Exposing the Flesh
Love & Ink # 3
By- J.A. Howell
Published By- SideStreet Cookie Publishing
*Warning: Intended for 18+ only. Contains graphic language and sex, as well as depictions of violence and sexual assault that may be disturbing to some readers.*
Niall Donovan is a talented photographer. When it comes to women, he can have his pick and has. But beneath the flirtatious, joking smiles he's hiding long buried pain and traumatic memories. Memories that are breaking the surface once more. Memories that he’ll do anything to shut up. When suicide doesn’t work for him, he indulges in pills, drugs, and physical pain. They seem to help some, but they barely take the edge off.
London Black has been put through the wringer. Between a car accident that nearly killed her, months of physical therapy, and finding out the boyfriend she moved to Midtown for has been cheating all along, she’s done being the sweet wholesome girl everyone thinks she is. A one night stand with the sexy photographer she meets at a club is just the thing she needs to boost her ego. It does more than that when the explicit photos of them are the main exhibit at the local art gallery. Embarrassed, angry, and now without a prospective job, she confronts him on opening night. But when he offers her a generous deal with room and board in return for more photos, she accepts. Taking naked photos with him for a large sum of cash doesn’t seem like that horrible of an option, and besides they both intend to keep things completely professional.
When the shutter starts snapping, however, it’s hard for either to deny what's developing between them. Neither are in a good place and prefer those desires stay hidden in the dark, but the camera doesn’t lie. Baring it all may expose more than their bodies. But exposing their hearts may be more than Niall or London bargained for.
They finished up their first song to a chorus of hoots and cheers and rounded into the next one, thriving off the energy from the crowd. I picked up my drink, finishing it as my eyes wandered over the club once more. The band managed to get everyone in the club up and dancing. Well, maybe not everyone. I eyed a brunette leaned against the opposite wall. She stared up at the stage, but her stare was somewhere else entirely. Her hair was a cute pixie cut, and a sad expression marred an otherwise angelic face. I lifted my camera and snapped a couple pictures of her before her gaze slowly turned in my direction and her full lips formed an annoyed pout. Feck, she couldn’t have known I was taking pictures of her. Her gaze narrowed on me. Shite. I lowered my camera, offered her an apologetic smile, and returned my attention to the stage.
“Did you just take pictures of me?”
I turned my head to find her staring up at me and answered her with a casual, “Hmm?”
Lights ran over us and I caught the unamused glare in her eyes as she squeezed the glass in her hand. “You heard me, didn’t you?”
“Ya looked sad. Beautiful and sad. I was only wonderin’ what ya were sad about.”
Her lips scrunched together and the annoyance in her eyes melted to surprise for a few seconds before the anger reignited. “Who the hell does that?”
“I do. I’m a photographer.” I flashed her a coy smirk. It didn’t help and her stance grew more rigid.
“Don’t you need my permission or something?”
“Do I have it?”
“No.” Her frown tightened.
“Well, entering the club yer givin’ them the okay ta be photographed at one of their shows, so I suppose I don’t need it. But ta make up fer it, I’ll buy ya a drink.” I nodded to her nearly empty glass, letting my eyes roam over her. She was cute. An amazing hour-glass figure, soft kissable lips, and chestnut hair just long enough to twist around my fingers.
She might have let out a growl, but the music was too loud. Her own eyes studied me for a second before she shrugged. “Fine. A cosmo.”
I made a path through the crowd, keeping a light hand on her lower back as I led her to the bar and ordered two more drinks for us.
“Thanks.” She mumbled into her drink. I grinned.
“My pleasure. The name’s Niall.”
“London.” She answered, not bothering to look at me. Normally when a girl sent an obvious “feck off” vibe, I backed away, but the sad expression I’d seen on her face niggled at me.
“So, why do ya look like ya’d rather not be here?”
“Long day.” London sighed, her empty glass clanking against the bar. I blinked, surprised as I stared at my own glass, still full of liquor.
“Oh…I see. Ya want another?”
She nodded, and I waved at the bartender to bring us another round.
“Do ya want ta talk about it?”
“Fair enough.” I shrugged, nursing my own drink. After several minutes she peered up at me curiously. I raised an eyebrow in question. “You’re not hitting on me.”
“No. I wasn’t.” I sat up, a little surprised by her words. “Did ya want me ta?”
She screwed her face up, but didn’t answer, instead taking another drink. Sufficiently buzzed from my own drink, I eased back into comfortable silence, peering back over my shoulder at Grant as he made lewd thrusting motions while playing his guitar.
“Another round.” I snapped my head back around as the bartender sat two more drinks in front of us then glanced at her, raising an eyebrow. “You can keep those pictures by the way.”
I smiled, polishing off my last drink and picking up the other. I’d told Grant I wouldn’t overdo it, but it wasn’t like I would be driving. London’s cheeks had an attractive flush to them as she tilted the cocktail glass to her lips. Her eyelashes fluttered down over her cheeks as she savored the drink. I licked my bottom lip, flicking my tongue against my lip ring just as her gaze found mine once more.
“Can I ask you a question?” She asked.
“You said I looked beautiful and sad. What else do you see when you look at me?”
“Hmm?” I cocked my head at her, unsure if this was some sort of trick question.
“Do you find me attractive?”
“I um…” I let my gaze rake over her in a leisurely manner, taking in how her rather voluptuous curves filled out her fitted striped black and white dress that only accentuated said curviness. “I do.” I answered.
She let out a soft “hmmph” Then eyed me in a similar fashion. “You’re not bad yourself.”
“Gee, thanks.” I snorted.
“So can I see the pictures you took of me?”
“Aye, but I’ll have ta develop ‘em first.”
“Why aren’t you using a digital camera?” She scrunched her nose, hazel eyes glassy as she studied me.
“I use ‘em sometimes, but I prefer actual film.”
“Old school, are you?”
I nodded, motioning to the tattoo of my da’s rolleiflex on my arm. “I also develop my own film as well. Set up a darkroom in one of my spare bedrooms.”
She tilted her head thoughtfully. “I always wanted to learn how to do that.”
“I could show ya, sometime. If ya wanted.”
She studied me intently, thoughts churning behind her eyes, and a thread of arousal tugged at me as the corners of her mouth curled into a suggestive smile. “I’d like that.”
A nervous laugh left my lips so suddenly it took me a second to realize that noise had come from me. Usually I was the one coming onto a chick, not the reverse. “Anytime. I can give ya my card.” I nodded, finishing my drink and digging into my back pocket for my wallet. Her hand slid over my thigh and I froze. Maybe I should have cut her off before that last drink.
That intense stare of hers locked onto mine and she slid her hand further up, rousing my cock. “Why not show me now?”
I bit my lip, groaning inwardly.
“Ya’ve had a few drinks. Maybe it’s best we do that another time.” I ran my fingers over hers, stroking the back of her hand. I was still very interested, but I didn’t want her to think I was liquoring her up just to take advantage. She only persisted, grabbing my fingers in hers and sliding off the barstool so her luscious arse brushed against my thigh.
“Now’s as good a time as any.”
Oh, feck it. I’m no feckin’ boy scout.
About the Author-
J.A Howell is an office drone by day, and a writer by night. Her love of writing took off when she was eleven years old and decided to fill a composition notebook with stories to read to her friends. Many years (and notebooks) later, not much has changed. She still loves writing and sharing her works with others. When she isn’t writing, she can often be found trying her hand at whatever artistic pursuit strikes her fancy. J.A. Howell resides in Apopka, FL with her husband and their menagerie of animal children.
Amazon Author Page- http://www.amazon.com/J.-A.-Howell/e/B0092KDV8C/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1380831530&sr=8-1