I’m joing the fun this month and participating in Excerpt Monday, the brainchild of Bria Quinlan and Mel Berthier from Romance Divas. I hope you all enjoy this excerpt from one of my WIPs, tentatively titled Sweet Rebellion. If you’ve read Unleashed, you’ve briefly met Brian, our tattoo artist hero. And now meet Candace, who, feeling brave (or not) on her birthday, has come to ask Brian to work his magic on her…
She was so caught up in her appreciative perusal of the surroundings that she almost missed Brian’s emergence from the door behind the counter. At the sight of him, she lost her breath.
She hadn’t seen him in a few months, since his breakup with Michelle. It had been far too long, and that first sight of him was like a soothing relief to her sorely deprived senses even as her conscience grumbled at her. She couldn’t help but think of her cousin at that moment. The details of their demise were fuzzy at best; Michelle wasn’t one to talk about personal heartbreak, but it hadn’t taken any keen insights to see she’d been terribly hurt when the relationship ended.
Given the brilliant smile that lit Brian’s face when he saw Candace sitting in the waiting area, she could sympathize. She would weep oceans to lose a guy with a smile like that. It was infectious, and she was on her feet and crossing the room almost before she realized it.
Brian folded his arms on the countertop as she approached. “Hey, sunshine. What brings you out?”
She didn’t know why he called her that, but it had always made her as giggly as a teenager. “Guess.”
Brian’s gaze flickered to Macy, who had somehow mustered the courage to follow Candace to the counter. His smile intensified. “Bringing your friend in for a tongue ring.”
Candace laughed as Macy blanched and stepped back in horror. She grabbed the other girl’s arm before she could bolt for the door. “God, no. She’s a weenie.” And so am I, truth be known. Why in the hell was she acting so tough? One touch of the needle might cause her to dissolve in hysterics.
“And you?” Brian asked, one dark eyebrow raised.
“I was kind of hoping for a tattoo.”
“There’s no ‘kind of’ to it, girl. You get it or you don’t.”
“I know that.” Her gaze strayed to his arms resting on the counter. He was wearing a form-fitting black shirt with sleeves so long they almost covered his hands, but she knew that underneath, the flesh of both his arms was a riot of color from his shoulders to his wrists.
Pity that it was all hidden from her sight now. She thought his sleeves were beautiful, and always struggled not to stare…actually, on second thought, perhaps it was best he was covered. After going so long without seeing him, she might have very well embarrassed herself. How often had she fantasized about running her fingertips along all those lines and patterns and hues, deciphering all the meandering shapes, exploring the statements he’d found profound enough to mark on his skin for all time…
Plenty of times. She’d felt horribly guilty about every single one. But now Michelle was out of the picture, and in a happy relationship. Besides, it didn’t hurt to simply admire the scenery, did it?
Tonight, from head to toe, Brian looked quite subdued…for him, anyway. She was tempted to ask him what was going on. His hair was its natural lustrous black—she’d seen it every vivid color in the rainbow—worn just a little long so that it fell into his face. Not shaggy or messy like she so hated to see on guys, but silky and gorgeous and touchable… Okay, down, girl, stop right there. She noticed even his eyebrow ring was MIA.
Maybe he had a date later. Some ultra-gorgeous conservative type he desperately wanted to impress. Maybe she wouldn’t appreciate his body art. The very thought, speculative as it was, made Candace seethe. Brian was Brian. If he had to change for someone, anyone, he didn’t need them.
She cleared her throat, trying to chase the images away. “I do want a tattoo. It’s my birthday and I’m feeling rebellious.”
His perfect lips quirked at one corner. “You want me to do it, don’t you?”
She nodded and tried her best not to pout. “But they said you weren’t seeing clients tonight.”
He tugged up one sleeve and checked his watch. She caught a flash of his vibrant skin and felt her heart plummet to her toes. “I have an hour or so.” So he does have some place to be. “I can get it done unless you want something massive.”
Candace laughed and held up her hands. “Oh, no. Nothing like that.” Now, where she wanted it was another matter…
Links to other Monday Excerpts:
Christina DeLorenzo, YA (PG 13)
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal (PG)
MG Braden, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Cynthia Justlin, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Adelle Laundan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG 13)
RF Long, Paranormal (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal (PG 13)
Dara Sorensen, Paranormal (PG)
Evie Byrne, Historical Romance (R)
Grace Draven, Fantasy Romance (R)
Cate Hart, YA- Paranormal (R)
Aithne Jarretta, Paranormal (R)
Inez Kelley, Contemporary Romantic Comedy (R)
Aislinn Kerry, Paranormal (R)
Kim Knox, Erotic- Sci-fi Suspense (R)
Alina Morgan, Urban Fantasy (R)