in the FORGET ME NOT anthology
Releases November 26, 2015
10 artists auditioning for a shot at working with the Reed Brothers
10 skins, each with a story to tell
10 perfect tattoos so they’ll never forget
A little bit of healing
A whole lot of heart
An anthology of ten short stories by ten different authors who are donating 100% of the proceeds to benefit Alzheimer’s and brain health. Join Tammy Falkner, Jane Charles, Ava Stone, Marquita Valentine, Lexi Eddings, Lj Charles, Andris Bear, Jerrica Knight-Catania, Caren Crane and Diane Franks to help combat this terrible disease.
All proceeds from the Forget Me Not box set go to charity supporting Alzheimer’s Research and Brain Health.
The only thing officer Brent Copeland wants when he enters Reeds is some fresh ink to pay tribute to his fallen partner. But when he comes face to face with Honor Sloan, a hellcat he arrested six months ago, he must confront the mistakes of his past if he is to have any chance at a future.
Brent Copeland slid his fingertips over the cool metal in his coat pocket, taking morbid comfort from the sorrow and regret it brought to mind. Either he was a glutton for punishment or a sadistic idiot, but something inside of him wouldn’t let it go.
He wanted to do this. He had to do it.
Blowing out a rough breath that fogged the air in front of him, he squared his shoulders and stepped into Reeds for the second time.
He’d stopped by the tattoo parlor last week on a whim. Well, not a whim. He’d been mulling over the idea of a new tattoo for months, but he hadn’t made the final decision until he’d come upon the popular shop. Several of the guys on the department touted Reeds as the best place for ink.
Entering had filled him with a mix of excitement and dread. Which was ridiculous—his right arm was a sleeve of color from his wrist to just above his shoulder. What was one more design?
This is different.
As night and day. This tattoo would brand his greatest failure into his flesh.
Brent moved into the lobby, an area filled with the various artwork the Reed brothers offered. Though he took a moment to admire the designs, he didn’t intend to choose one. What he wanted sketched into his skin was burning a hole in his pocket.
“Mr. Copeland?” A woman, he guessed early thirties, with a clipboard in hand, came into the lobby from a side room. Her gaze sized him up in point zero seconds before she flashed a practiced smile.
How in the hell had he gotten roped into doing this?
When he’d come in a week ago, ready to get inked right then and there, he’d been informed the Reeds were booked solid for months, but if he was willing to have a highly recommended associate artist work on him, they could fit him in by the end of the week.
Oh, and they were filming a reality TV show, would he mind signing a waiver?
Since he had come for the tattoo, not a specific artist, he didn’t give a flying fig leaf who did the work—not as long as they knew what they were doing and stuck to the design he wanted. He had signed the waiver and made his appointment for two o’clock today.
Nerves had him rethinking the decision. He wiped his damp palms on the thighs of his jeans as the woman, who never bothered to introduce herself, flipped through the papers on her clipboard. She shot another shark smile in his direction. “Looks like we have everything but your signature for the work. If you could sign right here,” she said, passing him her board. “It states you understand the inherit risks and assume all responsibility.”
He read the entire sheet, aware she was staring at him with mounting impatience. Once satisfied it was a standard waiver, he took the pen from the metal clip and signed. She all but snatched the board back and, casting a glance over her shoulder, crooked a finger for someone to come out from the same side room.
A burly guy with a beard thick enough to make Paul Bunyan envious stepped out, a bulky studio camera resting on his shoulder.
He wasn’t the kind of guy who aspired to be on national television. In fact, he was the opposite—a man who liked his privacy and anonymity—and the only thing keeping him from ducking out of the shop was the tattoo he wanted.
And not to look like a ninny on national television.
He couldn’t put his finger on why he was so nervous, and that irritated the hell out of him. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t danced to this tune numerous times before. So why did the cramped lobby feel as if it was closing in around him?
“If you’ll follow me?” she asked in a way that wasn’t a question, before leading him down the hall. Paul Bunyan Junior, PBJ for short, which made Brent snort, fell in step behind him. Despite the doors on each side of the short corridor, being sandwiched between the two of them made him acutely aware of the tight quarters.
Maybe it was his training, or that he had an undiscovered phobia of cramped quarters, but he was never so happy to get out of a space as when she finally stopped at the last door on the right. After a light rap of her knuckles against the doorjamb, she poked her head into the room.
“Your appointment is here. Are you all set?”
A soft and slightly throaty feminine voice answered, “Nearly. Go ahead and send them in.”
So his artist was a woman. Not that he cared. A man would have been fine with him, but a woman’s hands on his skin were never a bad thing. Right? Especially if the rest of her matched that sexy voice.
The day is looking up.
Anticipation pushed his nerves to the side. The woman ushered him in with a wave, and he stepped past her into the small room. The scent of an astringent cleaner hit him first, but it was subtle, not overbearing. The second thing he noticed was all the design offerings on the wall. There were more in this room than in the lobby, which gave it an even smaller feel.
Movement on the far side caught his eye, and his attention immediately zeroed in on the woman who would be painting his skin. Because her back was too him, he was able to study her without her knowledge. She was small, dainty even, but she had an air of efficiency as she went about setting up her equipment with slender, graceful hands. A crop of straight, chin-length black hair swished around her face every time she moved.
Her arms, what he could see of them from his position, appeared bare under her short-sleeved, white tee—a bit of a surprise given her profession. Dark jeans were the perfect fit over her nicely rounded backside. Small though she was, she definitely had a woman’s curves.
He was a big fan of women’s curves.
Brent felt his mouth lift at the corners with appreciation. Unless she had the face of Rodney Dangerfield, his tattoo artist was smokin’ hot.
And then the TV woman opened her mouth and ruined everything. “Honor Sloan, meet your client, one of New York City’s finest, Officer Brent Copeland.”
Every living cell in his body, from his organs to the blood rushing through his veins, froze. Maybe even shriveled up and died. God knew his head was vibrating with the bitch-slap.
His artist, Honor, aka Hellcat extraordinaire, must have lost her warm fuzzies too, because she spun around fast enough to give everyone in the room whiplash. He hadn’t moved a muscle, but his hand came up to rub the back of his neck in sympathy.
“Oh, no. No, no, no!” Her low, throaty voice had turned into a banshee’s wail. Icy blue eyes locked on him, as deadly and cutting as a precision laser, and if he were a lesser man, he’d have keeled over on the spot.
But he’d tussled with this… female once before. To say it had left a lasting impression—and a few scars—was a big fucking understatement. Hell would not only freeze over before he backed down from her, but it would become the world’s leading producer of snow and good will toward man.
Not only no, but—
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