New Year's Blog Hop

Happy New Year everyone! I'm deep in edits at the moment, but I wanted to wish everyone a bright, blessed and bountiful new year. Happy 2015. 

My year is getting off to a good start with three new releases--in February, March and April (read more HERE). Later this year I'll be hoping to self-publish the Inked in O-Town trilogy, featuring hot tattoo artists in Oakland, CA. This is a spin-off series to last year's Inked Memories, which is set in New Orleans, and was originally released as part of the Midnight Ink anthology. Sadly, the anthology is going away at the end of the month, but the individual stories will still be around. Right now, Inked Memories is only available at Amazon. However, look for it's re-release in late February--just in time for Mardi Gras! 

In the meantime, here's a short excerpt.

Sophie started as a passerby stumbling along the banquette suddenly lost his footing and slammed into her table. She grabbed for her coffee to keep it from spilling when the wrought iron table tilted precariously under the man’s unsteady weight.
“Watch out!” Glancing up, she found herself staring into the bleary blue eyes of a drunken, storefront Santa. Well, that was life in the Quarter for you, she supposed as her heart continued its attempts to beat itself right out of her chest. The smell of whisky and peppermint schnapps wafting off the man was so strong it made her head spin. She pressed her free hand to her chest, willing her heart to slow the fuck down.
Santa blinked back at her, still resting his weight on the tabletop, a crumpled piece of paper clutched in one fist. A slow smile curved his lips. Eyes twinkling, he leaned in closer and leered.
“Well, hey there, boo.Where y’at? You bein’ naughty or nice?”
Before Sophie could even fashion a reply, Rousseau appeared in the doorway. He scowled menacingly at the man. “Get out of here. Quit harassing my customer.”
Santa straightened up, his expression one of affronted dignity as he glared at Rousseau. “Ain’t harassin’ no one. She tripped me.” 
 “I did no such thing,” Sophie spluttered. She flashed the man an indignant look, then watched in relief as he lurched stiffly away. A flicker of motion from her tabletop caught her eye. The badly creased paper Santa had left behind fluttered weakly in the slight breeze. “Hey, wait!” she said as she snatched it up, intending to return it. Then she took a closer look.
 Midnight Ink. New Beginnings Special. Discounted rates for survivor and memorial ink. Are you ready for a new beginning? Say it in ink. Call, or visit us online for more information…
It’s a sign, that same soft voice insisted.
Oh, it was a sign all right. Sophie bit back a sigh. Hearing voices was a definite sign that she was losing her mind. Still, she couldn’t help but appreciate the irony. It wasn’t as if New Orleans was hurting for tattoo shops, so what were the odds she’d be handed a flyer for the very shop where she’d gone for her own tattoos?  Come to think of it, maybe it was a sign after all.
 “What you got there?” Rousseau asked as he ambled closer. He tilted his head to read the flyer. “Are you thinking of getting another tattoo?”
Was she? She already had several, but she hadn’t added anything to her “collection” in several years. “Oh, I don’t know.” But even as she said it, an image flashed through her mind of a picture she’d recently seen online. It had shown a woman’s heavily tattooed torso, flowers and elaborate scrollwork covering over the scars from her mastectomies.
That tattoo hadn’t really been Sophie’s style, but the idea of once again being able to celebrate her body, of enjoying it, flaws and all, of showing it off rather than always feeling the need to hide it away beneath layers of clothing, that had appealed to her. A lot. She wasn’t even sure if it was possible for her to feel that way about herself ever again, but if it was, if there was any chance at all…
Sophie felt a thrill of excitement as the idea took hold. A new beginning, huh? Well, why the fuck not? “You know what?” Smiling, she unzipped her jacket pocket to get to her phone. “I think maybe I am.”
Sophie dialed the number quickly before she could chicken out and change her mind. It was before noon, so she wasn’t even sure the shop would be open yet, but the phone was picked up on the second ring.
“Midnight Ink.” The lilting voice on the phone was female; she sounded young and perky, carefree—everything Sophie wasn’t. Sophie’s heart lurched. Shit was about to get real.
“Hi. I’m, uh…I’m calling about your new beginnings special.” Sophie fingered the flyer in her hand. “I…I had surgery a couple of years ago for breast cancer, and I’m interested in getting a chest piece done. You know, to cover the scars? Would that qualify for your special rates?”
“Yes, of course,” the voice replied, no longer quite so perky. “Um…let me see where I can fit you in, okay? Did you have a particular artist in mind? Or a particular time frame that was better for you?”
“No. Not really. I mean, I just saw your flyer and…I haven’t actually had time to think about it all that much.” Sign or no sign, Sophie suddenly found herself wondering if getting a new tattoo was such a stellar idea after all. Memories of the last time she’d gotten inked flashed through her mind bringing heat and longing and even more uncertainty.
Declan’s voice teasing her through the worst of it; his hands, firm yet gentle on her flesh, reassuring; the expression on his face, focused, patient, intent
Sometimes a tattoo was not just a tattoo; it was personal, almost too personal to trust to a stranger.  At the moment, it seemed that her exhibitionist streak had gone the way of her breasts. Could she really go through with this? Did she really want to bare her chest to a stranger when she could hardly stand to look in the mirror at herself? Maybe she could ask about a female artist? Maybe that would help. Or maybe she should just forget the whole idea. “Maybe I should think about it some more.”
“Hmm. Okay, well, actually, it looks like all our regular artists are pretty booked up right now,” the voice on the phone told her.
Sophie exhaled. Her shoulders sagged—relief, mixed with just a trace of disappointment. “Oh. All right. Well, thanks anyway for checking. I guess it’s not meant to be. Maybe another time then.”
“Whoa, hold on there. Not so fast. I wasn’t done yet. I’m sure we can squeeze you in somewhere. You know, we’re also making appointments for our guest artist, Declan Ross. He’ll be tattooing here for a few weeks. Is there any chance you’d be interested in working with him?”
“Declan’s back?”  Talk about signs! This one was billboard-sized and covered in day-glo neon. “Isn’t he…I mean, I guess I thought he was still out on the West Coast.”
“Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, he’s not here yet. Like I said, he’s coming in primarily for the fundraiser at the end of the month. So…I take it you’re interested then?”
Having Declan here—that was a game changer. If he was the one tattooing her, it would be just like old times. And the chance to see him again… That alone could make it all worthwhile. Maybe she could do this after all. “Yes. Yes, I think I am.”
“Well, good! Why don’t you go ahead and give me your information, and we’ll get you signed up.”
“Yeah, okay. Sure,” Sophie answered, barely aware of what she was saying. Declan was coming back. It was the last thing she’d been expecting. And, now, in just a few weeks she’d be seeing him again.
Now, that one you can have, cher. This time, Sophie would swear the voice laughed out loud. That one’s all yours. He’s got your name written all over him.  

Every memory leaves its mark. 

All Sophie wants is a tattoo to commemorate her battle with cancer. What she gets is celebrity tattoo artist Declan Ross, the same sexy bad-boy who, once-upon-a-time, used to rock her world. 

With his hit television show on hiatus, Declan is back in the Big Easy. A New Year's Eve charity event at Midnight Ink, the shop where he got his start, seems like the perfect opportunity to use his celebrity status to publicize a good cause…and just maybe improve his own image in the process. The last thing he’s expecting, or thinks he needs, is a chance meeting with the girl he left behind. 

Last time they were together, Declan was the one who was damaged. This time, they’ve both got scars; and those you can’t see are the hardest to cover. 

Check out my free read, The Start of Something Wonderful, which was originally written several years ago for the Romancing the New Year blog hop. 


Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Here's hoping for a fantastic New Year!

PG Forte said...

Thank you, Karen. You too!

Siobhan Muir said...

All the best for a fantastic New Year, PG. And congrats on the upcoming re-release. :)

PG Forte said...

Thank you, Siobhan. And a very happy New Year to you, as well.

Jean MP said...

Have a wonderful 2015!
skpetal at hotmail dot com

PG Forte said...

Thank you, Jean. You too!

Kamal Raj said...

God fulfill your family needs have a wonderful new year 2015.

Nursery Rhymes