Title: Lukas (Ashes & Embers #3)
Author: Carian Cole
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 241 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Storm’s younger cousin.
Vandal’s little brother.
You’ve met him in the background.
The sweet one.
The nice one.
The one they can all rely on.
The good one.
He’s a tattoo artist. He plays metal and classical music – on the violin.
He’s got a body built for sin.
In comes Ivy. She’s a 36 year old single mom who hasn’t dated in 18 years.
All she wanted was a tattoo.
She got a helluva lot more 🙂
Being good has never been so bad.
After 18 years of marriage, thirty-six year old Ivy finds out she’s been dumped for the younger, thinner, “more fun” version of herself. She has to pick up the threads of her life and make it on her own, taking care of her two kids. Her friend decides to help her out and give her a gift certificate for a tattoo where she meets…Lukas, tattoo artist and sometime member of the rock band Ashes and Embers. Oh, and he’s also 24. Lukas owns the tattoo parlor, and gets his share of meaningless hookups, but what he really wants is love. When they meet, sparks fly and eventually, romance happens.
New to me author: I hadn’t heard of Ms. Cole before I’d read the blurb, but I can’t resist a heroine with the name of Ivy (sue me). Add to that, tattoo artists/rockers are like kryptonite to me and how can I resist? Only thing hotter could’ve been adding ex-military. Lukas is a solid, faithful hero and his love for Ivy was a big draw for me.
Standalone: I hadn’t read the earlier books, but there was no issue with following the story. I will say, as soon as I finished reading this, I bought the two earlier books and look forward to reading them once I get a chance.
Loved the build: Ivy’s relationship with her ex Paul implodes in a painful and genuine way. She doesn’t rush out to get into a relationship and Ms. Cole does a good job of building the attraction and eventual relationship with Lukas through their tattoo sessions. There’s a touch of insta-attraction with both of them feeling a bit of deja vu, but the dialogue flowed well and made me believe in this relationship.
Good sexiness: When the time comes to consummate their relationship, it was sweet and hot and very enjoyable, even with the occasionally (deliberately) cheesy line or two.
Genuine surprises: Without spoilers, I will say there’s a twist that doesn’t directly impact Ivy and Lukas’ relationship that nevertheless made me gasp. I wasn’t expecting it and it was truly tragic, even if it happens off-page. I only wish there was more about that in this book. Hence, my urgency in buying the two earlier books.
A bit fantastical: Lukas is practically perfect in every way, and ventures into pure fantasyland, but I’m totally ok with it. Occasionally, the prose got a bit flowery, but the final big obstacle is clearly a setup and his devotion is never in doubt to the reader, which I loved.
A rush to the finish line: The only thing I wanted was more time spent exploring the fallout of the last big obstacle as well as what happens after the reconciliation. It just felt like it wrapped up too quickly. I would have loved seeing some comeuppance for the dipsticks causing trouble.
All in all, Lukas and Ivy were so good together I finished this in a heartbeat. It’s an enjoyable read that I’d recommend for rocker/tats romance fans and a new series that I’m looking forward to exploring further.
*An ARC provided for an honest for review.
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Vandal, book 2 in ASHES AND EMBERS
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Storm, book 1 in ASHES AND EMBERS
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He leans his head down closer to mine. “You looking at me like that, and saying my name like that, just makes me want to kiss you even more.”
I swallow hard, unable to tear my eyes away from his. “You really shouldn’t be saying things like that,” I breathe, my voice quivering. He’s got my nerves in overdrive. Hell, who am I kidding? He’s got my entire mind and body in overdrive right now.
He moves his hand to cup the side of my face. “Close your eyes, Ivy. Let’s make our wishes at the same time.”
Lukas is a wizard, and I’ve quickly fallen under his spell. My eyes flutter closed, and his lips touch mine, so softly that we are barely touching at all, but it’s enough to make me see even more shooting stars, this time behind closed eyes, in that place where magic happens. His kiss is completely unexpected but way too perfect to break away from. I drop my bag to the ground and bring my hands up to rest on his shoulders. He kisses me a little harder, his tongue gently touching my lips, silently asking permission for more. Parting my lips, I let him kiss me deeper, his tongue slowly meeting mine, caressing in enticing circles. The feel of his tongue piercing and lip ring is so strange to me, yet incredibly erotic. I think I like it. His hand goes to my hip, pulling my body possessively but gently against him, as his kisses grow more passionate and urgent. My legs begin to shake with timid desire, my hands squeezing his muscled shoulders, hanging on to him in this sudden dizzying realm he’s led me into. Did a first kiss ever feel like this before? Has any kiss ever felt like this before? No. Not for me. Not ever.
He oozes skilled sensuality; every touch, every breath, every kiss is measured in perfect timing and depth. This is not an awkward, clumsy, rushed and horny boy touching me for kicks. Not by a long shot.
He’s savoring everything. And I don’t want him to stop.
Grasping my waist with both hands, he effortlessly lifts me up onto the hood of my car, bringing me closer to eye level with him. He moves between my parted legs, guides my thighs around his jean-clad hips, and covers my mouth with his again, kissing me long, deep, and tantalizingly slow as he gently holds my face in his hands. It’s the kind of kiss that brands complete want and ownership. He leaves no doubt that he wants me. The logical part of me is telling me to stop him, but the lonely, aching part of me takes over, and I slide my hands up his chest and over his shoulders to clasp behind his neck. My fingers tangle in his long silky hair, and I love how new and different it feels. Everything about him is so different, like tasting an exotic food for the first time that quickly leads to crazy indulgence. That magnetic pull I felt the first time I laid eyes on him is a force to be reckoned with right now. It’s controlling me, taking over every part of me, squashing my fears and reservations, and paving a very clear path that leads directly to this man. I cannot even begin to understand or make the tiniest bit of sense of this attraction. But it’s there, and it’s stronger than anything I’ve ever felt in my life.
Suddenly, he stops kissing me, his lips just a whisper away from mine, and stares into my eyes for a few moments, before letting his dark eyes slowly close as he pulls me closer against his body, his hard cock pressing against me through our clothes, sending a hot surge of raw desire through me.
What I glimpsed in his eyes shook me even more than his kiss.
All feelings that carry the ability to give immense pleasure and pain. Neither of which I am ready for.
I slowly try to pull myself away from him, but he holds me close against him.
“Wow,” I say breathlessly, leaning my head against his shoulder.
“Come upstairs with me, and let’s see if we can upgrade that to a holy shit,” he whispers, his hand resting on the back of my neck, gently squeezing.
I have a passion for the bad boys, those covered in tattoos, sexy smirks, ripped jeans, fast cars, motorcycles and of course, the sweet girls that try to tame them and win their hearts. My debut series, Ashes & Embers, follows the lives of rock band members as they find, and sometimes lose, the loves of their lives.
My first novel in the Ashes & Embers series, Storm, published on September of 2014. Vandal, the second novel in this series is publishing in February of 2015. I currently have approximately nine books slated for this series, as well as an MC series in the works, and a few stand-alones coming in 2015 onward.
Born and raised a Jersey girl, I now reside in beautiful New Hampshire with my husband and our multitude of furry pets and spend most of my time writing, reading, and vacuuming.
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