Friday, August 19, 2016

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole

Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She's determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.

Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and--under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen--totally hot. He's happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.

But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she's started to put down roots in Miami, she'll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.

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Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Loved this story! Every now and then a simple romance captures something of the human condition that makes it so much more. Harper’s story of healing, her journey from victim to a place of strength and confidence is so much more than a simple romance. I love the idea of a tattoo as a tool to heal and an opportunity to redefine scars.

But enough waffle. Even though this story made me reflective, even though I may have cried in a public waiting room while reading it, this is also a very sexy romance featuring a bad boy tattoo artist, a self-made business man with a love for classic cars and classic metal.

The chemistry between Harper and Trent is electric from the moment she exposes her scars to him. Harper’s vulnerability and Trent’s tender, protective response to her makes for a beautiful start to a slow-build romance. I loved the contrast between Trent’s hardcore appearance and reputation and the gentle respect he shows Harper.

There is a suspense element to this story that built tension, even when the romance was building excruciatingly slowly. The layers of secrets surrounding Harper’s identity and her past add depth and create genuine conflict between her and Trent. Ultimately, the romance and suspense are a perfect complement, creating a story I had to read in a single sitting.

I really loved this story and I’m excited by the stories that have already been set up to continue this series.

I read the third book in this series and really enjoyed it, so I was thankful I was able to get the first to read and review. I adore Trent!! He was really well written, he came across very likable and also very dominant and strong. Along with just the touch of arrogance (and great sexy pillow talk) I love in these book boyfriends. The characters in the tattoo shop are great side folly and the story had me engaged start to finish!

Harper Connelly is on the run from a crazed ex-fiancé who's still threatening her life, even from prison. He has connections with the police and nowhere is safe. She finds herself in Miami and hoping to start a new life. Which includes hiding the scars on her back made by her crazy ex. She finally gets the courage to enter Second Circle Tattoo, Trent's lifeblood and legacy tattoo shop. Showing her scars to someone takes everything Harper has in her courage bank and she opens herself up to Trent for help. Can he cover the scars with a tattoo? Trent can’t believe the abuse Harper has suffered, but the woman under the scars sure is someone he'd like to get to know. Harper is skittish, rightly so, and doesn't want to drag Trent into her nightmare but he's definitely under her skin as sure as his ink.

This is the first in the series – and I have to admit I started on book three, The Purest Hook, and enjoyed it so much that was delighted to get the chance to go back to the beginning. It did mean that I knew the outcome, but not the history. It has made my understanding of the gang and their wishes and desires much clearer. I would definitely recommend that you read them in order!

Trent is definitely a wonderful book hero, and who could not be tempted to be tattooed if he were on the other end of the gun? As he uncovers Harper and her issues, and provides her with some safety, friendship, and care, it is difficult not to be a little envious. As the two of them walk a new route together, neither really on familiar territory, it is a very hot and fun journey. The drama is done well, and makes sense of much of what we know of Harper and her behaviours, but also her growth and strength. It also was more bearable given we knew that she had something good to fight for now.

There are a number of loose ends – but they just mean more great stories to come, rather than being annoying outstanding issues. I am lucky enough to have book two lined up on my Kindle – and the soon to be released The Darkest Circle is close behind. :-)

Such a fantastic read! One that will suck you in from page one and really pull at your heartstrings!

Harper Connelly has scars, both literal and mental, from an abusive ex. Her entire back is covered in markings from the unthinkable and Harper’s finally gained the courage to have the scars covered by a tattoo. Trent Andrews owns his own tattoo studio and he’s an expert at covering up scars. When Harper steps into his shop, the attraction is like nothing Trent has ever felt before and not only is he determined to be the one to do Harper’s tattoo, but he’s also determined to win her over.

Harper and Trent are a fantastic couple with chemistry off the charts. Both have suffered emotional pasts, but the two together have an explosive love and I’m definitely looking forward to more from this series! The flow is great and the supporting characters were phenomenal (really hoping to see tons more from them in later books!). Definitely a well-earned 5 stars!

Also Available in the Second Circle Tattoos Series

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out The Purest Hook post.

Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

Born in England, SCARLETT COLE traveled the world for business and pleasure, living in the United States before settling in Canada where she met her own personal hero. Now a proud Canadian and British citizen, home is wherever her husband and two children are. When she isn’t writing, Scarlett can be found working out to offset a legendary candy habit, searching for the perfect pair of shoes, and promising her family that she will get around to cooking dinner in a minute.

Connect with Scarlett

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1) by Scarlett Cole to read and review.

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