Review: “Inked” by Sarah Darlington

Book Title: Inked

Author: Sarah Darlington

Rating: 4⭐

Release Date: July 13th, 2020

Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Synopsis: Nick and Amanda meet when he comes into the tattoo shop where she works to get a sea turtle inked on his ass. It’s not an entirely impulsive decision, but one that sets their story in motion. Their relationship is complicated and they both have their own issues to deal with, but the one thing they discover early on is that their feelings for each other cannot be ignored.

Review: Nick is making a change and part of that change is walking into a tattoo shop and getting his first ever tattoo – a sea turtle. That’s where he meets, Amanda. Pink-haired, beautiful, talented tattoo artist Amanda. The attraction is clear from the minute they meet, but Nick’s mysteriousness and his vague reasoning for wanting the sea turtle tattooed on his ass has Amanda being a little cautious. Good looking men with secrets are always a dangerous breed. She sketches him a fresh tattoo, instead of the one he chose off the wall, she inks his skin and then he’s gone. Only to come back hours later to retrieve his knit hat (aka his security blanket) and things take a turn.

Amanda and Nick want each other. The reasons aren’t important, but they want each other. One secret kiss and then one wild night in the tattoo shop spent together leads to Nick picking himself up and leaving Kill Devil Hills to return to Maine and his family. And when Nick is gone, Amanda discovers that she’s pregnant and she’s terrified of what all of that will mean for her. Because she knows Nick is the father and he’s no longer there and she’s not exactly ready for that shift just yet. But she settles into the feeling of carrying this baby and taking one day at a time. And just when she’s settling into it, Nick returns, sweeping into her life like he never left and overwhelming her at every turn.

“I’m always going to want that. I’m always going to be yours. You inked my heart when you inked my ass.”

The really great thing about this book is that it tackles anxiety in a big way. And I don’t mean just mentions of it, but you <i>feel</i> Nick’s panic attacks and his anxiety building and you feel the struggle he’s facing. To feel that while reading is not something I’ve experienced before, but that just goes to show how well it was done. But Nick is really struggling. It makes him question bringing a child into the world and whether or not he’s doing the right thing. But it’s so beautiful to watch Amanda not run away because of his panic attacks, but be there for him, to support him, to hold and comfort him. She’s scared, obviously, but her feelings for Nick are stronger and strong enough that they make her want to stay and she does.

I felt so much in that kiss. I felt this fear in my chest for him, concern over whatever I’d just witnessed happening to him. I also felt his pain. I don’t know how or why, or what had just happened to him, but whatever it was it came through in the way he kissed me. All calm and slow and careful. Almost like a cry for someone to help ease that pain.”

Amanda and Nick’s relationship is all kinds of complicated. At several points during the book, you want to stuff them in a room and tell them to get their shit together. But the growth they both go through, the struggles they face alone and together, the questions they ask each other, it’s incredible to watch.

“Inked” is a fast read, everything that you need to know about these characters is laid out simply and clearly and you find yourself getting very involved in their lives and their decisions.

Thanks to Sarah Darlington for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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