Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs…and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn’t need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around. But Dred has other ideas. Pixie’s sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
Pixie (aka Sarah Jane Travers) has worked harder than most to carve out a life for herself. After escaping what could only be called a torturous home life, Pixie as reinvented herself. Trent and Cujo quite literally picked her up off the front steps of Second Circle Tattoos and since that moment, she has been a member of the family.
As the office manager of Second Circle Tattoos, Pixie is organized, ordered, efficient, and totally suited to the job. She loves working with Trent, Cujo, and Lia and hanging out with them and their respective mates during her off hours. Pixie is happy with her life, comfortable and she certainly doesn’t need anyone coming along and screwing up the balance she has fought so hard to achieve. Unfortunately, the universe has other plans for Pixie and if she’s going to see her way clear of the trouble that’s coming, she’s going to have to break down some of the walls she’s built up and learn to truly trust those she calls family and friends.
Dred Zander is the kind of trouble Pixie doesn’t need. The beautiful, tatted up lead singer of a heavy metal band has made his interest in Pixie quite clear but she is reluctant to become involved. Pixie’s past is utterly terrifying and intimacy is something she struggles with on a regular basis. To let Dred in, to allow him to touch her in the way he wants to dredges up memories and emotions best left buried. Fortunately, Dred is also a kind and patient man and knows, in his soul that Pixie is worth the wait. With some pretty large demons of his own and even more trouble in his immediate future, Dred is sort of the perfect man for Pixie. All she has to do is allow him into her world.
Dred and Pixie together is some kind of wonderful. Each has secrets, each has demons, and each has a vested interest in protecting themselves and those around them. They care deeply for one another but trust doesn’t come easily for either so navigating a new relationship is more difficult than it would be for other couples. As events begin to unfold around Pixie and Dred, they must decide if they are going to take the incredible leap of faith it takes to truly trust another person, to become completely vulnerable. When the time comes for them to decide, it isn’t smooth sailing as there are some significant events that are going to radically alter the course of Pixie and Dred’s lives. As you might expect from two somewhat broken people, mistakes are made and feelings are hurt but in the end, it is worth all the awful.
The Bottom Line: The Second Circle Tattoo series has been a delightful surprise for me. With each succeeding book, I’m a little more invested in the lives of the characters. Pixie and Dred have both been around from the beginning so it is nice to get their full stories and histories in The Purest Hook. Both are broken but healing and doing the best they can to overcome really crappy pasts. Individually, each is strong but together, they are a force and their HEA may have been the most satisfying of the series to date. Enhancing this read is the continued presence of other Second Circle characters including Trent and Harper, Cujo and Drea, and Lia. This group of diverse, quirky, and just plain weird individuals have all come together at Second Circle to redefine what it means to be a family. While there are some light and funny moments in this read, it also deals extensively with some heavy issues including abuse and addiction. This isn’t an easy read in that regard but it is a very good read and a fine addition to the series.
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