Author: Scarlett Cole
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
Blurb: 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.
Review: It’s hard to have a life of your own when you’re spending all of your time taking care of someone else. Especially when that someone else doesn’t appreciate what you’re doing. Drea Caron has been slaving away to support herself and her terminally ill mother for the last ten years. It’s been hard work, and her mother’s constant complaining and kvetching to the people who sit with her when Drea’s at work is difficult for everyone–and makes it hard to find help. Adding on a second job now is going to make her sleep hours become non-existent. Crap!
Brody Cujo Matthews is really excited for his best friend Trent, the co-owner of their tattoo emporium. Getting engaged to the love of his life, Harper–man, he’s so happy for him. But planning the engagement party with Harper’s BFF Drea? That’s going to be a challenge. They butt heads at every opportunity, but he’s crazy attracted to her. However, he’s not doing the marriage and kids thing, right? His past has made him a bad bet for anyone’s future…even that fireball Drea.
This story had a very different feel from the first in the series, The Strongest Steel (my review). That one was more melancholy; this was more Erin Brockovich. The intrigue gets tangled up in the romance, sometimes to its detriment, and the characters are a little angsty, but I really liked the story’s plot line and the growth of the two main characters. They had a sweet give and take that felt honest, and their relationship had its growing pains but certainly made strides. The ending HEA was a great punctuation point to seal the deal for these two characters who’ve had some harsh things happen to them in the past. I’m looking forward to the next installment of Second Circle Tattoos. Thanks!