Today we have the wonderful Mari Carr visiting to talk about her contribution to Midnight Ink. A collection of books set around a tattoo shop in New Orleans. Take it away love. 🙂
I want to thank Kitty Kelly for inviting me to visit today to talk about a project I’m extremely excited to be a part of. R.G. Alexander contacted me several months ago and invited me to participate in an anthology of stories—all taking place in a New Orleans tattoo parlor—along with some other amazing authors. It took me all of three seconds to reply with a “HELL YES, I want to join!” Since then, it’s been great fun working with these other seven writers to create a place as well as characters I wish were real!
The literal definition of a “blank canvas” is a white piece of cloth or paper used primarily by artists or writers who are creating something new. However, it also has a metaphorical meaning as well. In my story, Blank Canvas, the heroine, Jennifer, is at a point in her life where she needs to start over. She’s looking for a fresh break from her painful past. Her husband has recently walked out on her and she’s floundering, hoping for a new beginning and a chance at happiness.
When she spots a flyer advertising a New Beginnings sale at Midnight Ink, she decides to break out of her conservative, boring life in style—by getting her first tattoo. At Midnight Ink, she meets tattoo artist, Caliph, who helps her see the beauty in a blank canvas. He tells her that her divorce isn’t an end. It’s an opportunity. She can change, become someone else, try different things. She’s inspired by him…and attracted to him. She thinks to herself Caliph “was the exact description of every man her mother had ever warned her to stay the hell away from. Tall and rough-looking, with a shaved head and muscular arms covered in bright tattoos, he was intimidating and overwhelming with an air of danger that made her stomach feel funny things that had nothing to do with fear and everything to do with sex.”
Caliph notices the sparks between him and the shy woman lying on his tattoo table instantly, despite the fact she’s not exactly his type. However, when she expresses her desire to explore her wild side, he realizes they may be better suited than he thinks and he offers an invitation. I thought I’d share that scene with you today.
“I’m attracted to you, Jen.”
She licked her lips, the action a perfect blend of nervousness and arousal. Caliph’s cock thickened even more.
“I want you too.” Her admission came out more air than tone, but he heard it, let the beauty of it soak deep.
“Friday night, after the jazz club.” He didn’t say more. He didn’t need to. Jennifer was already nodding.
“Okay. I’d like that.”
“So would I.”
Then her brow furrowed. That didn’t take long. Less than five seconds in and she was already reconsidering.
“Tell me what you’re thinking,” he prodded.
“I’ve never had a one-night stand.”
Caliph was touched by her honesty, but bothered by it as well. That list of reasons he should have stayed away rained down on him again. Women like her didn’t do casual sex, but he was pretty damn sure that was all he had to give her. He hadn’t lied about his disinterest in marriage. “Jennifer—”
He started to offer her an out, but she cut him off.
“No. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. It’s actually a really good thing. I might be putting the pieces back together, Caliph, but the truth of it is, I’m still pretty broken. At this point in my life, I have basically nothing, but sex to give you. Besides, something tells me you’d be a great guy to go wild with.”
He grinned. “I’m glad you have such faith in my abilities. I’ll do my best not to disappoint you.”
She laughed. “I’m not worried.”
Caliph knew he should take her agreement to sleep with him and run with it, but he couldn’t lie to her when she looked at him with those gorgeous, trusting eyes. She needed to know exactly what she was agreeing to.
“Maybe you should be. Because, Jen, you will need a safe word Friday night.”
Her cheeks flushed a pretty pink, but she held her ground. His respect for her went up several more notches.
“Does it make me sound completely twisted if I say that’s the hottest thing anyone’s ever said to me?”
He barked out a laugh and shook his head. “You’re a fascinating woman, Jen. And I can’t wait to paint on your canvas some more.”