*I received a free copy of The Strongest Steel from via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
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.
The Strongest Steel is a hot contemporary romance featuring a sexy tattoo artist who helps a broken woman get back control of her life. There are many sparks, some danger, sweet, sweet romance and a solid story with characters I wanted to spend more time with.
My The Strongest Steel review:
Harper. She started breaking my heart the first time I met her. She was skittish, didn’t want anyone to touch her, and became panicked if someone came too close to her from the back. As her story unfolded, I could understand why, and it was impossible to not admire her strength. She had been betrayed in a horrific way, first by someone she loved, then by those who should have done everything in their power to keep her safe in the aftermath. The only solution she had found was to run as far away as she could, change her name, change her career, and try to start a new life somewhere else. Alone. What really touched me with The Strongest Steel, though, was that through all that fear, there was a very strong spark at Harper’s core, a spark of hope, love, and the wish for something more.
Trent was an amazing tattoo artist, still up-and-coming, with a beautiful tattoo parlour in the heart of South Beach. And let me tell you that thanks to a couple of vacations near the Art Deco district, I felt right at home within the story of The Strongest Steel! Trent made beautiful art, and he was in his element when a client had an idea for a tattoo, but let Trent come up with the details through his creativity. For my next tattoo, I definitely want Trent 😉 When he first saw Harper, he thought she was a skittish, much younger woman than he she was. When she came to see him at his work to get him to help him cover up some huge and ugly scars on her back, though, he changed his mind. What he saw made him want to help her, both when it came to making her back a true work of art, and by bringing her out of her protective shell.
The Strongest Steel introduced me to some great characters, and they were all fleshed out. I got to know Harper and Trent best, but Cujo, Drea, José, Lia, Pixie and Dred. And I was so enthralled by Harper’s story as well as her character development the book was keeping me up way too late. The story starts in the middle, after Harper has been in Miami for four years, and we learn about her past through flash-backs. Needless to say, what she’d been through was really, really hard, and it’s a wonder she could continue moving forward at all. The story was well-paced, and there was some mystery and suspense as well as a very hot and enticing romance.
Even though The Strongest Steel was written in third person point of view, past tense, the chapters followed either Harper or Trent closely, and the narration entered their thoughts and shared their feelings with me as a reader.
Some of my favorite The Strongest Steel quotes:
Harper looked away, trying hard to ignore the empty feeling in her chest. Could she even remember that feeling of first love? It had been so long since she’d experienced those heady moments of wanting to be with another person all the time. Of being unable to stop touching each other, like magnets drawn together.
Take away the ugly clothes, though, and you were left with a seriously rocking body. He was such a sucker for the athletic type, toned but still curvy.
She’d seen pictures of the work he was able to do covering up scars – and it was beautiful. So beautiful, she’d been dreaming of what her own back would look like. He could fix it for her, she knew it, and if she was going to get past, well, her past, she was going to need a pretty spectacular cover-up artist.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: