June 6, 2017

RELEASE DAY REVIEW & EXCERPT: Inked Expressions (Montgomery Ink #7)

The Storm is here. Inked Expressions is out and I can't wait for you to read about the latest Montgomery to fall in love. Check out my review!

Inked Expressions (Montgomery Ink #7), by Carrie Ann Ryan
Publish Date:
June 6, 2017
Publisher: self-published
Format: e-ARC, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) The Montgomery Ink Series from NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues with the brother who keeps his secret and the one woman he shouldn’t want.

Everly Law married the love of her life and on the eve of giving birth to their twins, lost him in a tragic accident. Now she’s a single mother working overtime at her bookstore trying to make sure her boys have the life they deserve. Her life is busy enough without her adding dating a Montgomery. As past secrets come to light, she’ll need Storm more than ever—even if she doesn’t realize it.

Storm Montgomery has spent his life atoning for sins that only few know he’s committed. When he lost his best friend, he promised his widow that he’d always be there for her—even when she wanted nothing to do with him. But when a single touch ignites passions they’ve both buried deep inside, he’ll have to remember exactly who is in his arms and that taking chances might be far more dangerous than they bargained for.

Twins Storm and Wes Montgomery are the last two Montgomery siblings who haven't yet found love. To be fair, Storm has had a lot going on in his life for the last 20 years to really give love too much of a focus. He's had flings and most recently, Jillian has been his best friend with benefits. But, it's not the same as what his brothers and sisters have. 

Storm is a really conflicted man. He's been keeping this big secret from 20 years before that has affected every single thing he's done since then. I honestly don't know how Storm kept a secret that big from such a large, nosey family. Especially since it messed him up both physically and mentally. But, he did, and how it's starting to come to a head. Wes is sick of not knowing what's going on with the man he's the closest to in the entire world. And Storm's physical limitations are getting harder to hide. 

I get why Storm wanted to keep what happened from his family, but honestly the fact that he did was also very frustrating. This family has proved to be rock solid over and over again. It makes me crazy that he thinks that they would somehow judge him or shun him.

And then there's Everly. She lost her husband the night she gave birth to her twin boys. They're now three years old and have some pretty big health problems. It seems like Everly's life is all of a sudden falling apart. Her boys are ill, her livelihood goes up in smoke, she finds out a devastating secret about her husband's past, and someone is trying to kill her. In addition, her attraction to Storm, who was her dead husband's best friend, can't be contained anymore. This poor girl cannot catch a break. 

Things are very hot and cold between Everly and Storm for awhile. There's always this simmering sexual tension between them, but it isn't acted on until later in the book. It's definitely a slow burn - slower than in the other Montgomery Ink books. But, don't worry - there's plenty of other stuff going on while Storm and Everly figure their stuff out. 

In addition to Storm finding love, we get to catch up with all the Montgomery Ink couples that have formed so far (thank goodness for those big monthly family BBQs). We also get the set up for Wes' story, which looks like it's shaping up to be a great enemies to lovers story. 

Until then, we get to finally enjoy seeing Storm join the ranks of his brothers and sisters who found wedded bliss with their other halves. Inked Expressions was a really good addition to the Montgomery Ink series. 

Instead of heading home like he probably should, Storm went to Everly’s kitchen and got out a couple of mugs and packets for hot cocoa she kept around for the boys. This late, he knew Everly liked chocolate with extra marshmallows rather than coffee, and he wanted to get something warm in her before he left.

By the time she came into the kitchen, he had two steaming mugs of hot cocoa on the counter and a can of tomato soup on the stove. It sounded like a gross combination, but it was the only soup he could find that didn’t have pasta shapes.

“You didn’t have to do all of this,” Everly said, her arms wrapped around her middle.

“I know, but I wanted to.” He didn’t know what else to say, so he handed her a mug.

“Thank you.” She took the hot cocoa from him and wrapped her hands around the warm ceramic. “I don’t think I’m fully processing yet.”

“You don’t have to process yet. You need to get warm and get some sleep. You can deal with things and figure out what you need to do tomorrow.” He let out a breath. “I’m just so fucking sorry, Ev.”

She met his gaze, her eyes filling with tears. “I hate to cry. I hate it. And yet all I seem to be doing lately is crying.”

Storm cursed and set down his mug then pulled hers from her hands. He cupped her face, and she stiffened. “Your store just burned to the ground, and it looks like arson. Cry, Everly. That’s okay. You’re allowed to.”

She pressed her lips together, a single tear falling down her cheek. He brushed it away with his thumb, and her eyes widened. When she took a step back, he knew it was for the best.

Before he could say anything else, she frowned and picked up her purse from where she’d set it on the kitchen table. “There was a note.”

He froze. “A note?”

She pulled a piece of crumpled paper out of her bag. “I don’t know if I picked up the envelope since I just threw things in my bag as I ran out, but I got this letter today. It was addressed to Jackson, so it’s not connected to this I don’t think, but it’s still weird.”

She handed it over to Storm, and he frowned.

I’m still waiting.

“Huh. We should show this to the cops just in case.”

Everly blew out a breath. “I have no idea what I’m going to do.”

He set the note down on the table and pulled her close. “You don’t have to know yet. But I’m not letting you do it alone.” He’d promised himself he’d always be there for her, and yet he hadn’t been enough. He still wasn’t enough.

She wrapped her arms around his middle, and he slid his hand up and down her back, calming himself as much as her. When they pulled away from each other a few moments later, their faces were only a few short breaths apart.

Almost as if he were someone else, as if he didn’t know the consequences, he lowered his head, brushing his mouth along hers. She froze for the barest moment before pressing her lips against his, the pressure a sweet agony he couldn’t comprehend until it was too late.

When his tongue slid along the seam of her lips, she opened for him, their breaths mingling, their bodies pressed tightly together. He almost deepened the kiss until he realized what the fuck he was doing and pulled away, his body shaking.

“Fuck. I’m sorry, Ev. I’m so fucking sorry.”

She blinked up at him, confusion clear on her face.

He didn’t let her speak, didn’t let him say another thing. Instead, he brushed past her, trying to get himself under control and fled from her house.

He’d kissed his best friend’s wife.

His dead best friend’s wife.

There wasn’t a level in hell good enough for him. He’d burn, and he’d deserve it. And yet… and yet he knew he’d never forget the softness of her lips, the taste of her tongue.

Yeah, he would burn.

Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasn’t stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When she’s not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, she’s reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.

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