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THE SWEETEST TATTOO
Liquid Silver
Male/Female
August 2008

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Her twin was a dead man.

Tattoo artist Kelsie Cole cannot believe her brother would give his best friend use of his cabin the same week he promised it to her. She had been butting heads with straight-laced John McBride since they were kids.

John McBride only takes one week of vacation a year, and there isn't any way he's driving down a mountain back to Raleigh just because Kelsie Cole is already standing on the porch staking her claim when he arrives.

The cabin has two rooms, and they are adults. They can share a space for seven days. It's not like they're attracted to each other or anything, right? Kelsie grits her teeth, but assures herself she can handle it.

And then John kisses her…

   
 

“…Cameron Dane has a sexy opposites attract story in The Sweetest Tattoo. I loved the straight laced John trying to seduce the wild child Kelsie. She is quite the fiery personality too. John has a real job on his hands. But John has a plan Kelsie is not going to know what hit her!When you want hot romance with heart you want to read The Sweetest Tattoo!”
-- Tina from Two Lips Reviews, A 5 Lips Review

 

“…Tattoos, pink hair, and a hunky man sure make for one steamy story. Heat and passion abounds, and the interplay between the characters is dynamic. I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want to. It is a quick, easy, read due to the fact that the story flows so well. The relationship between Kelsie and John is unique and has the reader quickly turning the pages to see what happens. Once John decides to show Kelsie how he really feels, he does so with abandon. It was sweet to see him try and overcome the feelings she harbors for him. I love the moral of this story. Don’t judge a book by its cover, yet the “book” was the one making the judgments and assumptions. So the moral was twisted just right for me. I tend to like to entertain my inner freak, so I identified quite will with Kelsie. As a long time fan of Ms. Dane, yet again she delivers a great story, and she never disappoints. Her talent is boundless.”
-- Teagan, from Book Wenches Reviews

 

"...Cameron Dane’s The Sweetest Tattoo is a wonderful read that kept my interest and got me rather hot under the collar, so to speak. The sparks between John and Kelsie were electric and the way they danced around each other was amusing to behold. Each has hidden insecurities that make the reader empathize with each character. They are both so very likeable. Though quite a short story, the plot was well built and covered all bases, so that the reader didn’t feel there was something missing. Au contraire, I found the story to be thoroughly satisfying, extremely enjoyable and fabulously written. The sex scenes are very graphic and will draw a response. There is one scene in particular…well, let’s just say it is very unusual and oh-so-arousing. All around, The Sweetest Tattoo is a charming and engaging read; you’ll not be disappointed!"
-- Elizabeth Marie from Just Erotic Romance Reviews (JERR)

 

“…The Sweetest Tattoo is a great opposite’s attract story…Their first kiss, which leads to more, is very hot. The Sweetest Tattoo is sexy, fun, and very romantic.”
-- Nannette from Joyfully Reviewed

 

“…This is an excellent story. Although this is different from what I have read from Cameron Dane in the past, she nails it. I could not put it down. Kelsie with her insecurities and pink hair and John with his good looks and his determination kept me glued to the pages. Although this is probably one of the hottest stories I have read in a while, the sex doesn't overwhelm it. The banter between Kelsie and John and the way they get to know each other emotionally, not just physically, makes this story. I would recommend this one to anyone looking for a smoking read, with two great characters. I cannot wait to see what Cameron comes up with next and hope to read Grey’s story in the future.”
-- a 5 heart review from Sandra at The Romance Studio

 

“…when John kisses Kelsie, the sparks begin to fly…Kelsie is one fun woman. She has lots of curves, tattoos, piercings, fuscia pink hair, enough attitude for several women, and a soft heart underneath it all… The sex is smokin’ hot, with some real twists. John’s willingness to experiment to win Kelsie’s heart is great fun to read…Cameron Dane’s writes wonderful romance, with some really fun twists. This is one not only twists, it boogies and shimmies!”
--Yosha’s 5 Bookmark review from Wild on Books

 

“…Cameron Dane has come up with another winning story with her newest novella, The Sweetest Tattoo. On the surface, John appears to be everything Kelsie isn’t; calm, quiet, straight-laced, and able to fit in easily with high-rolling corporate businessmen and women. She, on the other hand, tends to be loud, outspoken, and given to a little attitude. Then there’s the little fact of her near six-foot height, pink hair, body piercings, and numerous tattoos to deal with. No matter how hard she tries, Kelsie doesn’t see how she could ever fit into John’s world, and she’s afraid to try. Her fear of rejection is very well done, as is John’s determination to not allow Kelsie’s fear and uncertainty to stand in the way of their happiness. He just needs to find a way to convince her, and he does it the only way he can without scaring her away…one day at a time; each one filled with caring, tenderness, companionship and blistering hot sex.”
-- Mystical Nymph from Literary Nymph Reviews Only

 
 

The Sweetest Tattoo Excerpt: PG-13 for language

 

Excerpt: Chapter One

 

Monday

Her twin was a dead man.

Kelsie Cole glared daggers at the silver Lexus pulling up the dirt road to the cabin. John McBride, her brother's best friend, and one of the very few people who had the ability to get under Kelsie's skin, owned said luxury vehicle. He had always irritated her; twenty years of knowing him had not changed her desire to smack the man more times than not since practically the moment they'd met so long ago.

Damn it, what in the hell was her soon to be deceased brother doing sending this man up to the cabin during her week of vacation?

John slid out of his car, his white shirt crisp and buttoned, tie and dress pants equally neat, even in ninety-five degree August heat. His dark hair lay neatly combed and trimmed to just the right corporate length, and his face didn't look any less attractive for the fact that he sported a five o'clock shadow.

The clock had just struck noon.

Growling under her breath, Kelsie ignored the kneejerk reaction that made her want to run inside and change out of her cutoffs and T-shirt into something that would cover her extra layer of fluff from the judgment of a man whose body didn't dare defy him and gain an ounce of weight that wasn't pure, steely muscle.

"You can get right back in your car and drive home, McBride," she called down to where he stood at the bottom of the steps. "The cabin is mine for the week. I don't care what my idiot brother must have said about it being free."

John McBride moved up the steps with deliberate intent. Kelsie didn't even realize she had backed up until she bumped into the storm door. Cursing that damn flight instinct that always kicked in around this man lately, she forced her body ramrod straight.

John didn't stop moving until he stood a foot in front of her, towering over her own considerable six-foot frame. He dropped his black duffel bag at his side. "I've told you a thousand times I don't respond to the name McBride. If you want me to answer to you this week, you need to start remembering that my name is John."

"Call yourself the king of the whole damn world for all I care. You're still not staying in this cabin with me this week."

John swept her with his icy blue stare, eliciting a shiver. She crossed her arms against her chest and rubbed her fingers over her favorite tat, a blue and green elaborate swirling design on her upper arm that only she knew incorporated hers, her brother's, and their grandmother's initials in the circular scroll work. It was one of a dozen tattoos on her body, and only one of the reasons this man had a tendency to study her as if she were a science project. Her shocking pink hair and ears full of piercings came in a close second and third. Her look flew in the face of everything John and her brother represented, where having a neat and clean image meant the difference between gaining new clients in their venture capitalist firm or not. Kelsie always thought John McBride took the controlled, straight and narrow lifestyle just a little too close to his heart.

She sometimes wondered if he had replaced his soul with a scorecard so he could check off where he stood among the ranks of his fellow stuffed shirts.

"I didn't drive five hours up the North Carolina mountainside to turn around and go home, Kelsie." God, she hated the way he stressed her name, made it sound so easy to say when she wouldn't do the same for him. "You can take up the crossed dates with your brother, but I only take one goddamned week of vacation a year, so I have no intentions of leaving." He scrutinized her from top to bottom. "You look settled in. I don't think you're about to pack up and drive home either."

They both lived and worked in Raleigh, although her brother had once told her John said he and she might as well be on different planets.

Kelsie looked John over just as thoroughly as he'd done to her, deliberately taking her time on the wide expanse of chest hidden under that damn wrinkle-free, starched shirt. She finally reached his face, and wished she hadn't done it. He sported a lazy smile that actually twinkled and rang true in his eyes. Damn typical man. He'd enjoyed her leering.

"You want to invite me in?" John leaned down and grabbed his bag. "Or do I wait until you're off swimming in the lake and slip in with my own key?"

"All right, fine." Kelsie pushed her way inside and led him to the unoccupied room. "But just so you know, I'm only doing it because I know you could sue me for everything I own if I make you wait outside and you end up with Lyme disease--or something equally horrific--as a result of my refusal to let you indoors."

"Maybe I shouldn't have pushed so hard." John paused at the threshold of the door to his room. He met her gaze and that infuriating slow smile of his showed itself again. "I happen to know your business is worth a tidy little sum."

He closed the door in her face, leaving her standing on the outside with her jaw touching the floor.

Son of a bitch. How in the hell did John McBride know about the net worth of The Sweetest Tattoo?

* * * *

John strode down the trampled path of grass to the private deck that jutted out into the lake, and immediately spotted the top of Kelsie's familiar pink hair over the back of one of the Adirondack chairs. He tossed his towel over the back of the empty one next to her and took a seat.

Kelsie barely spared him a glance, but it lasted long enough for him to see the fire in her hazel eyes.

He arched a brow. "What?"

"It's a big cabin and an even bigger lake and mountain." Kelsie's attention went right back to what she had on her lap. "You're not required to sit next to me just because we're here together. It's kind of like that guy who walks into an almost empty movie theater and sits down next to the only other person in the place." She shot him another quick look. "It's a hinky combination of creepy, irritating, and confusing."

John forced down the desire to grab Kelsie and make her exchange an actual dialog with him, rather than these scathing retorts he got much too often from her lately. He didn't want to fight, damn it, he just wanted her to talk to him like a real person. He had seen her do it with other people, so he knew she could.

Stretching his legs out, John settled his hands against his bare stomach. "What are you working on?" With his partially blocked view, he could only see a sketchpad with pencil markings. He couldn't make out what she sketched without getting a whole lot closer. Right now, he valued his balls too much to try scooting in.

"Just doodling," Kelsie answered. Her pencil moved with steady strokes over her paper. "Sketching the lake and the cabin on the other side."

"Really?" John leaned over the arm of his chair and stole a quick look after all. "Huh." He didn't know shit about art, but the sketch looked damned realistic, as well as pretty, to his untrained eye. "I didn't realize you did more traditional stuff like this. I always assumed you limited your work to designs you could incorporate into a tattoo." He happened to know that everything inked into her curvaceous body was Original Kelsie Cole. "Are you looking to try something new?"

"Nope." She didn't look up. "This is just for fun. I love what I do, McBride, even if it doesn't seem very mature and adult to you."

"Hey." John jumped out of his chair in a shot and clutched Kelsie's chin in his hand. Tilting her head back, he forced her to meet his gaze. Christ, he hardly ever got to touch her, but when he did, she stirred him to hard life in about two damn seconds. Right now, he didn't much care if she saw his stiff cock tenting the crotch of his swim trunks. She would find out about it in one way or another sometime in the next seven days. Living in isolation, in one cabin, didn't leave much room for secrets or hiding.

Kelsie jerked against his hold. "Let go of me." She glared up at him.

John loosened his grip, but not nearly enough to let her slip free. "I'm getting damn sick of you putting words in my mouth for me." His voice dropped to lethally soft, one he used on clients to which he offered one last chance not to screw up before he yanked his money out of their business. "I don't understand what you do, Kelsie, I admit that, but I have never judged it as less than what I do. The next time you get defensive about something innocent I say, or call me McBride when I have already asked you to call me John, I'm gonna stick my tongue down your throat just to shut you up. You decide if you want that the next time you think of something bitchy to throw at me just because you know it'll piss me off."

John let Kelsie go and dove into the water. If he stayed one second longer watching her eyes burn a hole through him, he just might take her right there in the Adirondack chair, witnesses from across the lake and all. ...

 

Copyright Protected Work.
Cameron Dane, Author. Liquid Silver Books, Publisher.

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