Page 7 of Marked With Love

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“Is it painful?”

“Do you want to get one?”

“Will you be behind the needle?”

“You have to fill out a dissertation,” Matty inserts.

I slide him an annoyed look.

“Sorry,” he replies. “I was trying to save you some pain.”

“What kind of dissertation?” I ask.

“I only tatt women, and while I don’t mean to judge a book by its cover, your cover screams man.”

“I can’t tell if that’s an insult or a compliment, so I’m going to take it as a compliment.”

“Do you have any tattoos?”

“What’s my best answer here?”

“An honest one?”

“I feel like I’m watching a tennis match. Blake, do you want to go look at the wine bottles with me?”

“I’d love to, Matty.” The two get up and leave us.

“Was it something I said?” Morgan wonders.

“I’m sure it was me.”

“Are we fighting over who is the more offensive dinner partner?”

I open my mouth to say something like, “Of course it’s me,” and then snap my mouth shut when I realize I would be proving her point. “I have no tattoos. It seems pretty permanent to me, and I haven’t found anything I’ve wanted to have inked on my skin forever.”

The corners of her lips quirk up. “Same.”

“Same?” I don’t follow.

“I also have no tattoos for the same reason. It’s actually why I ask for the so-called dissertation. I want people who come to me to really know why they’re getting a tattoo. In fact, I have a lot of women who ask me to do cover-up tattoos because they regret the ones they got early on. We talk about what they want the art to look like, what it means to them. Sometimes we do big pieces of art across their backs or along their arms. It’s a means of expression, a story they tell themselves and sometimes to the world.”

The whole time she talks, her face is lit up. Her eyes are bright, and her cheeks have color. She’s passionate about this topic, passionate about her work. It makes me wonder what else she could be passionate about. A person? A man?

I’d want the lights on when I made love to her. I’d want to see her face change as I stroked her, licked her, fingered her. How rosy would her cheeks grow? How glittery would her eyes become? Would she smile or scream or laugh? Would tears form? Would they be salty or sweet?

I haven’t painted a portrait in years, but my hands itch to put her face on a canvas. There’s something unique and vital about her that I need to capture. I’d paint her in bright, primary colors, full of life and vibrancy. The painting would never go up for sale. I’d hang it in my studio, and it would light up the space enough that I wouldn’t even need the sun.

“Would you make an exception to your no man rule?” The words come out husky, slightly hoarse. My throat is dry with need.

Her eyes widen as if she senses she’s in danger. She could run from me, but I’d chase her. I’d haul her to the ground, onto the needle-covered forest floor. I’d tear her clothes off and feast on her body, sucking at her tits, tonguing her delicate cunt, driving my massive hard-on into her tight channel. Her screams would send the birds soaring and me over a cliff.

“Are we still talking about tattoos?” she asks in a shaky voice.

“No. We’re not, and I’m glad you know it.”

I fist my hand on the table. I’ll have this woman. Even if it takes me a lifetime to conquer her, I’ll make her mine.


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