Don’t forget about my contest from Saturday!
I have another Pricked author here today! Welcome Regina Cole to the site. Her book Indelibly Intimate is on my ereader now, so excuse me while I go read something spicey. If you want to catch up with Regina, check in with her in any of these venues: Website | Twitter | Facebook
When I was a freshman in college, I decided I was going to get a tattoo. Of course, I was completely clueless about them. Google wasn’t quite as useful to me back then as it is now, so I didn’t put in the necessary research. But I did find this cute little graphic of comedy/tragedy masks, and decided to get them on my hip. I had forty bucks to spend, and I HAD to hide it from my parents. Period.
My roommate and I went to this sketchy little place across from my college. I think it was called Start to Finish Tattoo. Lots of hot rods and checkered flags and none-too-clean floor tiles. I asked the jaded guy behind the counter how much my tiny little tattoo would cost. He laughed at me, said it’d have to be at least triple the size I’d wanted, and said it would cost me 80 bucks.
Hrmph. I walked out of there feeling like a stupid little girl (which I was,) who’d just been schooled (which I had.)
I was too chicken to get anything bigger than a postage stamp at the time, so I waited. I was barely out of the nest, and a rebellion like a real-live tattoo would have gotten me tarred and feathered at the very least.
A year later, I had a bit more cash to spend, a fiance and a wedding on the way, and a few friends who were into the idea, so we got a tattoo together.
We were all theatre majors (thus the previous drama mask idea.) We met while auditioning for a play called “Selkie.” It was based on this children’s story about the Scottish legend of the Selkie, or seal shapeshifting women. We all got parts as selkies. We were all sisters. We found the perfect tattoo idea: The word “Piuthar”. The Scots-Gaelic word for sister. It sits on my lower back, a constant reminder of my forever sisters.
In a way, I’m really glad that I didn’t get that tiny mask tattoo. It would have looked really crappy after a year or two. No tattoo that small can have any kind of intricate detail. The skin changes, so the ink changes, and small tattoos don’t weather the storm very well. I did love the design, but I didn’t know the things I know about ink now.
I don’t regret any of my tattoos though. They’re all badges of where I’ve been in life. Kind of like a living scrapbook, made of my own skin. I can’t imagine getting a tattoo I wouldn’t love. Of course, I’ve been really lucky with my artists.
Want to win a copy of INDELIBLY INTIMATE? I want to give one to you! Tell me about your favorite tattoo. Don’t have one? Describe your perfect imaginary tattoo. Hate tattoos? Yeah, you’re probably in the wrong place, but comment anyway. Maybe Hammer and I can change your mind. 😉 We’ll select a random commenter for a FREE ebook copy of II!
Read on for an excerpt!
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: INDELIBLY INTIMATE
Copyright © REGINA COLE, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
He rolled a stool up beside her chair and straddled it, sitting much closer than a perfect stranger should.
Despite the way her body reacted, or maybe because of it, she leaned forward, crowding him a bit. He didn’t take the bait.
“I’m Quinn. Quinn LaBrea.” She stuck her hand out, nearly hitting his chest. He’d have to move back now.
“Hamilton Dean. You can call me Hammer.” Smooth as a milkshake, he shook her hand without budging his torso a bit. The awkward angle didn’t prohibit his touch from causing a flutter in her chest.
“What kind of a name is Hammer?” She didn’t pull away and he didn’t let her go.
“The kind of name people respect in this business. Try telling some of these customers that their tattoo artist is named Hamilton.”
Quinn laughed and pulled from his warm grip. “I guess you’re right.”
He smiled in the silence. She’d have to be an idiot not to notice the way his gaze lingered on her mouth. Despite her conscious brain saying no, her tongue darted out to dampen her lips.
“So,” he said, moving away abruptly. Quinn had to fight to keep from clutching her temples. He’d spun so quickly it made her dizzy. “What did you want to cover that bad boy with?”
Decision time. Why hadn’t she thought about this before? She blurted the first thing she could think of. “A dragon.”
She couldn’t blame him for the dubious expression he quickly hid. “A dragon.”
“No,” she sighed. “A rose?”
He didn’t say a word, only stared at her with raised brows.
“All right, fine.” She smacked the leather arms of her seat. “I have no freaking clue. I don’t want to see his damn initials every day.”
Hammer nodded sagely. “I thought it was something like that. What kind of crap artist did you get who would put a boyfriend’s initials on you?” He grabbed his sketchbook and a pencil from the cupboard.
Quinn was glad he looked away. The annoyance and frustration boiled away at her insides and she needed a second to control the venom. After all, she needed this shit covered tonight. Even if she had to survive on Ramen noodles for the next three months, she wasn’t going another night with the reminder of her loneliness emblazoned like a neon sign reading “pathetic loser” on her thigh.
“The so-called ‘artist’ was my boyfriend at the time. I’m not an idiot and I won’t be doing anything like that again. So if you could save the lecture, Mom, I’d appreciate it.”
Hammer was not a stupid man. He kept his gaze glued to his sketchbook. He hadn’t meant to pluck a nerve with Quinn but that was obviously what had happened. He’d have to choose his words more carefully if he wanted to get to know her. And if the slow, deep throb in his groin was any indication, he really, really wanted to get to know her.
“I’d love to help you figure out what would be best to cover that spot with. Do you mind if I ask you some questions?” He glanced up in time to see her nod. “Great. Just relax and we’ll come up with something special. So your name is Quinn. And you’re a waitress.”
Her knuckles went white and Hammer began to be nervous for the leather chair arms. Surely she wasn’t digging her fingernails into them.
“So help me god, if you suggest a waitress-themed tattoo, I will kick your ass so hard…”
His laugh interrupted her. “No worries, Sparky, I wouldn’t do you like that.”
Her glare was murderous and it made him laugh harder. She was definitely a firecracker. The nickname was perfect.
“So nothing waitress-like.” He nodded down at the sketchpad’s blank page. An idea gripped him, something that would be the perfect combination of Quinn’s fire and his ability. He began sketching as he talked. “So what do you like? What’s your favorite hobby, color, animal? Talk to me, let me get to know you. I’m thinking we can get some good ideas for your cover-up that way.”
“I like to read, I guess. Um, I write poetry now and then. Red and orange are my favorite colors. Like a fiery sunset.” Her voice was a little husky when she wasn’t busting his balls. He liked it. “I have goldfish at my apartment. I love dogs and cats but I’m not home enough to take care of them, so I stick with fish.” It wasn’t hard to hear the little thread of regret in her words.
Hammer stopped sketching and looked at her. She stared across the room at nothing at all, the corners of her full lips downturned. Her bangs nearly covered her left eye, almost making her appear as if she was hiding from the world.
“Hey,” he said, reaching out to brush her cheek with a finger. “You okay?”
She nodded but drew back a little. His fingers went cold without the soft heat of her skin. Dipping his head, he went back to his sketch.
“Goldfish, huh? I’d have figured you were more into the aggressive aquarium life, Sparky.”
Her angry snort lightened the mood by a ton. “Why do you enjoy irritating me so much?”
“Because you’re cute when you’re pissed.” He didn’t pause, even though her outraged gasp covered most of his next sentence. “So where are you from? Where’d you grow up?”
Quinn scooted up to the edge of the chair, readying herself to jump down. She was apparently in such a mood she didn’t notice how her white skirt rode up indecently high on her thighs.
Hammer sucked in a breath and put down his sketchpad. Standing up, he straddled her legs. “Hey. Relax. This is business, okay Sparky?”
He’d stepped much closer than he intended to. But once he was there, he couldn’t stop. Leaning forward, he braced himself on the armrests of the tattoo chair. Her sweet mouth was only inches away now.
“Hammer?” Quinn’s eyes were wide and soft as she looked up at him.
“Yeah,” he whispered, halfway to her mouth already.
She nearly spat the words. “Back the fuck off.”
She didn’t hit him but her knee jerked upright enough to show him that she could have if she’d wanted. He backed up slowly.
“Business. That’s it. Nothing like that will happen again.” He turned back to his sketchpad. The “tonight” came out so softly he was sure she didn’t hear. He might not have won this battle but he was patient. And Quinn had something he desperately wanted.
“The only reason I’m not leaving is that deal you were going to cut me. I can’t afford another artist and I refuse to go one more day with Guy’s shit on my leg.” Quinn sat back in the chair. “It doesn’t matter a damn bit what you cover it with as long as it’s not his name.”
Hammer smiled down at the sketch he’d finished roughing in. “Are you sure?”
She crossed her arms tightly beneath her breasts. “Positive.”
“Well,” he said, holding the sketchbook toward her, “what about something like this?”
She was completely silent, not even breathing for a long while. Hammer’s gaze never left her, searching for some response to what he’d drawn. Did she like it? Hate it? Would it matter either way? He was afraid he knew the answer to that question, but he sure as hell didn’t know why.
“Hammer,” she whispered, tracing a line with her forefinger. “It’s perfect.”
Leaning against the top of the chair, he watched over her shoulder. The phoenix rising from the flames on the page wasn’t what he meant when he said, “You’re right. Perfect.”
Buy Here: Ellora’s Cave | Amazon | Barnes & Noble