Hard Ink by Ali Lyda

I stumbled upon the Get Ink’d series by accident while browsing Kindle Unlimited a while ago, and I’m SO glad I did!  It has become one of my favourite series ever!

The series is centered around the tattoo shop named Get Ink’d, and the collection of people who work there.  The characters all come from checkered pasts, but have grown together into a strong and loving family unit.  Most of the guys have spent time in juvenile detention, but Reagan, the talented artist who owns the shop, is a firm believer in second chances, having survived his own struggles as a young man.  In providing a safe place, a job, and a loving, supportive family environment, Reagan could be credited with saving the lives of most of the guys.

Hard Ink is the story of Mateo and Bryan.  Bryan is young, only 19,  and fresh out of juvie.  He works at the front desk of the shop, and hopes to intern as a tattoo artist once he finishes school.  He has been searching for security in some very dangerous places before Reagan finds him and brings him into the Get Ink’d fold.

Mateo is older, nearly 30, a talented tattoo artist and a part time art professor at the local college.  He has some very serious doubts about being in a relationship with someone so much younger, but he feels so connected to Bryan that he can’t help himself.  Both men have been hurt badly in the past, and they both have serious issues with their mothers, whom they were both betrayed by.  At first, Mateo is the protector in the relationship, but when his mom comes back into his life, Bryan is there for him as a comfort and protector – the same way Mateo was able to be a support him when he was involved in a scary situation with a stalker. 

Bryan has to overcome his issues with trust – and learn to believe in Mateo and in their relationship.  Mateo needs to understand that while Bryan may be younger, he’s old enough and has lived enough to make his own choices in who he wants to love.  I  loved watching both characters consciously push their own boundaries and try to grow into better people, knowing their relationship will be stronger for it.  They are so tender and sweet with each other it makes me melt. 

I can’t get enough of the Get Ink’d guys.  Ali’s characters are so great I just want to hang out with them all the time!  Thankfully the next book in the series is scheduled for December… I’m eagerly waiting!!