Carrie Ann Ryan has been on my radar for quite a while. I keep eyeballing her Redwood Pack series, but it just keeps growing. It is currently at 12 books, counting novellas. So I was incredibly excited to see the first book in a new series coming out, and get accepted by the publisher. A chance to start at the beginning of a series. Except as it turns out, there is a prequel to this series, a story called Ink Inspired that was found in the Midnight Ink Boxed Set. I only found this out after reading the book and feeling that I had missed something. So I checked Goodreads and the Series list and then found the prequel. Ahhh, c'est la vie.
This book starts with Austin Montgomery. He is the oldest of 8 siblings and co-owner of Montgomery Ink, with his younger sister Maya. There is reference to him recently returning from New Orleans and visiting his cousin Shep (Ink Inspired). He is feeling restless at 38 years old, and thinking that it might be time to think about settling down, even though he had broken up with his most recent girlfriend Shannon right before heading to New Orleans. He thought they had parted amicably enough, as she just wasn't the right one for him. Of course, it is just as Shannon is leaving the shop after coming by to try to get back with Austin, getting shot down and then making rude comments about him that Sierra Elder walks through the door.
Sierra has recently moved to town and is in the process of opening a boutique, across the street from Montgomery Ink. Many years before, Sierra was in an accident and sustained some scars. Scars that she wants to incorporate into some type of tattoo as a sign of overcoming them and moving on. She had picked Montgomery Ink because of their excellent reputation, but after witnessing the scene between Shannon and Austin, she is left with the impression of a brutish oaf. Too bad she can't get keep her mind off the blue of his eyes or from fantasizing about his tattoos.
Besides the fact that there were a few times that I wished I had read the prequel first, especially when Shep and his new wife Shea show up due to a family emergency, I really enjoyed this book. I was a bit surprised with there being some light bdsm aspects in the book. There was no hint of it in the blurb, and it played a rather significant factor in the character's history. But to be honest, there was a whole lot of stuff going on in this book that isn't even hinted at in the blurb. Of course, with the Montgomery clan and all their add-on family, this book truly sets up the direction and over all arc of the series. I look forward to more books in the series. This got 3 stars from me.