REVIEW: “Inked Expressions” by Carrie Ann Ryan

“Inked Expressions” is an inventively sexy romance with a compelling and engrossing storyline.  Carrie Ann Ryan gives the reader an Alpha Hero riddled with guilt with more yet to be heaped upon him.  Everly Law’s a single mother, weighed down with active twins who suffer from health problems.  She’s a business owner and has relied on her late husband’s best friend, Storm Montgomery for three years.  But has distanced herself from him lately.  Unfortunately, her sons have grown close to “Uncle Storm” and ask for him in times of need.  Everly has a problem of internalizing her troubles and she has many.  She’s buried by the burden of owning an independent bookstore, judgmental in-laws, employees relying on her, and a demanding budget.  Storm’s harboring twenty year-old secrets from his friends and family, even from his own twin.  Above all Storm is loyal and puts others before himself.  Always.

Everly Law married the love of her life, the best friend of Storm Montgomery.  Her husband, being a well respected anthropologist, travels often giving lectures all over.  Therefore Storm helps her whenever he can especially while she’s eight months pregnant with twins.  Being a twin himself he sympathizes.  On the evening Everly’s expecting her husband to return from a conference, Storm is over doing last minute home repairs.  The police arrive at the door to inform her that the plane her husband was on crashed.  There were survivors.  Minutes after receiving the news she goes into labor.

Three years later one of her sons is having another terrible asthma attack.  Everly must take him and his twin to the hospital.  Both boys are afraid, as is she, and the boys are asking for Uncle Storm.  Even though it’s O Dark Thirty she calls him waking him and his “It’s Complicated” girlfriend.  They both go to the hospital even though Storm wasn’t happy with his bedmates decision to accompany him.  Everly’s uncomfortable as well but the boys are on cloud nine that Storm’s there.  Seeing the dynamic between Everly and Storm Jillian cryptically tells Storm she loves him but not in the right way.  He’ll understand soon enough and she leaves.  Storm’s hurt, confused, but surprisingly, not heartbroken.

Everly had distanced herself from Storm when she saw he was dating Jillian.  Feeling she was holding him back from finding a relationship.  It’s surprising and she feels happy, relief and a bit guilty when she learns they break up.  Everly’s constantly exhausted dealing with one son with terrible asthma and another son who’s almost 100% deaf in one ear.  She owns her own business, an independent bookstore in Denver with employees relying on her as well.  Everly’s in-laws are harsh and judgmental putting their dead son on a pedestal extolling him as a perfect golden boy.  Something, though she loved him dearly, he wasn’t, he had his flaws.  Along with everyday chores of laundry, making healthy meals, grocery shopping, and budgeting; it’s stressful.  Everly’s mind is constantly whirling with everything she’s not doing right.  Her place of solace is her bookstore.

That ends quickly when her haven bookstore fire with her inside.  Luckily she’s able to escape and Storm happens to be across the street at his brothers tattoo shop.  Storm’s brother calls the fire department but oddly, as Storm points out, the bookstore’s fire alarms didn’t sound.  Storm’s frantic concerned that Everly’s not hurt carrying her to the paramedics.  The fire marshal suspects arson and wants to ask Everly questions.  Storm’s priority is to follow the paramedics orders of Everly getting oxygen.  Everly’s store seems like it may be a complete loss.  Unfortunately she won’t know for certain until she gets the fire marshal’s okay to walk through.  In his concern and caring for Everly Storm’s feelings for her overtake him and he kisses her.  Everly returns the kiss but it’s Storm who breaks the kiss drowning in guilt for wanting his best friend’s wife.

Storm’s twenty year-old secret intertwines his life with that of a 24 year-old young man to whom he’s a mentor.  While helping his young friend move a shocking discovery’s made.  One that unexpectedly and shockingly interlaces Everly’s life, and her children’s, with the young man’s.  This is a revelation Storm needs to tell Everly immediately.  As soon as he reveals this distressing news it stirs up emotions between Everly and Storm.  It leads to an exciting and intimate encounter.  All too soon trouble shows up on Everly’s doorstep confirming Storm’s the evidence he discovered.  Everly and Storm’s relationship develops to dating, to sleeping over, to attending a Montgomery Family Barbeque.  Soon Everly’s sons notice the many kisses she and Storm share and give the couple their blessing.  Unfortunately Everly and Storm’s happiness is brief when a life threatening car accident befalls the developing family.

“Inked Expressions” is sexy, thrilling, and rife with emotion.  Carrie Ann Ryan gives Storm Montgomery some inventive sexual tricks to pull out which is quite a lot of fun!  However, Storm is more of a gentleman than I like.  I would prefer him to have more of a filthy mouth and dirty talk to accompany his creative sexual positions.  Everly’s in her head more than I’d like, but it is extremely understandable.  It’s crucially conducive to the plot development.  Storm develops in that he opens up and shares his secrets with his family and Everly.  As for Everly she lets go of her past, stands up for herself, and embraces her present and future.  Carrie Ann Ryan’s Montgomery Ink series never disappoints and as always is an automatic purchase for me.

I’m giving “Inked Expressions” 4 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.

 

This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.

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