Review: Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn – Permanent Ink (Art & Soul #1)

Author: Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary:

At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.

Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.

Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.

Review:

Poe is a twenty-three-year-old artist whose art can be seen on walls—both the walls in his basement apartment bedroom and outdoor walls of buildings. The problem is that the latter is illegal and he and his BFF, Blue, have been arrested a number of times. The next time is likely to end in jail time, but his burning passion for tagging buildings can’t seem to be squelched. His father has certainly tried and when he bemoans this fact to his best friend, Jericho, who owns a highly regarded tattoo shop, Jericho suggests he might have a solution.

Long ago, Jericho was plucked from the possibility of jail and offered an apprenticeship by a tattoo artist who saw something in him he didn’t see in himself. It’s time to pay it back. And it doesn’t hurt that Poe is nice to look at. Really nice. Poe decides to take him up on his offer but his enthusiasm for the job takes a long time to build. In fact, it isn’t until he realizes how personal the art is to the person having their skin inked and how much care and concern the artist can put into the job that he finally embraces the work. In the meantime, he’s been so tied up with the job that he’s neglected his bestie and Blue is feeling left out and put out and is not a happy boy.

When Poe and Jericho finally act on their attraction, it’s with a bit of daddy kink thrown in. Poe loves being called boy and Jericho loves the daddy side of dominating him. In these segments the sex scenes were hot and explosive, though the kink was not as explicit as I had hoped. Nevertheless, it was hot and the two had a great dynamic in bed… well, not necessarily in bed, let’s say in the shop, on the table, on the chair, etc. They grow to care for each other and as their attraction deepens, so does Poe’s commitment to Jericho and to the work they do. And the estrangement with Blue increases. Not only does Jericho not have time for tagging buildings, he doesn’t want to get caught and suffer the consequences so he tries to talk Blue out of it. But when Blue finally has the rappelling equipment for their dream job, he’s not interested in listening to what Poe has to say about bad ideas.

The drama continues, the consequences are out there for both Poe and Blue, Jericho manages to overcome his worries about revealing his relationship with Poe to Landon, Poe’s father, and the drama, the sex, and the repercussions all come to a head. I enjoyed this dynamic, the plot, the characters, and the glimpse into the art of tattooing and of tagging. The daddy kink, as I said, wasn’t so kinky as I’d have liked either, but more importantly, I’m left with the feeling that Poe and Jericho may not last together. They didn’t quite gel as a couple to me. Yes, they had hot sex, but deep and abiding love? I know it was given voice between them, but I didn’t get the feels, and that was mostly Jericho. He’s the character I never quite embraced. I felt his responsibility and his empathy for his clients and his sexual attraction to Poe, especially when Poe amped up the flirting and chemistry between them. But I didn’t feel his heart. I’m not sure I am expressing myself clearly here. The long-term love just didn’t ring true.

So… I can’t go too far up the star scale for this one. 3.5 to 3.75 and I may round it up because I’ve liked these authors and 3 feels too low for the entertainment value of this story.

If you love age gap, dominance, verbalized daddy kink, art, bad-boy-makes-good MM romance, give this a try.

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Riptide Publishing 

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