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Authors: Carrie Ann Ryan

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Ink Reunited

BOOK: Ink Reunited
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Ink Reunited

A Midnight Ink and Montgomery Ink
Novella

 

By Carrie Ann Ryan

 

 

Ink Reunited

A Midnight Ink and Montgomery Ink Novella

By: Carrie Ann Ryan

Published by Fated Desires Publishing, LLC.

© 2014 Carrie Ann Ryan

ISBN: 978-1-62322-116-4

Cover Art by Scott Carpenter

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like
to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for
each person or use proper retail channels to lend a copy. If you’re reading
this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only,
then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the
hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text,
please contact the publisher at [email protected]  

All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the
author’s imagination.

 

 

Ink Reunited

 

From the streets of New
Orleans and the heat of Midnight Ink, comes the happy ever after for a
character whose story was begged to be told.

 

Sassy Bordeaux is the Midnight Ink
receptionist, honorary godmother, best friend to many, and matchmaker expert.  In
the past two months, she's watched eight couples fall in love, make mistakes,
and find their happy endings. Though she might have had hand in each of those,
she's yet to find the peace she's desired. When the men from her past come into
Midnight Ink, she's forced to face what she left behind and what could happen
if she lets go of her pain and finds a future she deserves.

 

Rafe Chavez and Ian Steele remember
their time with Sassy like it was yesterday, yet have worked hard to move on. 
Or at least try to. Now they're both back in New Orleans for the woman they
loved and for the connection they shared with each other. It will take more
than the usual groveling, pleading and begging for these three to overcome
their history, but once they take that step, the streets of New Orleans will
never be the same.

.

Dedication

 

To the readers of
Midnight Ink: You asked for Sassy so you get her. Scars and all.

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

This book had never been planned.
Sassy was always the backbone of Midnight Ink for us authors, but only few knew
who she really was. When I first decided to make her up and she found her way
into each and every Midnight Ink novella, I had no idea of the response she
would receive.

Sassy is one of a kind and to write
her story was a journey in itself. I had always known where Sassy had come from
but I never knew I would grow so close to her.

Thank you to the ladies of Midnight
Ink and the readers who fell in love with Sassy…

You made her dreams come true…as
well as my own.

Chapter One

 

 

“So, should I get a butterfly
on my butt or a cobra on my hip?”

Sassy Bordeaux grinned at the just-turned-eighteen
years old high school senior, and tapped her finger with a deliciously
apple-red colored nail on her chin. The numerous bangles that adorned her
wrists, covering yet still showing peeks of some of the tattoos she had on her
forearms, jingled together with the movement. The sound mixed in with the echoes
of motorized needles, laughter, music, and chatting within the shop.

The girl in front of her might
have been eighteen, but she still had the baby face of a girl still growing.
Normally, Sassy wouldn’t have stepped in and told anyone that they weren’t
ready for a tattoo, but today she needed to step in.

Oh, who the hell was she kidding?

Sassy
always
stepped in
and told it like it was. There was no use lying only to make a few bucks for
the shop while the client ended up leaving with ink they really didn’t want—or
ink that didn’t fit who they were—merely who they thought they should be.

She might have been the
Midnight Ink receptionist and while most people on the outside thought her job
was to make coffee and appointments, she and the crew knew better. She was the
first line of defense for the artists’ work and the clients’ canvas.

It was a job she took
seriously.

Even if she seemed like the
crazy lady from the streets of New Orleans most days. That misperception by
others led her to freedom.

Everyone underestimated Sassy.

Even Sassy underestimated herself
sometimes.

Okay, totally the wrong
direction for her thoughts.

Pushing away memories she’d
rather not think about ever again, she placed her hand on top of the girl’s hand
and shook her head.

“Honey, is this really what
you want?” she asked, lowering her voice, already smooth as honey, to a near-whisper.

The girl blinked up at her.
“Uh yeah? I mean. I’m here aren’t I?”

Sassy flipped her hair over
her shoulder, the long brown waves tumbled down her back. Today, she had bright
blue streaks in it thanks to the colored hair chalk she used. She liked
changing it up daily and sometimes would change the color in the middle of the
work day just to make people think twice.

The customers who didn’t know
her—and some who did—thought she was a little too crazy for them so she fed the
fantasy and did nothing to change their minds.

Plus, the colors freaking
rocked.

“What’s your name, sugar?” she
asked as she led the girl to one of the small couches they had in the guest
area of Midnight Ink.

“Hannah. And you’re Sassy.
I’ve heard about you.”

From the odd look on Hannah’s
face, Sassy wasn’t sure she wanted to know exactly what the girl had heard.
There were a lot of stories as to how she’d come to work at Midnight Ink.
Between being a spy, a lost princess, and a former model who lost her way due to
drugs, Sassy had heard just about everything.

It wasn’t her fault the
stories kept circulating. Okay, maybe it was considering she hadn’t discredited
any of them, nor had she told the truth as to where she’d come from.

No one needed to know that,
and the fiction was more exciting than fact anyway.

Sassy sank into the cushions
of the couch she’d picked out for the shop and held back a sigh. Damn, she
loved this couch. It was so plush yet didn’t look it. It fit the look of
Midnight Ink with its cream softness yet strong angles. The rest of the place
had wood floors and dark black chairs, tables, and stools that gleamed under
the warm lighting. The little reception area where Sassy could speak with
clients, as well as have the artists relax was her zone and where her own magic
happened.

At least that’s what she
hoped
would happen in this case.

“So, Hannah, you’ve heard a
lot about me?” Sassy asked, her tone casual. She needed to get out of her head
and into this girl’s. What the hell was wrong with her today?

Hannah rolled her eyes then
bit her lip, as if she’d thought better of the action. “Well, you’re…
The
Sassy. Everyone knows about you and your connection to Midnight Ink.”

Sassy held back a snort at “
The
Sassy”. Apparently her name was a title as well as who she was. She was special
like that.

“Well, I am
The
Sassy,
but that’s not the important thing, is it, honey?” At Hannah’s blank stare
Sassy had to hold herself back from using small words. Damn, this girl was young.
“Why do you want that tattoo?”

“Because I’m eighteen and it’s
my right as an adult.” Hannah stuck out her lip in a pout that clearly said her
words were a lie—at least the latter half.

An adult? Jesus, they made
them younger and younger these days. Okay, so Sassy was only thirty-two, a baby
in some respects but she’d seen enough to qualify her as more of an adult than
this squeaky-clean teen.

“Okay, yes, ink is your right
now that you’re eighteen, honey. You need to remember, though, that ink is for
life. It’s not something to take for granted. Yes, a cobra on your hip would
look kick-ass, in fact, I’ve seen a few that wrap around so beautifully, it’s a
work of art onto itself. Hannah, baby, if you get that though, it needs to mean
something beyond wanting to prove you’re older than what others think of you.”

From the guilty look on
Hannah’s face, Sassy had hit the true reason for the girl’s bout of rebellion.

No use stopping now since
there wasn’t a chance in hell any of the artists would lay ink on this virgin
skin today. Hannah clearly wasn’t ready and Midnight Ink cared about things
like that. It’s what made them who they were.

“Honey, go home and think
about if this is truly what you want.”

“But I want a tattoo,” Hannah
mumbled.

Sassy nodded. “Yes, I believe
that you do, and I think that anything we put on you will look brilliant. Our
artists rock, sugar, and they’ll make sure you look fantastic, but right now?
No, honey, that’s not something you need. Wait until you’re ready to get one
for
you
and not what you think you need for
them
.”

The girl let out a breath and
ran a hand over her face. “I guess it was pretty stupid coming in here without
an idea.”

Sassy reached around and gave
Hannah a one-armed hug. “No, honey. Actually, coming into Midnight Ink is the
smartest thing you could have done. Somewhere else might not have listened to
what you
needed
rather than what you said you
wanted
.”

Hannah grinned up at her,
looking much younger than her eighteen years if that was possible. “I guess
that’s why they call you
The
Sassy. You know all.”

Sassy threw her head back and
laughed. “Oh, I only wish I did, but it’s fun pretending I do. Now let’s get
you a card just in case you decide to come back with a clear picture. When you
do, we’ll find you an artist, but I think Shep or Rosie would work for you.”

Hannah ducked her head and
blushed. “Shep’s the really hot guy with the tattoos on his arms and shoulder
in the corner right?”

Sassy held back a laugh and
looked in the corner to where Shep was clearly holding back a laugh of his own.
Apparently, he had ears like a freaking cat.

“Yes, darling, that’s Shep.
He’s taken, but it’s still nice to look and dream.”

Caliph, the big bruiser of an
artist and Shep’s best friend, belted out a laugh and Hannah blushed even
harder. Sassy glared at the man who smiled unrepentant, then let Hannah outside
with a clear conscience.

She glided over to Caliph’s
station, the sway in her hips making her look like she was prowling even when
she wasn’t and waved her finger in her friend’s face.

“I can’t believe you laughed
at her! She’s just a teenage girl with a crush.”

Caliph bowed his head and had
the decency to look a little ashamed. A little. “Sorry, Sass. It was the idea
of
you
fantasizing about dear old Shep that got me laughing, not the
little girl who needed more time to think about her ink.”

Sassy let out a breath then
smacked his shoulder. “I would have thought since you found Jennifer you
wouldn’t be such a clueless brute when it came to girls.”

“Hey, give him a break, Sass,”
Shep put in as he sidled up to them both. “He didn’t mean anything by it and
Hannah was smiling when she walked out of here. Why are you acting like it was
bigger than it was?”

Sassy blinked and took a step
back. Well, hell, she
was
blowing it out of proportion. All of Midnight
Ink laughed and joked around. It was just what they did. They were a family and
ribbed each other often. What the hell was wrong with her? And why had she
asked that question more than once in such a short period of time?

Maybe she needed a break.

Or a man.

Nope. Not gonna think about
that last one.

She patted Caliph’s cheek so
he would bend down. When he did so, she placed a small kiss on each one then
sighed. “I’m sorry, hon. I think I just need a nap.”

Or to get laid.

Stop it, Sassy.

Shep narrowed his eyes at her
and she knew he didn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth, but she
ignored it. Her friends, as much as she loved them, didn’t need to know
everything about her.

“You should go home, Sass,”
Shep put in. “We aren’t that busy and if you’re saying you need the rest, then
take it.” He pulled her into a hug and she inhaled his spicy scent that did
nothing for her other than remind her that he was family. “We love you, babe.
You’ve taken care of us so now it’s time to take care of yourself.”

Sassy pulled back and pasted a
smile on her face. Damn it. She knew that, yet the whole idea of taking care of
herself was the reason she was in this rut.

Okay, so
that
was what
was wrong with her.

“Shep, sugar, you don’t need
to worry about Sassy.”

He grinned, his eyes dancing
at her use of third person—exactly what she’d hoped for.

“Every time you talk about
yourself in third person you freak me out. You know that right?”

Sassy nodded, her hair falling
over her shoulders again. She never could make it do what she wanted most days.
It seemed to like being even more free than she did. “That’s why I do it, Shep
dear. Now get to work on that stencil of yours. And you, Caliph, you left
someone sleeping on your bench. How they could fall asleep getting a tattoo,
I’ll never know.”

The big man grinned, then
leaned down to kiss her cheek. “My hands are just that talented.” He wiggled
his brows and Shep made gagging sounds from beside her.

Boys.

They never grew up, even when one
of them was rapidly approaching the big four-oh.

“You are a menace, but I’m
glad Jennifer has you. Now get back to work. Shep? Don’t forget that you need
to bring in Shea for her next tattoo.”

Shep smiled the smile that
told everyone within a three block radius that he was in total love with the
blue eyed woman who needed more ink. “I will, don’t worry. She can’t have
anything on her arms or lower legs because of work—at least for now—but she’s
thinking of something for her other hip.”

Shea met Shep within Midnight
Ink when she had wanted a tattoo, and because fate was awesome like that, the
two had fallen for each other in the process.

In fact, it seemed like love
was in the air at Midnight Ink. It had only been a month or so since the last
of the love birds had found their match. All in all, eight couples—well, a
triad in Eli’s case—had fallen in love since the beginning of the year.

Sassy liked to think she had a
hand in each of those.

Well, if she was counting,
then yes, she’d helped each couple stagger through the murky waters of falling
in love. After all, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. The best kind of love
and happiness came after the parts where the couple had to work for it and find
their way. Each of the couples who found love at Midnight Ink had been through
their own unique forms of torture and now looked forward to bright futures and
happy endings.

It didn’t mean that Sassy
would get hers though.

She closed her eyes and took a
deep breath through her nose.

No, she wouldn’t think about
that.

Wouldn’t think about
them
.

She hadn’t thought about her
past and those she’d left behind for so long that it was now just a distant
memory. Sure, the taste of bitterness and regret still settled on her tongue
once in a while, but it didn’t rule her life, didn’t rule her choices.

At least that’s what she told
herself.

With a shake of her head, she
went to her station and made coffee. Sassy didn’t make the usual coffee. Oh,
no. She had a gift with it and those at Midnight Ink knew it. In a city filled
with the most decadent coffees, Sassy could brew with the best of them.

See? That was something light
and airy to think about. What else could she think of that had nothing to do
with pain and regret?

Maybe she needed more ink.

She looked down at the spirals
and flowers that covered her arms and smiled. Yes. More ink was definitely the
way to go. She had a few pieces on her back and sides as well, and knew she had
plenty of places for more.

Who would ink her though?

It had been her goal to get
each of the Midnight Ink crew to lay ink on her and so far, she’d gotten everyone
at least once. Rosie had done a couple sessions with her. As the woman was her
best friend, it only made sense.

Maybe she’d get Shep to work
on her hip. The man knew exactly what to do with curves when it came to ink.
She grinned as she thought of Shea. Okay, so maybe the man knew what to do with
curves in other ways too, but that wasn’t something she needed to think about.

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