THE DARKEST LINK – Scarlett Cole
Second Circle Tattoos , Book 4
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-1-250-12207-0
September 2016
Romantic Suspense

Miami, Florida – Present Day

Lia Carlisle has just left her father's house after hearing about his plans for a run for governor of Florida, provided he can keep her mother and her under control and “bring them to heel”.  As she drives her beloved bright red 1958 Plymouth Fury back to Miami, her baby is making weird noises and coughing.  Maybe she should have had “Cherry” serviced lately.   When her baby dies by the side of the road, it's just another part of her awful day.  But before she can call a tow truck, a guy on a motorcycle drives by and offers to help.  It's also convenient he owns a repair company and he sends their tow truck out for Cherry.  He's hot with a sexy scruff and shaggy hair, just perfect in Lia's eyes.  For the past several years it seems as if Lia falls in love too quickly for men, and they end up leaving her.  Maybe it's her non-relationship with her father, but she longs for someone to put her first and be there for her when she needs it.  As a tattoo artist at Second Circle Tattoos, her boss and the other artists, and now their girlfriends, are her friends, and she sees just how a loving relationship might look like.

Reid Kennedy, AKA “Kenny”, is riding on his bike when he sees beautiful legs and spectacular shoes beside a hot classic car.  Since he owns a garage, he stops and offers his towing services to this incredibly fine woman.  The mechanics shop pays the bills, but his passion is designing custom bikes, although the design part is still growing.  Kenny moved to Fort Pierce, Florida ten years ago after being told to leave after his father stated he wanted nothing more to do with him.  It all started that one night he tried cocaine and brought his friend Nathan in to try it too.  It led to Kenny's sister Taylor moving in with Nathan not knowing how his addiction was growing.   It ended the night Kenny refused to give Nathan more money for drugs and he went home and handcuffed Taylor to the bed and cut her on her back.   Nathan got away with it because his father threatened Kenny if he testified, and anyway Kenny was sure they had enough evidence without him testifying.  When Kenny's father found out Nathan only got several years in prison, he threw Kenny out.  Now Kenny hasn't seen or heard from his father or his sister since, and life is lonely without them.

Kenny and Lia are instantly smitten with each other, but Lia's father's run for the governorship and Kenny living an hour and a half away don't help things along.  Then they meet Nathan's father at Lia's father's fund raising party and all hell breaks loose as Nathan had gotten out of prison several months ago and attacked Taylor again, meaning he is back in jail.  Lia knows that with her father's reputation as a defense attorney, he is giving Nathan's father advice on how to get him out of prison again.  Then Kenny's auto shop is burned by Molotov cocktails thrown into it, and Lia is almost run down on the street.  Is Nathan's father behind these events, and what can they do to protect each other?

Scarlett Cole continues the Second City Tattoos series with Lia and Kenny's story.  Lia hates almost everything about her father, and how he bullies Lia's delicate mother, who more and more depends on medication to get through her days, seldom leaving the house.  Told from Lia's and Kenny's points of view, Lia falls hard for the hunky Kenny, but worries this is just like every other guy she's been with.  Kenny has his secrets, and he isn't even who he says he is, but quickly comes to love Lia and longs to be the one she depends on.  Their relationship might be troubled by the distance between them, but their feelings for each other grow rapidly.

Secondary characters are most importantly Harper and Trent, her boyfriend and owner of Second Circle.  Harper's story will be what inspires Kenny to accept what happened six years ago.  The other workers at Second Circle are Cujo and Drea, and Dred and Pixie.  See all their stories in THE STRONGEST STEEL, (July 2015), THE FRACTURED HEART (January 2016), and THE PUREST HOOK (May, 2016).  Lia and Kenny's story rounds out their group and helps Kenny come to terms with the heartache he and his sister went through all those years ago and his part in it.

THE DARKEST LINK is a delicious and wild ride that will keep you glued to the pages.  Watching Lia accept what her father does, and Kenny accept what happened between him and his father and his best friend years ago is a good way to bring everyone together.   Scarlett Cole is a master of this series, and you won't regret reading any of the books in the series.

Carolyn Crisher