By Kim Carmichael
An accountant's calculated attempt to fit in entangles her with Hollywood's hottest tattoo artist who thrives on standing out. Worlds collide as the two decide what is truly permanent.
What is Permanent?
Always on the outside looking in, accountant, Lindsay Stevens, has calculated her transformation from a small town, nerdy bookkeeper to a sleek, high-powered accountant down to the last penny. With all her checks finally in balance, she moves to California to start a new life free of her embarrassing past she never wants revealed.
As Hollywood's hottest tattoo artist, Shane Elliott thrives on standing out. Charismatic and free of commitments, he travels through life with a wink and a smile, hiding the letters he receives from the IRS as if they don't exist. Now with bills to pay and tax collectors breathing down his back, for the first time in his life Shane can't charm his way out of his situation. However, when his new neighbor literally falls into his life, he knows he has struck gold once again.
Though Lindsay tries to keep her distance, she suddenly finds herself trying to hide her true self as she thrust into a world she doesn't think she belongs, but can't resist. In his good-time life, Shane must discover there is more to life than a party if he wants something more.
With their lives intertwined, the two must learn accept each other, themselves and their love.
Worlds collide as they decide what is truly permanent.
Permanent is the first book in the Indelibly Marked Series that follows the lives and loves of those surrounding Permanent Tattoo.
Unable to stop herself, she opened what he called accounts receivable, jumping back when more papers poured out onto the floor. “You never thought of using a file folder?”
“I thought about it.” He picked up the papers, forced them back inside the cabinet and kicked the drawer closed as if trapping an animal.
“Out of curiosity, what happened to that thought?”
“I knew I wouldn’t do it, so I just kept this system.”
“At least you didn’t set yourself up for failure.”
“Exactly.” He furrowed his brow and turned away from the cabinet.
“What have you done in the past to file your tax returns?” If he said he guessed, no doubt a vein in her brain would blow.
“I estimated with my old accountant.”
She moved her hand to her temple, pushing her vein back in. “You had an accountant?”
“Yep, he’s out of business now and relocated.”
Speechless, she paced for a moment. Part of her wanted to dig into the cabinet, tear it apart and take over. Another part of her wanted to run and tell him she didn’t sign up for this. This wasn’t her, not anymore. She was a corporate accountant who didn’t take on homespun businesses. And she didn’t play with bad boys because they were bad. She shoved her pencil in her mouth and spun back to face her new nemesis, the filing cabinet of horrors.
His phone rang. “Is the car fixed? Yeah, I know it’s only been a few minutes.”
All she needed was a strategy. When she observed his bill paying attempts, she knew this wouldn’t be an outpatient job. But this wasn’t her, she shouldn’t be there, and she stomped her foot.
While Shane talked about her car, she crept over to the cabinet and opened the top drawer.
More papers and a shoebox greeted her. She chewed her lip, and unable to stand the suspense she knocked the lid off the box.
For at least a full minute she stared at the contents while the shudder running down her backbone subsided. She bit the end of her pencil hard and the eraser came off in her mouth.
“If you’re hungry, we can go down to Pete’s and get some rations.” Shane returned and took the pencil. With a fast examination of the writing tool he held his hand out.
She spit the eraser into his palm and covered her eyes. Was there nothing she wouldn’t do in front of the man to embarrass herself? She sucked in a breath when he glanced down at the eraser, tilted his head and popped it in his own mouth.
He chewed a moment, nodded and swallowed. “I think I would rather have some sushi.”
An entire entourage, including a few people she didn’t know had joined in her search party, but she could only focus on Shane as he guided her into the driveway and sprinted to her car.
She barely threw the transmission in park before Shane opened the door and practically got inside with her. Though she wanted to protest, or tell him he was making too big of a thing out of it, her body disobeyed and she wrapped her arms around his neck. This time she denied herself nothing and purposely leaned in and took a big long whiff of his soap. She was done for. “Oh God.”
“We’re never going to do that to Shane again, are we?” He leaned in and kissed her lightly on the cheek, grazing the corner of her mouth.
She didn’t realize she’d held her breath until her lungs demanded air and she gasped and grabbed Shane’s leg. When her hand grazed across his jeans, she swore she’d never felt anything quite so supple and pliable, a well-worn fine nap not unlike the most expensive velvet beneath her fingertips. Beneath his jeans she could clearly make out the definition of his toned thigh. The contrast of textures overloaded her senses. “Did you know the 5 freeway and the Golden State freeway are the same?”
He chuckled but didn’t move away from her. In fact, his dark blue eyes stared so intently that she studied his arm tattoos. One thing about Shane was that every part of him was interesting to look at.
“Why were you on the 5?”
“I was trying to get back from Orange County.” She admitted it like she’d committed a felony, and stared at his forearm. His smooth skin gave him the perfect showcase to display his personal artwork. Without really thinking, she touched his arm and used her nail to trace one of the leafy vines that trailed and curled around his forearm. “I’m sorry, it was for work.”
“What did you think of it?”
“I thought it was very repetitive.” She took in a black panther’s paw. The tattoos were all part of him and her mouth dried, causing her voice to sound strained. “Why was Orange County off limits?” Her finger made it around the back of the panther, and then almost as if she awakened from her trance, she stopped.
Shane put his hand over hers. “Finish.”
“Why didn’t you want me to go to Orange County?” She looked up at his face, his focus clearly on her hand and she allowed her finger to resume its trek.
“I didn’t want you to like it there.”
Her hand made it back to where it started and she shook her head. “Everything there was too much the same.”
“It’s good to like things that are a little less conventional.” His voice lowered.
She licked her lips to impart any moisture she could into her arid mouth. With Shane in her car in front of a tattoo shop in downtown Los Angeles, she doubted her problem was being conventional. Her problem was that she didn’t have the data to deal with the unconventional.
“What does a good girl like little Lindsay prepare big bad Shane for lunch?” Ivan picked up the cooler.
“Hey.” He reached for it, but Ivan held it out of his reach.
“This is pretty heavy. She must think you’re a pig.”
“Give it.” He set his jaw.
“Either you open it, or I do.” Ivan put his finger on the button latch.
“You’re an ass.” He reclaimed his cooler and opened it himself.
They peered inside.
“I think that’s Tupperware.” Ivan pointed.
Everything in the cooler was neatly packaged and Shane hated to disturb it.
“You can’t lose that stuff. Women hate it if you lose their Tupperware, and if it’s Lindsay’s it’s all brand new.”
“I know. I’m not going to lose it.” He prayed he wouldn’t lose the Tupperware and pulled out the first plastic square.
Ivan leaned in as Shane lifted the lid. “Wow.”
“It’s a salad.” Her precision cutting technique had all the vegetables uniformly sliced and diced.
“And not just lettuce, there’s a good representation of different vegetables in there.” Ivan nodded. “She even put the dressing off to the side so it wouldn’t get soggy.”
Shane took a breath. Lindsay was all about the details and watching her work was fast becoming one of his favorite spectator sports. One second she was quiet and going through her papers, the next she was sternly giving him a lecture on finances. Half the time he didn’t understand what she said, but he loved watching her get all riled up. However with his money situation slowly being wrangled, she seemed to soften. Maybe it was time to plan an outing with her that didn’t involve business talk. With Lindsay, timing was crucial.
“What’s your second course?”
He blinked as Ivan interrupted his thoughts and retrieved a round container from the cooler, opening it to reveal a sandwich on a circular piece of bread that fit the Tupperware perfectly.
“That’s cool how she did that.” Ivan pointed. “What kind is it?”
He lifted the bread. “Turkey.”
“Healthy. She must not want you to die.” Ivan rubbed his hands together. “Keep going.”
He dug through the rest of lunch. A rectangular tub contained fruit salad, and a smaller square had cookies. Finally he pulled out a triangle one with a piece of cheese and some crackers.
“How does she do that?”
The lunch was as amazing as the woman who made it. His mouth watered. “What?”
“How does she make all those shapes fit together?” Ivan motioned toward all the containers.
“It’s so the food doesn’t get wrecked.”
“Only girls know how to do that.”
Shane pursed his lips. “Yeah, it’s pretty cool.”
About the author
Kim Carmichael began writing eight years ago when her love of happy endings inspired her to create her own.
A Southern California native, Kim's contemporary romance combines Hollywood magic with pop culture to create quirky characters set against some of most unique and colorful settings in the world.
With a weakness for designer purses, bad boys and techno geeks, Kim married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep her all her gadgets running and finally admitted handbags were an investment.
Kim is a member of the Romance Writers of America, as well as some small specialty chapters. A multi-published author, Kim's books can be found on Amazon as well as Barnes & Nobel. From alcohol to makeup to infrared cameras and even scientific lasers studying the atmosphere, Kim has worked in some aspect of sales and marketing for over twenty years.
When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.
· Hands On Me – Keith Publications – 9/12 – Part of the Tramp Stamp Line
· Closure – Hot Ink Press – 11/12 - Explores a second chance at a first love.
· Eternity – Keith Publications – 1/13 - My fallen cupid story.
· The Promise – Hot Ink Press – 2/13 - My sexy demon story.
· Trifecta – Hot Ink Press – 7/13 - A typical Romance that just happens to have three people.
· Interchangeable – Decadent Publications – 7/13 - Part of Decadent's 1Night Stand Line. Explores a M/F/M love story.
· Permanent – Book One of the Indelibly Marked Series – 10/13. Permanent was chosen as a finalist in the Assent Publishing Great Romance Contest.