Inked Caffeine (Inked Caffeine Book 1) by Monique Duclos released last year in the LGBT Romantic Suspense genre.
I was just your typical Starbucks barista without an interesting bone in my body. I liked to keep my head down and do my best to cruise through life uninterrupted, although my bright red hair made it almost impossible. Things took an interesting turn when I met Jimmy, an artist from the tattoo parlour down the street. Living and working in Hollywood, California, I met a lot of intriguing characters, but no one as intriguing as him. He brought a new light to my life that I didn’t know I had, let alone one that I needed.
My past wasn’t a great one, but I got out and made a new life for myself. And now, it felt like my future was looking better with Jimmy in it. I felt like life was finally worth living, until… everywhere you looked, something was on fire. The screaming was enough to make you go deaf and the scent of blood made you gag. My body was screaming in pain and I couldn’t stop choking on all the smoke in the air. My lungs felt tight, and when I looked up, I couldn’t decide if it was snowing or raining ashes. People were firing guns chaotically and I had never run so fast in my entire life. Jimmy jumped up to the roof of a parked car and I was quick to follow, bending over to catch my breath.
“Now where?” I panted.
I laughed awkwardly. “He found me, I guess you could say,” I said, awkwardly shoving my hands in my pockets.
Jimmy turned and stuck his tongue out at her then smiled at me, taking another drag and blowing smoke rings above our heads.
She laughed then leaned on his shoulder and sighed. “Well, we’re all going out tonight. You should come with!” she enthused, and my face fell.
I stared back and forth between the two of them and swallowed the lump in my throat. “Uhhhh.”
“He doesn’t wanna hang out with a bunch of drunks, Nilly. Especially if Jack is coming,” Jimmy mumbled and she frowned at him.
I saw her jaw clench before turning and smiling back at me. “Well, come if you want. We’ll be heading out around 8:00 p.m. Just going to a bar up the street,” she smiled.
I continued to stare at the two of them like a deer in headlights.
“You have James’ number, yeah?” she asked, and I frowned, quickly glancing at him before staring back at her.
“I uh . . . no,” I mumbled awkwardly, and she was quick to pull a red sharpie out of her pocket.
“Here. Call him or text him if you’re coming,” she smiled, taking my hand out of my pocket and writing a phone number across it.
Jimmy ducked his head and sighed, shaking his head a little. Dropping his cigarette on the ground, he stepped on it and squished it flat with his toe.
“I guess I’ll think about it,” I said, smiling down at the marker on my hand.
“Perfect! It’ll be a lot of fun, I swear. We’re fun,” she grinned, wrapping her arm around Jimmy and squeezing him. “But anyways. Like I said, your appointment is here,” she said, turning and smiling back at him.
He stared at me and laughed, shaking his head in a she’s ridiculous kind of way. “I gotta go,” he said and I nodded, taking a few steps back.
“I figured as much,” I smiled.
“I’ll talk to you later?” he asked and I nodded.
“James, weren’t you listening? He’s going to call you later,” Nils said and I laughed, ducking my head because I could feel myself starting to blush.
He sighed and looked at her then looked back at me and laughed.
“Kay, bye,” he said, wrapping an arm around Nils and forcing her to turn around.
“See ya,” I laughed, turning away as well.
“Bye, Dallas! It was nice meeting you!” Nils yelled out.
Jimmy quickly turned her around and started mumbling quietly to her as they went back inside. I laughed again and shook my head before walking back home.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Monique lives in Southern Ontario with her high school sweetheart and her two lop eared rabbits. When she’s not writing, she’s getting tattoos, dyeing her hair, or travelling. She is an avid concert-goer and has way too many houseplants.
Connect with Monique Duclos
- a $15 Amazon or B/N GC
- The author is running a Goodreads giveaway during the blog tour. Anyone in the U.S. with a Goodreads account can sign up to win a free e-copy of Inked Caffeine: Melrose and Vine.