Blair Whitaker has one goal: get the hell out of Celebration, NY. Her ticket out is helping the town take the grand prize in a parade contest, which will ensure she lands her dream job. It's a win-win.
Standing in the way is Ben Lambert, a sexy, local tattoo artist whose smile makes her weak. To win the contest, she'll have to sideline his plans for the tattoo festival the town council allowed on the same weekend. But trying to thwart Ben is more than she bargained for, and before she knows it, she's starting to see Celebration–and Ben–as something more than a temporary distraction.
But Blair's in too deep to change directions now. Celebration is behind the parade contest, the mayor revokes the tattoo festival permit, and Blair is on the cusp of getting everything she'd planned. But coming clean will turn Ben against her for good, and going forward means losing what she really wants and hurting the town she's grown to love.
Each book in the Something to Celebrate series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Ivy Entwined
Book #2 Permanent Ink
About the Author
After spending twenty years in professional theater as a costume designer, with a few of those years also spent as a college instructor, Laura Simcox abandoned her nomadic lifestyle to sit in a comfy pleather office chair at a beat-up secondhand oak desk and write. The result? Romance novels. Her favorite thing ever since she was, oh, about twelve. Laura writes light contemporary novels and enjoys creating quirky characters and funny dialogue. Still, the love story is always the focus, and Laura has a soft spot for a sappy, happy ending. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and her adorable, high -energy four-year-old son who is currently obsessed with pirates. When not playing mamma pirate, she loves hearing from readers. You can find your favorite way to say hi from the social media buttons on her website: www.laurasimcox.com.
Read an Excerpt
A Something to Celebrate Novel
By Laura Simcox, Lewis Pollak
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Laura Simcox
All rights reserved.
Something told Blair Whitaker that a fresh start shouldn't smell like diesel fuel and jelly beans, but she chose to ignore the warning bells in her head and focused instead on staying alive. Adjusting the heavy rhinestone crown on her head, she held on to the sides of her folding chair for dear life as the parade float jerked into motion.
"You okay up there?"
Blair glanced over her shoulder and down at the skinny, skater-punk kid who was ogling her from the safety of the ground. "Yes," she managed, and tugged on the "Finger Lakes Easter Queen" sash that fit snugly over her breasts. The real queen had a lot of explaining to do and as soon as Blair could get off this float she would wring the girl's neck. The satin sash popped back up over a breast for what had to be the tenth time, and Blair gave up her tugging and left it there.
Blair looked down at the ragged box with the words "Mighty Fine Toilet Paper" printed on the sides and filled with bags of assorted candy. Okay. So she was supposed to throw mini-Snickers at kids? What if she hit them in the face or something?
"Um ...?" She glanced to either side of the float and caught the eye of a middle-aged woman, who began jogging down the sidewalk.
"Throw it underhanded, honey. And thank you so much. Don't forget to wave! Turn your head slowly so you don't get dizzy! We don't want a queen with vertigo!"
Blair gave her a thumbs-up, but couldn't help a rueful grin. She was a queen — the queen of bad luck, and it had nagged her for too long. It was time to kick her own ass into gear and ignore luck altogether. And she was going to start by figuring out her life, right here in Celebration, by moving in with relatives. Sigh.
For now, though, she was stuck, because her lease had run out on her teensy Manhattan apartment, and she hadn't signed a new one. Instead, she'd sold all of her furniture and left the place like the Grinch who stole Christmas. Except Blair hadn't stolen anything but a burgeoning sense that she'd made a huge effing mistake. It wasn't like her to make such rash decisions. What did she think she was going to do here, anyway? Besides masquerading as a pageant queen, that is?
But once she figured it out?
She was leaving this Podunk place.
For God's sake, she hadn't even made it to Celebration's city-limits sign when everything had gone to hell in a handbasket. Or an Easter basket, as the case may be. Thanks to a tangled road block of parade floats, she'd been forced to pull over and had barely walked a few yards away from her van when a pop-eyed guy in a matted bunny suit, sans head, had approached with a gaggle of women in mom jeans and told her she was a dead ringer for the Finger Lakes Easter queen, who had suddenly taken ill and was resting in the bed of a pickup truck. Would Blair stand in for her?
All weirdness aside, and that had certainly qualified as weird, Blair saw the request as a sign from the universe. Especially when she'd peered into the truck and been totally shocked. Kaley, Blair's little cousin (who at sixteen, definitely didn't look like a little kid anymore) lay giggling, her crown askew. What else could Blair do except untangle the crown from Kaley's curls and cram it on her own head? She always came through in a pinch. Reliable Blair.
As the driver swerved around a pothole, she sucked in a breath. "Jesus," she muttered.
Maybe the parade route would be mercifully short — from what Aunt Lola had said, Celebration was a tiny town. Blair hoped so, because she was already starting to feel kind of dizzy. Holding tight to the chair, she waved to the sparse crowd on either side of Main Street. They waved back, but several of them looked confused.
And no wonder. She didn't feel like a beauty queen any more than she looked like one. She was organized, dependable, and kept an obsessive to-do list. What kind of flighty pageant princess did that? Blair smiled at them anyway, despite the fact that it was obvious she was a decade too old to be a high school beauty queen, was wearing jeans and clogs instead of a slinky prom dress, and had her purse looped around one ankle so that it didn't slide off the float. She made a very strange beauty queen indeed. But she held her head up high and continued to wave, until a big gust of chilly wind made her teeth ache and her eyes water.
Okay, this was officially stupid.
She heard resounding cheers as the small processions of floats slowed to turn the corner. Suddenly, the sidewalks seemed a lot more crowded. Little kids held Easter baskets and most everyone was bundled against the sharp wind. The three floats in front of hers had already begun to roll down a side street, and at the head of the procession in a shiny white convertible, a young blond woman stood and waved. The crowd cheered even louder.
Blair pushed a lock of hair away from her eyes and leaned forward to read the sign on the side of the convertible — Ivy Callahan, Mayor of Celebration.
"Really?" Blair murmured to herself. The woman was probably around Blair's age. "That's ... wow. Good for her." Bet she didn't live out of a rental van.
The wind whipped up again and the crown tilted sideways. She reached up to adjust it and scanned the sides of the road for her aunt's familiar fire-engine-red head. Lola had gone gray before Blair was born, but she relied on L'Oreal to keep her signature color, which Blair had inherited and most of the time, loved. Except for the times that people assumed she was a firebrand because of her wild red hair. And when they found out that she wasn't the human version of the girl from Brave, they seemed strangely disappointed.
Blair had gotten to the point where she didn't care. Like now. Throwing a hand into the air, she waved enthusiastically at the kids on the side of the road.
"Happy Easter, kids!"
Most of them giggled, but a little girl wearing a shiny purple ski coat stared at her in dismay. She blinked a couple of times and then gazed pitifully up at her mom, who in turn gave Blair a stony look. The mom cupped her hands over her mouth and yelled.
"Where's your pageant gown? My daughter came to see the gown!"
Blair shrugged and managed an apologetic grimace. The woman didn't buy it.
Oh. Blair was supposed to have thrown candy, wasn't she? Okay. She reached into the toilet-paper box, ripped open a bag, and gently tossed a handful of jawbreakers toward the sidewalk.
The woman shook her head in disgust. "What kind of queen doesn't wear her gown? You're disrespecting the parade, Miss Finger Lakes. What did the Easter parade ever do to you?"
Blair answered the only way she could — with a brilliant smile and a wave, and within a minute, the float had rolled past the still-grumbling woman.
Jesus. Was this town crazy or what? Maybe it was a fluke occurrence or ... maybe not.
Because as the float proceeded past a park and then turned left back up the other side, Blair gaped at the buildings on her right. The steps of the city hall were crammed full of Easter baskets and looked like a cascading river of pastel. Pastel streamers were everywhere, and the businesses lining the street? A doughnut shop with a big fat pig on the sign. A pet-grooming studio ... cats preferred? Still waving and throwing candy, she looked farther down the street at a collection of huge nutcrackers sitting in front of a store called Christmas Crazies. And next to it stood a shop that looked to be a day spa, since the name was Skinnovations, but there was a scary-looking skull and crossbones etched onto the front window. Um ... okay? What the hell kind of town was this and why had elegant, cultured Aunt Lola chosen to move here?
Up ahead and to her left, a frumpy woman stepped out of a group of people gathered at the edge of the park. Blair stared at her for a few seconds, frowning, and then recognition struck.
Oh. Oh, wow. Lola. Wearing ... a sweatshirt and jeans? She'd put a good twenty pounds onto her thin frame and her red hair was pretty much gone, cut into a pixie style, which Blair had to admit looked cute. But still. Had Lola gone crazy up here in Celebration?
Their eyes met, and Lola froze. Her mouth moved and although Blair couldn't hear her, she knew what Lola had said. "Good heavens."
Blair stared back, trying to smile. "I can explain," she shouted. "Kaley's fine, though." Lola nodded back, a strange smile on her face. "Meet me at my house after the parade," she called out as the float rolled past.
"I'll find it!" Blair gave her one last wave and turned around as the float passed a gleaming white gazebo decked out in strings of Easter-egg lights. The pop-eyed bunny from thirty minutes ago stood under the bright red-shingled roof, this time with his furry head on. He shot Blair the peace sign. She shot it back. Why not? The bunny gave a shimmy. Blair smiled and did an awkward little dance in her chair. The crowd seemed to like it, so Blair added some disco arms and was rewarded with a burst of laughter. This wasn't so bad. It was kind of fun, actually ... until there was a collective intake of breath from the crowd up ahead.
"Hit the decks!" screeched a woman. The people around her froze, staring up at the sky. Two second later, they ducked, covering their heads.
That's when a giant papier-mâché Easter chick broke loose from a wire above the street and bounced off the 4-H float in front of Blair and then landed on the pageant float, rolling at breakneck speed toward where she sat.
"Jesus H!" she shrieked, trying to get behind her chair. She didn't make it. The chick smacked squarely into her chest, knocked her on her ass, and lodged between her thighs. Blair felt one of her clogs fly off and she lifted her head away from a face full of spray-painted paper to watch as the shoe landed in the street. It rolled over a few times and was promptly run over by the wheel of a fire truck.
"What the hell just happened?" Blair blinked, light-headed from the fumes of spray paint emanating in waves from the giant, dented chick between her legs. She shoved the yellow thing out of the way and it bounced into the street with a loud crack, its head flopping to the side. The pageant float jerked to a stop and a collective gasp went up from the people on the sidewalks.
"You killed the Easter chick!" wailed a little girl who couldn't have been more than four. She began to cry.
Oh, no. Not that. She'd made a kid cry?
"I'm sorry," she said. "I ... just a second."
Blair reached into her hair where the crown was hanging from a long strand. She untangled it and crawled to the edge of the float. She stood, lopsided without her shoe.
The street looked really far away. "Good karma, good karma, good karma," Blair chanted in a whisper. "Everything will turn around soon. It has to, after today."
But when she glanced at the crowd, it didn't seem like anything was going to turn around soon. It actually seemed like there was going to be a witch hunt — and she was the one about to get burned at the stake.
"It was an accident," she said numbly. "I'm sure the chick can be fixed, right?"
The answering angry mutters wiped the hopeful smile from her face and she sat down, dangling her feet over the edge. "Okay then. Time to get the hell out of here."
A middle-aged man, short and tubby, with two cameras looped over his neck, stepped forward. "What did you say, miss?"
"Just talking to myself. Figuring out if I feel like jumping or not," Blair answered.
The man adjusted his cameras and stood directly under her. "I'll help." He strained his arms upward, his fingers spread. "Come on, then," he said.
She smiled gratefully at him. "Just a sec. This is going to be a little tricky with only one shoe."
"Take your time." He withdrew his hands.
She surveyed the ground one more time, slipped her purse strap over her queen's sash, and blew out a breath. "Okay, here goes."
Closing her eyes, she reached for the man's hands. They were surprisingly warm and strong and didn't feel at all like ... she cracked open an eye and stared at the hands. They weren't pudgy. Or small. They weren't even his. "What the —"
A deep chuckle sounded and Blair found herself staring down at a completely different man altogether. This man stared right back, his firm-looking lips curving into a half smile. Her breath caught, and she couldn't seem to blink.
His eyes. She was transfixed. They were a deep, soulful brown and ringed by lashes any woman would be jealous to have. When his smile widened, those eyes crinkled at the corners. Oh. Blair found herself smiling back.
"Um ..." she said. No other words would come out of her mouth because he was that gorgeous. But dangerous-looking, really. Shoulder-length hair. His beard? Like a sexy pirate. And his thermal shirt? Plastered to that hard wall of a chest. Her heart sped up, and she broke eye contact, only to glance back, still speechless.
Guys like him didn't stare at her. But this one did. He still was.
His smile turned into a grin, and he released one of her hands. Reaching for the back pocket of some incredible-fitting jeans, he pulled out her shoe. And yeah, it was mangled, but right now she didn't really care. "May I?" he asked, gesturing toward her socked foot.
"Um ..." she repeated. "Yeah, sure." She watched in fascination as he clasped her ankle and gently pushed the scuffed, stained clog onto her foot.
"There," he said in a voice as deep as his chuckle.
And right then, the little pudgy man stepped forward and snapped a photo.
"Got it!" he crowed. "Cinderella and her prince. The best front-page parade picture ever." He did a little jig. "And that's why the Celebration Crier pays me the big bucks."
As the gathered crowd let out a begrudging laugh, Blair turned her attention back to Sexy Pirate, who still held onto her foot. She willed her voice not to be breathy. "A little help?"
He reached up and placed his hands around her waist. "My pleasure, princess."
"I'm an Easter queen," she responded dumbly, leaning forward to place her hands on his shoulders, her heart racing.
"You're something, all right," he murmured near her ear. And then he lifted her against his chest and set her on the ground, pulling away slowly until his hands fell to his sides.
"I think you have some sucking up to do," he said.
He reached onto the float, grabbed several bags of candy out of the cardboard box and handed her half of it. "Start giving it to the kids. I'll help."
Nodding, Blair followed his lead. Actually — she followed him as if he were a bodyguard. Which he could be. He was so tall and broad-shouldered and a lot bit intimidating-looking. Surprisingly, though, the kids didn't seem scared of him, especially when he stopped walking to chat as he handed over wads of fun-sized candy bars.
She was dimly aware that she was standing a little bit too close to him, and when their hips bumped as he reached to hand out candy, he turned with a smile.
"Nice parade, huh?"
She raised her eyebrows and glanced back at the small collection of stalled floats. "If you say so. I didn't mean to ruin it."
"You didn't. You just gave people an excuse to gossip." He stuffed his hand into a bag of Three Musketeers and plopped the candy into several kids' raised baskets.
"Gossip? Nobody even knows who I am."
"That's the point, Miss Finger Lakes," he responded with a chuckle. "So ..." He looked as if he was going to ask something else, but grinned instead. "So you're new in town."
Yeah, but not really. She was here for a few weeks ... less, if she could get her life together sooner. Less would probably be good, especially after the entrance she'd made.
"You here to take the town-planner job?"
"I ..." she repeated, and then frowned. "What?"
"Guess not." He shrugged. "Not many younger people end up in Celebration unless they are here for a job."
She'd kill for a job, but not here.
"Now old people," he went on in a chatty tone, "that's a different story. They're flooding the place. New senior center on the edge of town." He gestured down the street with a large hand.
"Oh. That's nice." She stretched across an uneven patch of sidewalk to hand out more candy, and she bumped into him again. "Sorry."
"I'm not." He smiled at her again — a slow smile that made her breath stop.
Jerking her gaze away, she glanced around the street. The parade was held up, and the crowd was getting restless. Down the block, the wire stretched in the air above the street dipped in the middle and a mangled ribbon with a few feathers flapped in the breeze.
"Well ..." she said slowly, "I guess we should hurry up with the candy so the parade can get back on track. Not sure I should linger too long — I am the Easter-chick killer, after all."
He laughed. "Okay."
Oh, that laugh. And his voice — deep. She stood there trying not to look at him, but damn — she'd just been through the strangest episode, and her ability to play it cool was seriously malfunctioning. It was as if she was dreaming, and knew it, but couldn't force herself awake.
Excerpted from Permanent Ink by Laura Simcox, Lewis Pollak. Copyright © 2014 Laura Simcox. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Welcome to the meddling & kooky town of Celebrate & see how 2 lonely hearts beat as one with a lot of forced help from it's citizens. Blair is back in Celebrate & hates it with every breath she takes. She loved her big city life, but the unimaginative idiot she worked for tainted any chance she had of finding a new job. She had to move back in with her Aunt Lola (who raised both her sisters' kids) & her Cousin Kaley. Now she must get the town's Community Events Director job & plan the perfect parade, so the town of Celebrate wins the Parade contest & she wins back her big city life. Ben came to Celebrate to open his own tattoo parlor, but his business is slowing dying with his bank account. His mentor, Grizz, comes to Celebrate to hand over the annual The Ink Fest to him. Ben knows that The Ink Fest will make him & his parlor #1, so he must get Mayor Liv to welcome the tattooed crazed fest it to Celebrate. Mayor Liv gives Blair the Community Events Director job & welcomes The Ink Fest to Celebrate. Now Blair must plan the best parade to win her dream job & also help Ben with The Ink Fest. Now there is a 3rd character in this romance read & I think of this character as the Fairy Godmother & she is the town of Celebrate & it's original, kooky, old, crusty & hilarious collection of townsfolk. Celebrate's folks help by weaving many love spells at Blair & Ben & their desires begin to buildup & is highly explosive. Whenever Blair is around Ben, her hormones go into hyperspace. Ben pops wood whenever he gets near Blair & the burning need for her is tormenting him. They soon learn that The Ink Fest & parade contest are scheduled for the same weekend & a sexy female tattoo artist comes to town & threatens their budding relationship. Can Blair sabotage Ben to go back to her old life? Will Ben unlock his heart before it's to late? How will Celebrate save the day for these 2 crazy kids? This is my 1st Laura Simcox romance & I absolutely fell in love with her kooky & hilarious Celebrate & I didn't want to leave. When I walked into Deb's Donuts, my eyes were assaulted by pigs galore. When I meet crusty Colleen, she gave me a piece of her mind & assault my toes via her killer walker. Ms. Simcox made Sunnyside Retirement Center the heart & soul of Celebrate. My personal favorite is what I call the Loud Color Squad starring Barb, Paula & Sheila. They love to wear all the colors of the Neon rainbow at the same time & my eyes will never be the same! Blair was a accident waiting to happen with her many parade misadventures, but she truly needed Celebrate back in her blood. Ben was a yummy, sexy & tattooed hero with his hidden past life, but he just needed to accept Celebrate as his pseudo family. Ms. Simcox embraced her inner Fairy Godmotherness throughout this romance & made me HYPERVENTILATE with laughter, snort, made my Kindle singed & made me make a reservation for membership at Sunnyside for myself & hope Colleen is my roommate. I can now pull out my pompoms & my walker & cheer as a new fan for Laura Simcox & her crazy Celebrate world! I give this read a score of 4 fingers up & 8 toes & can't wait for the next one! NetGalley ARC given for my honest review.
I am writing this review as a received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a book that I just could not get into. It is about Blair and Ben. It is your typical boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl doesn't, girl changes her mind, likes guy, and then something happens that boy doesn't like her. They then make up, and have their happily ever after. It was an okay book, but the subject matter just didn't appeal to me.
Blair Whitaker is out of work and frustrated. She needs to find herself. Will she be successful in Celebration New York? She now has a job as the town's event planner and she has met a sexy man. Ben Lambert is a local tattoo artist. Together they are working together to plan Ink Fest and an Easter Parade. Why do they have to be at the same time. This story has it all. There's love, laughter, joy and pain. Blair and Ben are memorable characters. I liked them immediately. They may have different goals but their attraction is powerful. I wanted them to have a HEA. Will they take the chance? The story is filled with delightful supporting characters that made me laugh. I want to know more about this town and her people. Laura Simcox has a way with words that made this story come to life. I was hooked from the first page.
Blair takes Stress Queen to a whole new level...at times I was stressed reading about her! LOL. Ben isn't your typical tattooed hero. He's nice and gets what real love is. So many romance books now have a hero or heroine stop talking/break up with the other over something or another. Ben gets angry but he never stops loving Blair...even when she keeps important things from him and lies. Now the lies aren't HUGE but they do make a difference in Ben's life. It was a refreshing read. Well-written and sweet.
I love this Something to Celebrate series! The first book, Ivy Entwined, introduced us to a small town in central New York, Celebration. This latest book, Permanent Ink, has many of the characters from the first book that I loved, as well as some new faces to Celebration. I can't deny that as a inked and steeled mama, I love Ben Lambert, the tattooed hunk of manliness at the front and center of this book! This one centers around Blair and Ben. Blair has come to Celebration from NYC to stay with her Aunt Lola (whom we met in the first book) after her life took a downward turn. Blair is in a bad place in her life, ambitious and wanting more for herself. Coming home with her tail between her legs was never part of her plan. But she finds an unexpected opportunity in Celebration, one that could get her career back on track. But then there is Ben, a inked hottie with a big heart, and more than a few secrets of his own. While Blair and Ben are our main characters, there is a whole cast of supporting characters that are as nutty as the others, some of whom we met in the last book. Ivy, Marcus, and Ivy's crazy grandmother are back, the latter of whom was one of my favorites. Ben's friend and mentor Grizz is hilarious and clearly the father figure in Ben's life. And then there is Starling...! This chick was nuts in so many ways, but an interesting character with a story line of her own that pretty much tore me up. This is what I love so much about these books. So many of the characters, whether main or supporting, have their own story lines that are fantastic. They may not be the focus of the story, but they are just as interesting. The author has a way of making you feel like you are a member of the community, invested in the characters as you would be with a friend. Things to love... --The crazy characters. Some of them are certifiably nuts but so much fun! --The story lines. Some of the story lines are funny, but many of them are deep and heart wrenching. My Recommendation: This is a book that could probably be read as a standalone, but it is so much more if you read Ivy Entwined first. This is a great book with a great story and fantastic characters! I gave it 4.5 mugs!
Blair has lost her job but has plans to land her dream job. She sure doesn't plan to stick around Celebration, NY. The town just isn't for her. The town could help her with her dram job. All she has to do is make the town Fourth of July parade to win a contest and the job is hers. She hadn't planned on Ben. Ben is the town tattoo artist and has his own plans. He has just been handed the reigns to a big tattoo festival and it falls on the same week as the parade. They are working together on both festivals and she is starting to see a new light to the town and to Ben. The closer they get Blair realizes her dream job may not be the dream she wants anymore. She has done some thins that would make the town and Ben hate her so she has to fess up if she doesn't want to lose both. Blair at times may come off snobby but she really isn't. She just doesn't understand a world of people who aren't fancy and are more laid back. She is stubborn, a hard worker and can be very sexy when she allows her self to let go. Ben is tattooed and very sexy. He is also very sweet, a hard worker and doesn't want anything handed to him. He has a past of his own that he left behind. He enjoys his work and considers it an art. Celebration sounds like an amazing little town. It's the kind you want to visit. Everyone knows everyone's business but they are all there to pitch in when needed. Al the little scandals that are going on add the special little touch to the book that made it a joy to read. It made you see what small town life is like. Blair at times did get on my nerves but as she started to give the town and Ben a chance I did start to like her a lot. Ben I liked from the start. This book has lots of laughs and several hot moments as well. You even have a somewhat villain to not like. For a while anyway but I won't spoil that for you. If you want a great story about two people who are opposites but belong together and an amazing town check this one out.
This book is a great read. Blair and Ben story is that loving someone for who they are, no matter what happens.
Laura Simcox’s Permanent Ink the location of this story is a small town called Celebration. The main characters in this story are Blair and Ben. As soon as they meet the sparks fly between them. Needless to say the people of Celebration like to celebrate their holidays with parades. Ben moved here to start his own tattooing business, Skinnovation. Blair has been out of work as an event planner, and has come to stay with her aunt until she gets on her feet. Blair pitches the Macy’s parade contest for small towns. The prize is $50,000 for the winning town. The Mayor of Celebration hires Blair as the town’s event planner. Blair wants to win this so bad so that she can leave and get a job in the big city. Ben pitches Ink Fest; he feels this could make a name for him in the business. The Mayor makes Ben Blair’s assistant, and Blair Ben’s assistant. Both the Fourth of July parade and Ink Fest are approval by town’s council. Blair is a control freak, who loves lists. Ben is the total opposite; he is laid back. He will do anything to make Blair’s life easier. Ink Fest was supposed to be before July 4th. Grizz, Ben’s mentor, tells him that the date has been changed to July 4th. This makes Blair crazy. She will do anything to win. Of course we all know that life throws a lot of curve balls, and what we think we really want could always change. This is a quirky story with a lot of colorful supporting characters, who add spice to this story. It is about parades, “inking” or tattooing, romance (young, old and in-between), heartbreak, and betrayal. Received copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Blair Whitaker has one goal: get the hell out of Celebration, NY. Her ticket out is helping the town take the grand prize in a parade contest, which will ensure she lands her dream job. It's a win-win. Standing in the way is Ben Lambert, a sexy, local tattoo artist whose smile makes her weak. To win the contest, she'll have to sideline his plans for the tattoo festival the town council allowed on the same weekend. But trying to thwart Ben is more than she bargained for, and before she knows it, she's starting to see Celebration–and Ben–as something more than a temporary distraction. But Blair's in too deep to change directions now. Celebration is behind the parade contest, the mayor revokes the tattoo festival permit, and Blair is on the cusp of getting everything she'd planned. But coming clean will turn Ben against her for good, and going forward means losing what she really wants and hurting the town she's grown to love. Review: I enjoyed this second story in the "Something to Celebrate" series and I did not feel lost or left out because I read the second book first. This is a hard review for me to write, I enjoyed the story but there were certain parts that I thought were slow and I just did not connect with. Now, that being said I think the Author is good, I just had a harder time connecting to the characters. I think cover may have lead me to believe this would have been a steamier read and that is on me. There are a couple of intimate scenes but they are more on the sweet side and a couple of times I winced at the terms used during the sexy scenes. I know most think alpha-male when they think about guys with tattoos, but Ben has to be one of the most sweet, intelligent and patient heroes that I have ever read. Blair just does not know what she wants, she is at a crossroads and makes some poor decisions. I liked Ben's character much more than Blair's, for her I spent too much time wanting to smack some sense into her...lol I thought the secondary characters were at times much more interesting and they really helped keep the storing going, at least for me. There were some fun parts like when Blair knocks the head off the chick in the Easter parade or when she finds out that the Grand Marshall for the 4th of July parade is a former porn star. A good read and I will definitely go back and read the first book in the series. 3.5 Stars
What a sweet story about finding yourself and falling in love with your opposite. I loved Ben in this story throughout the whole book. He was just an all around perfect guy, a little edgy, hot, down to earth, sweet and giving. There was not a moment that I did not like his character. And I loved his unique nickname for Blair. Blair was a fun character. I did enjoy her as well but there were times when I felt like bopping her and yelling at her "Woman!" She was a hot mess with good intentions. The supporting characters in this story were hilarious. The fighting between the elders in the community, her troublemaker cousin Kaley and Ben's friends Starling and Grizz. I think I liked this book more than the first one and look forward to more visits to Celebration. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
3 - "I'm in a Tattoed Kind of Mood" Stars. Permanent Ink is one of those books that I liked and disliked in equal parts. Book two in the Something to Celebrate series. This book concrentrates on town newbies Blair Whitaker and Ben Lambert, Blair moving in with her Grandma Lola due to losing her big city job. Ben has been in town for a while, but being a small town being its only tattooist isn't proving as profitable as he hoped it would be. Doesn't help that a large portion of the residents are Senior Citizens! He was slow and steady going, and she was full tilt, list in hand - like a sexy redheaded warrior. I really liked Ben, he was what I would call 'a nice guy', pretty quiet and unassuming, all he really wanted was to bring a little custom to his business Skinnovations so he could live quietly and comfortably in Celebration, Ink Fest was supposed to do that for him, unfortunately it turns out to be far more trouble than the increase in profits is possibly worth. He isn't an uber alpha male, not a big dirty-talker, but someone you would be happy to take home with you to meet your family (well I would, tattos an all!)... This is also one of the reasons I kind of disliked the book as well, because Blair basically dropped into his life (from a parade float)like a tornado, and from the beginning is sketchy with the truth, vague with her intentions and generally holds back from him. Each and every time this happens, he ends up doing something nice for her, and pretty much lets her get away with her actions... Towards the end he turned from a quiet and unassuming guy to a door-mat a little bit. "Firefly. I'll agree to almost anything where you're concerned." Blair is pretty much the other reason I didn't 100% love the book, she has a plan when she returns to Celebration, and from the beginning it isn't to stick around. She then pretty much treats the town like poop, Ben included to achieve her goals... Even when she tried to do the right thing towards the end of the book, it was in the worst possible way. Add too that, the constant justification to herself that what she was doing was ok, I just struggled to warm to her. The town of Celebration itself is filled with colourful and entertaining characters, and that is something I always enjoy about series that are focussed around a town and its people, sometimes the secondary characters can make up for the shortfalls of the main ones. I loved the love triangle between Lily, Ben and Colleen bearing in mind they are all senior citizens, their antics had me in stitches. The Batchelor for a day auction was also pretty funny, as well as the various parades and celebrations that Blair organises as the book progresses. "When I'm with you nothing else seems to matter, firefly." Although not a winner for me this time, I wouldn't hesitate to read the next book Something to Celebrate series. Beacuse of the breadth and depth of the characters and thier stories, you know it is going to be entertaining anyway. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, in exchange for the above honest review.
Set in the fictional town of Celebration, New York, the story centers around the town’s many planned holiday celebrations and an out-of-work party planner. The premise of party planning versus tattoos is unusual and not a plot that I’d ever seen before and I’ve been reading romance novels for decades. The “opposites attract premise with a twist” premise works well here. The story is full of humor and fun from accidents to overbearing elders to verbal diarrhea. There’s something for everyone. The sex scenes are hot but there’s not too many to put off the readers who don’t want to read such. The only negative thing I have to say about the book is the cover. It’s a light-hearted story about a party planner and a tattoo artist, the cover suggests something darker and sinister to me. Perhaps if the model was in front of a lighter colored background it would lose that dark look. So the cover notwithstanding, PERMANENT INK is enjoyable and fun and totally worth your time.
This book really surprised me. It definitely falls into the "don't judge a book by it's cover (or title)" category. This is a wonderful small town romance that hooked me from the very beginning. Great kooky small town characters add a lot of humor and the budding romance between Blair and Ben is wonderful to watch. This is the first book by this author and she definitely has a new fan, I'm already diving into the first book in this series. I definitely recommend this one.