Ashton loves being an enchanted tattoo artist. His magic brings tattoos to life and can change the skin it’s inked on. Ashton has exceptional skill and life was moving along well for him working for Whittaker, his partner and boyfriend. But when Ashton attempted to break up with Whittaker, Whittaker betrayed Ashton in a horrific way and the trauma and scars now run soul deep. Ashton doesn’t know how to trust anyone again, but the pain he’s carrying is too much for him and he needs to find a way to reclaim his skin.
Link is an extraordinary tattoo artist with a great following and is highly in demand. Ashton thinks that Link could be the one to fix his tattoo and it’s taken a year for him to work up the courage to seek him out. Ashton feels unprepared for a lot of things now, but he’s completely unprepared for the magical connection he and Link have from the start. Ashton tentatively puts his trust in Link to fix his tattoo, but the pull between the men is almost too much for Ashton’s heart to take. Link has trust issues of his own and, as the two men build a friendship and a bond, they take slow steps toward healing and building a future for just the two of them.
This book opened right into it with an intense scene of Ashton being betrayed by someone he trusted. The tattoo artists in this world can create enchanted ink and it’s a cool concept, as the ink becomes alive. But, when it goes wrong, it can have damaging effects, which is the position Ashton finds himself in now.
When he meets Link, everything seems to fall into place and it seems they are destined for each other, but Ashton has reason to be wary. The men have an instant attraction and amazing chemistry, but Ashton is reluctant to start a relationship with Link until his tattoo is repaired and Link honors all of Ashton’s boundaries. The men become closer through texts and spending time together and they naturally fall into an amazing relationship.
The blurb on this book mentions “extensive world-building” and I do have to disagree with that. The tattoo magic and what Ashton is able to create is amazing and interesting to read about. However, there is no world building to it. There is no mention of how this magic exists, or why, or how Ashton and others are able to create with this. There is no world building, let alone “extensive.” Whittaker, who is the “bad guy” here, came off as a caricature in the climactic scene and his character wasn’t overly well done. The author also mentions that this version is the “spicy version” and that there is a “cleaned up version” available and I have thoughts on that.
Ashton and Link were good characters and their stories individually and together made for great reading. I really liked what they were able to accomplish with their tattoo art, but I would have liked more information on the world they were in. They offer each other great comfort through their respective hurts and come out stronger together as they build a life together.