Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole

Title:  The Strongest Steel
Series:  Second Circle Tattoos #1
Author:  Scarlett Cole
Publication Date:  July 7/15 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Length:  297pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

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.

My Review:

What a story! Just wow! This novel runs the gamut with hard hitting, emotionally in depth topics, sweet romance, and wicked sensuality. The in-your-face look at the aftermath of serious, life altering abuse was brought even further to life by Cole’s vivid descriptions. At the same time, the recovery and sense of self was empowering. I love the in-depth look at tattooing. The why’s and how’s were intriguing, and Cole really made the notion palpable to those on both sides of the fence.

I loved Harper’s courage to get passed everything with Trent, but every time something came up she’d revert to her past reactions. Trent’s patience was heart-warming, yet his alpha maleness really shone through. Separately these two were intriguing individuals, but together, they’re a couple you won’t soon forget. Cole also develops her supporting cast quite well. I fell in love with many of them and can’t wait for them to get their own stories.

This novel was suspenseful and hard hitting, yet the idea of moving forward was very powerful. Cole has launched a series that I can’t wait to read more of.

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