Author: HP Davenport
Release Date: February 20, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance
More Info: Goodreads
With her past firmly behind her where it belongs, Juliette has made a career out of turning her scars into art. She uses her skills to help others cover the evidence of their pain, too.
But some scars are too deep, too painful for anyone to hide completely.
Juliette has everything she could ever need-- great parents, her dream job, the best friend a girl could ask for, and a new body to warm her bed whenever she wants. With her focus firmly on the here and now, she never expects a kiss from a stranger to throw a bomb in the middle of her carefully constructed life.
Every wound leaves a scar.
Every scar tells a story.
Her story left her beautifully scarred.
Title: Beautifully Scarred
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Shower Of Schmidt
Author: HP Davenport
Release Date: February 20, 2020
Jerry approaches with my drink, clearing his throat. “Here ya go, sweetheart.” Jerry eyes the man standing next to me. “What can I get you?”
Lifting the tumbler to my lips, I enjoy the satisfying burn from the mouthful I swallow.
“I’ll have what the beautiful lady is having.”
Feeling the weight of his stare, I look over at him. The black T-shirt molds to his body, revealing broad shoulders, a core of solid muscle, and a lean waist. If I look close enough, I may be able to count the number of abs he has. His deep blue eyes lock with mine for a long moment. Starting at my feet, he does a slow sweep over my body. My nipples harden while I watch his cobalt-colored eyes as he appraises my entire body.
He leans into me, and I get a strong whiff of his fresh scent, like warm laundry fresh out of the dryer. His head dips to whisper next to my ear. “You fucking the old guy?” His voice is hoarse and sexy as fuck. His breath against my skin causes a fire inside my body to burn. What the hell is the matter with me? I had sex the other day, I should be good for a little while. Although I crave the touch of a man, I have a full drawer of toys to serve their purpose when needed.
I pull back, putting some space between us, and I laugh. “Excuse me?” My eyes bore into him.
He shrugs nonchalantly. “He called you sweetheart when he delivered your drink. When I walked up, he looked at me as if he was staking his claim on you. I want to make sure I’m not poaching on another man’s territory.”
His flawless complexion alone would make anyone do a double-take. But it’s not his face that draws my attention as much as it is the artwork decorating his strong arms down to the tops of both hands. Parts of a back piece peek out above his shirt on the back of his neck. The rich outlines of his shoulders strain against the fabric. His dark hair is wild and mussed, looking like he just ran his fingers through it.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but no. I’m not with him, nor have I ever been.”
I trace the rim of my glass with my finger, trying not to focus on his beautiful face. I divert my eyes to the television mounted to the wall above the bar and attempt to ignore his presence.
“Has anyone ever told you your eyes are beautiful?”
Without taking my eyes off the game, I reply, “If you think that line is going to get you anywhere with me, you better try harder. I’m not that type of girl.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I notice he arches a brow. My comment must have hit a nerve. “Trust me, you’d want to come home with me. Know that for sure.”
His remark sure as hell got my attention. My eyes widen, and I feel the heat of a blush on my cheeks. Every hair on my scalp stands at attention, every skin cell tingles, every neuron is on fire. What the hell is wrong with me?
I anchor my attention on the hot as fuck man standing next to me. For some reason, his comment makes me want to study him more. I lock eyes with him, wanting to ask what he wants from me. Instead, I lift my drink to my lips and take a deep mouthful, letting the liquid warm my throat.
My thoughts run away from me, fantasizing about how hard his body is beneath his fitted shirt, how his body would feel against mine, how good he would fuck me.
I shake myself from the spell this man has cast upon me. My heart beats erratically in my chest as I wrap my hand around the tumbler in front of me.
He’s attractive: his hard jaw, his sharp nose, his dark hair. There’s a twinkle in his eye; I’m not sure if it’s arrogance or self-assurance. I know from the way he stands, presents himself, he’s used to getting what he wants. This man surely has no issues attracting women.
I would fuck him. I want to take him home and have him fuck my brains out more than I’ve ever wanted to fuck anyone in my life. A shiver runs through my body just thinking about what those hands could do to me. What his mouth would do to me.
My eyes take in the man standing before me. He is something, that’s for sure. I bring my gaze back up to his, pausing briefly at his mouth.
He leans both forearms on the bar, studying me openly. He looks as if he belongs on the cover of Inked magazine. His dark unruly hair is perfect on him, shaved short on both sides, revealing his tattooed scalp. His jaw is rugged and chiseled with a hint of a five o’clock shadow that gives him an even more manly aura. Blue eyes the color of the ocean and dark lashes capture my attention.
I tip the rim of the glass flirtatiously against my lip, finishing my drink. He runs the tip of his finger over my left arm, and goosebumps cloak my inked skin. Leaning back, I put some distance between us. I don’t like men touching me unless they’re invited to. The fact that my body reacted to him the way it did infuriates me.
He is too good-looking for his own good as he smiles warmly at me. His teeth, even and white, contrast pleasingly with his olive skin. “Nice work.”
“You don’t see many girls with full sleeves.”
I smirk. “I’m not like most girls,” I reply, playing with my lip ring.
He smiles proudly. “I can tell.”
My brows furrow. “Really?” This is uncharted territory for me. One, a man never makes me feel uncomfortable around them. I can play the game. I’m always the player, never one to be played. But something about this guy has me uneasy.
He points to my empty glass. “Can I get you another drink?”
Swallowing the knot in my throat, I simply nod while I play with my tongue ring. This is my most beneficial piercing. I’m able to play with it by rolling it around in my mouth at times when I’m stressed, anxious, or nervous. Hence why I’m doing it now. It helps me relax. I can do it without being visible to other people. A better coping mechanism than what I used to resort to years ago, but that’s in the past.
He raises his hand in the air, gaining Jerry’s attention. “Can I get two more?”
With his attention back on me, he lets out a low whistle, pointing to my left arm. “Your pieces are good. You can tell the artist knows the craft.”
“Do you think I’d let some half-assed artist work on me? Not gonna happen. Not on my dime.” Jerry places our second round of drinks in front of me.
“Any good shops in the area?”
“As a matter of fact, there is. A place not too far from here called Novocain. Best artists in the tri-state area.” Jerry inserts himself in our conversation before I can reply.
A knowing look moves over Jerry’s face, and I shake my head, chuckling at his comment.
“I’ll have to check it out.”
“You new in town?” I ask, compelled to find out more about him.
He lifts his drink to his mouth and takes a mouthful, then sets his glass down on the bar. “Yeah, moved here last week,” he replies with a dimpled grin.
Damn, this guy is good-looking.
“Do you have a name?” His deep voice does things to me.
“I do.” Biting my lip ring, I shift uncomfortably on my feet.
He leans in, shifting closer to me. “You gonna give it to me?”
I swallow hard as a shiver runs down my neck. Putting a little distance between us, I lean back, looking into his eyes and extend my hand. “Mills.”
His face instantly shifts into a devilish grin. Something stirs in my chest.
He takes my hand in his. “It’s nice to meet you, Mills. I’m Lee.”
I chuckle, shaking my head. “You think you’re something, don’t you?” I examine him through curious gray eyes.
Lee smirks, running his hands through his ink-colored hair. “Not at all. What makes you think that?” he asks with a cocky smile on his face.
I scoff. “Just a vibe I get. I’m pretty good at reading people.”
A ghost of a smile touches his lips, making him even sexier. “Then read me.”
He rolls his glass between his palms then takes another drink, eyeing me thoughtfully.
Lifting my hand in the air, I raise my pointer finger in the air. “One, you’re good-looking, but I’m sure you already know.” I lift my middle finger to join the other. “You’ve got the bad boy vibe going for you, and I’m quite certain girls throw themselves at you, and I’m even more certain you catch each and every one of them.”
Every single female in this packed bar has their eyes on him and can’t look away. There’s something captivating about him.
He looks around the bar as if he can read my thoughts. He smiles, undoubtedly thinking about it.
With three fingers held up, I continue. “You’re not used to being turned down because it doesn’t happen often.” I lift my fourth and final finger. “You carry yourself with confidence, which you should. From the work I can see, your ink is remarkable. The artist who did them knows the art quite well. I’m even impressed, and that doesn’t happen easily.”
“You hit the nail on the head with a few, but not all,” he replies, his voice low and husky.
Leaning forward, we are now eye to eye; only our breaths separate our mouths. “Let me make one thing perfectly clear.”
My tongue slides out to flick my lip ring, drawing his attention to my mouth. His eyes travel to my lips, then meet my gaze again.
His gaze darkens, and his voice lowers intimately. “I’m picky with who I fuck.”