Reid left his life in Chicago far behind him and hasn't been back, but he's never been able to escape the guilt he feels about his own painful role in inviting a monster into his baby sister's life. A monster who almost destroyed her. Being with Lia is an unexpected gift, one he doesn't feel he deserves, and their one night together has him wanting more than he should. When he surprises her at her tattoo studio, Second Circle Tattoos, in Miami, he's in for a shock—and a fist to the face—when his past and present collide.
With secrets coming to the surface, Reid and Lia are thrown into a world of betray and lies that threatens to pull them under, and the last link to his former life may be the darkest of them all.
Scarlett Cole is a great author. I absolutely adored the first book in this series, The Strongest Steel. In fact, I loved it so much that I can’t help but wonder if the other books in the series are bound to suffer in comparison for me. That was certainly the case with this book.
I just didn’t connect with Lia and Reid like I did with Trent and Harper. I didn’t buy the reason why Reid abandoned Harper in her time of need, and I didn’t enjoy reading so much about Lia’s style. (I get it. She’s unique. I don’t care enough about her hairstyle and what she’s wearing to read page after page about it.) I also thought the villain was a little one-note and cartoonish.
That being said, if I’d read this book before reading The Strongest Steel, I probably would’ve rated it a 4, based solely on the strength of Scarlett Cole’s writing voice. It’s spectacular, and her steamy scenes are straight-up scorching.
All in all, it’s worth a read for fans of the genre. Just be warned that if you’re like me, Lia and Reid are no Trent and Harper.
Full disclosure: We generously received a free copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Design Dude cover design review
While I personally find the generic practice of simply plopping a headless, muscle-bound shirtless guy on the cover of every romance cover to be completely unimaginative and trite, there's no denying it's effective. In this case, the guy candy is covered in elaborate tattoos, an obvious tie-in to both the series and this particular storyline, and set against a stark white background eliminating any potential visual distractions.
Eschewing the normal script type usually found on romance covers, the designer went with a strong, masculine sans-serif which stands out especially well from the black-and-white photo. Rendered in all-caps with sizing and weights carefully selected to emphasize various aspects of the title, author name and series title, the typography is an unusually strong component of this design while also serving as a consistent, identifying design element for the series.
Overall, this is a solid effort specifically designed to follow the conventions within the genre while also finding techniques to set itself apart. Well done all the way around.
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