Happily Ever After Book Nerd Favorite
The Strongest Steele by Scarlett Cole
Series: Second Circle Tattoos #1
Published: July 7, 2015 by SMP Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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.
I’m blown away that Scarlett Cole is a debut author because this book was amazing! Harper’s story was so heartbreaking but it was a wonderful journey to see her find herself. Harper was so strong and wanted so badly to have a normal life again but she was so afraid to trust. The way she opens herself up to Trent in order to get a tattoo is so impressive. Seeing her growth as she finds herself again was beautiful to read. There’s a small scene where Harper gets jealous when a girl at a bar hits on Trent. I felt like Harper overreacts in a way that is a bit out of character. But the whole scene is pretty quick.
Trent was the perfect match for Harper; he’s fun and easy going so he’s able to draw Harper out of her shell while at the same time being respectful of the pace Harper needs to go at. He’s had his own relationship problems in the past that make it hard to believe Harper will stick with him but ultimately he just wants to be the best he can be for her. Even when they have their inevitable “break up” you can see how much they will want to be together.
I also loved all the tattoo related things included in the story. I personally have tattoos and I love when books incorporate them into the story. Scarlett Cole did a very good job of showing the world of tattoo artists and how healing tattoos can be for some people. Plus I loved the idea of Trent’s tattoo; I’d love to see what it looks like in person.
The side characters were also crafted well and I am very much looking forward to reading the other books in this series. Trent and Harper’s friends are well developed and seem like a lot fun.
**Reader Safety: Heroine was tortured (referenced, off page); Heroine with severe PTSD
5 stars – loved it!
Second Circle Tattoos reviews
Click on a cover to see the review