While I enjoyed THE STRONGEST STEEL by Scarlett Cole, I did have a few issues with the book. I enjoyed the interplay between the characters, I liked the characters and the story, but I didn’t like the romance. This is a romance, wrapped in a mystery (even though there isn’t much mystery to it), so you can see the issue here.
The story focuses on Trent and Harper. Trent is a well-known tattoo artist that has a speciality of covering up scars with his art. Harper is a woman in hiding, a former English teacher, she is forced to work as a barista in order to hide her identity. A brutal attack from her boyfriend lands him in jail and scars Harper beyond belief. Harper realizes quickly that her exes reach extends outside of jail as she is almost killed and her family is threatened…so she heads to Florida. On a mission to take charge of her life, she saves for a tattoo to cover up the horrible scars.
The tattoo artist she chooses isn’t anything she expected. She expected a grungy lay-about and she got a sensitive and very attractive man. Trent is immediately attracted to Harper, but he knows it’s going to be a hard conquest. She’s a scared bird, she can’t even stand a touch or a casual brush from a stranger, much less sex. The dynamic between the two was sweet, Trent was amazing and Harper was well done. I wanted to read more about Harper’s ordeal and even Trent’s life…but the author had to expand on the relationship and the sex, but it seemed too forced. I would have been happy for a slower progression. And when they did have sex, it really wasn’t that sexy – you know when you see an art piece and you don’t get it, so you turn it upside down – maybe it’s upside down? Well, I couldn’t turn the book upside down. I just felt like I wasn’t getting something, we go from lips and then suddenly we are down by a thigh and then back up to a neck. The story, characters and suspense were great, I just didn’t feel the romance. This book would have been much better as just a Mystery/Suspense novel with a light romance. But, from other readers reactions, I’m obviously in the minority concerning this, so readers might really enjoy this one. You can’t go wrong with the writing and you’ll enjoy the chacters–so have at it.
Recommendation: For fans of romance with lighter tones and a more suspenseful story should really enjoy it.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Strongest Steel by Scarlett ColeSeries: Second Circle Tattoos #1
Published by Macmillan on July 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She's determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.
Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and--under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen--totally hot. He's happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.
But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she's started to put down roots in Miami, she'll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.