The breathtaking finale to Scarlett Cole's series finds artist Lia attracted to someone with his own mysterious connection to Second Circle Tattoos in The Darkest Link.
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 shockand a fist to the facewhen his past and present collide.
With secrets coming to the surface, Reid and Lia are thrown into a world of betray and lies that threatens to pull them under, and the last link to his former life may be the darkest of them all.
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The Darkest Link
By Scarlett Cole
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Scarlett Cole
All rights reserved.
"It isn't your platform we're worried about, Franklin. It's the most solid agenda I've ever seen. True to the roots of the party, it will be well received. It's your family's image that concerns us."
Julianna Carlisle inched closer to the large wooden door, slightly ajar, that stood as guardian to her father's home office. She didn't recognize the speaker's voice. At twenty-nine years of age, she considered herself above eavesdropping, but the gruff mention of her family had caught her attention as she'd silently let herself into her parents' home in the luxury gated community of Star Island, the crown of Miami real estate.
"It's clear that my wife will require some training for the role."
"Training might be too inadequate a word," another voice added. "She's no Barbara Bush, or Nancy Reagan. Heck, even Betty Ford, for all of her more social ideals."
Lia shivered a little. The conversation confirmed her worst fears. Her father had danced on the edge of a full-blown push into politics for most of her life. He was a highly regarded defense attorney with an ego bolstered by his win rate, but it didn't come close to quenching his ambition.
"And then there is your daughter ..." The speaker let the words hang. Lia leaned into the doorway.
For a single heartbeat, Lia waited to hear her father defend her, to tell the asshole to watch what he said. But she knew he wouldn't, just as surely as she'd never remove the tattoos he despised from her skin.
"I'm aware," her father replied, just as she'd expected. "Julianna has always been ... spirited. Believe me, I have every intention of bringing her to heel before my decision to run for governor is made public. We have some time before that has to happen."
Her heart sank. After all these years, she should have been used to the perpetual feeling of parental disapproval. Her grip tightened on the small gift bag she carried.
"Yes and no," the speaker replied. "You need to start lining up your sponsors now while the recent election loss is still raw."
"Believe me, Charles," her father replied crisply. "I know how to manage my family."
"Very well, Carlisle. I will let the donors know. Please confirm when you have things in order," the other person said resolutely.
Beneath her favorite vintage 1950s navy-blue halter-neck dress, her legs shook. Bring her to heel. Lord knew her father had been trying for years. They didn't agree on a single aspect of her life. He hated that she was a tattoo artist most of all. Called tattoos a modern scourge. Every time a public health official set foot in Second Circle Tattoos, the Miami Beach studio where she worked, she was convinced it was her father's doing. He knew all the right people to make her life miserable.
Shoring up her defenses, and taking care not to knock the Lalique Anemones Grand Vase off the small table behind her, she turned and hurried in the direction of the large sunroom at the back of the house that her mother had converted into a huge greenhouse. It would be a billion degrees in there, the late-August Miami sunshine all but baking the glass room where her mom nurtured all kinds of tropical plants. Though Lia joked that they were a replacement for her and her brother, Ben, an active-duty Navy SEAL, in truth her mother had always had a fascination with planting and grafting. Lia had been twelve when she'd realized it was the only place in the house her father didn't visit.
"Mom," she called out from the doorway. Unlike her father, Lia loved the scent and collision of color that clashed brilliantly with the classic taupe-and-white decor in the rest of the house, but the humidity would ruin the victory rolls she'd carefully pinned her hair into, and she wouldn't have time to fix them before she hit the road for the tattoo expo.
"One moment, Julianna." Her mother's melodic voice sounded from the back of the room. She heard the clatter of tools and the hiss of the faucet and then Grace Carlisle appeared. She removed the perfectly fitted lab coat that she preferred to gardening overalls, revealing her usual twinset, a pale mocha this time to match the walls, and pearls. It was as if her mom were two different people. The one in the greenhouse, and the one everywhere else. "How are you?" she asked quietly, bussing the air in the general direction of Lia's cheeks. It was as close to a display of emotion as her mother ever got.
"I'm good," Lia replied, resisting the urge to straighten her skirt or remove a mutinous piece of imaginary lint under her mother's scrutiny. In her head, all the criticisms she'd heard growing up were on replay. "Only strippers wear platform shoes, dear." "The difference between décolleté and décolletage is a couple of inches and your pride." "Vintage is still secondhand."
But that was before her mother had become a shell of who she used to be. Before she'd stopped leaving the house to do all the things she used to love. And most definitely before she'd required medication to function.
Lia handed her mother the gift bag. "Happy birthday, Mom."
Her mom's hand fluttered to her chest, and raw surprise sparkled in her eyes. "You remembered," she whispered.
Lia thought back to Granny Emmeline's words the night before she died. "I remember who your mother was before she met my son. Promise me you'll keep reaching for her, Lia, because she's trapped inside herself."
Carefully, Grace slid the gift out of the vibrant orange gift bag and unwrapped the bright cerise-colored tissue. The sun hit the crystal butterfly at exactly the right moment, sending rainbows sparkling all over the bland, white kitchen walls.
"I thought you could hang it in there," Lia said, tilting her chin in the direction of the sunroom.
Grace passed her fingers over it gently. "It's beautiful, Lia. You never forget. Thank you." Tears glittered in her mom's eyes, and at moments like this, Lia understood the wisdom in Granny Emmeline's words.
"Did Daddy remember?" Lia asked even though she already knew the answer.
Her mom shook her head sadly. "He's been very busy this past week and has another television segment next week that he is preparing for. I'm sure he'll remember eventually."
Lia hated the way her mom excused his behavior. There were old photographs of the two of them dotted around the house that gave the illusion they'd loved each other once. Arms wrapped around each other, giant smiles on their faces, but somewhere along the line her father had stopped, leaving her mother desperate for the smallest hint of affection.
"Grace," her father bellowed from the hallway. "Where is Julianna? I see that awful car of hers in the driveway."
Lia recognized the tone, the one that said he was about to lay down the law, and her stomach tightened.
Her mom dropped the butterfly back into the bag, and pulled open a kitchen drawer, hiding it inside. "You'd better go," her mom whispered, the light gone from her eyes as she ushered her gently toward the garden. She swiped a finger under her eyes before air kissing Lia again. "The Herald found out he advocated for the end of the death penalty while in law school and now he's furious."
"I love you, Mom," Lia whispered as she hurried through the french doors. Her mother hadn't said she loved her, too. She never did. But it didn't stop Lia from hoping that one day she would.
She hurried around the side of the house at a jog, careful not to damage the heels of her shoes in the gravel, and slipped into her car. Quickly, she attempted to start the engine.
"Come on, Cherry," she encouraged, using the pet name for her car.
It coughed and complained before finally roaring to life. Cursing the sound, she tried to think back to when she'd last had her baby serviced. Probably too long ago.
Lia pulled out of the driveway, taking a final look in the rearview mirror just in time to see her father jogging down the front steps, waving furiously to get her attention. He'd be angry with her for not stopping, and her heart was pounding, but Lia found it difficult to care.
Now there was nothing between her and Orlando other than a couple hundred miles on Florida's Turnpike. Cujo, one of the tattoo artists she worked with, had once told her she had a heavy foot when it came to the accelerator of her bright red 1958 Plymouth Fury, and as the needle nudged closer and closer to ninety, she wondered how her father would react if she was pulled over. It was almost worth getting a ticket for, just to annoy him.
Her sat-nav said three and a half hours, but she planned to nail it in three, then go visit a little vintage clothes shop she loved to have a celebratory spend. Most people wouldn't consider being asked to give a presentation at the tattoo expo in Orlando as something worth celebrating, but to her, it was a big fricking deal. Because it meant progress in her career. Finally.
Her boss, Trent Andrews, was co-host of a tattooing reality TV show called Inked, and they'd recently filmed an episode at their own studio, resulting in exposure for all of them. Being asked to be guest speaker at one of the events was a huge honor, and while she was slightly terrified at the thought of speaking in front of so many people, Lia had been excited for weeks.
But no matter how hard she tried, it was impossible to stop thinking about the conversation she'd overheard. Who were those people? And how exactly did her father plan to bring her into line?
Not that she would ever allow that to happen.
After two hours, the traffic jam on the highway was sapping her soul, as were her thoughts. There was no indication the cars would clear anytime soon, so Lia weighed her options. She could sit in smog and lose her mind, or she could take a detour that was longer than her original plans but at least would be scenic. Choosing the latter, she pulled off the Turnpike, and took Hutchinson Island north. The crystal blue water sparkled as though diamonds danced on the surface, and a warm breeze blew through the windows. At times like this, Lia wished she'd bought the convertible instead of the hard-top, but the moment she'd watched Stephen King's movie Christine, she'd been hooked on the idea of one day owning her own Plymouth. What did she care if the car was possessed? It was red and white and vintage, and she'd wanted it badly. Plus, her father hated it, which was another point in its favor.
As if the car knew she was having remorse for not getting a convertible, it started to shudder and a strange knocking noise came from under the hood. Lia pressed her foot to the gas, but the car continued to slow.
"Oh, no, Cherry," she said, stroking the dashboard in an act of desperation. "Don't stop now. No. No."
But the car ignored her. Putting on her warning lights, Lia pulled over to the side of the road.
"Perfect fucking timing," she muttered. "You couldn't have done this in the underground parking lot of the condo, or at the gas station?"
Lia stepped outside, kicked the tire, which hurt her toe more than the car, and popped the hood. Not that she had the first clue as to what she was doing. But it was what people seemed to do when cars broke down, the universal symbol for Help me, please. Maybe some passerby would take pity on her.
Perhaps she should start walking back toward the buildings she'd passed a few minutes earlier. She looked down at her shoes and huffed out a breath. Usually she loved her blue-and-white Mary Janes with the bright red daisies as buttons, but right now, they were the least practical footwear she could imagine. Ruining them by walking down the gritty and sandy highway was not an option. Lia reached into the car for her phone to call her roadside recovery company. She pulled the card from her purse, studying it for a phone number.
"Goddammit," she cried, pinching the bridge of her nose. How on earth had she let the renewal slip by last month? Perhaps her brother, Ben, was right when he joked that he got all the serious and she got all the impulsive. Taking a deep breath, she cricked her neck from left to right. Now she needed to find a local garage or towing company. She tugged at the knot in her scarf and pulled it off before dropping it onto the passenger seat through the window.
"Cherry, sweetheart," she said, patting the roof of the car. "I love you dearly, but keep this shit up and I'll put you through a goddamn car crusher."
There wasn't even a stupid palm tree she could stand under for shade, just a whole bunch of low-lying green shrubs separating her from the sand. Furiously, she pulled out a red-and-white polka-dotted umbrella from her trunk. There was no way she was going to make it to the vintage shop now. She opened the umbrella up, and slammed the trunk down.
Leaning back against the car, Lia sighed and began to search for local roadside assistance on her phone, but was immediately disturbed by the roar of an exceedingly loud motorcycle. She lifted the umbrella a little to admire the bike. The rider glanced her way. In spite of the soaring temperatures, the helmet and leather did nothing to hide the fact that he was a guy. In a heartbeat he was gone — which was a crying shame because a guy with shoulders that broad and that kind of ass should be illegal.
Bikers did it for her, no question. She just couldn't put her finger on why. Maybe it was the mystique of the visor, or the smell of gasoline and leather. Big hands capable of revving the accelerator had always made her tummy flutter. Then again, perhaps she'd just read too many motorbike-club romances containing characters with names like Deuce or Horse.
She shivered at the thought. What she really should be praying for was a pickup truck, and a big guy in denim overalls called Butch or Axel who knew his way around a Plymouth.
"Focus," Lia snapped to herself. She had commitments, and it was time to figure out logistics.
But that biker. Damn.
Lia smiled at the direction of her thoughts. It really had been too long since she'd last gotten laid.
* * *
Reid Kennedy cranked the accelerator on his custom-made supercharged bike, built fractionally within the limits of street-legal. Business was done for the day, or almost as good as. He'd left Shaun and Jason wrapping up an exhaust replacement at Kenny's, his garage — part repair shop, part custom bike business. One had kept the lights on while he built up a reputation for the other. One was his job, the other, his passion.
Tyrell Banks was on his mind. The nine-year-old boy was a mechanic in the making for sure. Like some of the other young boys Reid mentored through a program at the local community center in Fort Pierce, Tyrell brought to the shop a sense of curiosity that was contagious. But the split lip he'd sported the previous evening kept making its way into Reid's thoughts. And the explanation Tyrell had given him was highly plausible. Every young boy had fallen off his bike at some point. Had Tyrell not had fingermarks on his arm two days earlier and a bruise beneath his eye the week before, Reid might have been convinced.
He let the throttle loose and picked up speed, allowing the noise of the bike and the air rushing around his helmet to drown out the compelling need to go over to Tyrell's father's place and challenge him. He'd talk to Donyell, the social worker attached to the boys' club, and sound her out, try to fix things legally. How could he be an example to these boys if he just jumped in with both feet without thinking? That was what had gotten him into his own mess, part of the reason he was over twelve hundred miles away from his family without any contact. These days he tried to suppress the urge to charge headfirst into problems and tried to think about all the possible outcomes first. It still didn't feel natural, though, even after nearly six years of trying to be a better man.
Excerpted from The Darkest Link by Scarlett Cole. Copyright © 2016 Scarlett Cole. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
## FABULOUS. Loved this book. I haven't read the others in the series, so it stands alone just fine. I didn't feel lost at any point. This story is about Reid and Lia. Amazing couple. I love that we get to read about their "meet cute" and from both POVs. So much better than a couple that already has history. We get to experience them getting to know each other and falling for each other. I loved them together. They were both strong, caring and fun-loving. And the chemistry was definitely happening between the two of them. Thank you to Ms. Cole for not writing Reid as a manslut. It was wonderfully refreshing not having to read about how he sleeps with anything in a skirt. No cheating, no cliffhanger, no barbie doll ex trying to break them up! Yay!! Awesome all the way around.
This was a wonderful conclusion to this series and I really enjoyed both Lia and Reid. Lia has been mostly in the background up to this point so I was excited to see more of her and Reid was of course greatly anticipated as Harper’s long lost brother. These two were such an honest, sweet, and caring couple while also keeping the heat factor high. I love the way Reid and Lia interact and care for each other and they’re always teasing each other. They’re open and honest; after all the secrets of the past books, the immediate honesty was really nice. Even when they have some problems they never actually break up. Lia sweet and takes care of those she loves in any way she can. She’s always putting herself out there and with Reid she’s finally found someone who is her match. Even though Reid has had a rough few years and he does carry around some baggage and guilt he’s not moody and dark. It was refreshing after all the troubled bad boys that have abounded in romance lately. I also loved seeing the past couples and getting closure on Harper’s attack and seeing Trent and Harper’s wedding. They’re still my favorite couple so I really enjoyed seeing them together and finding happiness. The very end felt a little rushed and everything just fell into place and tied up neatly. I’m not really complaining about it but just mentioning as it might bother some other people. I wish there had been more of tattooing in this one since that’s what drew me to the series originally. We’re told only a little bit about Lia and Reid’s tattoos so I would have liked some more descriptions of them especially after how detailed the tattoo descriptions are in The Strongest Steel.
By far my favorite in this series
I love this series!! The Darkest Link is the 4th book in the Second Circle Tattoos series but can be read as a stand alone. I love how the author combines red hot romance with a bit of mystery. Her characters are unique & interesting. Can't wait to read more by Scarlett Cole I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Lia works in a tattoo shop and her boss is featured on a popular TV show about the art. Lia loves her mother very much, but her father never saw her as more than a burden to his political aspirations. When her sexy, classic, car breaks down on the side of a back road, she is thrilled when a sexy biker turns around to help her out. Reid can’t leave a pretty lady in distress and offers to tow her car to his shop and feed her dinner. Lia agrees, which is all that happens. For now. The connection between Lia and Reid is amazingly HOT!! They both have baggage and intense fathers. I love the connection between them and all of the twist and turns along the way! Not only that, but Reid is portrayed as a fit, sexy, hot, biker and Lia is a curvy, independent, pinup looking girl who knows her sexiness and OWNS IT! LOVE that! There are a lot of surprising elements within this story and they all make me want to go back and read the rest of the series! This book was that good!! Great writing. Wonderfully developed characters. Great twists! There is nothing to not like about this book! *copy provided for review for Crystal's Many Reviewers
When I read the first book in this series, I was so excited to see what Cole had in store for us with the next three books and I gotta say she didn't disappoint. While it seems that things work out a little too conveniently with who these people are and what their meeting means, I'm happy to overlook it because I like how the story plays out :) (I'm not going to give too much away just in case you don't know who Reid is and why he's important.) Lia is fantastic - she's fun, sassy and embraces her own style. For the most part she's comfortable in her skin and likes all the things that makes her her. Reid is also comfortable in his skin (and what sexy skin it is), but he's also got a huge heart and gives back to his community. Plus he's willing to stop and help a damsel in distress ... I really appreciate that other than a propensity to fall in love (and a father that is seriously horrible), Lia doesn't come into this with a lot of baggage. And Reid only carries a little guilt over what happened in Chicago. The story basically starts with these two meeting, getting to know each other, and then the real fun begins when Reid visits Lia at work :) Like the other Second Circle Tattoos stories, there is danger involved and some intrigue over who is causing them trouble. It's a very well played out mystery and I really like how Cole resolved everything. I can't wait to see what Cole has in store next. There's lots of opportunities and it looks like it might be Dred's guys next. And I'm super excited to see them again and find out more about their histories. (Complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review)
⭐ ⭐ Provided by NetGalley in Exchange for an Honest Review ⭐ ⭐ Judging a Book by it's Cover: B&W tattooed male torso with bold font and color choices for the text. I've read and really enjoyed the previous books to this series and did not read the synopsis when requesting the book to review. Looking Deeper: This one is Lia's story, written in a third-person perspective. Lia is bright, quirky and fun, a pinup model worthy tattoo artist at Second Circle. Kenny / Reid is the hard-working, motorcycle riding mechanic that comes to Lia's rescue when her car dies on the side of a country road. Classic story line for such a classic character. Kenny / Reid had ties to the series that were revealed early enough and things started tying together nicely. The chemistry between the characters was fun and flirty until it became carnal and combustive. They were refreshingly open and honest, but not infallible to human error. Secondary characters included previous couples in the series, as well as some newer characters. Dialogue was on point and interactions were believable, as usual with Ms. Cole's books. The plot was dynamic, but I'd predicted several elements long before they were revealed, which took some of the enjoyment out of it for me. There were conflicts, most were resolved well. I found myself wondering - in the epilogue - what became of Lia's mom and the final decisions of the garage in Fort Pierce. I loved the sneak peek of the next release included at the end and look forward to being able to read them as well! ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rating: [R] ~ Score: 4.2 ~ Stars: 4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------
This was such an amazing book. I have read the whole Second Circle Tattoos series and they just keep getting better. Reid and Lia were both really great characters. I really hate that this is the finale to this series.
The moment Reid spots the sexy red haired bombshell stranded alongside the road he knows he needs to turn around and be the one to come to her rescue, she is hot as hell and oh so tempting and he is certain for once fate is on his side. But what he doesn't realize though is that one little interaction with her just may change the course of his entire life... and bring him closer to a past he had hope would stay buried! Lia's fun weekend trip comes to a screeching halt when her beloved car leaves her stranded alongside the road, but things start to look-up when a sexy biker comes to her rescue, he just so happens to also be a mechanic and promises to get her weekend back on track it no time. But after spending a little time with him she soon realizes that meeting him may just be the best part of her weekend, and she isn't quite ready to say goodbye once the weekend is over... Once again Ms. Cole has provided readers with a true literary gem, this story captured my attention from the get-go and had me flying through the pages desperate to find a happy ending for these two! I have liked Lia from the very beginning, something about the feisty red head resonated with me, and have been dying to see her find her happily ever after, and I am happy to report she found that and SO much more in Reid!! I have absolutely loved the previous installments in the series, and thought nothing could top Harper and Trent's story, but I have to admit Lia and Reid's story bested them as my favorite couple!! This story is one of those stories that will penetrate your heart, steal the breath from your lungs, leave you emotionally spent, and linger with you long after the last page has been turned! This series is by far one of the best that I have stumbled upon in a long while, and I HIGHLY recommend you give it a chance, Ms. Cole's endearing characters are certain to leave an indelible impression on your heart!! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
Getting your motor running just isn’t working for Lia, a highly talented tattoo artist, on her way to be a presenter at an influential convention. Luckily a knight in motorbike gear, riding his revving machine, comes to her rescue. Despite their mutual instant attraction, they don’t act on it but do keep in touch as he takes her broken down car to his garage for repair and helps sort things out for her. The rescuer is the garage owner who is known as Kenny, though his name is Reid. Little do either of them know they have a mutual connection through one of Lia’s friends . . . . As this connection is revealed the dysfunctional aspects of both their families are highlighted, especially her manipulative father’s attempts to blackmail her with her love for her mother into supporting his political aspirations. There are secrets, dangers and so much more in this story as well as a developing romance making this an action packed, enthralling read. The characters are well developed and the fast paced plot has plenty of intrigue, mystery, twists and turns. It is superbly written addition to this series and I have no hesitation in highly recommending both the series and this novel to anyone who enjoys reading intricately entwined stories involving families, perils and romance with plenty of surprises en route. As an added bonus the ARC I read also had the first chapter for the author’s new series - I can’t wait to read more of that, too! I was gifted a copy of this book by St Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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 and the perfect candidate for 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. Especially since she doesn't know the truth about his past. However, when he finds Lia’s bracelet in his bed, he has the perfect excuse to drive down and surprise her at her tattoo studio, Second Circle Tattoos, in Miami. He's in for an even bigger shock - and a fist to the face - when his past and present collide in the humid Miami weather when he runs into the last person he’d ever expect to see in a tattoo studio: Harper, the sister he betrayed, and the last link to his former life. Review: Loved Lia! Not that I did not love Reid also, but I loved Lia's attitude, description and style. I am a sucker for the retro look, so I totally loved Lia! Now Reid is certainly swoon worthy too. He has a troubled past, estranged from his family but runs his own business, designs choppers, works with kids at the boys and girls club and rescues damsels in distress...what is not to like. I have not read this Author before and picked this book up because of the description and of course that beautiful cover. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the story. Between Lia's screwed up family and Reid finding his again and coming to terms with what happened to his sister, there is a lot of meat to this book. There was also a lot more action than I anticipated. And not to leave out the sexy, it was Hot and well-written. Once again I came into the series at the end...but I really did not have any problems reading it out of order. The characters from the other books sound so interesting that I would love to go back and read about them. 4Stars *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
So you know how in some of the really good books you have those moments where you read something and thought “what the hell was that!” and you had to go back and read it again, well this book not only had that but had the “what the hell moment” and I went back to read it TWICE more thinking no way can this be happening! Ms. Cole led me down a path that I was really enjoying but she sure upped the quota on those moments when you couldn’t believe what you were reading and she pulled you in another direction and every one of those directions was leading to a book that will stay with me for quite some time. Lia was a throwback from the 40’s with her looks and style…beside the tattoos that she sported. She was a very talented tattoo artist from Second Circle Tattoo shop and left behind the path that most “normal” rich girls took. For her, art was a way of life and even though her father wanted to run for public office and had high expectations of being governor of Florida along with one day possibly the presidency, Lia did not fit the form that her father wanted from her. Lia was fine with that because her father never showed her any love that most fathers would have. On her way to lecture at a tattoo convention in Orlando her car breaks down and along comes this guy on a cycle. You knew he was going to be a hotty but along with that came a “nice” guy. Nice guy all aside Reid had some dirty, dirty thoughts about Lia. After helping Lia out on the roadside she made a pit stop on her way back to Miami to give in to her one night stand with this sexy mechanic. After that one night she knew she would end up seeing him again when he finished fixing her car and returning it to her. This is when the first big “what the hell” moment came in to play because it was a huge shocker of what all transpired when Reid showed up unexpectedly at Second Circle Tattoo to return Lia’s bracelet she had lost in Reid’s bed earlier that week. This book takes you on one crazy ride with all of the twists and turns, sizzling connection between Reid and Lia, some suspense and those moments that make your heart feel good. It is a book that will have you all bleary eyed from reading late into the night…or I should say morning because you just have to see if what you read was actually true and just how everything was going to work out. Another excellent book in this series by an author I have now declared as one of my favorites.
4.5 Stars! While the Darkest Link was Reid and Lia's story, it was also just as much about the continuation of Harper and Trent. I loved that this book got to be about Harper's brother and tying him to Lia, another Second Circle character. In the first book, we found out that Reid disappeared after the trial with Harper and Nathan and how much Harper missed her brother. Bringing Reid back into Harper's life while giving him his own love interest in Lia made this series that much sweeter. It also tied up loose ends about Harper's past. I've really enjoyed this series and was very happy to see a sneak peak for Jordan from Preload will be the next book. Ever since I read about him in The Purist Hook, I was hooked on him! ***ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
he Darkest Link is the 3book that I read from this series and it had become one of my favorites. It was a page turner and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the plot of the story and of course I loved their main characters Lia and Reid. They were perfect for each other. Lia with her great heart and unique style and Reid sexy mechanic with great hand skills. The story also includes all of the previous couples. I love have Harper is united with her brother. The story is mysterious and full of surprises till the end. *ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
I think I liked this one even more than the previous book. Don't get me wrong, The Purest Hook is a great book but this one is even better. The plot and the flow were really good and I enjoyed reading about the characters and their chalanges of daily life (and for some also past)! In comparison to the previous book, this story takes it a bit further in terms of action and mystery and all the danger that's surrounding the main characters. Also, the fact that we get to see two main characters from previous books so vital to this story and seeing their HEA makes me so happy. I think that added to me liking the story that much. Reid and Lia are such great characters and the way they met, well, I don't mind at all. As Reid would say, it was all about the long legs. Both have some touchy relationship with their parents but Lia definitely takes the crown on that. Man, her dad is a real piece of work. He's just a horrible human being. From the way he treats his family to the lenght he would go to achieve his goals, just wow. I'm glad his story ended the way it did. And as for Reid's dad, well, he did show some remorse, so there's that. I definitely loved the way he met his long lost sister again and how they got to know each other again. It was painful but in the long run so worth it. I can't say I liked Reid over Lia's character or the opposite, it's more that I liked them both equally. They both have such good qualities and together they make an awesome team. There is truly nothing that I'd change about them. Both sacrificed so much for their family, also for each other and are so loyal to them, that's just amazing. I definitely didn't expect the read to be so good but I'm absolutely thankful for the way things turned out at the end. I'm becomming a fan of this series fast and I think I need to read books one and two ASAP! I would recommend this read for sure!
I'm just gonna put this out there first thing because I feel it has to be said...BEST. SHOWER. SCENE. EVER!!! No joke. It was deliciously hot and steamy, and not because of the temperature of the water. Know what I'm sayin'? As with all of Scarlett's other books, I absolutely fell in love with the storyline and her characters. Lia is sexy, spunky, confident, has a unique style, and I adored her sense of humour. And Reid, where do I even begin with this guy? He rides a motorcycle, knows how to work with his hands, volunteers with youth in his neighbourhood (sigh), falls in love with Lia fast and hard, and holy heck, I do believe he was the most dominant in the bedroom out of ALL the men. He was quite bossy and I have to admit...it was FABULOUS! And I smiled every time we got to see a glimpse of Harper, Trent, Drea, Cujo, Pixie, Petal, and Dred. I've missed them so. I think I feel a reread coming on. A great conclusion to a seriously fantastic series! I am a bit sad to see the end of the The Second Circle Tattoos' gang and their significant others. Thankfully, Scarlett has two more series planned for the future and she's writing her little butt off to get those out to us.
Seeing this series end makes me want to cry! Luckily a spin off series looms ahead and I can't wait. As with each book in this series you can easily read standalone but do yourself a favor and read them all. This author is one of my best discoveries. Finally we get Reid's story! I've always wondered what happened to him after reading The Strongest Steel and now we find out. Lia has always been a favorite character of mine and to see her get her own HEA was great. A chance meeting on the roadside leads to a night of passion between Lia and Reid. When he can't get her out of his head and makes a surprise visit to Miami to find her, his past and present collide in a spectacular way! Put this one on the top of the must read list! I highly recommend it.
My, oh my, oh my…what a story! I was up till 2am reading and then my brain wouldn’t turn off as I continued to think about Lia and Reid and what a wonderful couple they made! Julianna “Lia” Carlisle has money and is from old money but has managed to create a life that is hers and hers alone that has definitely put her at odds with her father. On her way to deliver a talk at a tattoo convention her wonderful car, Cherry, breaks down and as she stands by the side of the road a rather scruffy knight on a motorcycle comes to her rescue and that encounter is just the beginning of the story. I loved, loved, LOVED this story! Why? Because Lia and Reid were great people and great together…their chemistry was off the charts and they were so good for one another. Lia was bigger than life in her vintage clothes, red lipstick and victory rolls (which I had to look up). I could just see her swinging hips as she walked or twirled an umbrella or licked her lips. I really liked Lia and wished I could be as distinctive and interesting as she was in the book. And Reid…whoa Nelly…what a hottie! He was the perfect book boyfriend with his charm, sensitivity, caring, expertise in this and that and some of the things he said and did…oh my! This was book four in the series and I just did some sleuthing to see that the author has three more books in mind for this series BUT is busy with four new books in the Preload series as well as a book having to do with Navy SEALS she says has to be written before she can return to finish with Second Circle Tattoos. I can’t wait till the next book she writes comes out and am so glad to have been lucky enough to find and read her first book and all that have been published since Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.