Title- Marks on my Skin
Series- Love Ink # 1
By- J.A. Howell
Publication Date- March 15th, 2014
Published By- SideStreet Cookie Publishing
**Not for readers under the age of 18+. Contains language, explicit sex, and adult situations.**
Kieran Donovan has always been a doormat to the women in his life. Begging his wife not to leave after finding her in bed with not one—but five men—only provides further proof of that.
In need of an escape from an empty house and a broken heart, Kieran heads to Midtown to see his estranged brother, Liam. There he meets Shayne Wickham, Liam’s best friend. Shayne’s dark and sexy with a wild streak a mile long and a sexual appetite for things Kieran’s never even dreamed of doing. But after an intense, and all too brief encounter, he’s more than willing to learn. Despite the usual safeguards Shayne keeps around herself and her own wounded heart, she finds herself more than willing to show him the ropes…and the floggers…and the paddles.
Kieran’s never seen himself as dominant in any aspect of his life. But when Shayne submits herself to him, it ignites an inner strength and hunger he never knew he had—and feelings Shayne didn’t know she could have. So used to keeping others at an arm’s length, the ease with which she finds herself trusting Kieran is both exciting and unsettling. Could Kieran be someone she could finally trust her heart to—or will he leave her scarred like everyone else?
Just another mark on her skin.
I followed Darren into The Castle and my heart thumped in rhythm to the beat of the industrial music blaring from the speakers. He led me through a large main room where several stations were set up. Couples played under the glow of multi-colored lights. I watched them, entranced, anxious to see Shayne, and unsure of what would happen tonight.
“Up this way. There’s a private room toward the back.” Darren called to me. I followed him up the stairs.
“Are we even allowed to do that here?” I asked. I hadn’t noticed anyone else having sex like at his little private soirée.
“Not down there, no. They have some designated areas, but you have to okay it with the Dungeon Master first.”
“Let me guess…”
“It’s okay with me if it’s okay with you.” He grinned.
“And Shayne too, ya mean.”
Darren’s eyebrow lifted in question and he pushed a crimson door open. It was a smaller room with several stations set up like downstairs. A spanking horse, a St. Andrew’s cross for whipping and flogging, and what looked to be an engine lift in the middle of the room.
“What’s that fer?” I asked, eyeing the lift with a suspicious look.
He laughed and tugged on one of the chains. “For later.”
I let out a grunt and turned my attention to the other side of the room. “What’s in there?” I nodded toward an open door to what looked to be a sort of workroom.
“Oh that? That’s where I make leather goods. Floggers, cuffs, other little creations I dream up. This is my office, I guess you could say.” “Interesting. I didn’t know ya made stuff. Mind if I take a look?”
“Go ahead. Shayne should be here soon.”
My nerves returned with a vengeance and I strode into the room, busying myself with examining the various items hanging on the wall. I still wasn’t sure if I could go through with sharing Shayne with Darren. But he’d said she wanted it. The thought of her between the two of us was both unsettling and arousing at the same time. I wanted to pleasure her, I wanted to fulfill her fantasies, but could I fulfill this one?
I looked down at my clothes. I’d changed from my usual jeans, sneakers, and t-shirt to a pair of slim-fitting black jeans with boots that came up to my calves and finished it off with a fitted grey t-shirt that Shayne had told me showed off my muscles quite nicely. Not my normal style, but I thought maybe she’d like it. Darren was dressed similar, wearing mostly black and serious looking boots, but our differences were glaringly apparent. This was his natural environment and for the most part, I had no idea what I was doing.
The door opened in the main room, and I peered around the corner. Shayne walked in wearing a low cut black dress and her infamous black boots. I smiled to myself. Her gaze searched the room, but she didn’t glance in my direction. I backed into the room a little, keeping myself hidden. Watching her.
“There you are. Took your sweet time, didn’t you?” Darren beckoned her over to him with the curl of his finger and she obeyed. “Take off that dress. Let me see if you did as I asked.” His gaze shifted to me with a subtle twitch of the eyebrow. Unaware of his amused look, Shayne slid the dress off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Her back was to me and I got an eyeful of her backside in a black g-string as well as the intricate lacing of a matching corset. Shayne started to ask something but Darren put a finger to her lips.
“Why don’t you give me a little turn, let me see the whole package.”
Shayne turned, slowly, giving both Darren and me a full view. Her bare breasts were high, pushed up by the corset. Her nipples were already at attention, whether from the cold or anticipation. They were a lovely shade of pink, like freshly bloomed roses in spring. I wanted to take them in my mouth, tug those little rosebuds between my teeth. I ran my tongue across my bottom lip andclutched the doorframe, my fingers squeezing tight at the thought. I wanted to. But I couldn’t. Not yet.
“Now, come here. I’ve got something for you.” Darren’s voice pulled my mind back to the present. He grasped her arm before she could look in my direction and grabbed a contraption of leather and buckles off of a hook on the wall. “Arms behind your back.” He told her. Shayne put her arms behind her and Darren pushed her against the wall, sliding the leather restraint over her arms. With a deep breath, I stepped out of the workroom, quietly making my way toward them as he secured her arms behind her.
“Darren?” Shayne spoke and he swatted her arse.
“Oh come on, you know better than that. Address me properly.”
“Sir?” She corrected herself.
He caressed the red mark that was starting to form. “Yes, Shayne?”
“I…I thought you said Kieran would be here.” Her disappointment leaked into her voice. The corner of Darren’s mouth quirked up and he glanced back at me, expectantly.
I swallowed hard, then slid my hand over her other arse cheek. I gave it a firm squeeze and let out my breath, dragging my teeth over her bare shoulder.
This is by far one of my absolute FAVORITE erotic romance stories of all time. J.A. Howell manages to write an erotic romance that has a fulfilling storyline with steamy (and sometimes hilarious) sexy times thrown in!
Our leading man of the story is Kieran Donovan, a sexy Irishman. He's the most adorably awkward character that I have had the pleasure of reading. Kieran walks in on his wife sleeping with 5 different men at one time (ew!). So after falling into a depression once SHE leaves HIM, his brother Niall shows up at this house and all but kidnaps him to make him take a vacation to Midtown. While in midtown, he meets Shayne.
Shayne is our leading lady. She's an outspoken tattoo artist and ends up meeting Kieran at a bar when he meets up with his older brother Liam. Shayne has had a rough past and continues to lead a ...different... lifestyle. She doesn't do relationships... EVER. The closest thing she has to a relationship is Darren, the man that saved her life and helped her learn to cope. When Shayne meets Kieran, she's warned away by Liam. After a while, Shayne decides to ignore Liam's warning and introduce Kieran into her world. The question is, will she ever trust him enough to let him in completely?
This story has a little bit of everything!
Adorable character that you can't help but love? Check.
Cheeky female with a badass attitude? Check.
Steamy scenes that leave you out of breath? Double check.
Hilarious moments that have you in stitches? CHECK! (The Lube Incident, TRUST ME ON THIS!)
Emotional moments that have you in tears? Definitely check.
If you're looking for an amazing story that happens to have steamy scenes in it as well, this is definitely your book. I can tell you that I read the entire book in one sitting because I couldn't stand to put it down. I stayed up until 4am to finish it because I just HAD to know what happened! Give it a shot and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed!
So I had the pleasure of asking J.A. Howell any questions that I wanted to. I chose to have many of them focus on her as a writer and her works, but I threw one or two random ones in. 🙂 I hope you enjoy!
1. When did you start writing?
I started writing in middle school. I'd just moved to a new area and didn't have many friends so I entertained myself by writing and reading. I moved again toward the end of sixth grade and this time made an awesome friend, (Kay, whom I still am close with today). I wrote stories during the school day then let her read them after school. For several years I stopped writing during High School, but got back into it after my father passed away when I was 18. It took me until I was about 28 to finally finish that story (Mistaken) and get the nerve to put it out there. Since then I haven't been able to stop.
2. What made you start writing?
I suppose I sort of answered this in the last question, but at first it was just that I needed an outlet for processing difficult things that were going on in my life. I like that I'm creating something that can make people feel emotion, give them something to escape into or relate to, or just make them laugh and smile. Writing has gotten to be so much more than an outlet for me, but still, in one way or another, the things going on in my stories reflect the things I'm currently going through or processing in my own life. Sometimes it's a very direct connection, such as with Mistaken, I wrote about someone losing a loved one when I was dealing with losing a loved one. Or with Possess, I wrote about a woman getting out of an abusive relationship and dealing with what happened to her when I was still working through things that had happened to me that I never had closure over. Sometimes it's a bit more abstract, not such a direct connection, but it's still there. My latest release, Possess My Soul, became much darker than I'd anticipated...but I also wrote it during a darker time in my life.
3. Why are your main characters Irish?
It all started with Mistaken. One of my friends suggested a change to the name of the bar in that book, and somewhere the name Finley's Pub popped up. Then, with Possess I wanted it to be in the same town and involve the pub owner. Since it was an Irish pub, he was Irish. Why I continue to write more Irish characters? I suppose they've become my muse and I just enjoy writing them. That and I'm a huge fan of movies with Irish such as Boondock Saints, The Departed, and the show The Black Donnelly's. Also, come on, who doesn't like an Irishmen or a Scot?
4. How did you come up with "The Lube Incident?"
Honestly with some of the feels going on in Marks On My Skin, I felt I needed to throw in some humor (What's funnier than sex injuries?!) as well as show that while Kieran was getting into the "swing" of things as far as the BDSM lifestyle goes...he was still new to it and was bound to make some mistakes....including slipping on a bottle of lube and knocking himself out. SAFEWORD, KIER! SAFEWORD! BLUEBERRY!
5. What do you do for fun?
YOUR MOM! Okay sorry, that was rude. When I'm NOT writing, I like to get together with friends and craft, hit up old bookstores and go out for coffee or tea. I have also been known to go on a binge video gaming marathon and finish full games (or series of games) between projects. Some favorite games are Mass Effect (ALL OF THEM!), the Saint's Row games, Oblivion, and Skyrim. But my ultimate favorite games are The Darkness games. That shouldn't surprise anyone that knows me well. 😉
6. Who are some of your biggest inspirations as an author?
I could say some big name authors but to be honest its my friends and my family. The people that won't let me throw in the towel when I get frustrated, the people that love my characters as much as I do (sometimes even more...and they get very possessive lol), and the friends I see going after their dreams, whether it's publishing, photography, art, or running their own business. Ya'll inspire me to grab my dream by the balls and own it.
7. What's the most random fact you can think of about yourself?
I apparently inherited a ridiculous and useless ability of being able to do random voices from my father. It ranges from fancy british, cockney, indian, Crocodile Hunter (I've been known to narrate friends while they are in their "Natural Habitat"), Russian (DAH DAHLING!), Southern Belle, Italian New Yorker (technically I'm one of those, but without the NY accent), and super duper snotty white girl (Think the movie "White Girls"). My brother also has this ability and things get a bit out of hand if you get us both going. Seriously, your face will hurt from laughing and you might pee a little.
J.A Howell is an office drone by day, and a writer by night. Her love of writing took off when she was eleven years old and decided to fill a composition notebook with stories to read to her friends. Many years (and notebooks) later, not much has changed. She still loves writing and sharing her works with others. When she isn’t writing, she can often be found trying her hand at whatever artistic pursuit strikes her fancy. J.A. Howell resides in Apopka, FL with her husband and their menagerie of animal children.