THE FRACTURED HEART – Scarlett Cole
A Second Circle Tattoos Novel , Book 2
St. Martin's Press
Miami, Florida – Present Day
Andrea Caron's best friend Harper has just gotten engaged to tattoo artist Trent Andrews, but the bad thing about it is that she and Brody “Cujo” Matthews are nominated to organize the engagement party. Cujo owns the tattoo shop with Trent, and is also his best friend, but Drea and his ideas of a party differ tremendously. Drea wants classy and upscale, but Cujo knows that is something neither Trent nor Harper would enjoy. He's more up for a good ole' down home party. Andrea's life has been frozen in place the past ten years; she barely graduated from high school, and dreams of college went by the wayside when her mother contracted lung cancer. With working at a diner and then getting a second job at a hotel at night, she barely has time to assist her mother with her oxygen and getting her ready for each day in the morning. Money is always tight, hence the second job, and it really wouldn't be so bad if her mother didn't keep sneaking cigarettes and generally hating everything Drea does for her. At this point in her life, she doesn't even know what she would like to do with her life, and there certainly isn't even a moment for a man, specifically a man like Cujo, all gorgeous and sexy looking.
Cujo enjoys teasing Drea every moment he can get, especially as she also works with Harper. Drea seems awfully prickly most of the time, and it takes some quick talking to change her mind about the engagement party, especially as Trent and Harper go on vacation and leave them alone to deal with the party details. Cujo is close to his two other brothers and his father after his mother left them all behind when he was eight. He heard her say he was a mistake as she left the house that day, and ever since has wondered if it was his fault that she left. When he was a teenager he got testicular cancer, and going through that without a mother has caused much sadness in his life; something he has never told anyone. He still can't figure out why a woman would just leave her three small sons and never be heard from again.
One evening as Cujo is in Drea's café for a meeting about the engagement party, a woman is sitting at a table eating, when several rough looking men come into the café and tie up Drea and Cujo and take the woman out of the café against her will. The police arrive, and they tell them their story, but it isn't until the next day as Drea is cleaning up the dirty uniforms in the hamper that she finds a flash drive. On it she finds a lot of documents about frakking for oil, and various men involved in what might be nefarious actions. She tells Cujo about the information and takes it to the police, and all of a sudden all she can think about is what happened to the woman. This woman and her story will make all the difference to both Cujo and Drea's lives.
Scarlett Cole introduces us to Cujo of the Second Circles Tattoo shop, and Andrea, both of them having issues with their mothers. Cujo never got a chance to know his mother, and Drea's mother has resisted any relationship over the years, and she doesn't know why she treats her as she does. Told from Cujo's and Drea's points of view, Cujo is the first to realize that without Drea, there is no pleasure in his life. Drea is more resistant, since with her home situation there is not much happiness in her life.
Secondary characters are Drea's mother, Cujo's brothers and father, and their best friends, Trent and Harper. Central to the story will be the mysterious woman abducted from the café and how she changes everyone's lives.
THE FRACTURED HEART guides us through two people with rough childhoods who appreciate love enough to grasp it, even though there will be hurdles in front of them until their traumas can be healed; which is sort of like everyone's story. The next novel in the Second Circles Tattoo series is THE PUREST HOOK featuring Pixie, who also works at the Second Circles Tattoo shop. Deep emotions and surviving a difficult past are a hallmark of the stories by Scarlett Cole.