My second temporary free read is Inked Memories–which also occurs over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday week. Not that my characters paid the holiday much attention, being as they were otherwise occupied. 😉
Head on over to Instafreebie and grab it quick (this giveaway ends January 8).
All Sophie wants is a tattoo to commemorate her battle with cancer. What she gets is celebrity tattoo artist Declan Ross, the same sexy bad-boy who, once-upon-a-time, used to rock her world.
With his hit television show on hiatus, Declan is back in the Big Easy. A charity event at Midnight Ink, the shop where he got his start, seems like the perfect opportunity to use his celebrity status to publicize a good cause…and just maybe improve his own image in the process. The last thing he’s expecting, or thinks he needs, is a chance meeting with the girl he left behind.
Last time they were together, Declan was the one who was damaged. This time, they’ve both got scars; and those you can’t see are the hardest to cover.
New Year’s Eve…
Sophie glanced around the tattoo shop. It looked almost exactly the same as it had yesterday—which was no huge surprise. The only change was the addition of a couple of shoji screens that had been set up around the station where Declan would be tattooing her. She hadn’t really thought about it, but she was glad he had. She could do without people standing around staring at her. She’d have been even happier if she could have figured out a way to get this done without Declan seeing her either. Clearly, some of the things she wanted in life were impossible. Okay, most things really.
There was also a mirror on a stand, angled toward the padded table—another change she wasn’t sure what to think of. She supposed the idea was so that she could see herself while Declan was working on her. That was probably the last thing she wanted to do.
“Why don’t you hop up on the table now and take off your shirt,” Declan suggested.
Sophie shuddered as she was hit with an odd feeling, almost déjà vu. The request itself, the matter-of-fact tone of his voice, it all sounded a little too much like the doctor’s appointment where her cancer had first been discovered. Her stomach roiled, although whether that was caused by the first waves of an incoming panic attack or last night’s drinks still rocketing around in her system, she couldn’t tell. She felt a little like she’d gotten caught in some bizarre kind of time loop where the same things would just keep happening over again, and each time she’d lose a little more of herself.
“Yeah, okay,” she replied, still hesitating. She couldn’t make herself get up on that table.
“There’s nothing to be nervous about.” Declan’s voice sounded even more calm now—she hadn’t thought that was even possible.
“Oh, sure. Says the person who’s going to be poking me with needles in a few minutes. Nothing at all to be nervous about there.”
Declan’s eyes twinkled at that. “As I recall, you always enjoyed a little pain play.”
“Not helping,” Sophie replied sternly. Although, really, it was. That was true. And the fact that Declan would be the one dishing it out was even better. She took a deep breath and unbuckled the belt she had fastened over her shirt. She glanced around again. “Where should I put this?”
Declan held out a hand. “Give it here.” He took it in both hands and snapped it a couple of times, smiling wickedly as he did. The sharp crack of the leather caused an odd sort of quietness to settle in Sophie’s gut. Her skin flushed—her mind going exactly where he wanted it to—and she had to look away. She pulled the shirt over her head and handed that to him as well.
Now she was down to just a camisole. Static electricity had messed up her hair, so she took a moment to smooth her hands over her head, patting everything back in place, not thinking about the next step. And trying very hard not to think of the fact that, even though he hadn’t seen the worst of it yet, there was no more disguising the fact that her breasts were gone. He couldn’t possibly have missed that fact, not now that she was dressed in only a single layer of thin silk. She hated the thought of him seeing her like this.
She wrapped her arms around herself as though she could hide from him. She hated that the simple act or crossing her arms was so easy now. Her arms should not be able to reach so far around her waist. Her breasts should be there, getting in the way, plumped up by her arms, swelling over the top of her cami, drawing his attention.
When her gaze met Declan’s once again, he shook his head and said, even more gently, “Honey, you’re gonna have to lose the tank as well.”