Exclusive First Look at THE DARKEST LINK by Scarlett Cole

When a pin-up worthy tattoo artist meets a car mechanic on a Florida roadside, it feels like the start of a great one-night stand. But when feelings grow, and secrets are revealed, both of their lives will be at risk. The only question is from who? Find out in THE DARKEST LINK by RITA finalist, Scarlett Cole.



Author: Scarlett Cole

Series: Second Circle Tattoos #4

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Pub. Date: August 30, 2016


When her car breaks down off the side of a lonely highway far from her sunny Miami home, tattoo artist Lia never expected her very own white knight to ride up on the back of a barely street-legal motorcycle…and she never expected to fall for her dark savior. After a string of failed relationships and a bruised heart Lia is not looking for forever, and the hot mechanic, with his sexy scruff and shaggy hair, is simply impossible to resist. He’s the perfect candidate for a mind-blowingly-perfect, no-strings-attached one-night stand.

Reid left his life in Chicago far behind him and hasn’t been back, but he’s never been able to escape the guilt he feels about his own painful role in inviting a monster into his baby sister’s life. A monster who almost destroyed her. Being with Lia is an unexpected gift, one he doesn’t feel he deserves, and their one night together has him wanting more than he should. When he surprises her at her tattoo studio, Second Circle Tattoos, in Miami, he’s in for a shock—and a fist to the face—when his past and present collide.

With secrets coming to the surface, Reid and Lia are thrown into a world of betrayal and lies that threatens to pull them under, and the last link to his former life may be the darkest of them all.


Find out more at: Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | iBooks


Exclusive Guest Post from Scarlett Cole:

Being a writer is very much like being a movie director, without the benefits of hanging out with Chris Hemsworth or Tom Hardy all day. I get my cats, who quite frankly are nowhere near as good looking or entertaining, but I digress. We get to decide where the action starts, where it ends, and most importantly, what will happen in the moments in between for the characters we write. We also get to choose how the characters meet, which is my favorite part.

The Darkest Link, Lia and Reid’s story and the fourth book in the Second Circle Tattoos series, has been playing out in my mind for the best part of two years, because it closes the loop on Harper’s story, the first book in the series, which I finished writing a long time ago. Reid, the hero, is Harper’s long lost brother, and is the final piece of her story, too, so I knew the moment they saw each other again would stop Reid in his tracks:

Standing on the sidewalk in front of him, a thousand miles from where he’d left her in the safety of their parents, was his sister. That was as far as he got in assessing the parallel universe he’d just stepped into before Trent’s fist again made contact with the side of his face, sending him crashing into the studio window.

So many readers adore Harper, and I knew I needed to give her closure, but this story really is about feisty tattoo artist, Lia, and brooding mechanic, Reid. I day-dreamed about this moment long before I ever wrote it.

With Lia’s pin-up girl looks and attitude, I knew the first time they met, that it would be instant attraction. And that for Reid, it would be all about the legs:

Speeding down Ocean Drive with thoughts of stopping for a beer along the beach, he saw legs. A sexy-as-fuck pair of legs in spectacular shoes. He pulled the brake a little too late to get a good look, only slowing long enough to realize the hood was up on an equally hot classic car. As he drove past, he caught the owner of the incredibly fine legs lift the umbrella that had been obscuring her face. Damn, he was a sucker for red lips and high cheekbones. A glorious redhead in distress. At least he hoped she was in distress, preferably the kind he could fix.

There are so many different ways they could have met. He could have gone to her for a tattoo, or appeared at the Tattoo Expo she was a speaker at, but this was the beginning I visualized when I first committed to paper that Reid and Lia were the stars of the fourth book, and it stuck with me this whole time.

Of all the stories you’ve read, what are the most memorable of all first-meetings? Is it when Kellan sees Keira while performing at Pete’s? Or when Evelyn wakes up on the floor of a Vegas hotel bathroom married to David? I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Beautiful Blond woman sucking on a lollipop on Black

Beautiful Blond woman sucking on a lollipop on Black


“What is this?” she asked, running her hand over the elongated hood.

“A 1958 Ford Thunderbird. It was a shell when I bought it. Was found in an unused barn with a bunch of other old classics.”

The wheels were black with white faces, and the soft top was a creamy white. Reflections from the chrome cast light onto the white walls.

“I love it,” she said, excited to sit inside.

“Hood up or down?” Kenny asked, slipping her cases into the trunk.

“Oh, most definitely down,” Lia said. Screw the victory rolls, she could always put her hair into a high ponytail and add the red ribbon she had in her purse if her scarf failed. She reached into her bag to find it and tied it around her head.

“I like this,” Kenny said, fingering the knot under her chin gently. The way his eyes crinkled at the corners made her feel all kinds of gooey inside. Perhaps it was a good thing they lived a long drive away from each other. His very presence made it difficult to remember why she was taking some time off from men. But a little harmless flirtation was adding to the adventure of a few days off work. There couldn’t be any harm in that.

Once inside the car, Kenny took her hotel details and plugged them into his phone. “There are few downsides to the classics, but lack of sat-nav has to be one,” he said, turning the radio on. “Ready?”

“I feel like Thelma and Louise about to drive over the edge of the cliff,” she said with a laugh.

“Close. That was a 1966 Ford Thunderbird, eight years younger than this baby. Does that make me J.D.?”

“That depends. Are you planning on driving me to a motel, having your wicked way with me on the dresser, then stealing my life savings?”

“I know a motel, don’t know if they have a dresser, but more than willing to do a drive-by to find out.”

Lia laughed. “I was joking.”

“I wasn’t. Say the word, Red.”

He revved the engine several times, the low growl sexy as all hell, and grinned as he roared out onto the street. Lia watched his hand as he shifted the stick. He caressed the gear stick. The more she stared, the more turned on she became until she had to cross her legs and look out of the window.

Damn him for getting her so hot and bothered. She spared a glance back toward him, just as he turned to face her. And he winked. Because he knew.


Check out the other books in the Second Circle Tattoos series!

THE STRONGEST STEEL, Second Circle Tattoos #1

Available at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

THE FRACTURED HEART, Second Circle Tattoos #2

Available at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

THE PUREST HOOK, Second Circle Tattoos #3

Available at: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks






Scarlett Cole PhotoScarlett Cole is a writer of contemporary romance and a two-time RITA finalist. Her debut, THE STRONGEST STEEL, has already become an Amazon best seller in romantic suspense, was a Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist 2015, and Authors On The Air Global Radio Network Contemporary Romance Pick of 2015.

When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. She likes hot men, cold beer, and expensive shoes.

Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles.

Rep’d by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency, and published by St. Martin’s Press.

She’d love to hear from you on twitter @itsscarlettcole


Connect with Scarlett: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


  1. kathy valentine says:

    shared on fb, twitter and google+

  2. Kathleen Bylsma says:

    Alrighty then. That’s a great tease!

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