road with Toxsin. Now for anyone who thinks Rock Stars have it all easy, take a look at Rock Steady and you’ll get a little taste of the dedication it takes to be a mega super star. Personally, I have a deep respect for those who can apply their talent to the concert stage. It’s a hard job, one that requires team work to accomplish a show that is mind blowing for the ticket holders. A fabulous voice isn’t the only requirement.
For those who picked up Rock Me Two Times, you going to get the chance to see Ramsey, god that he is, meet his match. It was a blast to write this book and I’m eager to present it to all of you.
Excerpt from ROCK STEADY
“Pissed off your girlfriend?” she asked pointedly.
“She wasn’t really a girlfriend.”
Jewel clicked her tongue and looked back at the cheery blossoms. “By the look of that, she disagreed with you on the topic. She must have taken you to Spike Collar.”
Taz was typing into his cell phone as she spoke. “Makes sense. You surfaced right around where that tattoo parlor is on the map.”
“Just don’t go back there,” Jewel warned as she went behind the counter and pulled a blank sheet of paper in front of her.
“Why not?” the blond asked. “I’ve got half a mind to have my lawyer pay them a visit.”
Jewel didn’t look up from what she was drawing. “Won’t do you any good. They never touch a client without a release of liability signed and sealed, with video footage to back it up. Whoever was gunning for you did her homework. The gals at Spike Collar don’t like guys, and they really don’t like any males who try to charm them.” Jewel cast a look at Ramsey. “You are exactly the sort they hate. Bet they popped a bottle of champagne the second you cleared the doorway with that little gem.”
Taz made a low sound under his breath.
But Ramsey was watching her. She felt his attention tightening, focusing on the motion of her pen as she inked a design on the paper. He’d sent a shiver down her spine before, but now he was warming her insides, melting her core slowly with the absolute devotion he was giving her. She looked up, locking gazes with him.
Her insides churned.
And her toes curled.
She’d never felt so connected to another soul. It was his doing, and she realized that his arrogance was something he’d earned.
That fact slapped her across the face and sent her into a full meltdown. He was the sort who could captivate.
Which was a damned dangerous place to go.
It wasn’t like she had any personal experience with it. Still, she felt like she was on pins and needles. The sheer level of sensitivity the guy was able to elicit from her was off the scale. It was fascinating to say the least.
As well as a really bad place to go when he looked like he could afford to hire her.
She looked back at her work, forcing herself to focus on the art and get a grip on herself before he knocked her flat. Sweat popped out on her forehead, but her hands responded perfectly. Art was like a living force inside her. A place she could take refuge in as well as being a gift she might share. She let it consume her, the drawing coming to life beneath the strokes of her pen. It was a little like giving birth: first she had to let it grow and form before it was ready to breathe.
“That is smokin’ hot,” Taz said as he leaned on the counter to peer at her work.
“You’re good,” the blond said in a tone full of awe.
Ramsey reserved judgment until she’d shaded in the last few areas on her sketch. When she lifted her pen, he swept it up and studied the drawing. It was a metal dragon crawling down his abdomen toward his cock. Its front claws would be where the cherry blossoms were, and its tail would wrap around his lean hip and onto his lower back. It wasn’t a reptilian dragon. It was a steel one, a merging of metal and mythical creature.
His eyes narrowed as he studied it, seeing more than just the black lines. He was seeing the attitude she’d tried to capture and portray. His expression gave her a hint of the man inside him. She got the impression he spent a lot of time covering up that man with his didn’t-give-a-rat’s-ass attitude.
But she saw it.
His attention shifted to her, their gazes locking over the edge of the paper. For a moment, she caught a flicker of understanding in his eyes. Just a moment of awareness, a few seconds when he admitted to himself that she saw him.
Really saw him.
It didn’t last long. In fact, she found herself questioning if it had really been there, when his gaze hardened and sealed her out of that place he was determined to keep private.
“You recognize me,” he said.
It wasn’t a question, but she felt inclined to answer anyway. “It isn’t hard to peg you for a metal-head when you’re wearing nothing but leather and have a stud bar through your nipple.”
“I’m a metal god,” he said.
“Right,” she countered, feeling a rise of heat in her cheeks. “I’m good at what I do.”
“You are,” the blond interrupted. He was studying her portfolio. “So why are you working the graveyard shift?”
“I wanted to work at the best shop in town. That left me to choose between Spike Collar and here,” Jewel said without hesitation.
“But you’re not a lesbian,” Ramsey finished for her. “Bet that was a bit of a problem with getting hired over at Spike Collar.”
“Definite ripple in the pond,” she confirmed. “Not on my side, mind you. They just don’t like straight girls. Shame really, they know how to do tats.”
“So do you.” Ramsey was thumbing through the pictures of her work. He had that businessman expression.
“Who are you?” she gave in and asked. All three men looked up at her. “I mean, since it sounded like you were trying to impress me.”
“Impressing you will involve more than my name,” her client said.
His lips curved, and his expression became sensual. He flattened his hand on the counter between them and leaned toward her. In one flat second, it felt like her breath caught in her lungs. She was hyperaware of him, fighting not to take a step back. There was a flicker of approval in his dark eyes as she managed to stand her ground.
“Count on that fact.” Her voice had turned raspy, but his arrogance was rubbing her pride raw. “I do tats. Only tat’s for pay. So if you’ve got a problem understanding boundaries, the door is behind you. There’s another place up a couple of blocks that opens in a few hours.”
Taz reached over and shoved Ramsey. “I told you not to piss her off.” He shook his smart phone in the air between them. “She’s the best in the nearest three cities—checked her out.” He turned to look at her. “Your references rock. Why are you working in this dump?”
“Because my boss might be a prick, but he’s also got twenty-five years’ experience, and references to top mine. I want to learn from the best, and there are a few things you can’t learn from anyone but a master.”
Taz nodded. “True, even if some masters are egomaniacs.”
“You didn’t answer me.” Jewel aimed her inquiry at Ramsey. “Who are you?”
“Ramsey, Taz, and I’m Syon,” the blond answered. “We’re members of a band called Toxsin.”
She bit back the snide, Yeah, right, that tried to escape her lips.
But they were all standing there looking pretty confident. She reached over and tapped “Toxsin” into the laptop on the countertop. Their website was the first thing to come up. She clicked on the link.
“What the fuck are you doing roaming the streets?” She looked between the screen and the three guys standing in front of her. It was weird, to say the least, to have the pictures from the screen living and breathing in her shop. “Don’t you have people to deal with stuff like this?”
Ramsey eyed her from where he was lying on the counter. “I’m a hands-on sort.” He covered her hand with his, stroking the back of it.
Jewel ended up taking that step back. Victory flashed through his eyes as she sent him a sharp look.
Taz punched him in the shoulder again.
“How’s that ‘hands-on’ thing working for you tonight?” Jewel said. It was a barbed comment, a challenge. Hell, it felt like she’d smacked him across the jaw with a white glove and dropped it at his feet.
The way his eyes narrowed confirmed he felt the same way. For one split second, she half feared he might just flip the counter out of the way or jump over it.
“Let’s focus on the problem,” Syon said. “We need this fixed—discreetly, quickly.”
“No joke.” Jewel happily changed thought tracks. She pulled one of the shop disclosure agreements up onto the counter. The tightly packed lines of legal mumbo jumbo didn’t give her the same sense of comfort they normally did. Ramsey grabbed it and yanked the top off a pen before boldly scrawling his signature across the bottom line.
Taz was flipping the lock on the front door.
“Good idea,” Jewel agreed. She didn’t care for the fact that she had to take a breath before getting her feet to move.
Ramsey flopped down on her worktable, popping his pants open. They were custom, all right, the right side of them shaped perfectly to contain his cock.
The guy had an impressive package.
She ended up stopping halfway around the counter, earning a smirk from him.
“Don’t let my fame make you nervous,” Ramsey teased her.
“Typically, I worry about my clients taking their displeasure out on my hide.” She made it to her stool and sat down. Her workstation was normally the place she felt most comfortable.
Today, she felt like the padded stool was full of spikes.
“So what’s your problem with me?” Ramsey asked.
She wasn’t going to answer that.
Not a chance.
She turned half away from him and sterilized her hands.
“Cat got your tongue?” he asked.
Jewel turned back toward him and swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat.
What a man animal.
She really needed to get a grip and enjoy the moment. She was pretty sure she was never going to get the chance to work on so fine a specimen again.
“I’m thinking you wouldn’t think twice about filing a lawsuit against me, signature on a release form or not,” she said.
His expression turned serious , his eyes narrowing, his lips thinning. “I don’t get my kicks out of using my money to pin my mistakes on other people. I own my fuckups.”
It wasn’t what she’d expected him to say.
But she liked it.
A whole lot.
Integrity was something most people sold out on. Especially when it came to admitting they’d made dumb mistakes.
“I’m beginning to see why the gals at Spike didn’t refuse to do your girlfriend’s dirty work.”
Ramsey leaned his head back. “She wasn’t my girlfriend.”
“I’m guessing that was the problem.”
He’d closed his eyes but opened them and looked at her. “Guess it was. But I didn’t lie to her.”
He really did own his screw-ups. It was there in the flat acceptance on his face. He looked past her to his bandmates. “I’m good. You guys can shove off.”
“Not a chance.” Syon settled himself on the other worktable. “Those little pink flowers will take us all down.”
“Yeah.” Taz sat down behind the counter and claimed her laptop. “Besides, I don’t trust you to be polite. Jewel is a lady.”
Ramsey made a low sound under his breath. “I bet she gets naughty with the right company.”
Jewel didn’t look up from where she was cleaning the skin on his abdomen. She was no stranger to personal jabs, especially off-color ones.
What surprised her was the way her pulse leapt.
She needed to get a grip.
“That’s what I’m talking about,” Taz said. “She’s an artist, like Kate.”
“Yeah,” Ramsey agreed. “Sorry, I’m still a little buzzed. Talking out of my ass.”
Jewel warmed under the single word of praise. She got the impression Ramsey didn’t hand out undeserving compliments. She ended up looking into his eyes because he was watching her.
“Kate made my pants.” He gestured at his buddies. “She makes all our leather gear.”
“She’s good.” Jewel picked up her sketch and began to position it. “I see my share of leather around here. The good, the bad, and mostly the ugly.”
“She’s the best,” Syon added without opening his eyes. “Even has good taste in men.”
Ramsey snorted. Syon offered him a single-finger salute.
“Aren’t you guys cute,” Jewel muttered.
“There’s nothing cute about the part of me you’re looking at.”
She should ignore him.
Should, but she wasn’t going to. Jewel looked up and caught Ramsey grinning at her. “Did you want this done sometime before Christmas?”
“You wouldn’t let me go on stage wearing flowers…would you, Jewel?” He tried out his puppy eyes on her.
“The idea is growing on me.”
He made a soft humming sound beneath his breath. “I like a girl who plays rough.”
“I bet you do.”
Which was just enough of a reality slap to get her focused. He was an animal, the prowling kind.
And she was already living on the edge enough.
She got the drawing in position and transferred it onto his skin.
Normally the word helped her tune out everything but the art.
Yeah, well there wasn’t much of anything that was normal about Ramsey.
Ramsey is the definition of a rock star bad boy. Raw, egotistical and all Alpha. The man is confident in every sense of the word. Ramsay lives up the rockstar life to the fullest until he gets his ass handed to him, potentially scarring his and the band’s image by a vindictive woman. When taking corrective measures Ramsey gets blindsided by an amazing artist who twists him in every way possible. His talent and cockiness make you want melt and smack him one in the same.
Jewel is a spitfire of a woman struggling to make her name as a tattoo artist. An intelligent woman with a background in marketing that is too stuffy to allow her artistic side to breath. Jewel gets the score of a lifetime when the lead guitarist of highly famous band rolls in the tattoo shop during one of her many midnight shifts. She counters his sarcasm with sass, leaving a deep impression with more than just her ink. That impression leads to what could be the biggest opportunity of her life or the hardest fall she will ever take.
Dawn Ryder entices, titillates and seduces readers with artistry, passion and raw emotion with Rock Steady.
Ramsey and Jewel are fun, feisty and have chemistry off the charts. They challenged each other, hit all the right buttons to infuriate and captivate all at the same time. They are overwhelming and wrong hit all the right buttons to infuriate and captive the all at the same time.
Jewel and Ramsey are overwhelming and combustible. The chemistry intense and the passions on fire.
Ms. Ryder’s attention to detail not only shows her talent as a writer but as an artist as well. Intricate details paint an in depth picture and project the feelings within the music and the art.
Combined the personality, charisma, and charm of the characters, a fast-moving plot and feeling like you’ve been sucked into the rockstar life, Ms. Ryder gives her readers the Rockstar fantasy with Rock Steady.
Rock Steady is the second book of the Rock Band series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. However I recommend reading Rock Me Two Times to enjoy this series to it’s fullest.
A Book Obsessed Chicks Review Team selection.
A complimentary copy was provided by netgalley for an honest review.