Book: Permanent Ink
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Publication Date: August 7, 2017
Length: 249 pages
Reviewed by Erin
At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.
Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.
Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.
Hi! This is Piper Vaughn and Avon Gale and we're here today to talk about our sexy new contemporary romance, Permanent Ink, in which the worlds of street art and tattooing collide when a silver-fox tattoo artist falls for his much younger apprentice - who also happens to be his best friend's son.
It's such a satisfying feeling when a book you've been anticipating for months lives up to and then exceeds all of your expectations. To say that I was excited about Permanent Ink by the awesome duo of Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn is like saying Texas is a little warm in the summer. Talk about understatement! Then I saw the cover and ooohhh boy! I mean ... seriously, I could just stare at that cover for hours or more like days! Yum. Between that and the blurb and the little teasers Avon and Piper peppered on Twitter I couldn't wait to get my hands on Permanent Ink.
So, let's start with the characters. When we're first introduced to Poe Montgomery he definitely doesn't give best impression. Of course we're seeing him through his father's words as he vents his frustration to his best friend, Jericho, but it's enough to give a picture. A twenty-three year old who's kind of directionless, has a bit of an attitude problem, and has a penchant for getting into trouble. Not SERIOUS trouble, just the kind that's enough to drive any parent crazy with worry and annoyance, and racking up legal bills. Through this conversation, Jericho decides he's going to pay it forward and give the kid a chance to work then apprentice at his tattoo shop. The idea isn't met with jumpy claps from Poe, but seeing as how he doesn't really have any other prospects, or much of a choice as far as his father, Landon, is concerned, he walks into Permanent Ink with a chip on his shoulder and an immediate attraction to silver fox, Jericho McAslan.
Hmmmm, Jericho! He's just awesome. Snarky and gruff and with his gray hair and tattoos, it's really not any wonder Poe wants him. But there's more to this guy than a hot body and a gorgeous face. He's strict, but fair. He's willing to listen to Poe and is genuinely interested in talking with him as an equal, not as a drill instructor. It really doesn't take long for Poe's attraction to be reciprocated, especially when Poe begins to settle down and focus. Their difference in age isn't the biggest roadblock to Jericho being with Poe, in fact he doesn't mind that much at all, it's the fact that he's best friends with Poe's dad, Landon. Though Jericho being the stand up guy he is, he doesn't hide his relationship (for long) and admits to Landon his feelings for Poe.
There's SO much to enjoy about Permanent Ink. The mild daddy kink (I admit to wishing there was a bit more of this, but loved what was here) is done well and of course it's hotter than sin. I'm a HUGE fan of age gaps so this ticked my button big time. I really appreciate that Jericho and Poe didn't jump right into bed with one another. The slow burn was so yummy and it made their connection even more believable to me because it's based on more than just lust. I loved the artistry portrayed of both graffiti and tattoos. Some might not see it as such, but I'm firmly in the camp that it is, especially after Poe so eloquently and passionately describes what graffiti means to him. The sex, when we get there, is wickedly hot and intense, and as much about emotions and feelings as the pure eroticism of the act itself. I really appreciated how much Poe grows from the beginning of the book until the end. Sure, a lot has to do with Jericho's influence, but it's also Poe discovering something he loves to do and a career he can see himself excelling at for years to come.
It’d been three weeks since Poe had started, and I wasn’t overly impressed. Granted, he showed up mostly on time and wasn’t overtly rude, but there was this . . . distractedness about him, a disinterest, that drove me fucking batshit.
I didn’t expect him to be so into working the front desk that he showed up early to make us all fucking coffee or whatever. But I did expect that he’d sound a little bit less bored when he had to deal with the customers. Or the other employees. Or me.
This place was my pride and joy, and I knew it wasn’t fair to assume my employees would feel the same way. But I did expect at least some investment in the success of the place from the artists and the piercers, and for the most part, I got it.
The front desk position, though, that was another fucking story.
The thing about it was, most people who took the desk job were people who thought it would be cool to hang out in a tattoo shop all day. Either they were so busy trying to hang with the artists and seem cool as fuck that they forgot they were supposed to be working, or they assumed no one would care if they went outside and smoked every two minutes. The normal job duties—answering the phone, scheduling appointments, filing, all that shit—seemed to fall by the wayside. I didn’t know how I kept hiring people who couldn’t understand that this was a business that required a dependable staff to stay open—and therefore, pay their salary—but I did.
It seemed as if maybe Poe was no different than the others. Granted, he didn’t no-show like that dick Mikey, and as far as I knew, he wasn’t meeting girls after hours and promising piercings for sexual favors. Maybe I shouldn’t have expected anything more. Just because the kid liked art didn’t mean he gave a shit about tattooing. Maybe he was one of those kids who rebelled by not getting tattooed, since his dad was covered in ink and Poe didn’t have a single one—that I could see, anyway.
I’d known Landon for four years, and there wasn’t much I could see of my friend in his son. Maybe there was some physical resemblance around the eyes, and possibly the mouth—it was hard since Poe was clean-shaven and I couldn’t imagine Landon Montgomery without that beard—but he had freckles that I was pretty sure must have come from his mother. His hair was always messy and hanging in his face, and while he didn’t have tattoos, he did have a lip ring.
It looked like a shit-job piercing too. If he didn’t fuck up my desk, I might offer to let Roxanne fix it for him.
It was nearly nine thirty on a Friday night, and things were picking up. We’d be busy until midnight, and maybe be in the shop until one or later if any of the others’ clients ran a little longer. I’d finished up with a girl who’d had me fix a terrible tattoo on her rib cage that was supposed to say Bittersweet Symphony, but was spelled Bitterswett Sympony instead. It’d taken me three sessions to completely get rid of it by turning it into climbing ivy and lush flowers, but it looked cool as hell when I was done. I took a picture, she gave me a hug, and I thought there were tears in her eyes as she examined the finished product in the full-length mirror.
Never doubt that art can change your fucking life. Or that you should use a goddamn spell-check program before you let someone near you with a fucking tattoo machine.
My client left, happy and bandaged, and I went into the break room to take a few moments before my next appointment, who was running late. I managed to scarf down the rest of my Jimmy John’s sandwich, drink some water, and answer a few emails before realizing how late my next client was. Frowning, I went out front into the reception area. Poe was lounging in the chair, long-limbs spread out and his attention on the computer. He was clicking through what looked to be photographs of graffiti. I cleared my throat, and instead of clicking off the non-work-related material like any sensible person when their boss was looming over their shoulder, Poe just glanced up at me.
“Can you give my appointment a call and see if they’re running late? It’s ten fifteen.”
“Oh.” Poe nodded toward the lobby area, where a girl was playing on her phone and stealing looks up at us. “That’s her. Sorry. I forgot to tell you she was here.”
“Great.” I glanced at the messy desk for the paperwork that I somehow knew wouldn’t be where it should be. If it was even filled out. “You can stick around until we’re done, then.”
For the first time, Poe looked at me with something more than boredom. It was irritation. “Sure.” He was obviously trying to sound like he didn’t care, but I could tell he probably had plans. Which, seeing as how we closed late on the weekends, he shouldn’t. No one needed to go out after one in the morning unless they were up to no fucking good.
“Oh, uh.” Poe shifted around and grabbed a clipboard. Instead of handing it to me, he said, “Hey, Kristen? I forgot you needed to fill this out.”
Kristen got up and headed to the counter, reaching out for the clipboard. I neatly intercepted it. “You can fill it out in the chair,” I said, feeling bad that she’d probably been here well before her appointment. “Give your ID to Poe so he can photocopy it, and we’ll get started.”
Kristen’s tattoo was also a fix, but it wasn’t nearly as difficult. It was a Chinese character that she’d thought meant something like “live life to the fullest” but had found out from her college roommate—a native speaker—meant nothing of the sort. I was curious what it really did mean, but when I asked, she blushed and said it was “basically nonsense.”
Like I said. Don’t let anyone at you with a tattoo machine if you don’t know what the fuck you’re putting on your body.
Kristen’s tattoo was fairly easy to cover up, and it took me very little time to change it from her nonsense Chinese into a fox and send her on her merry way. Pete was getting into a very loud argument with his client—a regular—about Doctor Who of all things. I had to shake my head. Pete had a TARDIS tattoo on his back. He was intense about Doctor Who, and I knew better than to try to get involved in that conversation.
Roxanne had left after giving a guy a nipple piercing and then waiting patiently for him to stop throwing up before he decided not to do the other one. I heard Poe talking in the lobby, and wondered if there was another client he’d forgotten to tell anyone about.
“Yeah, yeah, I gotcha,” Poe was saying, as I rounded the corner and stood out of his sightline. He was on the phone—the work phone, praise be to whoever the patron saint of unmotivated millennials was—and I could see him writing something on a pad of paper. “That would look pretty cool, but I gotta tell you, a lot of people come in here and they don’t realize that, like, if they want the tattoo not to look like shit, it’s gotta be bigger than they think they want.”
My eyebrows rose, though if you spent two days in a tattoo shop, you’d learn that. “I didn’t think it would be that big,” was about as common as “I didn’t think it would be that expensive.”
“I mean, if you’re wanting to do a skull like that, you could probably do something a little smaller if you don’t mind it being more stylized.”
That was when I realized that Poe wasn’t writing—he was drawing, and nodding along while he was talking. “Yeah, when do you want to come in? I can show you.” A pause. “Consults are usually from noon to one, but it depends on who you’re wanting to get in with. Jericho’s booked until, like, the end of time.” Another pause. “Oh, uh, no, I’m not— I just work the desk. I don’t do tattoos or anything. I can leave a drawing so you can see it, but you want to talk to an actual artist about getting it done.”
I waited out of sight until Poe finished scheduling the client, then walked around the corner. Some of my earlier irritation at him had faded. “‘The end of time’?”
Poe’s expression was a little sheepish. “Dude, seriously, your books are, like, stupid full. You must be good.”
I crossed my arms over my chest and didn’t respond to that. “What did she want?” I assumed it’d been a girl on the phone. Something about the way his voice sounded. Interested. Engaged.
“He,” said Poe. He wouldn’t meet my eyes. “Uh. He wanted a skull but, like, here?” He held up his hand and showed the spot between his thumb and index finger. “It sounded like he wanted a sugar skull, with all this detail. So I suggested something more stylized.”
I glanced down at the desk, and he was trying to hide the pad with the drawing he’d made from me. I wondered why. “Show me.”
Part of me expected him to argue, but maybe the tone of my voice—which clearly suggested he not do that—convinced him otherwise. For the first time, he seemed almost nervous as he pushed the paper over at me.
It wasn’t an earth-shattering drawing, but it was a nice rendition of a stylized skull that would fit in the specified area and not end up a hot mess. “Not bad, kid.”
I thought he almost—almost—smiled. I noticed there were other sketches on the paper too. There was a fox, similar to the one I’d given Kristen. And a lightning rod, which was the tattoo Pete was giving his wrong-about-Doctor-Who client.
Poe noticed me inspecting his other drawings and flushed. “I heard you guys with the clients. I . . . you know.” He shrugged, his muscles tight.
“Look at me.” I waited for him to do it, and took a bit of pleasure in the way his eyes finally darted to mine, like he couldn’t help but do what I said. Good. It made me a lot happier when people did that, especially when I was in charge of them.
That gave me a thought I definitely didn’t need to be having—either at work, or about my best friend’s punk-ass son. But Poe’s sulky mouth, the way he was staring up at me . . . sue me, I was gay, he was hot, and I bet my dick would shut him up nice and—
The fuck, man? Landon’s kid. Keep your brain out of your pants.
About The Authors
About Avon Gale
Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal Midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert, and will never say no to candy.
At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.
Connect with Avon:
- Website: www.avongalewrites.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/avongalewrites
- Twitter: @avongalewrites
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/avongalewrites/
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/avongale/
About Piper Vaughn
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, sci-fi, she loves them all (and has an over-two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She’s an avid tea drinker, a hockey fanatic, a vintage typewriter collector, and loves to travel so much she has “wanderlust” tattooed on her ankle and dozens of countries on her bucket list. Recently, she discovered the world of nail art and realized she’s pretty handy with a paintbrush—as long as it’s a miniature one.
As a bisexual and Latinx person, Piper takes great pride in her heritage. She grew up in an ethnically diverse neighborhood and strives to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. She currently resides in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband, son, and a cat that has Piper wrapped around her little paw. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life … even if it’s only in a book.
Connect with Piper:
- Website: http://pipervaughn.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pipervaughn
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/pipervaughn
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pipervaughn7/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/piper.vaughn/
To celebrate the release of Permanent Ink, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and a “Poe” coffee mug! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 12, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!