Friday, August 26, 2016

Review ~ The Strongest Steel ~ Scarlett Cole

The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos, #1)The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole
Second Circle Tattoos #1
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Source: Gift (kindle) from Lexxie <3
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #COYER, #ShelfLove

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.

"I love words. I love the structure of language and I love awe-inspiring writing." -Harper, pg 150
A girl after my own heart, I couldn't help but adore Harper!

Thank you, Lexxie, for the gift of this amazing book!! I didn't re-read the synopsis or Lexxie's review before diving in, so I went in only expecting a great read. It was a great read but it was so much more than I could have hoped. Seriously, if you have read this yet, hop to it! *wink*

Harper, as I stated, was a girl after my own heart. I'm not sure I could be as strong as she's been in the face of all she's endured though. And she'd argue the point of her being strong but she so is. Watching as she emerges from her self-imposed cocoon was beautiful. She didn't - couldn't - trust many. But there was something about Trent that spoke to her soul. And her spirit truly seems to have been forged in steel. Seeing her realize she was worth fighting for and stand on her own - *sigh* - it was something to behold.

Trent is one of the most appealing heroes I've had the pleasure to read. He's muscle-bound, tattooed, and all-man but he's soft-hearted, compassionate, and knows his Dante. *wink* He saw something in Harper, something besides the need to protect her, and he worked at getting what he wanted. He grew emotionally as well and although he'd experienced nothing as harrowing as what Harper had, he learned to let go and move past things that were putting an obstacle between them.

I can't not mention my extreme appreciation for Ms. Cole's nod to great literature. That she uses Dante as such an integral part of the series (Second Circle) and in Harper and Trent's story thrilled much symbolism. And it added that much more depth and pleasure to an already incredible story.

Character development, strong plot, and an element of suspense all melded together for an excellent read. I'm beyond eager to jump into the next installment!

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