I had such trouble coming up with this month’s list. We’re celebrating National M&M Day in October, and it’s about Devin who was kidnapped and kept as a blood slave for a year. He suffers from PTSD, but I did mental health last month and included PTSD there, so it was a no-go.
Then I thought A Vampire Chew Toy. Vampire is a given, right? But I did that in July last year.
So interspecies couples, right? Since Devin and Mars get together, but I did that in November last year, so…
It’s starting to get really hard to come up with ideas. I’ll see if I’ll keep this a monthly feature next year.
Anyway, Devin is covered in skull tattoos, and Mars likes to trace them with his tongue 😁 So let’s go with tattooed heroes. The problem is, once I had this idea, I hopped on over to Goodreads. And scrolling through the list there, I realised that 1. I had read a shitload of the books listed there. 2. Most of them, I don’t remember having a tattooed hero. I’m sure they did, but it has slipped my memory, and I don’t want to list a book unless I’m sure it has tattoos in it.
So the list will be of books where tattoos are important. Ready?
Yakuza Pride by H.J. Brues
These guys have tattoos down pat. It’s a pretty violent tale, and I reread it not too long ago. It has some cool art in it.
When yakuza underboss Shigure Matsunaga meets Kenneth Harris at a boring social event, he’s surprised to find himself attracted to the blond gaijin with the mismatched eyes. Shigure is even more pleased when he discovers Ken not only speaks Japanese fluently, but is fluent in Japan’s ways, even the more violent of the martial arts. Ken’s expertise at kendo is not his most striking quality—it’s the passion beneath his quiet, almost fragile exterior that ignites Shigure’s lust, and the two come together as explosively as they spar.
Shigure is a dangerous man in a dangerous position. He’s been trying to keep the peace with the Daito-kai—his hated rivals—but the danger on the streets is escalating, threatening those Shigure most wants to protect. He may claim to love his gaijin, but before he can keep Ken safe, Shigure will have to overcome hostility from his people, a hidden enemy, and, the most insidious opponent of all, his own hard-won pride.
Duck! by Kim Dare
This is a retelling of The Ugly Duckling. It’s a D/s story, and it’s a long time since I read it, but if I remember correctly, that tattoo is of great importance.
Raised among humans, Ori Jones only discovered he was an avian shifter six months ago. Unable to complete a full shift until he reaches his avian maturity, he still can’t be sure of his exact species.
But with species comes rank, and rank is everything to the avians. When a partial shift allows the elders to announce that they believe Ori to be a rather ugly little duckling, he drops straight to the bottom rung of their hierarchy.
Life isn’t easy for Ori until he comes to the attention of a high ranking hawk shifter. Then the only question is, is Ori really a duck—and what will his new master think when the truth eventually comes out?
The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
Now, we can’t have a tattoo theme and not mention The Magpie Lord. It’s not that long since I read it, but now I want to read it again LOL.
A lord in danger. A magician in turmoil. A snowball in hell.
Exiled to China for twenty years, Lucien Vaudrey never planned to return to England. But with the mysterious deaths of his father and brother, it seems the new Lord Crane has inherited an earldom. He’s also inherited his family’s enemies. He needs magical assistance, fast. He doesn’t expect it to turn up angry.
Magician Stephen Day has good reason to hate Crane’s family. Unfortunately, it’s his job to deal with supernatural threats. Besides, the earl is unlike any aristocrat he’s ever met, with the tattoos, the attitude… and the way Crane seems determined to get him into bed. That’s definitely unusual.
Soon Stephen is falling hard for the worst possible man, at the worst possible time. But Crane’s dangerous appeal isn’t the only thing rendering Stephen powerless. Evil pervades the house, a web of plots is closing round Crane, and if Stephen can’t find a way through it—they’re both going to die.
Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow
This is another one I’ve been meaning to reread. I even got so far as to dig out a portable hard drive where I was sure I had it from the olden days, but it wasn’t there. I’ll get to it one day.
The bigger they come, the harder they fall… in love.
Cambridge art professor Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed—literally and figuratively. And, the next morning, he can’t rest until he offers an apology to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.
Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.
Is it physical? Oh, yes, it’s deliciously physical, and so much more—which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.
Contains comic misunderstandings, misuse of art materials, and unexpected poignancy.
Catch a Ghost by S.E. Jakes
I might be wrong, but I think S.E. Jakes has tattoos in almost all her books, at least the ones I’ve read. I picked this because of Tom’s dreamcatchers.
Everyone knows that Prophet—former Navy SEAL, former CIA spook, full-time pain in the ass—works alone and thinks only about the trouble he can cause. But his boss, Phil Butler of Extreme Escapes, LTD., has just assigned Proph not only a new partner but also a case haunted by ghosts from Proph’s past. Suddenly, he’s got to confront them both head on.
Tom Boudreaux—failed FBI agent, failed sheriff, full time believer in bad luck—is wondering why the head of a private contracting firm has hunted him down to offer him a job. Still he’s determined to succeed this time, despite being partnered with Prophet, EE, LTD’s most successful, lethal, and annoying operative, and even though the case is also resurrecting his own painful past.
Together, Prophet and Tom must find a way to take down killers in the dangerous world of underground cage matches, while fighting their own dangerous attraction. And when they find themselves caught in the crossfire, these two loners are forced to trust each other and work together to escape their ghosts . . . or pay the price.
In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Daniel *dreamy sigh* he wears his tattoos like armour. Ginger, his best friend, is a tattoo artist, so they keep adding to the canvas.
Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
Slide by Garrett Leigh
Here we have a tattoo artist. There are some mental health issues in this one, and while I liked it, I felt a bit… I don’t know if it was handled in the best way. But, it can just be me.
Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…
Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.
Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.
Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.
Off with Their Heads! by K.A. Merikan
Last I checked, this wasn’t available. I’m gonna say that I haven’t read very many K.A. Merikan books, but of those I’ve read, this is by far my favourite! By far!!! Steampunk and zombies, and a crazy artist and yeah…
Why would anyone need to steal ten zombie heads?
It’s 1907, twenty years after the outbreak of a zombie Plague. For a young medicine student like Clint, the undead bodies provide an opportunity to study human physiology in the working. He is a good young man: tidy, well-mannered and hard working. Focused on his goal to become an excellent surgeon, Clint has a bright future ahead of him. If it weren’t for a shameful secret he’s forced to keep, his life would have been perfect.
Xavier, a peculiar foreigner he finds in the morgue late at night, claims to be an assistant to one of Clint’s professors, but doesn’t know the first thing about the proper way to behead zombies. Xavier’s story has many loose ends, but something about him unlocks all the emotions Clint always kept bottled up inside. When he learns the truth about Xavier, Clint finds himself involved in a conspiracy that could destroy everything he’s worked so hard for. Frightened by the possible consequences, yet strangely fascinated by the eccentric, tattooed stranger, Clint follows him to places he would never dare explore on his own.
Bone Rider by J. Fally
Because it’s one of my favourite books and those tattooed stars on Micha are kinda a big deal.
Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason—he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away in Riley’s truck and then in Riley himself. Their reluctant partnership soon evolves into something much more powerful—and personal—than either of them could have imagined.
Together, they embark on a road trip from hell, made all the more exciting by the government troops and mob enforcers hot on their trail. Misha is determined to win Riley back and willing to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. When hitman and alien join forces, they discover their impressive combined potential for death and destruction. It will take everything Riley has to steer them through the mess they create.
Do I have any books with tattooed heroes? You bet! 😆 I think I have to mention The Bear Claw because Pitch. And A Drop of Moonshine because that reaper telling the world Thorn is an assassin is pretty important. And lastly, I’ll throw in The Wingman because Gavin has quite a few tattoos.
In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.
Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.
Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?
In a world where the government controls everything, and every citizen is given one government-approved kill, Sid Barker is doing his best to keep his head down and not get noticed. At some point, he must have failed. Being a potato farmer doesn’t generate enough income, and Sid is making moonshine on the side to keep himself fed, but one day a liquidation agent shows up at his farm, not to kill him, but to blackmail him into giving away his moonshine for free.
Thorn Hull is a liquidation agent. Every time someone hands in an application to have someone terminated, he or one of the other agents has to perform the kill. It’s a well-paying job, but no money in the world can fill the void in Thorn. He regrets ever becoming an agent, but no one has ever quit the agency and lived to tell the tale.
One night in a bar, Thorn runs into Sid, who’s far from the dirty little kid he’d been the last time Thorn had seen him. Sid remembers Thorn from his childhood and asks him to help him talk sense into the agent who’s blackmailing him. Things soon escalate, and Sid and Thorn find themselves on the run from the liquidation agency. How will they be able to deal with the blackmailer at the same time as they’re on the run from the government’s trained killers?
A year ago, Cole Hudson got out of an abusive relationship. Since then, he’s been hiding in the kitchen of his bakery, avoiding people best he can. He prefers it there, but his best friend Gavin has other ideas.
Gavin is set on finding him a boyfriend, but Cole doesn’t like hanging around bars, and it’s precisely what Gavin has in mind. As Cole’s self-proclaimed wingman, Gavin is on the hunt for a worthy partner, but it isn’t an easy find.
Cole doesn’t want to date; he only wants to spend time with Gavin. Gavin only wants Cole to be happy. How many men flocking around Cole will he have to chase away before the right one shows up?
A Vampire Chew Toy
Devin Jace lives in a huge mansion together with six other people, five of them turn furry, and one needs to drink blood to survive. Sometimes, he suspects it’s all a dream. Four years ago, he had no idea supernatural beings existed. It wasn’t until he was snatched off the street and forced to live as a blood slave he realized vampires are real and don’t sparkle.
Three years ago, Mars O’Ceallaigh was part of the team who saved a badly scarred and severely traumatized Devin. As the only vampire on the team, he got to work undercover. To keep up the facade, he tasted Devin’s blood. Not a day has gone by since without him thinking about it, both the taste of the blood and Devin. But he wants Devin to be happy, and since he knows vampires are his worst nightmare, he does his best to keep out of his way.
When the team learns Devin’s captor has escaped prison, Mars is convinced he will come for Devin. Devin might fear Mars, but there is someone he fears more, so when Mars swears to keep him safe, Devin trusts him. Mars more than enjoys being by Devin’s side at all times, but will spending every minute of every day with him be enough to keep him safe?