Ink Slapped by A.M. Jones
The heart wants what the heart wants—a concept that free-spirited author T.M. Dabney, never understands until she lays eyes on her new cover model, Eli.
Eli Gregor, a struggling musician and mechanic, thinks he knows the true meaning of heartbreak—that is until he accepts a business venture with the alluring Taylor Dabney. With her help, he pieces his life back together when his dreams dangle within reach and once again everything falls apart. And his success comes with a price he doesn’t want to pay.
Caught between better judgment and desire, they find themselves at a crossroads—should they make the best decision for their careers or give in to their undeniable connection?
A torrid tale that weaves humor, drama, and sexual tension, Ink Slapped will leave you reeling and wanting more.
*Ink Slapped contains explicit language and sexual content.*
“When are you going to dress me like a Viking and take pictures of me fondling a half-naked woman?”
Her eyes widen for a split second before she bursts into laughter. The sound draws eyes our way, but she’s oblivious. “Oh, that would be torturous for you, I’m sure.”
“It would be. I’m not a PDA kind of guy.”
She shakes her head. “It’s not romance. It’s apocalyptic. I can obscure your face if you don’t want it shown.” She pulls things out of her messenger bag and flips open a sketchbook. “This is my vision for the cover.”
It’s a simple sketch of the pose and lighting. I realize with amazement the art drawings on her website are of her own making. She knows what she wants for the book cover. I study the weapons and blood, and of course, more dead bodies. “Where will you get dead bodies?”
She laughs again. “I have stock on reserve.” She hands me a stack of books. Her books. “Like this.” I make a show of considering each one, like they haven’t been burned into my brain in the past twenty-four hours. “They’re demons who appear human.” Excitement shines in her eyes. She grips her beer glass, but it’s empty. Mine is, too.
So, we get more.
Two hours and several beers later, more people pile in the bar. She stops talking and leans away. “I must bore you.” She isn’t. Her passion makes me want to write my own demon story. The more she drinks, the more animated she becomes. Her hand gestures are comical.
I’ve also studied her tattoos when she doesn’t notice because staring outright would be rude. Once I get past the fact they cover her, the artwork is stunning. Some kind of flower runs the length of her arms in different shades of color. Different tints of green weave in and out, making leaves and curly vine things. Then I notice the tattoos are stages of flower decomposition. They’re vibrant and alive near her shoulders, but by the time the tattoo reaches her wrist, the flowers have wilted and died, leaving behind withered leaves, dead vines, and branches. It’s… odd and makes me wonder why she chose to have them dying.
I lean forward, place my elbows on the table, and meet her gaze. “I find you refreshing.”
Her mouth pops open a little as if she’s not sure what to say. Biting her lip, her gaze darts around before she pushes the stack of books to me. “Those are yours.”
“Don’t these cost you money?”
“Yes, but I’m giving them to you.” She removes a cigarette from a pack and lights it, blowing smoke into the haziness of the bar. I’ve never seen a real live 1970s smoking ad before, punk rock edition. The ones where tobacco companies give smoking major sex appeal. She should be getting paid the bucks right now and she doesn’t even know it.
Some emotion wiggles its way into me. Despite everything that’s happened lately, and as much as I shouldn’t, I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.
“You should tell me to fuck off.” I'm a little disheartened by my warning. Not sure why I tell her so.
She returns my stare, searching my face before her gaze lands on my guitar case. “Not a chance. I need you.”
I sit back and twirl my beer on the table, trying to remember the last time someone said they needed me. Nothing comes to mind. “You need me?”
She nods. “I’d like to write full time. This could be an opportunity to market to a wider audience. Build my platform.”
“At least you have goals.” I don’t even know what mine are anymore.
The slight smile on her face beckons me to lean forward. “And maybe one day I’ll write something I feel good enough about to snag me an agent.”
I remember the portfolio on her site, which is why I suggested we trade services, but now suspicion weighs on me again. “Why do you think I can help you?”
I laugh when she gestures as if I have huge tits. She laughs, too. Although it’s a humorless, nervous laugh. “Your physical appearance might attract a broader female audience, as much as I hate to say it.”
I scoot her books back to her, not wanting her to just give them to me. It’s not like I have any cash to pay for them. To lighten the mood, I announce, “Let’s get a shot of tequila.”
She laughs again but looks ill. “Last time I had tequila, I danced on the bar with the chicks at Coyote Ugly. My bra still hangs on the clothes line across their ceiling.”
With the top she has on now, I don’t think she’s even wearing one to lose. “Sounds like a great time.”
Author A.M. Jones is a hopeless romantic with a lewd mind. She resides in Tennessee and writes about anything that strikes her inspiration and creativity. Her strength in characterization makes realistic elements of humor, angst, and drama jump from the page and into your soul. Ms. Jones’ other half has published books in dark fantasy and continues to do so.