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cover77067-mediumThe Fractured Heart

A Second Circle Tattoos Novel

by Scarlett Cole

All things, when placed under pressure, eventually break or leave a mark.

Tattoo artist Brody “Cujo” Matthews knows how to keep things simple. In life and in love. Abandoned as a child by a mother who refused to stick around to raise three boys she didn’t want, he’s intent on staying clear of complicated women. The only things complicated in Cujo’s life are the killer tattoos he designs and inks. That all changes when he’s asked to help organize his best friend Trent’s engagement party, which means working with Trent’s fiancée’s best friend, Drea, the definition of high maintenance and sizzling curves. And the one woman he doesn’t want to walk away from.

Andrea “Drea” Caron is broke and tired. After years of caring for her ailing mom, she’s at the end of her rope trying to manage the piling medical bills, two jobs, and a life placed on hold. She certainly doesn’t need the added frustration of a sexy playboy tattoo artist messing up her best friend’s engagement party or her carefully balanced life. But when Drea witnesses the abduction of a woman from the café she works at, she can’t help but turn to Cujo who’s determined to prove to Drea that he’s someone she can count on forever…but as they attempt to bring the truth to light, someone is working to bring that forever to a sudden, deadly halt.

I really shouldn’t be surprised at how much I loved this one – The Strongest Steel was one of my favorite books from last year (and I wasn’t the only one because it was a Best Debut Goodreads Author 2015 Finalist).  And once again she knocks it out of the park.

Poor Drea has not had a great decade.  She’s had to take on a lot all by herself, starting when she’s just a teenager, while dealing with a mother who has spent years treating her horribly.  It’s caused her to be prickly and defensive and isolated, but she’s also very strong to be able to do it all.  Unfortunately she needs to learn that sometimes you need someone to lean on.  Once Cujo sees beyond her armor, he wants to be that person … and it scares him.  His own history has made him swear off relationships, but Drea has him reconsidering.

The relationship that develops between them is wondrous– the ups and downs are just about perfect.  Cole makes it very realistic and I totally get them every step of the way.  Both of them come into it with baggage, some much more obvious than others, but they manage to figure things out and it is so great to see.

I will say that the suspense portion wasn’t as fantastic as it was in the first book, however the real focus is on Cujo and Drea (much as it should be).  Because of how Drea has had to stand on her own for so long, she’s hesitant to let the mystery go.  I would have liked her to be a little more cautious with the danger involved, but I kinda can see why she wouldn’t be.

Just like with the first book, the highs and lows between Drea and Cujo make this book an absolutely fabulous ride.  I definitely can’t wait to see what Cole has for us in book 3.


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