Series: Twirled World Ink book 1
Publication date: November 27, 2016
Length: 137 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Welcome to Twirled World Ink where the crazies run the asylum.
The hum of a tattoo machine was Brian “Berzerker” Anderson’s favorite sound in the world. He’d won a coveted spot at Twirled World Ink with a legend in the business, Gib Phelps. Creating beauty with his large, scarred hands was his happy place—the place where he fit in the world. Although, nothing could remain perfect forever, his boyfriend of over a year decided to move on and up without him in tow. He had two choices, return to living with his friends and co-workers or take an offer too tempting to pass up.
Landon Phelps grew up in an unconventional home as the only child to Legendary Tattoo Artist Gib Phelps and mother, Peaches. He always felt a bit out of place when he became a boring accountant instead of following in his parents’ footsteps. Boundaries were in place early on; he didn’t date the employees of Twirled World Ink. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken. Bezerker was his idea of perfection, large, husky and tattooed; the thick, grab-worthy beard was a bonus. So when the boyfriend became the ex, Landon decided it was time to get his man.
With the help of the matchmaking Twirled Crew, can Landon finally get Berzerker to see him as more than a friend and the employer’s son?
There’s a lot to like with this story. In Berzerker you are entering a world of men with interesting names (nicknames) their love for inking and motorcycles, and the fact that they accept they are not everyone’s cup of tea.
What I loved about this book: Berzerker isn’t your average guy in this genre. I don’t get to read a lot of characters that aren’t model beautiful. Berzerker is a husky, hairy, inked up guy. He’s a kinky alpha man with a heart of pure gold. His character is stunning to me. I love that he is who he is. He looks super tough, and physically he is, but there’s an insecurity to him. I love that the author touched on all the facets that make this character who he is.
Landon… well he IS model beautiful. The son of a world renowned tattoo artist that doesn’t have a lick of ink on him. He’s brilliant and he adores Zerk. He’s loved him from a far for many years. He watched Zerk be in a relationship with a man who was dating him just for the shock value. A man who called him ugly. I adore how Landon loves him in this, I didn’t adore his second guessing but that was all too brief and but a blip on the map.
The secondary characters in this are colorful, pun intended, sort of. Their names you might roll your eyes at but this is who they identify as and for that I say, “Wave your freak flag high.” From Trouble to Scary. From Priest to Peaches. The names are a trait of this story. By meeting these characters in this book you get a feel for how this story will play out and the characters so I loved that.
The only complaint I have about this book was the fact I wasn’t always sure who was speaking. In a conversation between Zerk and Landon, often times I wasn’t sure who was saying what. It just wasn’t very clear. This isn’t true throughout the whole book but there were patches weaved in.
I look forward to reading more of this series. It has so many possibilities!
His pardon only lasted until Zerk finished with his first client of the day. That was when the crew smelled blood in the water like sharks at a fucking feeding frenzy.
“What’s this we hear about you living with Landon,” Trouble asked, amused.
He groaned as his four friends lined up with their arms crossed on the half wall and rested chins on their forearms. Trouble, Scary, Priest and Lucky batted their lashes at him, except Scary who just glared at him. For some reason, Scary was super protective of Landon. He figured that was because the rough man started working for Gib and Peaches a decade ago as one of the first artists at Twirled.
“Figured he’d stop slumming and move on to bigger and better things.” Scary didn’t even pose it as a question.
“Yea, thanks, I needed that.”
“Why didn’t you come back to Twirled House? We never rented out your room. Hell, we’re the only ones that can put up with each other.” Trouble stared at him until he felt the need to shift.
“He thought we’d give him shit about the prick kicking him to the curb and finding a prettier man.” Lucky was as eloquent as always. Lucky was affectionately known as the hyper hippie. With his childhood of Radical Honesty, it was a surprise Lucky was as well-adjusted as he appeared. Which didn’t exactly say much for Lucky’s stability. Everyone wanted to kill him within the first five minutes.
“He didn’t find a prettier man or at least I don’t think—” Now wasn’t that depressing. Was it possible that he wasn’t just dumped, but cheated on also? Fucking great, like his pride needed another direct hit.
“How do you know,” Lucky asked.
“You’re just a fucking ray of sunshine.”
“I try. So why don’t you come back?”
“I just need some space to think. It’s not a big deal. Landon’s not home much because of work, so I’ve got plenty of space.”
“Y’all know he’s always had a thing for pretty little Landon right,” Lucky spoke up.
Zerk could’ve knocked the mouthy bastard out. “Man, keep your bullshit to yourself. You really have to learn some things don’t need to be said.”
“I grew up with a house that preferred radical honesty as a parenting method. Why lie about something when the truth might get you just what you fucking want? In this case, the pretty man bent over the nearest surface in your new shared living space.”
Trouble smacked the back of Lucky’s head. “Ignore him, I can’t believe you picked living with Landon. We’re family, man, yea we’d give ya shit, but you know that’s just our way.”
“I know, but—”
“No buts, he wants some alone time with Landon.” Lucky was fucking asking for it today.
“I don’t want alone time with Landon. He’s my friend like he is with the rest of y’all.”
They all snorted and started to wander away. He knew it wasn’t the end. His crew was just in regrouping mode and they’d strike when he least expected it.
It wasn’t like he didn’t notice Landon was an extremely attractive man. Ron was handsome, but Landon was downright gorgeous and completely out of Zerk’s league. Okay, to be honest, Landon never made him feel less than. He was a cuddler and someone who was naturally affectionate. He never hesitated to give someone a hug. Hell, his favorite seat was Zerk’s lap. No one ever seemed to find it strange.
He remembered the day he met Landon. It was a week after he was hired and it was his first day, Zerk nearly shit himself when he got the call that he was joining Twirled. Gib Phelps was a legend, studied under some of the greatest artists to ever hit the scene. Zerk felt like he’d finally made it. Gib and Scary met him the first afternoon, set him up with a station and that’s when Peaches walked in with Landon.
He had this thick wavy hair perfectly styled. Although he’d worn faded jeans and a plain white V-neck t-shirt that showed off smooth pale skin, he looked elegant as fuck. The next thing he’d noticed was the virgin skin. There wasn’t any ink or piercing in sight. Freckles dusted his flesh. Zerk’s hands had itched to touch each tiny mark. Then Gib introduced him and immediately Landon Phelps was off limits.
He spun his chair and looked up at the beautiful drawing framed next to the mirror. It would be Landon’s first tattoo. He’d given Zerk the drawing not long after he started and by silent agreement, no one but Zerk would do it. He was amazed by Landon’s talent although he shouldn’t have been surprised.
It was an abstract, images intermingled to form bodies, a couple in an intimate position, but who they were was unknown. He was sure one was Landon. Something about it was erotic in its innocent appearance. At first glance it was inkblots, like a Rorschach Test yet more refined. He asked at least every couple of weeks was Landon ready and Landon would look at him with a small smile then just say: not yet.
A primitive need to mark his perfect body overwhelmed him. It seemed from the day Landon gave him the drawing it grew and built with a burning intensity.
“Still not letting you ink him,” Trouble’s voice came from behind him.
“Nope, he doesn’t seem ready yet.”
“I don’t think you’ll have to wait much longer.”
“What do you mean,” Zerk asked and spun back around.
“You’re free of Ron. I’ve known Landon forever; we went to school together. He got tons of shit because of his family and friends. Landon is extremely selective when it comes to partners. When he walked into Twirled the day you started I thought he was going to swallow his tongue. You’re exactly his type.”
“I doubt that.”
“I don’t. That future tattoo right there,” Trouble pointed to the frame. “Is his claim. The first true act of intimacy. You may not think so, but the moment that graces his skin you’re his.”
“You’re full of shit.”
“Think what you want, big man, but Landon wants you. If you weren’t so fucked up in the head by shit relationships, you might have seen it earlier.”
“There can’t be anything. Gib would lose his shit.”
“Nope, Gib lets Landon run his own life, always has. Unusual upbringing. Landon announced he was gay when he was five. A girl cousin said she was going to marry Prince Charming one day, he said he was too. Gib and Peaches went with the flow.”
“Gib and Peaches are cool as fuck though.”
“Yes, they are and if you made a play for Landon it wouldn’t even cause a ripple.”
“Landon is gorgeous though. I mean everyone looks like a troll compared to him.”
“Fuck I am, Landon goes out with guys all the time.”
“When’s the last time you saw him dating anyone?”
“I don’t know he was seeing that guy from his office, I think.”
“No, that ended after a few dates. Landon invited him on one of our runs. You were out of town visiting your folks. You should’ve seen the guys face when he pulled up to see all of us. When Landon told him to hop on the back of his bike, you would’ve thought Landon asked him to jump in a pit of vipers. He left the man standing beside his Mercedes and roared away with the rest of us.
“Landon’s professional life isn’t going to ever mesh with his personal one. Just because he doesn’t look like one of us, he is and existing in the void between them is killing his spirit. Take a chance, Zerk. Everyone knows you want Landon and he wants you; you just have to get over this bullshit in your head.” Trouble smacked his shoulder and headed to his own station to get ready for an appointment.
Zerk shook his head and wondered if Trouble was right. Landon did take the opportunity to take a seat on his lap before he did it with anyone else.
Ron came by the shop one day to find them all sitting around, Landon leaning back against his chest. Landon instantly vacated to allow Ron to take his place, but the man snarled his nose. Had Ron ever touched him just because outside the bedroom? Even in the beginning of their relationship Ron had frowned on Zerk touching him. Hell, he tried to bend Ron over the kitchen table one day and everything went to hell after that.
His high sex drive turned into a major point of contention between them, also his fetish for marking his partners. The very few bite marks and bruises Zerk left had earned him disgust and nights on the couch. Fuck, he was pathetic, he should have known Ron and him were going nowhere. He dropped his head back and heavily sighed.
“Shut up. Gloating isn’t attractive.” He growled but it only made Trouble cackle and look more smug than he normally did.“Gloating is appropriate when I’m right.”
About the Author
By day, J.M. is an introverted cook hiding out in her kitchen in the middle of nowhere Ohio, by night and any free time she may have, she is a writer of mainly LGBTQ Fiction and Erotica. Although. she's equal opportunity when it comes to telling a story, she'll even write a bit of straight erotic romance when the mood strikes.
She has been writing for years in old notebooks. At the age of eight, she wrote the worst poem in the history of poetry, but it sparked her love for writing. She reads too much and loves to get lost in other worlds and her favorite stories have to include laughter and having the reader doing at least one double take. Thirty-something, forever restless she uses her stories to ground herself, and find her place of peace.
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