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Feelings long buried rise to the surface and three find themselves bound by more than just ink…
“Ink.” A three-letter word that meant different things to different people. Pictures and words might stand as a reminder of love, loss, rebellion, or camaraderie.
For Haleigh Grace, it meant freedom.
Walking through the doors of the tattoo parlor, Inkfluence, marked the start of taking her life back. Making it what she wanted it to be. No one was going to tell her she couldn’t. Not for anything. Not ever again.
Little did she know that behind those doors stood Kyle Muse. He’d been her best friend growing up. But then he’d walked away years ago without a backwards glance. The one man she fantasized would someday be her knight in shining armor. The one she’d saved herself for. But he has a knight of his own. Tall, dark and dangerously sexy Scott Preston. The owner of the very shop Haleigh has an appointment with at midnight.
Feelings long buried rise to the surface and three broken people find themselves bound by more than just ink…
The Members Only Series
Within the walls of The Library, a members only BDSM club, anything goes. It’s a dark oasis for every Dom and sub to discover their happily ever after. Screams of pleasure and pain echo through the walls every night, but beneath each cry lies a confession. Unrequited love, cravings of domination by more than just one, even the desire for someone of the same sex. Each member learns, to find their forever, they must unearth the strength to reveal…everything.
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A cold blast of air assaulted Haleigh Grace as she opened the door to Inkfluence. She stepped over the threshold, tripping a door chime, signaling her arrival. The scent of bleach tickled her nose and she locked her knees, trying to keep from bolting.
“I can do this. I can do this,” she mumbled to herself, taking in her surroundings. The open space was clean and she let out a sigh of relief. Fleeing reeked of being a coward, but she would have done just that if the place hadn’t been kept up.
On one side, tattoo stations lined the wall.In one of them a dark-skinned tattoo artist hunched over a lightly tanned man of unknown height. She glimpsed the client’s face in the mirror mounted to the wall behind him. He appeared to be asleep. Sure didn’t match what she expected since a dragon was taking shape across his shoulder. Cursing, maybe thrashing around a bit was more what she imagined.
A shiver raced up her spine, making the top of her head tingle. What will it be like?
A bucket of fresh adrenaline dumped into her system. She would find out soon enough. “I can do this. I can do this.”
“Hey,” the lone artist cut into her Xanax monologue. The high-pitched whir of his tattoo gun quieted. He swiveled toward her, unfolding himself and standing to stretch. He grabbed a towel draped across the table and wiped the guy’s shoulder. The cloth came away smeared with black ink.
He had captivating blue eyes, dark hair that reminded her of a porcupine and a warm smile framed by a short goatee. He was tall—not at all what she had pictured. Well, other than the tattoos that started at his wrists, disappearing beneath the sleeves of his shirt.
“Are you Haleigh?” he asked as he sank onto the stool again.
She swallowed, trying to keep her voice from squeaking. “Yes. Are you Scott?”
He shook his head. “No, I’m Oscar. The boss’ll be out in a minute for you. Feel free to check the place out.”
He adjusted ear buds she hadn’t noticed earlier and hunched over his client again.
The stations would have reminded her of the beauty salon, if not for the skulls airbrushed on the black exterior of each table. She wouldn’t look at the salon quite the same next time. Both places made money modifying their clients’ appearances—one was obviously more permanent about it.
Fear skated up her legs but she shook it off, reminding herself this was nothing compared to what she’d already been through.
Two closed doors flanked the open space behind a counter at the rear of the shop. It reminded her of Alice in Wonderland, speculating on exactly what or who was behind each.
She headed to the right, past a nest of couches. They formed an open square with a large bronze and wrought-iron coffee table in the center. Magazines littered the top. Inked Today / Pierced Tomorrow.Around the World in Eighty Tattoos.Tattoo Weekly.
She rehearsed what she was going to say again. Everything was going to go smoothly and she would leave promptly after making her next appointment.
The artwork on the walls drew her. Her fingers itched to pull out her camera but it was in the trunk of her car, where she normally hid it. Her mother thought her hobby…unappealing, so she kept it out of sight. Like everything else important to her.
The thought of her mother deflated her. Haleigh straightened her backbone, determined not to let her or anyone else ruin this for her.
She glanced out the front windows. Springtime in Kansas meant it was still seventy-fivedegrees at almost midnight. The A/C blew across her face and dual fans circulated the cool air. Chill bumps spread across her arms but sweat dotted along her spine.
She focused on the pictures in front of her and clasped her fingers to keep the shakes to a minimum.
Every piece of artwork on the wall meant something. To Haleigh, all of them meant freedom.
She smoothed her light-blue silk blouse, tugged at the skirt hugging her thighs. She was overdressed but first impressions meant a lot.
A clock struck midnight at the front of the shop, announcing “the boss” was officially late.
The chimes echoed abovethe rock music coming from speakers in the ceiling and she had the fleeting image of Cinderella running from the ball. But she hadn’t believed in fairy tales and happy endings for more than six years. Tonight, though, she was taking her life back.
She waited several more minutes, but it seemed like an hour. Amazing how nerves could alter the perception of time. She needed to get started before she chickened out. Assuming Scott bothered to make an appearance—
The door on the left behind the counter swung open and one of the handsomest men she’d ever seen stepped through. He shook his head, obviously exasperated.
He was taller than six feet, though she was still too far away to tell by how much. His hair was short but very dark and his shirt stretched across his wide shoulders. He ensnared hersimply by glancing up, and she went wet between her legs purelyby the man looking at her.
He maneuvered around the counter and made his way across the floor to where she stood frozen and mute.
He didn’t really walk though.
He stalked her, his eyes never leaving her body, and her teeth chattered though she suddenly wasn’t cold anymore.
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