More Than Meets the Ink
By Elle Aycart
Book #1 in the Bowen series
Wickedly sexy James Bowen is a bad boy of the highest order -- tattoos and attitude included -- which unfortunately ranks way up on Tate’s not-a-chance-in-hell list, right there along with skydiving naked over Teheran and juggling Ebola vials just for kicks. But what the heck, she’s on holiday, the guy is absolutely irresistible, and she needs to unplug from her life. With her dad and brother gone, Tate is left to deal with the family restaurant, which is fast going down the drain. Her employees are acting out, her boyfriend has bailed out, and her very own private stalker is emailing her to death with lovely threats of doom, fire, and dismemberment. So yeah, maybe a little holiday fling is in order. Strictly sex though, and no follow-up whatsoever once. She hadn’t counted on her take-charge holiday fling having an opinion of his own and stubbornly sticking around, before and after the sex, making himself at home in her life. There is definitely more to James than meets her prejudiced eye, and even if she's not ready to look deeper, James isn't prepared to permit her not to.
James Bowen is visiting his Dad who lives in a Florida retirement community. Tate Cooper is spending time with her mother who lives next door to James’ Dad. Both James and Tate live in Boston and their meeting is pure coincidence. Tate is pretty stressed after having lost her father and brother in a car accident a year ago and is now trying to keep the family restaurant afloat. Her mother and sister have bailed on her and she’s determined to keep this together. To complete this sad picture, her boyfriend dumped her in the middle of all of this. When she meets James, she’s attracted to him until she sees his tattoos. Tate’s got a whole conversation about what kind of men wear ink and she decides that he’s worth a fling but no way is he going to get the chance to break her heart.
James and Tate begin their relationship with a complete focus on sex, and there is a lot of it. James knows that Tate has him stereotyped and he’s okay with that because he’s that confident in himself. He’s one of those alphas that doesn’t come on strong but gets his way by charm and affability. When it’s time for Tate to return to Boston, James has feelings beyond a fling and while Tate misses him, bad boys are too risky.
What makes this erotic romance work is the wonderfully developed characters. James is utterly charming, even when his alpha nature takes over. Tate never set out to be the family savior and she’s going under until James intervenes in her life. She’s vulnerable but at the same time she’s terrified of losing anyone else she cares about and is resistant to letting James become too important to her.
There is quite a bit of sex, really explicit and HOT sex, more than I thought was needed until the second half of the story, which focused on some very tough issues that the sex was masking. While the first half was filled with witty dialogue and the dance that goes along with two people focused on a physical relationship, the second half of the story was really compelling. There are also some sinister actions targeted toward Tate that add a serious element as well. I enjoyed the story, where two people who start off a relationship totally based on sex but find common ground and come to love and like each other. I couldn’t resist starting the next one immediately.
After a colorful array of jobs all over Europe ranging from translator to chocolatier to travel agent to sushi chef to flight dispatcher, Elle Aycart is certain of one thing and one thing only: aside from writing romances, she has abso-frigging-lutely no clue what she wants to do when she grows up. Not that it stops her from trying all sorts of crazy stuff. While she is probably now thinking of a new profession, her head never stops churning new plots for her romances. She lives currently in Barcelona, Spain, with her husband and two daughters, although who knows, in no time she could be living at the Arctic Circle in Finland, breeding reindeer.
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