Scarlett Cole continues her tales about Second Circle’s tattoo artists in the latest novel The Darkest Link, coming August 30. Read THREE excerpts, plus enter a giveaway to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Scarlett Cole’s Second Circle Tattoos series brings us the kind of contemporary romance we love: sexy, dramatic, and a little bit of mystery to keep us on our toes.
Tomorrow Scarlett continues her tales about Second Circle’s tattoo artists in the latest novel The Darkest Link.
When a pin-up worthy tattoo artist meets a car mechanic on a Florida roadside, it feels like the start of a great one-night stand. But when feelings grow, and secrets are revealed, both of their lives will be at risk. The only question is from who?
Check out The Darkest Link‘s sexy cover below, along with the summary and THREE excerpts:
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. He’s the perfect candidate for a 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. When he surprises her at her tattoo studio, Second Circle Tattoos, in Miami, he’s in for a shock—and a fist to the face—when his past and present collide.
With secrets coming to the surface, Reid and Lia are thrown into a world of betrayal and lies that threatens to pull them under, and the last link to his former life may be the darkest of them all.
“What is this?” she asked, running her hand over the elongated hood.
“A 1958 Ford Thunderbird. It was a shell when I bought it. Was found in an unused barn with a bunch of other old classics.”
The wheels were black with white faces, and the soft top was a creamy white. Reflections from the chrome cast light onto the white walls.
“I love it,” she said, excited to sit inside.
“Hood up or down?” Kenny asked, slipping her cases into the trunk.
“Oh, most definitely down,” Lia said.
Screw the victory rolls, she could always put her hair into a high ponytail and add the red ribbon she had in her purse if her scarf failed. She reached into her bag to find it and tied it around her head.
“I like this,” Kenny said, fingering the knot under her chin gently.
The way his eyes crinkled at the corners made her feel all kinds of gooey inside. Perhaps it was a good thing they lived a long drive away from each other. His very presence made it difficult to remember why she was taking some time off from men. But a little harmless flirtation was adding to the adventure of a few days off work. There couldn’t be any harm in that.
Once inside the car, Kenny took her hotel details and plugged them into his phone.
“There are few downsides to the classics, but lack of sat-nav has to be one,” he said, turning the radio on. “Ready?”
“I feel like Thelma and Louise about to drive over the edge of the cliff,” she said with a laugh.
“Close. That was a 1966 Ford Thunderbird, eight years younger than this baby. Does that make me J.D.?”
“That depends. Are you planning on driving me to a motel, having your wicked way with me on the dresser, then stealing my life savings?”
“I know a motel, don’t know if they have a dresser, but more than willing to do a drive-by to find out.”
Lia laughed. “I was joking.”
“I wasn’t. Say the word, Red.”
He revved the engine several times, the low growl sexy as all hell, and grinned as he roared out onto the street. Lia watched his hand as he shifted the stick. He caressed the gear stick. The more she stared, the more turned on she became until she had to cross her legs and look out of the window.
Damn him for getting her so hot and bothered. She spared a glance back toward him, just as he turned to face her. And he winked. Because he knew.
And that just turned her on even more.
Reid’s phone rang. He pulled it from his rear pocket and saw Lia’s name flash on the screen. He smiled as he answered.
“Hey, babe,” he said, walking through the open double doors of the garage. He perched on the low retaining wall that separated the garage from the unit next door. It needed knocking down and rebuilding, but neither he nor his neighbor really had the funds to do it.
“Did you just call me babe?” Lia said. From the way her voice went up at the end of the sentence, he took it that “babe” wasn’t a good thing.
“Guilty,” he said. “You don’t like it?”
“The sentiment, yes. But babe has always struck me as the kind of word a guy calls all the girls he dated. I can never decide if it’s just habit or he just doesn’t want to get my name wrong.”
Reid laughed. “Believe me, Red, no one could ever forget your name. How’s your day going?”
“Oh . . . you know,” she said, in what he assumed was her fake-it-’til-you-make it tone. “It’s going.”
“You know, if you just put a fraction more excitement into that, I might just believe you.”
“No, it’s fine. I’m fine. There’s just a lot going on, but for some totally messed-up reason, you were on my mind. So I decided to give you a call.”
“I like that,” Reid replied sincerely.
“What? That there’s a lot going on in my day?”
“No, of course not. That for whatever totally messed-up reason, I’m on your mind.” He couldn’t help the grin spreading across his face.
“Funny,” she replied.
“I like to think so. So is this a booty call? Because I need to know if I’m about to be taken advantage of.”
Finally, she laughed. “No. It’s just a call call. No booty.”
“Pity. I’m here to serve. You want to talk about my booty, I can get down with that. As long as I can talk about yours in return.”
“There was definitely no booty in the purpose of my call.”
“Damn, because you do have a pretty spectacular—”
“Kenny,” she warned in a tone just like his mother used to use when he was in trouble, and he rubbed a hand around the back of his neck.
“Well, whatever it is, I’m glad you called called me. Are you at work?”
“Yeah. Just sitting outside for a ten-minute break, but I’ll be done at five. I should head back inside.”
His chest tightened a little at the thought that she had called him for absolutely no reason at all. “Okay, babe. Enjoy the rest of your day.”
“Don’t babe me.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he said, before hanging up the phone.
Reid spun and grabbed onto his bike. Before he could regain his bearings or understand what the hell had just happened, his assailant was on him again.
“Where the fuck were you?” the man shouted.
There was no way in hell he was going to allow the shit to be kicked out of him on a Miami sidewalk, and he definitely didn’t want Lia embroiled in whatever craziness was going down. Reid found his feet, pivoted on the spot, and nailed his attacker in the stomach.
“Trent,” Lia shouted. “What the hell? Harper, stop him.”
Trent? Her boss? He looked at the guy, who was currently doubled over.
“Trent,” another woman shouted, rushing from inside the studio. He followed the voice, and all sense of feeling disappeared from his hands and feet, leaving his head spinning with confusion.
Standing on the sidewalk in front of him, a thousand miles from where he’d left her in the safety of their parents, was his sister, Taylor. That was as far as he got in assessing the parallel universe he’d just stepped into before Trent’s fist again made contact with the side of his face, sending him crashing into the studio window.
To celebrate The Darkest Link‘s release, Scarlett is hosting an awesome giveaway. Two grand prize winners will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a runner-up will win all four ebooks in the series. Enter HERE.
Check out the other books in the Second Circle Tattoos series!
About Scarlett Cole
Scarlett Cole is a writer of contemporary romance and a two-time RITA finalist. Her debut, THE STRONGEST STEEL, has already become an Amazon best seller in romantic suspense, was a Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist 2015, and Authors On The Air Global Radio Network Contemporary Romance Pick of 2015.
When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. She likes hot men, cold beer, and expensive shoes.
Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles. Rep’d by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency, and published by St. Martin’s Press. She’d love to hear from you on twitter @itsscarlettcole.