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The Darkest Link: A Second Circle Tattoos Novel Kindle Edition
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Book #4: Second Circle Tattoos Series
Source: Netgalley and Purchase
My Rating: 5/5
Lia has been quite the curiosity for me since I read the first book in the Second Circle Tattoos series. She’s been a friend and confident to nearly every other character in the series so it’s about time Lia got her own book.
At nearly 30 years old, Lia has a beautiful home that she owns outright, plenty of money thanks to an inheritance from her grandmother, and a growing reputation as one of Miami’s premiere tattoo artist. In fact, it’s the growth of her reputation that has Lia on the road out of Miami for a conference when her beloved classic car, affectionately known as Cherry fails her and leaves her stranded on the side of the road. There are few things in the world Lia loves more than Cherry but a hot man on a motorcycle coming to her rescue might just edge out Cherry
When Reid sees the sexy as hell tatted up pin up girl stranded along the side of the road, well, what else could a gentleman who owns a garage do but stop and offer his assistance? It’s immediately clear to Reid that Lia’s engine isn’t going to spark to life but the spark of attraction between the two of them is at risk of setting the surrounding area on fire. Over the next couple of days, Lia and Reid grow far closer to one another than either would have thought possible in such a short amount of time. As their time together grows shorter and Lia has to return to Miami, she and Reid both find they don’t really want to be away from one another.
Meanwhile, back in Miami . . . .
Lia’s life is in Miami but it’s not where she was born and raised. Oh, no, Lia’s family is from an incredibly affluent community owing to their incredible wealth. But, money doesn’t by happiness as Lia well know. Her mother is disconnected and fragile at best and her father is a sadistic tyrant in private with political aspirations that force him to wear a far different persona in public. Lia’s father has long made his displeasure in her well-known but with his political career taking off, he’s interested in bringing her back into the fold. All she has to do is have every one of her tattoos surgically removed, stop dressing like a pin up girl, and keep her opinions to herself. In other words, if Lia wants her family, she’ll have to deny everything she is. Needless to say, being with Reid who not only accepts her as she is but celebrates who she is, is the strength she needs to fight her father and stand on her own.
Reid isn’t just scared of his feelings for Lia, he is scared for her safety when she is near him. Reid has a past that has finally, finally caught up to him and though he desperately wants to be with Lia, he doesn’t want her hurt because of his mistakes. As the stakes keep getting higher and higher both Reid and Lia have to make some hard decisions about their respective futures. It’s only when they both figure out they are stronger together than apart that they are able to deal with their issues and get on with their HEA.
The Bottom Line: As I mentioned in the beginning, Lia has been a point of curiosity for me from the very beginning and I am so damn glad her story is so engrossing. Lia’s personality, her bearing, her determination, her confidence, and her full on sexy are so well-developed which makes Lia a very full, very real character. Reid is a wonderful balance to Lia. Where she is light, he is dark, where she is outgoing, he is more reserved and it is these differences that make them so good together. Reid and Lia are two somewhat older individuals (compared to the rest of the cast and crew) and I liked this level of maturity. Both have been around the relationship but still open to the possibility of love even if it comes at lightning speed. The naughty bits are quite excellent and there is more than enough drama and awful in this read to balance the light and sexy. In this way, the plot very much mirrors the characters which certainly enhanced the read. Though I can see places where this series might continue, I would also be totally and completely satisfied if it were to end here, with The Darkest Link!
Reid and Lia, as well as the whole crew, are very likable characters, and I love them all more and more as the series progresses. One of Scarlett Cole’s characters is usually facing some kind of traumatic past, and in this case it is our hero. Reid spends his days trying to be a good man. His has sins from his past weighing him down, and, although, there are things that he did in his youth to atone for, the reader still sympathizes with him, and Scarlett Cole does a fantastic job of really showing that he is a good man, contrary to the version of himself he sees. I also love that Reid is playful and fun, but also has that male dominant streak that I love in a hero. Oh, and his mouth and steamy time with Lia is HOT, HOT, HOT!!!! Then there is the heroine, Lia, and she is as equally likable. I love her style and her ownership of who she is, although she is willing to be knowingly manipulated by her father, which is frustrating at times, However, what ultimately endeared me to her is her bravery to help her family. I really enjoyed watching the two of these characters together. Their chemistry is SCORCHING in the bedroom, and the playful flirting made me fall in love with them as a couple.
The plot of this story, as with her other stories in the series, is full of suspense, and I really enjoyed the journey she took me on. I ultimately like the whole plot line created. I like where she takes the characters, how the book ties to book one in the series to create this kind of large circular plot structure for the for all four books. I do wish the connection between Reid and Lia became apparent sooner. I spent half of the novel pondering how Scarlett Cole was going to intertwine their stories, and how she does it is great, but I wish we would have gotten there faster. As soon as I hit the 50% mark in the story, the whole story just took off. Additionally, I would have liked a little more angst from Harper and Reid’s reconciliation. It seemed to go all a little too smoothly for the whole family. It would have been nice to use this as a tool to delve into Reid’s psyche and self-image a little more. The best part is the epilogue, because the reader gets to see everyone they have come to love. It brings the story back to the beginning and gives the reader just a tiny glimpse into the future of the characters I they have loved throughout this whole series. It certainly left me with a smile on my face to see all these characters get their HEA.
I love Scarlett Cole’s books. They are always filled with wonderful characters and interesting and suspenseful plot lines. But more than that, I can always guarantee that her books will be well-written, there is a vividness to her writing that just speaks to me. Her style just draws me in, so I cannot wait to see where she takes me next!
ARC received in exchange for honest review.