Hey everyone, I’m Ink Monroe. LC Dean met me at the Sturgis Motorcycle Classic and based Beautiful Ink and Bella Ink on my life so I guess that makes me the heroine. (Laughs) I’m not most people’s idea of a heroine. I know my business and do it well, but I don’t take crap off anyone and I don’t pussy foot around. I’m what most would call a shoot from the hip kind of person.
How did you come to your author’s attention?
I am not sure how your readers will take that information. It was at the end of the rally and I was tired out of my head. The pressure of a nearly constant flow of customers, too much caffeine and too little sleep had me wound tight. I needed to let off steam so I could crash. LC heard me ask a sexy stranger if he wanted to fuck. I still can’t believe I did that, but both LC and Jet (the guy involved) assure me that I did. I had to have been a little out of my head as I don’t usually let anyone get close. Taking a stranger to my bedroom is an even bigger no-no.
Did you give your author a hard time when she was writing your story?
Yeah, she wanted to soften me up, making me say stuff I wouldn’t say. LC didn’t like it much when I kept pointing out the good-girl crap. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to be sweet if I need to, but showing the real me required allowing my voice to come through, even if it differed from the way LC speaks or thinks. It worked out eventually.
What do you do for a living?
I run my own tattoo business and travel all over the US hitting motorcycle rallies and other places with large crowds. I’m one of the best in the nation because I believe attention to detail is essential, and I refuse to send out something less than perfect if it has my name on it.
Who is the love of your life?
I’ve never had one, but I think I could love the arrogant rancher who has been chasing me. Jet’s the same guy I propositioned last August. He’s different, puts up with my defensive bullshit but doesn’t let me get away with neglecting my health or pushing him away just because the idea of commitment scares the hell out of me. He seems genuine. Something I’ve never had in my life.
What was the first thing you noticed about him/her?
Ha, to be honest, I don’t remember much about that first night. When I met him the second time, I noticed how steady he seemed and the fact that he sees value in things and people, no matter their scars. Don’t get me wrong, years of working his property has made him hard and sexy as hell, and his smile could make a nun tremble, but it is his attitude that attracts me more than anything else. Maybe because he’s different than what I grew up expecting from a man.
What’s your greatest fear?
Ending up like my mom. My father was an abusive asshole but she stayed with him until he beat her to death. I refuse to let that happen. I won’t allow someone to control me or tell me what to do. Jet’s different. He’s pushy and arrogant but prefers to help me find my way by human GPS rather than demanding with a fist.
What’s your motto in life?
Live full bore and don’t allow anyone to make choices for you.
How do the other characters in your book view you?
Not sure. Both books are short and focused on Jet and I and how we’ve gotten to this point. My customers respect my talent, but I would bet most see me as a bitch. It’s easier that way. Walls, even verbal ones, keep people from asking questions or getting too close.
What do you think readers will find interesting about you?
I guess the fact that I’m self-made would be interesting. Tattooing is an art and I have created everything from empowering mini-tats to an entire body memorial. Other than images clients bring with them, I design the majority of my work, which isn’t often the case.
What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done?
Allowing a total stranger to tie me to my work table and have his way with me. That one exceeds anything else hands down.
Will we be seeing you in future books?
I doubt it. I think two are about all I can handle – I don’t share my life well.
What makes you happy?
My art and Jet. I’ve never met any man like him before. He opens his arms and lets me crawl in when I need his strength and opens them again when I need to run. He’s one of a kind.
What makes you mad?
People who judge or disrespect others. No one can understand what others have had to survive. If you don’t like or agree with someone’s choices in life, that’s fine. No one says you have to be friends but don’t be a jerk. The impact of a harsh word can be devastating.
Jet Ryan’s haunted by the memory of one night in the arms of a sexy tattoo artist who pushed all the right buttons before she shoved him out of her bed. No one else seems to measure up. He needs her out of his system or in his life, preferably the later. But, he’ll settle for one more night with her or a reasonable facsimile as long as he can touch her again.
Ink Monroe avoids expectations that might get her hopes up, doesn’t believe in endless possibilities, and has absolutely no room in her life for a guy who wants to take care of her. But damn, it would be nice to have all those things for a little while. So when a customer gives her a business card for a woman named Madame Eve, she asks for a man to solidify the hazy memory of a single night of passion followed by the best night of sleep she’d had in years.
Both have tall orders for a single evening of passion, but one night can lead to endless possibilities. Madame Eve promised.
Jet Ryan sat back in his chair and stared at the image filling his computer screen. Bella, aka Ink Monroe. The woman who’d swept through his life in a single night of passion and lingered to haunt his dreams day and night. Even after half a year, his mind missed her spitfire attitude; his body still ached at the thought of sinking into hers. And his heart…it had claimed her for some reason and would not let him forget.
He closed the laptop and turned to stare across the snow-covered pastureland surrounding his home. Eleven thousand acres filled with American bison and longhorn cattle. Lean meat and hell on the hoof. Few women, especially ones like Bella, wanted to settle down as a rancher’s wife these days. Endless winter nights with nothing to do but snuggle by the fire. Long summer days riding a fence line or working cattle. Calving, vaccinating, de-horning, rotating grassland, tagging, weaning, all took hard work and dedication. A rare thing in this world.
Turning back, he opened the article again. “Top Twenty Tattoo Artists in the Nation.” Ink’s name and photo fell in at number eight. The reporter had clarified Bella Ink’s work was unbeatable in quality and originality. But the fact she had no permanent residence, nowhere for customers to find her other than a cell number and an internet site, made it impossible to rank her higher.
With an unsteady hand, he clicked on the link to her site. Rich, colorful artwork filled the screen, but no more pictures of the artist, only the one in the article. He switched back to it. God, she’s beautiful. She appeared tired and defensive, just as she had that night, but beneath it all lay an evident and painful vulnerability. Her obvious stress weighed on him. Bella deserved to be protected, treasured, and sheltered from the things tormenting her.
Attempts to contact her had gone unanswered. She didn’t want to see him or reconnect. He had to accept it and walk away. You need to get laid. The simple comment from his friend had started it all, but maybe he was right…burn off some tension with someone as hot as Bella. The main drawback to such a plan lay in location. He knew nearly every woman over the age of consent in the area. Fucking one to get a stranger out of his head would come back to haunt him in a big way. Doing so would be like pissing in a public pool: everyone around him would know, and he’d have to stew in his own mess.
“Hello?” She looked around but there didn’t seem to be anyone there. A breeze filtered through the screen leading to a balcony. She opened it and stepped out, breathing deeply of the pine-scented air.
Then she saw him. A long lean cowboy type stretched out in a cushioned chair, boots propped on the railing. Sleep softened what would otherwise be a rugged face. Wheat colored hair fell over his forehead and brushed his shoulders. Gold-tipped lashes hid his eyes. Unable to resist studying him as she had his truck, she moved closer, eager to see what kind of man Madame Eve had sent.
A crisp white button-up, opened slightly at the throat, covered his broad thick chest and disappeared beneath snug jeans. His narrow hips contrasted sharply with the width of his shoulders and long legs seemed to go on forever. His boots had been polished to a fine sheen, but they bore the signs of wear. Everything about him looked solid, reliable…safe. A shiver ran through her. What would it be like to awaken in his strong arms, pillowed on a chest made hard by work? The thought tantalized with the impossible. To be as well-cared for as his boots or his vehicle, to be appreciated scars and all, it would be a fantasy beyond even Madame Eve’s talent.
Still, she wanted it. For at least one night she wanted to be worthy of such tender care.
She hadn’t bothered to read his profile. The 1NS service had sent it to her, but she didn’t want to know. She’d asked them not to send hers either, but she had no idea if they’d done so. Expectations led to disappointment and could distort the appreciation of reality. Though she doubted the man stretched before her was anything but what he seemed—deliciously sexy and rock steady.
LC Dean has lived all over the United States from the glorious South to the freethinking West Coast, but returned to the Midwest over a decade ago and now resides in the gorgeous state of MN. LC’s main goal professionally is to push the boundaries her often puritanical upbringing created. Writing about love that does not need society to define it, has been a freeing experience for her and her characters, and she hopes that readers find a similar joy in the reading.
The prequel to Bella Ink is available in this free bundle from April 8 to April 12, grab it quick!