Tattoo artist Brody "Cujo" Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn't want, he's intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent's engagement party, which means working with Trent's fiancée's best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.
Andrea "Drea" Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she's at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.
Release date: January 5, 2016
St. Martin’s Press
A Second Circle Tattoos Novel book 2
Review copy provided by the publisher
It is so fantastically awesome when I stumble across a series that makes me giggle like a schoolgirl. Not because it's overly humorous (though this book does make me laugh at times ) but because I'm so damn happy to get my hands on it! My tummy did a little flip when this baby showed up in my email. I knew right away that I'd be ignoring my family for the evening, ordering pizza, and I wouldn't come up for air until the very last page.
Cujo and Drea. These two crack me the hell up! Their sarcastic banter in book one made me laugh out loud. There was some crazy chemistry between them. I liked seeing their relationship develop from throwing barbs at each other, to finding a friendship, and finally, realizing that they were each other's missing piece.
Both of these characters are dealing with some heavy baggage. The constant tug of war with their emotions was exhausting...and I loved every second of it! Scarlett Cole wrote this book in such a way that I felt I was able to go on Cujo and Drea's individual journeys. I felt the desperation and elation. I felt the crushing responsibility that Drea carried, on my chest. This woman has the weight of the world on her not so delicate shoulders. And asking for help or a hand out isn't even a consideration, as far as she's concerned. Drea is strong. But she's crumbling; drowning and no one can her cries. I seriously struggled with trying to keep it together. My anxiety levels were through the roof. As much as I was convinced that there was going to be an HEA at the end, I couldn't quite see Drea's light at the end of the tunnel.
Cujo is a survivor. He's beat the odds of an illness that has left him emotionally paralyzed. He's not willing to open his heart to anyone because he's convinced that it could come to a screeching halt if he gets sick again. And how do you tell someone to just get over that? As much as I wanted him and Drea together, I knew he couldn't be pushed. Ms. Cole pulled this poor bastard through the mud backwards. There are so many facets to Cujo. I wasn't prepared for how deep this man felt and thought. He's full of snarky comebacks, has a killer smile, and is uber hot. But he flipped me on my ass with his tender soul. This Wildly wicked; tattooed bad boy has a sense of honour that runs deep. At one point, I was so pissed with him! He's constantly pushing Drea away, and then he's begging her, to essentially not find happiness elsewhere. I knew he wanted her ferociously, but he as too damn stubborn to give into it.
There's a bit more suspense in this book than there was in, The Strongest Steel. It added to the character development though, and it didn't overpower the love story. Drea becomes somewhat of a detective. You get to see how incredibly intelligent she is. There's a whole layer to her personality that is more than her bark and sassy attitude. I gotta tell you, it's been a while since I've read a new to me author, who can write such well thought out characters. I could imagine myself becoming friends with this group of people. They were so likeable and had a realness to them. These were people with ordinary lives who have extraordinary personalities!
There are several important story arcs in this book. Each has its path that needs to be walked to get to the big picture, the climax that will either destroy Cujo and Drea, or bring them together to find the peace and love that they each desperately need and deserve. You get to visit with the crew from Second Circle Tattoos. That's one of my favourite things about series. You get little glimpses of what Trent and Harper are up to. I missed them, and I was excited when they came onto the page! Scarlett Cole makes you care about her characters. She writes them so they twist themselves around your heart and never let go. Could there be anything more perfect? I think not.
Needless to say, I'm anxious to get a hold of book three, The Purest Hook! I have a feeling that Dred and Pixie are going to bring me to my knees. And I look forward to falling.