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Monday, September 05, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - The Darkest Link by Scarlett Cole

Title: The Darkest Link
(Second Circle Tattoos #4)
Author: Scarlett Cole
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

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? Find out in THE DARKEST LINK by RITA finalist, Scarlett Cole.

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 etrayal and lies that threatens to pull them under, and the last link to his former life may be the darkest of them all.

Buy Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks
“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.
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
Author Link: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
4 “Hot Mechanic” Stars

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, St. Martin's Press!

Scarlett Cole keeps writing steamy romantic suspense books like it’s no big deal. She makes it look easy, huh?

I first heard of this author when her debut “The Strongest Steel” came out, and bloggers and romance readers I knew called it amazing among other things. Plus, the covers were so artistic and pretty and hot (and I’m not even a fan of naked chest covers). So, yeah, I was intrigued.

Then, I had the chance to read the third book in the Second Circle Tatoos series earlier this year. I was impressed.

Consider myself still impressed after reading her new one.

This time, we follow Lia and the extremely hot man she falls in love with, Rey.

If like me, you haven’t read the first two books (or even the first three), you might miss out on some of the references, but you won’t be lost at all. The author does a good job grounding the readers, so people new to the series get to enjoy this book as a standalone.

Lia is one of the tattoo artists working at the studio that served as a setting for the first three stories in the series. She has a great sense of style (think red hair, Pin Up dresses and great tattoos) and a tendency to fall in love too fast and too had. Lia also has a lot of family problems – her father is a jerk with political aspirations, her mother is unstable but refuses to leave her husband, and Lia doesn’t know how to please either of them without having to change everything she is.

One day, on her way to a conference, her car breaks down and Lia is rescued by a hot mechanic on a motorbike. The guy is all muscles and leather jacket, and Lia loves all of it.

Reid can’t resist the beauty in need of assistance when he sees her standing by the side of the road. He’s a mechanic, after all, but that’s not why he stops and offers his help. He notices the woman’s long legs and red kissable lips before he evens registers that she’s driving a cool-as-heck car. The moment he introduces himself to her, he’s already thinking about how nice those legs would feel wrapped around his waist.

So, yeah, we get great chemistry right from the start.

Lia and Reid’s relationship develops quite fast because those two cannot keep their hands off each other – which means we get many hot scenes right from the start. Little by little, we start to fall in love with them.

Then the first wow moment happens, and it must have an even bigger impact in readers that have been following the series since the first book.

When Reid surprises Lia at work, he sees his sister, Harper, the one he abandoned years ago when she was first attacked by his best friend. Damn. The story Reid and Harper tells us is full of mistakes, bad decisions and guilt. It’s heartbreaking to see those two characters trying to find their way back into each other’s lives after so many years apart.

One thing I truly appreciated was how the author didn’t feel the need to make Harper and Rey problems into a Lia and Rey problem. Lia reacted like the mature woman she was and helped the guy she was falling in love with through this really difficult time in his life. From that moment on, Lia and Rey only grew as a couple.

But they didn’t get their HEA then. They needed to suffer a bit first. So the suspense element kicked in, something we can always count on when reading a book from this series. I’m not going to go too much into that because it might ruin the experience of reading all of it for the first time. Let’s just say the things that happened to these two characters were enough to make me feel really, really sorry for them. Poor people.

I really enjoyed how the author developed the plots and the characters. It was also interesting to see how Harper’s story  was a big part of Reid’ plot, which made it almost seem like the series was coming full circle, you know? I’m not sure this will be the last book in the series, but it kind of felt like it when I looked at the story from this perspective.

Even though the suspense was well developed and important to the book (and the series) as a whole, the best part of this story to me was the romance. Lia and Reid were great together and had instant chemistry. Reid was a solid love interest with a good, complicated past and a little bit of a dominant side in bed that made his scenes with Lia a lot more interesting. And Lia was a good protagonist with lots of family drama, but enough confidence to carry her role as a protagonist.

“The Darkest Link” was another great adittion to the Second Circle Tattoos series. I can’t wait for the next book by this author.
Follow the blog tour from August 29th - September 9th! Two grand prize winners will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and the runner-up prize will be all four ebooks in the series.

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*If you liked this review (or not), if you read the book (or not), come say hello and leave your comments bellow.

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