Ways to Go by Katrina Marie
Series: Taking Chances #3
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: April 19, 2018
Buy Now: Amazon
When Jake walked into the tattoo shop Life in Ink, he had no idea his life was about to change. This time for the better. After his girlfriend left him and decided to raise their daughter with another man, Jake walked away to put the pieces of his life back together.
Charleigh knows she has what it takes to be the best artist in her uncle’s tattoo shop. If he’d only give her a chance. When Jake walked into the shop, she’s not sure why he gets under her skin. But he does, and she doesn’t like it.
Jake has to overcome his fear of living in his parents’ shadow and finally stand up to them, with Charleigh by his side. But Jake isn’t sure he’ll be able to push aside his jealousy and raise his daughter. Will his pride get in the way? Or will he finally become the man he wants to be?
“W-we would like to get a tattoo,” one of them stutters. I hate when we get the inebriated ones. It makes everything so much harder.
“Do you know what you want?” I ask, seeing which artists are open. Adrian just finished up a sleeve, but I don’t want to pawn the drunkards onto him. I glance over to Bianca’s area, smirking. She’s sitting in the chair she uses for her clients, filing her bright red nails. She’s had it out for me since I started my apprenticeship. I don’t know what I did to piss her off, but she’s about to get this group for constantly giving me shit.
“Um, hello?” The guy with blond hair cuts into my thoughts. I must have been focusing on Bianca a little too hard. I didn’t even hear what ridiculous tattoos they want to get. I already know whatever they’re getting isn’t going to be genuine.
“Sorry, I’ll need your I.D., and you’ll need to fill out these forms. Are you all getting tattoos?” I ask as I pull out the forms from under the counter. I place four forms on top of the surface and dig around in the basket that sits next to the tray holding the forms for a pen.
The sober one starts speaking, “I don’t think-,” but his friends quickly cut him off.
“Yes, we’re all getting a tattoo,” the surly guy with dark hair says before patting his friend on the back.”
“Let me guess,” I say. “You’re all going to get cutesy matching tattoos like the girls that come in here do.” I roll my eyes, and I know they don’t miss the sarcasm because they’re staring at me with wide grins.”
The blond-haired guy raises his head, “Actually, no. Just because we came together doesn’t mean we’re getting the same thing.”
I glance down at the form he’s been filling out. His name is Jake, and not two minutes ago he looked and sounded like he was drunk out of his mind. Now he sounds as sober as the guy that lead them into the shop.
I’m about to make another sarcastic comment when Uncle Corey appears out of nowhere. “You called?”
I groan, “Yep. What took you so long? I know you didn’t have any clients back there.”
“I was finishing my dinner, not that it matters. This is my shop.” I don’t miss the wink he throws to Jake and his friends, like he’s letting them in on a little secret.”
I roll my eyes. I can’t help it. It’s my automatic reaction when Corey is being cheesy, or downright ridiculous.
Corey clears his throat. “What can I help you gentlemen with this evening?”
Even though I’m pretty sure Jake is drunk, he answers for all of them. “All of us want to get a tattoo.” He nods at each of his friends. “Nothing big. A few of us have to be able to hide it during football season.”
This is the perfect time for me to insert myself into the conversation. “I was just about to set them all up with Bianca.”
Corey looks at me, puzzled. “Why? There’s four of them, and four of us.”
Now it’s my turn to be confused. My eyebrows are furrowed, and my nose is scrunched up. I’m pretty sure my brows are almost touching. “Noooo,” I drawl out. “There are only three of you, unless you have another artist hiding in your pocket.”
My uncle glances at me, then the group of guys huddled in front of the counter,” before pulling me off to the side. He lowers his voice, “There are four of us. I’m letting you tattoo tonight.”
“Now,” I shriek, and try my best to bring my voice down a few decibels. “You want me to start tattooing tonight. With this bunch of drunk idiots.”
“It’s the perfect time for you to practice,” he counters, looking at Jake and his friends once again. “I know that blond guy puts on a pretty good sober face, but I know pretty much everyone in that group has been drinking. They won’t care if you happen to screw up. Just make sure you don’t.”
The word “duh” is on the tip of my tongue, but Corey continues. “Always take pride in your work. Even if the people getting it won’t give it the appreciation it deserves.”
That’s as close to praise as I’m going to get from my uncle. Finally, after two years of cleaning the shop, setting up appointments, and showing them I know how to operate everything, I’m getting my chance.
It’s not the way I envisioned starting my career, but I’ll take it. I groan when Corey ushers Jake into the empty chair sitting in the area he has held for me these past two years.
I grab my sketch pad. “So, what kind of tattoo do you want?”
Jake shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know.” Lifting a finger to tap his chin, he sits in silence drawing it out to grate on my nerves. “Surprise me.” The smugness in his voice and posture make me want to slap him.
Ugh. “Okay,” I reply.
I put pencil to paper and start drawing the most ridiculous tattoo a guy his age could get. I’ll take pride in what I do, but this guy in particular gets under my skin. We’ll see how he likes his surprise tattoo.
About Katrina Marie
Katrina Marie lives in the Dallas area with her husband, two children, and fur baby. She is a lover of all things geeky and Gryffindor for life. When she’s not writing you can find her at her children’s sporting events, or curled up reading a book.