Regina Cole, lover of manly muscled arms, chest hair, and mini-marshmallows, has been reading romance since her early teens. While she loves a love story of any heat level, she’s been drawn to the erotic side and is loving every minute. When she’s not frantically pounding away at the keyboard, she can be found fishing with her family, playing with her dogs, trying out strange new recipes, or snuggling with her hubby. She also writes mainstream romance as Gina Lamm.
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My knees started a rhythmic bouncing. It was the only way I could keep my hands from visibly shaking.
He gave a gentle smile as he propped his elbows on his thighs. “Hey, there’s no need to be nervous. I promise we’re easygoing around here.”
My laugh was high-pitched and nervous. “That’s good to know.” I tensed my quads to keep my legs still. It worked—sort of.
“So, Hailey, what do you do now?”
I tucked my hair behind my ear self-consciously. “Just school, actually. I’m looking for a job, though, obviously.” I groaned inside. Of course, you idiot, you already told him that.
“Graphic design, huh? Do you like art, or were you looking for the easy way out?” I shook my head vehemently. “No, I love art. Really.”
“What do you do?”
“Drawing and painting, mostly. Some digital stuff, photo manipulation, that kind of thing. I love ceramics, too.” I almost let my glance dart away, but something in his gaze was magnetic. Those eyes were incredible. They made me long to pick up a pencil, try to capture their depth, their lusty deep blue color. “I guess you love art?”
Neill nodded, giving another lethal smile. “I’ve loved drawing since I was a kid. I used to tag a lot. I got into tattooing when I was pretty young. I apprenticed here, I tattoo here, and now I own half the business.”
“That’s great,” I said, unable to cover the surprise in my voice. Seriously? “I know this might seem like a rude question, but how old are you? You don’t look old enough to own half this place. Actually, you look close to my age.”
He laughed, and it rumbled straight through my body again. I willed myself to be still, to turn my insides into steel instead of molten mush. “I’m twenty-four. And if you’re in college, you must be what, twenty?”
“Almost,” I said with a smile. “A few months. I’m going to see Razorwires for my birthday.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled his phone free, tapping the screen. “You mean these guys?” I laughed delightedly as the middle of my favorite song wailed out from the tiny speakers.
“Hells yeah,” I said.
Neill cut the music and winked. “I’m a fan, too.”
My blush warmed my cheeks, no matter how hard I tried to tamp it down. “That’s great.”
Holy crap, this guy was too much. Was he flirting, or was I imagining it? I didn’t have the best radar when it came to guys. And I wanted him to be flirting with me, wanted it so bad it hurt. Even though it was the worst idea ever. My opinion of love and attraction was completely screwed up, probably forever.
At least my nervousness had drained away. Mostly. Good God, I need therapy. “So, anyway, the job.” His words startled me from my daydream. “Right! The job. Yes.” He leaned back in the chair, lacing his fingers over his flat belly. “The hours would be
mostly evenings and weekends. You’d staff the front desk, answer phones, make appointments, take payments, and answer questions. General stuff.”
I nodded. “I can do all of that. Most of my classes are morning.” “Do you have any tattoos?”
“No, I don’t. That isn’t a problem, is it?” I crossed my fingers beside my thigh. Please let my unadorned skin not be the deal breaker! I more than needed a job, I wanted this specific one. With this specific guy.
Length: 255 pages
Publisher: Flirt (November 4, 2014)
In Regina Cole’s steamy novel of hot ink and delicious angst, two tortured artists take a leap of faith—but the past threatens to tear them apart.
After her parents pull the plug on her college fund to finance their nasty divorce, Hailey Jakes is desperate to pay her own way and finish her degree in graphic design. She can hardly believe her luck when the sexiest guy she’s ever seen hires her to be the receptionist at his tattoo shop. With sea-blue eyes, jet-black hair, and full sleeves of tattoos on his muscular arms, Neill Vanderhaven looks like the kind of guy who wouldn’t give her the time of day. In fact, he’s mesmerized by her—and it doesn’t hurt that she’s talented as hell.
But Hailey and Neill have more in common than instant chemistry: They’re both carrying serious baggage. Hailey’s parents split after years of blowout fights and sloppy affairs. Neill just got out of something serious with a woman who loved her bad habits more than she loved him. When they take the plunge on a new relationship, they’re both breaking their own rules.
But then a terrible misunderstanding brings Neill’s worst fears to life, and their connection threatens to come crashing down. What they have is more than skin-deep, but now Hailey and Neill need to decide whether the kind of love that lasts forever is worth such exquisite pain.
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