Thursday, October 17, 2013


The Devil’s Tattoo
Contemporary Romance
(18+ due to adult themes, sex scenes and coarse language)

Release date: 1st September 2013


Zoe Granger picked up her first guitar the day her heart was smashed into a billion pieces. It was a way to keep her mind off her inevitable downward spiral, but music soon became her escape. She's been burned too many times to tell and is just happy to coast through life, never putting herself out there. That's until her best friend Dee suggests they start a band and suddenly she finds herself not just a part of it, but fronting the whole outfit.

They call themselves The Devil's Tattoo and when they release their debut EP, it rockets to the top of the charts and it's like an overnight fairy tale. Contracts, photo shoots, royalties and interviews are heaped onto the shy Zoe and it's like she's finally found her place. Then comes the phone call that changes everything. They've been asked to co-headline a tour with one of the hottest bands of the moment, The Stabs and Zoe will never be the same again.

Will Strickland is one fourth of the hottest indie rock band to ever grace the airwaves. He's the bass player in The Stabs, hot as hell and could have his pick of any girl that flings herself at him. But he's only got eyes for Zoe and she has no idea why he'd bother. She's got one hell of a trust issue and an attitude to boot and Will seems to be the one who wants to tame her, but is he game enough?

The Devil's Tattoo and The Stabs go on the road and it's either going to be a highway to hell or a stairway to heaven. Only time will tell who will come out on top and Zoe's determined to do it without getting her heart broken… again.

I gotta say, I totally dig this book trailer. Puts me in the mood. 


"Nice threads, Hot Legs," Dee said dripping water all over the place. He grabbed a towel and sat next to me. "I heard something went down with you last night."

"What are you on about?" I wondered who had talked, but if Simone had noticed, then Dee definitely would have.

"What's his face is more worked up than usual. And phwor, did you see his face when you walked out?"

My head sunk to my knees and I groaned.

"Hey," he said loudly. "Wanna give me a haircut?"

"What? No. I don't have any scissors." Until three years ago, I'd been employed as a hairdresser. For some reason that was now lost on me, I wanted to cut hair for a living. As a career. I now saw that I was ill suited for it. The reason being, that you have to like people and after the break up, people and I didn't get along. I'd cut ties with almost every aspect of that old life. I'd thrown away my scissors and equipment and every other reminder of that time that now seemed fake and empty.

"When you threw them out, I bin scabbed 'em when you weren't looking," Dee shrugged.

"You're so annoying." I wondered what his game was. He had to have one, because this was coming out of nowhere. Besides, he didn't need a haircut.

"I thought they might come in handy one day."

"Yeah, when you want a free haircut."

"Yeah," he said like I was stupid, which only made me more annoyed and he knew it.

"I don't want to go back to that shitty job."

"I wasn't thinking about that," he laughed. "I don't trust anyone outside of you and that bloke at the barber shop."

"That bloke has been cutting you hair for three years and you still don't know his name?"


"You two fight like an old married couple," Louie said, and I realised that everyone had fallen silent and were listening to us. I felt my face redden.

"You're cute when you blush, Zo," Frank declared loudly and I almost got up to drown him in the pool, but Dee made a bold statement on my behalf.

"Who needs a haircut? She's an artist, our Zoe. Slices and dices like Rembrandt."

"Dee," I hissed.

"What? Some of us might want to take advantage of your skills."

So, that’s how I found myself in the bathroom of my hotel room, Will sitting on a chair in front of me, a fluffy white towel around his shoulders, hair dripping wet. Dee's game was revealed and right now I wanted to give him a black eye.

Brandishing my scissors, I said, “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be.”

It’s do or die, so I chose to do.

I tried not to be awkward about it, but I found myself thinking almost instantaneously about how I was touching Will's hair. Hell, I’d been a hairdresser for five years straight out of school for some unknown reason, and I’d touched plenty of hot guy’s heads. I’d shampooed and conditioned a ton of them. Scalp massages and all. And in all that time, I’d never felt so uncomfortably turned on as I did right now.

I pushed his head forward so I could cut in at the nape of his neck and was able to study one of his tattoos without him noticing. It was a small hourglass with grey wings. I had something similar and felt myself blush was suddenly grateful that he couldn’t see me in the mirror. I was red as a beetroot.

“Thanks,” he said as I began to cut. "It was gettin' a bit outta control."

“No problem,” I said as evenly as I could. “What’s the use of having a qualified hairdresser around if you can’t take advantage, right?”


I focused on what I was doing. I couldn't give him a shit haircut. After Dee talked me up like I was some kind of DaVinci with scissors, it had to be perfect. But, I couldn't quite get past the fact that I was touching him. It took all my strength not to straddle him then and there.

When it was time to do the top, I came around and stood in front of him, pulling the comb through his wet curls and for the first time I could see his eyes clearly. I did my best to look away, but he was staring up at me like he'd never seen a girl cut his hair before. I'm frozen to the spot, my heart thumping a million miles an hour.

He reached up and took the comb and scissors from my hands and set them on the counter. When he stood, the towel dropped and he grasped both sides of my face, pushing me back up against the mirror, and kissed me. It took me by surprise, so when I hit the glass, I opened my mouth with a gasp and he plunged his tongue right in and I can’t stop myself. I kissed him back, my hands raking up his back as I pulled him harder into me. He claimed me with a hunger that I didn't know he possessed and I wanted him just as much. Suddenly, I was alive.

Excerpt from The Devil’s Tattoo

How the band gets its name

Dee pulled out another notebook from his bag and tossed it to me. "Write the lyrics."

I look at the empty notebook and Dee's tattered one that's full of ideas and marks and don't know where to start. I try not to think about it too much as I grab a pen and write out the music best I can. It's already there, I just have to translate it into something coherent. But, when it comes to the words, I see what Dee's written and it could be a song for me. No wonder he wants me to change it. He wants the song to be from me, instead. My side of the story.

The couch dipped next to me and Dee stuck his head over my shoulder to see what I'm writing. I pressed the notebook into my chest and he tried to snatch it away.

"Hey," I cried. "I like you and all Dee, but stop trying to feel me up."

His lips curved into a sly smile and he knew that I was onto him and for once I don't argue.

"What are we gunna call ourselves?" Frank asked. Before Chris could open his mouth he added, "No ideas accepted form Chris."

"Why not?” he grumbled.

"We're not into Morrissey," Dee laughed.

"I think Empty Hands is a good name for an indie band," I said kindly.

"Thanks, Zoe," Chris smiled and tapped his bottle against mine.

"We're not a pansy mopey indie band," Frank said and beat on his chest. "I want to beat the shit outta those skins, for one. I'm too manly to get in touch with my feminine side."

Dee's watching me with a frown and I realize I've been running a finger along the scar on my arm.

"Tattoo," he said, his eyes meeting mine.

"What?" I jumped and tucked my hands under my legs.

"Tattoo," he said again and I could almost see the light bulb over his head. "The Devil's Tattoo."

As soon as he says it, I knew he wanted to name the band after me. I can't help but wonder who the devil is meant to be. The devil scarred my arm and I covered it with a tattoo.

"Dee," I began to scold him.

"Bloody LOVE IT," Frank shouted, on his feet.

"It's not like that, Zoe," Dee whispered in my ear. "You're my phoenix from the ashes. You're my version of the devil, babe."

It sounded like he was declaring his love for me and in a way he was, but not like that. Dee's my brother. Dee's my family.

I smiled at him. "The Devil's Tattoo."

"All in favor?" Dee asked, but it's already been decided.

"Hell yeah!" everyone shouted, and it's done.



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Nicole R. Taylor is a Paranormal, Urban Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author from country Victoria, Australia.

Previously, she has written for various small street press music and entertainment publications as a gig and album reviewer before publishing her first Urban Fantasy novel in early 2013.

When she isn't writing, Nicole likes to spend time curled up with a good book and her 3-year-old rescue cat, Burger. She gets itchy feet more often than not and has lived in three countries and travelled to three times as many.


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