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Tattooing might have once been Liam’s passion, but he left it all behind along with ugly memories when he went to college. When his uncle’s health fails, Liam must come home at last to say his goodbyes. His days are spent at the hospice, leaving his nights to rake over the past. To fill those empty hours, he takes a job at Great Sin Ink. The close knit friendship of the workers there both intrigues and shakes Liam, who has spent the last four years keeping everyone at arm’s length. Neither Deb, the no-nonsense piercer, nor Goose, a manic tattoo artist, will let Liam get away with his isolationist ways for long.
If it were just those two, Liam might have stood a chance — but there’s also Ace, the owner of Great Sin. He hires Liam despite a thin resume, and that is a kindness Liam can’t forget. The two start up a tentative friendship, learning about each other as the summer days melt into each other. Slowly, Liam reveals a tender heart underneath the wall of quotes he uses to keep everyone out. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stand still, and both Liam and Ace have hard struggles before them that might break them up before they can even get together.
Book. I ♥ you.
Once in a while you find a book that ‘speaks’ to you, that just fits every single thing you love from a story, and you feel like you have been granted a privilege of sharing several hours of your life with the characters.
For me, this book is one of them. This is MY kind of book.
It’s about friendship and family-by-choice … how sometimes, the people you consider as your family are not the one you are born into. That was what happened to Liam. Coming home to say goodbye to his uncle – not even his biological uncle; Gene took care of Liam when he was ten years old, being married to Liam’s aunt – Liam found a job at Great Sin Ink and ended up with friends for life.
This was the kind of story that didn’t have big drama or strong emotions. It didn’t have an exotic setting or supernatural elements. It was an everyday kind of story – which made it such a comfort read. It didn’t mean that the story was dull. On the contrary, the characters have their own colorful background that made the story so appealing.
Liam was smart, he was good with his art, and he could quote ‘dead white guys’ in everyday conversation, although Liam also had an aura of sadness with him. Then there was Ace, the owner of Great Sin Ink, an ex-military who has a flair to save strays (he even saved spiders!). Goose, a happy-go-lucky guy who can ‘read’ people like a pro and has been pining over Frankie, the bartender. Then Deb, the only female employee, who just rocked my world with her non-sense attitude. Even the ‘secondary’ characters were intriguing in their own way (my favorites were Frankie and Gene). I loved every single one of them.
That was the beauty of it. Beyond the grounded and what-felt-like an ordinary story, there was something way deeper about the characters and how they came together. They all had their stories to tell and it was all gracefully intertwined.
This book also managed to make me cry. I knew what was coming ahead of time but still when it happened, I just couldn’t stop the tears. Oh, yes, all out tears and snot and sobbing heavily. Trust me, it wasn’t pretty.
The story was wrapped rather rushed, though. Yes there was an epilogue … which acted quite nicely to inform myself as a reader, about the life of these characters. However, I did wish for a couple of more chapters, especially because I wanted to read how Frankie finally accepted Goose. I also noticed a few mistakes (like wrong character’s name: “Gertrude” when it had been “Gretchen”) although it didn’t reduce my enjoyment.
In the end, this is the kind of story that I cherish and definitely one of my personal favorites so far this year. I just hope that this review has done the book justice because I sure want more people to read this one and hope to have the same comfortable experience afterwards. Just a warning for the smut-lover, this has little on-page sex. So it might be a problem for you, if that is what you’re expecting from an MM romance…
PS: I also loved how Ms. Sloane made the difference of height between Liam and Ace (Liam was 6’3” and Ace was only 5’4”). I know it was a small detail, but it was a detail that I appreciated.