Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert
Publication: December 1st, 2017
Genre: NA Romance
“There’s a beast inside of me. I keep it caged. You drive it wild.”
Cash Evans has come a long way since his troubled childhood, but all the wealth he’s earned as a tattoo artist can’t fix the hole in his heart. He knows that the sweet barista who haunts his dreams is off-limits… But life doesn’t always go to plan.
”There isn’t a man on earth who could ruin me.”
Bailey Cooper is determined to learn from her mother’s mistakes. She’s seen how cruel love can be, and she’s not about to sacrifice her self-respect for a relationship. But when a bad boy with a heart of gold comes to her rescue, she finds herself wondering if this beast might just be her Prince Charming.
Will these two lost souls find a happy ending under the tree this Christmas?
Or is their love doomed to wither with the mistletoe?
Add on: Goodreads
This book is way too adorable. I really should reread this during Christmas so I can stand under the mistletoe and wait for my Cash Evans. Cash is with a woman for 90 days tops. No, if and’s or buts. Those are his rules and he won’t ever bend them. If he does the monster inside his mind will come out. Cash has a troublesome past that has left his heart feeling empty and like he is very undeserving of love. Bailey has seen her mom run through men like a track star. She won’t give herself to someone who will just stomp all over her heart. She won’t let a man reduce her to a mess so casual hookups is all she needs. But this is Talia Hibbert we are talking about so really they can both shut up because they will love each other and they will deal with it. This is so cute for the holidays but it is not light and fluffy there are mentions of abuse, violence, intrusive thoughts, and mental health. As always, all of that is not for shock value and it is dealt with in a respectful manner. I also want to mention that at the end of all of her books that deal with heavy topics Hibbert always talks about them and even provides links.
Cash is a brooding sweetheart. He has this hard and rough exterior (not just the tattoos and hard jaw) but his personality can be cold and dismissive. But on the inside, he is this huge sweetie that helps homeless people, is a softie for his niece and nephew and just all around he is so cute. Bailey is a sweetheart as well. She reminds me of Cash actually. The only difference is her past was different. But she has that outer exterior that she sometimes tries to push like she is icy and indifferent. But really she helps homeless people as well and wants Cash just as much as him. I kind of like how the author made them both clueless softies who tried so hard to be like yup 90 days. That is all we need. We will not fall in love with each other. Affection? Gross, what is that emotion? But their inner monologues were like el oh el you love each other. You want to stay in bed all day and cuddle. You are dying without the other. It’s ok. It was disgustingly cute. They are disgustingly cute. I love them.
Le sigh. Again. Why? I just need to stop reading these books. EL OH EL THAT IS NOT HAPPENING. Cash and Bailey were super cute. I liked their push and pull that they had going on from the beginning. I think my favorite thing about them was how they really tried hard to accept 90 days would all they need but the story takes place in like one month lmao. I really also loved Cash’s obsession with her thighs lol. I related to two things for both of them that really made me love them. I related to Cash being an artist and I die every time a character is an artist and they draw their love interest. I also related to Bailey saying Beauty and the Beast is her favorite Disney movie and it just was so beautiful how Cash drew designs for her. My heart died.
And if he noticed the way her ripe hips and full thighs bounced beneath those tight, black trousers she wore—well. That didn’t make him too much of an arsehole, did it? It probably did. But he couldn’t bring himself to care.
There was something about seeing a bad boy blush that made her desperate to keep the moment going.
“Boring guys finish last,” she corrected, pushing the completed forms back to him. “Nice guys finish anywhere they want. Especially when they look like you.”
But then, she’d called him sweet, hadn’t she? And here he was, dreaming of the pretty patterns his come would paint against her dark skin.
They didn’t come from him; they came from his monster. He also knew that he was supposed to ignore them, but it was pretty f****** hard to ignore something that went on inside your own mind.
Give them a taste of sweetness and watch them come over all high and mighty. There wasn’t a man on earth who didn’t develop an attitude when he thought he could get away with it—she was convinced.
There was one sure-fire way to turn a prince into a frog: show him a little kindness.
Once someone viewed you as an object, every interaction was transactional—and the sad truth was that to most men, a woman could be nothing but an object. Maybe
“There isn’t a man on earth who could ruin me.”
But obsession turned men into monsters.
Bailey’s laughter. That was quickly becoming his favourite sound.
That I’ve been fascinated by the rose my whole life, by the ticking time bomb that lay between Beauty and her Beast. That I was still such a child on the inside, still so caught up in my past. That I’m ready to accept that, and own it, and etch it into my skin.
“Bailey,” he said again. “Sometimes… Sometimes you look at me like…” “Like what?” She asked when his voice trailed off. “I don’t know,” he said finally. “I don’t know how to describe it. But it makes me wish I was a better person.”
“I’m not some kind of princess,” she whispered. “You don’t have to treat me like one.” “Yes you are,” he whispered back, “and yes I do.”
“You’re not too anything,” he interrupted. “You’re the perfect natural canvas for all this heavy s*** I design. It’s like you were made for…” He trailed off, cleared his throat. “For my work,” he finished. Then, just as suddenly, he bent back over her leg and went to work.
…all Cash could focus on was the shape of Bailey’s legs; the rounded curves of her thick calves and thicker thighs. One of which was now marked forever. By him.
“Bailey is here because I want her to be,” he said. “I invited her because she’s important to me and because I wanted to spend Christmas with her.” He reached out and grabbed her hand, holding it tight on top of the table. Then he turned to look at his brother-in-law. “You understand?”
“You are divine. You’re like sunlight through stained glass. This isn’t how I thought things would be.”
His hands went to her hips, as they always seemed to, and she allowed herself to acknowledge the way he wanted—wanted desperately, wanted her, Bailey, before he wanted any woman—because his hands told her so; the way they grabbed, so hungry, so lustful, told her so.
He climbed off the bed and stood up, taking a moment to admire her, laid out before him like an unwrapped gift. The flare of her hips, the dark velvet of her skin, her hair splayed out like ribbons around her head.
“But when you live it, it’s very slow. And fear becomes mundane. You grow immune. It’s like waking up early for work; at first it’s a struggle, but eventually you find yourself up with the sunrise on a Sunday. You become accustomed.”
“When he feels things—anything—too strongly, Cash will push that thing away.”
Her mother had always said that one thing everyone could do to ease another’s pain was to acknowledge it.
“You think I don’t care about you, Bailey? You’re wrong. I care about you so much, it worries me.”
“There’s a beast inside of me. I keep it caged. You drive it wild.”
“I have… Thoughts. Intrusive thoughts. I bet you know what that means.” “I do.” Unwelcome, involuntary thoughts that were difficult to manage or ignore; sometimes associated with mental illness; sometimes the result of trauma. And in his case, probably the latter.