Dirty Girl (Going All the Way #2) - Jenika Snow
The sound of the tattoo gun buzzing and the sight of the ink going into skin, permanently marking a person, had a kind of calming sensation moving through Naggie. She pulled the gun away and ran the paper towel over the skin, wiping off the excess ink. The memorial tattoo she was giving this burly Marine was a tribute to his late wife.
The stories she heard while marking people up were both heartbreaking and uplifting. This particular session was in the heartbreaking category though, hearing Kel tell her about how on his last tour with the Marines, he learned of his wife’s sudden and tragic death in a car accident. Their two-year-old daughter hadn’t been in the car—which he said he was thankful for tenfold—but it was so horrible to hear the pain in his voice.
Life was short, that was for sure, and she never took any of it for granted. Naggie might’ve only been twenty-eight, but she knew life could be taken away before it really began, and that was thanks to a deadbeat mother and a father who had liked to practice his right hooks when he was drunk.
“I think we’re almost done here, Kel.” She added a little more shading around the eyes and leaned back to look at the image. The tattoo was of his wife, Marlene. She had a set of angel wings and looked over their daughter who slept. It was a powerful image, and it was moments like these—when she wasn’t giving her hundredth butterfly tramp stamp of the week or another koi fish on a hip—that made all this worth it.
Not to misunderstand, she loved working on each and every one of her clients, but it was these personal tributes, like the one that split her heart right open, that made all this worth it.
Kel stood and walked over to the full-length mirror hanging on the wall across from her station. He turned to the side and took in the tattoo on his left shoulder blade. For several seconds, he didn’t say anything and just stared at the ink.
“It’s good?” Naggie had been doing this for as long as she could remember. It had first started with her drawing on cantaloupes and then moved to drawing on herself with markers, and soon she was interning at a tattoo parlor in the next town over. It was only when her boss, Cadeon Morris, had moved to Reckless, Colorado, and opened up his tattoo shop, Ipseity, that she had started working professionally as a tattoo artist.
Cadeon was a typical bad boy in their small community, what with his ink and riding around on a Harley, but he wasn’t the only person known as “trouble” in town. The biker gang, the Vicious Bastards MC, also had a pretty hellacious reputation, but now that Cadeon was with the daughter of the president of said MC, she saw more of the outlaws.
She looked at Kel’s reflection again and smiled when he started to tear up. “Good?” God, she was going to start crying.
The big Marine turned and embraced her, and she felt her full five-foot-two height at that moment. Then again, everyone was pretty much taller than she was. He pulled away, and she actually saw that he was crying.
“You are so welcome.” God, she was going to start blubbering like a fucking baby. He turned, and she glanced at herself in the mirror. Her hair was a little longer now but still had the pixie-cut style. She had naturally blonde hair but liked to dye it a platinum color, or at least she had for the past several months. Maybe it was time for another change. Maybe she should just try her honey-blonde color for a while.
She turned away from the mirror and met Kel at the counter. After going over the aftercare instructions, she said bye to him but couldn’t keep the goofy smile off her face.
“You know now you get like that every time you do a personal piece?”
She glanced over at Ziggy and flipped him off good-naturedly. “Yeah, I know, but I can’t help it.” Naggie smiled wider at him. His mohawk was blue this month, and as he turned his head to look at the door when the bell rang with a customer entering, she could see right through the plug in his ear.
“Hey, Booshie.” Ziggy stood straighter, and she glanced over to see the man in question walking up to the counter.
Booshie, the VP of the motorcycle club in Reckless,