Vehn (Exotic Ink Book 1), page 1
Copyright © 2017 by LS Anders
All rights reserved
Please respect the work of this author. No part of this eBook/book publication may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except, except in the case of brief quotation embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This romance is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locals is entirely coincidental.
This book is intended for mature audiences over the age of eighteen. It contains explicit language and sexual situations.
Cover design: Patti Roberts
Interior design graphics, formatting and logo: Patti Roberts
Editor: Elfwerks Editing
Proofreading and final edit: Ella Medler Editing
Photograph copyrights: blackday @ www.Fotolia.com
In Memory Of
Two of the strongest women I’ve ever known, my mom and my grandmother.
My husband and my son, for all the love and support you’ve given me throughout this project. You guys are my best cheerleaders!
Special Thanks To
Jenny Wootton, the best cyber friend a girl could ever have. You have helped me more than you can ever imagine.
Carian Cole, for all of the invaluable tips and suggestions, and for pointing me in the right direction.
Loredana Schwartz, Patti Roberts, and Ella Medler, for all of your hard work to help me bring this book to life.
To all of my social media peeps, for all the retweets, likes, and shares. You all are amazing!
About the book
Note from the author
About The Book
Vehn Mathieu possesses one of the most recognizable faces on the planet. He has everything money can buy, but there’s a huge piece missing from his exceptional life that can’t be bought – a soulmate. He longs to find a woman who wants the man behind the persona, a woman who can see beyond the façade. When he finally finds the one, she is completely unaware of his true identity. Will she be able to come to grips with his celebrity and love the man behind the name?
Callie Mackenzie is well-known in her own little niche. Her beauty, talent, and radiant personality hide the dark, jagged scars of her past that threaten to extinguish the light of her future. Her seemingly iron-clad armor can barely protect the fractured soul of the woman beneath as she fights a daily battle to preserve the happiness she has strived so hard to achieve. Finished with abusive men, she prefers to daydream about the one she thinks she’ll never meet. But when Callie’s fantasy becomes her reality, how will she slay her own demons to be with him?
Vehn and Callie together.
When forces outside their control threaten to destroy their fragile new bond, Vehn and Callie come face to face with her deep-rooted insecurities. Their chemistry is unshakable, but is their untried relationship strong enough to endure the hardships of his fame and her past? Is the reward of being together worth the price each must pay to keep their one true love?
Callie Mackenzie appeared to be relaxing, reading an article in People magazine about her all-time favorite male super-model, fantasy boyfriend, and object of her every desire: Vehn Mathieu. The multitude of aromatherapy candles surrounding her cast lazy shadows on every surface within reach, their flames moving lethargically on air currents only detectable to themselves.
Or, that’s how she appeared to be on the outside.
On the inside… she was sitting on a beehive of anticipation, just lying in wait to confront a certain home-wrecking whore that had destroyed one of her friends and fellow tattoo artists, Rayna Nichols, the sweetest, most sensitive soul she had ever known.
A quick glance at her watch told her she had been waiting for four mind-numbing hours, the scent from the ocean breeze candles she’d lit when she'd first arrived at Exotic Ink Tattoo Studio growing as heavy and sluggish as the time she had been waiting.
The aromatherapy was doing absolutely nothing to calm her. Instead, the scent tickled her nose, irritating her even more, but she’d bet the scent of fresh blood trickling out of Andrea’s nose after she punched her in the face would calm her right the hell down.
Shifting around in her seat and refocusing on the article, she tried to ease the adrenaline rush that washed through her every time she thought of Andrea and what had transpired between her and Rayna’s husband, Brent. Talk about karma coming back to bite you in the ass. Brent had really taken a serious hit for what he had done with Andrea. Serious and permanent. Served him right, the flopping douche bag!
Even though Brent had paid karmic retribution back with his life, the only person that was left to suffer was Rayna. Given the very unusual circumstances of the situation she was facing, she couldn’t imagine how the girl had been dealing with the shock of it all.
Though she was only a year younger, Rayna was so soft spoken and had this shy innocence about her, Callie couldn’t help but think of her as a little sister, and that sweet innocent girl did not deserve what had happened to her.
Callie was no stranger to the pain of a broken heart either and had dealt with her own shocking circumstance. She had waded through her own abusive pile of shit just the previous year, and all her friends, most of whom were also her colleagues at the studio, had been there to support her through her fucked-up situation until she could stand on her own two feet again. Callie was determined to return the favor and do what she could to help Rayna through her ordeal.
Even though Callie and Rayna’s situations were in no way related, except that they both involved despicable men, at least Rayna was completely finished with Brent. Callie’s nightmare would make the occasional reappearance. Lucky her!
The order of protection forbid him from having any contact with her. This meant he wasn’t allowed to visit her home or employment, approach her, call her, text her, or email her. But working in New York City had its disadvantages. One being the city’s massive size and another being the plethora of people allowing him the opportunity to come into close contact with her without getting into trouble with the police. She had already complained to the authorities, and they’d said if he hadn’t contacted her, verbally threated her, or physically
Apparently, his shopping in the same stores or her spotting him in the same restaurant or catching him simply staring at her from across the street wasn’t a violation of the court order, so the police wouldn’t take any action.
Once, she’d even caught his reflection in a mirror sitting a mere three barstools away when she’d met friends out for drinks. What a joke! The thing barely afforded her any safety whatsoever. She would get more use out of it if she used it to wipe her ass.
She wasn’t sure if he just missed her or was using the loophole to harass her. Who the hell knew what went on inside that crazy monkey mind of his? Of course, she wasn’t about to ask him what he wanted. Her main goal was to get away from him as fast as possible, while she tried not to shiver outwardly to give him any satisfaction that he still had an effect on her.
She hadn’t decided whether it was intuition or paranoia getting the best of her, but sometimes when she was out in the city she would get an uneasy feeling that he was watching her.
Even after a year of intensive therapy, she was still taking it one day at time. Some days were easier than others, and when he made an unexpected appearance she would have to try that much harder. Every day, she worked diligently to overcome the nightmare he’d put her through.
Anyway, the good news, Andrea was getting kicked to the curb thanks to Evana Grey, the boss lady and owner of Exotic Ink, but she wasn’t getting her just due by any means. Losing your job but leaving with a shining referral was not exactly Callie’s idea of punishment for the part Andrea had played in the head fuck Rayna was going to have to overcome.
Since Callie knew she wouldn’t get away with punching the girl in the nose without some serious trouble, maybe even losing her job, she would have to settle for giving her a piece of her mind as a parting gift. She couldn’t wait to sink her teeth in deep, even if it was just using words.
Another shot of anticipation thrummed through her veins making her wiggle in her seat.
Amazing how that one incident had so completely changed everything. To think, just a few days ago Exotic Ink was its own happy little family featuring the perfect balance of artistically talented people. No other shop in the city could touch them when it came to the exceptional level of custom tattooing performed by each artist. Even though they were individually diverse and able to tattoo most styles, each one of them excelled in their own specialized areas.
Callie reigned supreme with new school and caricatures. Oriental, portraits, and fine line were where Rayna shone the brightest. Andrea had been their traditional artist and also did tribal and Celtic designs. Brent had excelled in realism, black and grey, and could hold his own in biomechanical. Evana held the reins on all the administrative details that came with owning a business, but was exceptional at many different styles. However, no one could hold a candle to her when it came to cover-ups. Cale rounded out the group, being the sole piercing artist in the studio. And then there was Avie, the studio’s receptionist extraordinaire. The pint-sized ring leader who could book appointments, answer phone calls, manage the needs of the artists and greet clients always remembering their names, all while wearing a welcoming smile.
Thanks to Andrea’s indiscretion, this was now in the studio’s glorious past. Today, the studio doors were locked, closed since the day before, and would remain that way until the morning after the funeral giving the remaining employee’s time off to mourn and attend all the services. But they’d all found themselves gathered at the shop instead of going home, drawn together by some unseen magnetic force resulting from all the stress created by the drama.
Callie grew more restless with every millisecond that crawled by, rereading the same paragraph again. Her mind kept constantly wandering, replaying multiple versions of the confrontation she was determined to have with that girl when she finally showed herself to pack her shit and get out. None of it was nice, but all of it gave her this restless prickly warmth that painted a wicked grin on her face.
Callie knew Evana was going to try to prevent any type of confrontation from happening—that’s why she’d been keeping her in the dark as to Andrea’s arrival time—but she was prepared to wait here all freaking day if that was what it took.
A low growl escaped her when she turned the page of People just to have her mind switch from fantasies of the confrontation with Andrea to another female on the planet that she despised.
Vehn’s Mathieu’s girlfriend for the past year. His arm was snaked around her skinny-ass waist, both of them seemingly happy with each other given the broad smiles plastered on their faces. Callie didn’t even know the girl, but the green-eyed monster wasn’t concerned about the details.
She wondered if Regina had any idea how unbelievably lucky she was or how jealous women were of her to have him for a boyfriend. Not for the first time, Callie tried to imagine what it would be like to be Regina, to have Vehn hold her close smiling into a camera.
Was it possible to be so insanely jealous of someone, to the point of intense hatred, and long to be them with every fiber of your being all at the same time?
The answer would be yes, Callie silently answered herself. You absolutely could.
Out in the hall, the clicking of high heels on the marble floor was exactly what she’d been waiting so impatiently to hear. As the clicking drew closer to Callie’s private work space, she set the magazine aside and quietly tiptoed to her doorway to sneak a peek.
Exhaling harshly, she rolled her eyes, snatched the magazine off the table where she’d left it and plopped back down in her seat.
“Sorry, not who you expected?” Avie giggled, stopping in Callie’s doorway. “Are you gonna wait here all day for her?”
Callie just grumbled something incoherent and flipped to the next page, doing her best to ignore Avie.
“Callie!” she bitched. Stamping her foot, she folded her arms across her chest like a child.
The studio’s receptionist didn’t take too kindly to being ignored. Even though she was a tiny thing, she had a zero-bullshit tolerance, which was Callie’s favorite thing about her. And the fact that she was utterly adorable, possessed a smart-ass mouth that rivaled her own, and had ever-changing hair color of not naturally occurring hues. Today it was a beautiful shade of purple. How the hell that girl managed to change her hair color to these rich vivid hues every week was a complete mystery to everyone.
“Sorry, Avie, but I’m about to explode over here!”
Callie pushed off the floor spinning her artist's chair around in circles, unable to sit still a moment longer.
“Look, I know how you feel. We’re all as anxious as you to see her gone. Poor Rayna should’ve never had to go through that. If there is anyone on the planet that didn’t deserve this, it is her, but waiting around for Andrea to show up so you can chew her ass isn’t doing any of us any good.” Avie’s wisdom only served to aggravate Callie further. She knew she was acting like a total stalker, but she sure as shit didn’t need it pointed out to her. “C’mon, go with me to the break room. Evana’s client, Trina, dropped off some cupcakes. They’re chocolate. Your favorite.”
“Luring me away from my post with cupcakes, huh?” Callie conceded, tossing the magazine in her seat as she got up to follow Avie down the hall.
Pushing through the break room door, Callie propped it open so she would have a view of the hall to see when Andrea finally showed, then drew up short at the spread Evana was laying out on the break room table.
“Holy crap! Where did all this food come from?”
“There was a whole procession of people, no pun intended, that stopped by yesterday after Brent’s receiving of friends. I just kept cramming it in the fridge. I think I must have walked up and down the stairs from my apartment two hundred times answering the bell. Feel free to take anything you girls want home with you,” Evana offered.
Callie reached for one of Trina’s famous double ch
Afterwards, she would focus on chewing the ass off that haggard-assed slut.
Vehn Mathieu’s hair blew back from his face as he leaned over the edge of the terrace wall looking down onto the courtyard five stories below. He closed his eyes for a moment, listening to the traffic in the distance, imagining the bustling street. Inhaling deeply, he was hoping to catch a whiff of warm, fresh bread and buttery aromas from the bakery on 10th Street that sometimes floated by on the breeze.
Not today. All he got was a nose full of diesel exhaust from a delivery truck rattling by and the tarry stench of wet pavement from residual puddles that had yet to evaporate in the late morning sun, left over from last night’s torrential downpour, the deluge doing nothing to wash the grime off the New York City streets.
His eyes flew open as 75 decibels of leaf blower echoed off the surrounding buildings slamming into his ear canals with a shrill invasion. He was glad to see the grounds' keepers putting his HOA fees to work; however, it seemed like it would be easier to blow leaves after they were dry but… whatever.
He loved it here, and there was almost nothing he didn’t like about his Greenwich Village penthouse. It had once been an old church built around the late 1800s. It was three bedrooms, three baths, and 3500 square feet of spec-fucking-tacular-ness. He had purchased the place two years before, after signing the last modeling contract he would ever sign. He had a mere four months left, and then he would be completely done with modeling. His agent was about to shit herself over it, too.
Well, too damn bad. It was his life! Vehn justified to himself.
He was almost 30, which wasn’t old by any stretch of the imagination, but he wanted to do something more creative than having his picture taken in his underwear. Only four more months, and then he would be free to devote all his time and energy to turning his lifelong passion for photography into a career.
Other author's books:
Welcome to BookFrom.Net Archieve
The free online library containing 500000+ books
Read books for free from anywhere and from any device
Use search by Author, Title or Series to find more
Listen to books in audio format instead of reading
Quick bookmark is available by clicking on the plus icon (+)
Bookmark loading occurs by clicking on the arrow icon (<-)