“I know what you’re up to,” she said.
“And what would that be?” he asked with a devious smirk.
“You know.”
“Is it working?”
She looked over her shoulder to where he was still reclining against the wall, watching her patiently. All the reasons she’d vowed to stay alone, to remain uninvolved, fled as he grinned at her.

In Scarlett Cole’s The Strongest Steel, Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning. The scars that decorate her back are just one more reminder of things she’d rather forget, the past she wants to leave far behind her, but before she can move on, she needs him.

Trent Andrews has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And there’s no way in hell he’s going to turn Harper away. Not when a swirling mix of tenderness and desire slams into him every time he sees her. Being with Harper is like going ten rounds in the ring—exhilarating, powerful, and dangerous. She stirs feelings in him he thought were long gone… if he can only get past her carefully constructed defenses.

Running was the only thing that saved Harper last time, but each session at Second Circle Tattoos brings her closer and closer to Trent. His lingering touches seduce her, making her believe in a life without fear, where she can be happy, whole, in love. But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper’s phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. She ran from her past once before; this time will she have the strength to fight back?


This was such a well-written book by author Scarlett Cole, the first book in the Second Circle Tattoo Series.

Harper was attacked by her boyfriend years ago when she attempted to leave him. He was put in prison and she was left with a horribly scarred back. Fast forward four years and she’s now living in Miami. She decides to see a tattoo artist known for his ability to cover up scars with beautiful tattoos.

When she first walked in the tattoo shop, she was terrified to have anyone touch her. She’s suffering from a serious case of PTSD that makes her terrified to be touched by other people, including her best friend Drea. But the tattoo shop owner, Trent, saw something in Harper that made him really want to create something beautiful to cover her scars. As the tattoo sessions progress, so do the feelings between Harper and Trent, with Trent being incredibly patient. But what about her ex-boyfriend? He has been in jail for the past four years of his eight year sentence, but now he’s up for a parole hearing.

While there are certain aspects of this story that are predictable, the personalities and struggles of both Harper and Trent are unique to their characters. Throughout the book you see Harper bloom under the care and encouragement of Trent, the friends she has made through Trent, along with her supportive best friend Drea. Though she was the victim of a horrible crime, it was so lovely to see her transition into a strong woman. She refuses to be a victim again even in the scariest of situations with the conviction that she is worth defending. Such a beautiful story. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. This book was a 5 out of 5 stars for me.

The Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole is available through Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Buy On Chapters Indigo.

The rest of the series I read immediately after this, and are all equally enjoyable with 5 star ratings from me.

The Fractured Heart: A Second Circle Tattoos Novel
The Purest Hook (Second Circle Tattoos)
The Darkest Link (Second Circle Tattoos)



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