415 Ink: Rebel
by Rhys Ford
Hello and welcome to the 415 Ink: Rebel Blog Tour. I’d like to say I’m Rhys Ford, your host but the truth is, I am merely a stealer of space and time. Their space, your time. BUT I hope I can make it worth your while.
Because dudes, I’ve got a book I want to tell you about.
If you know me at all, you know I have a few tattoos and well, have a hardcore love for art. Skin art to be exact. It’s a difficult medium and well, there’s a culture surrounding it as well. Being a tattoo artist is more than a profession, it truly is a calling, or it is for the great artists, the ones who push at the boundaries of skin and ink and do fantastical things on a living canvas.
The 415 Ink series hopefully will capture a part of that culture and also showcase five foster brothers who have made their own family. Set in San Francisco, I will introduce you to each of the five in a series of books where they find love and in some cases, their true path in life. The first, Rebel, is about Gus, the true middle kid in the bunch, and the man whose love he’d won, lost and hopefully will love again.
As all of my blog tours, I want to present you with something unique at each stop as well as a giveaway. So, for each blog, I will give you a story (or part of a story as I’ve split most into two pieces) about a tattoo… involving a character from one of my series. Check out the blog stop list to get a sneak peek at the characters!
The giveaway? You’ll be entering to win a $20 USD gift certificate to the online retailer of your choice!
Now, onto the tales of tattoos and where you can find Rebel, on sale December 29th through Dreamspinner, Amazon and other fine bookstores.
San Francisco — Kane Morgan and Miki St. John
There were very few times in his life when Miki was by his side as he strolled past the Fisherman’s Wharf sign. That path was usually reserved for Rafe, Sionn and Connor, especially when they were on a run or hitting up the old crab shack for lunch. It seemed odd to have his rangy, too-pretty rock star of a lover walking next to him in bright daylight and not be headed to Finnegan’s.
Even stranger were the stares Miki pulled in as he walked by small crowds of people. He knew Miki was famous. He couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing Miki’s voice rotating through a song list, and there’d been more than a few times when they were out and someone approached cautiously, eager to get Miki’s attention but reluctant to interrupt.
That was when Kane remembered he shared Miki with the world. It wasn’t a bad thing, especially when he watched his prickly lover turn bashful and shy. He could talk music for hours — and had, blowing their reservations at a dinner once — but just like the star Kane wore, Miki had a calling and enthusiastic fans were simply part of it.
Even if Miki hated the attention, he always stopped and listened, smiling when Kane knew he wanted to die a little bit inside when all eyes were on him, and he could see their faces. It’d taken a long time for Kane to understand the difference. Up close and personal was hard but on stage, Miki saw nothing but heard their voices, a chorus chanting back the band’s words, filling in the silence Miki often nursed inside of himself. Performing was a way for Miki to bathe in the music and touch the stars.
“You always stop. You have to stop.” Miki snorted with disgust when Connor innocently suggested the band excused themselves from fan encounters. “They’re the reason we’re up there. Somebody worked at a shitty job so they could see us up on stage. They might have eaten ramen for month for those tickets or even that album. Yeah, they don’t own us but they’ve invested in us. And all I’ve got to invest in them is time so I’m always gonna stop.”
While Kane agreed with the sentiment, today he hoped no one reached out to touch his rock star. Today was a long day coming, a gift he’d promised himself years before. Today was the day he would finally become a Morgan cop.
“It’s shitty the parking structure so far away.” Miki shivered a bit, ducking his head down when the light turned green, and they had to dash across the street through the chilly rain. “’Course I guess I should just be fucking glad there’s a parking structure. Remember when you had to circle around a lot? And we used to have this beat-up old van that was bigger than a Cadillac so we’d have gigs down here at eight but came down to park in the afternoon and feed the meter just so we had a spot.”
“You know, that’s one of my biggest regrets… not seeing you guys play before.” Kane snuck a look at Miki’s pale face, worried that he was setting too hard of a pace for Miki’s blown out knee. “You must have had some really kick ass shows.”
Miki wrinkled his nose as if he’d just been served a large helping of bitter melon stew. “Not back then. I mean there are a lot of places down here that have good music but the ones that hired us were just looking for some background noise while everybody drank. We played covers mostly and there were some nights we drank more than what we were paid but it was fun. Mostly. Sometimes, not so much but that’s what happens when you’re in a band. This is the same place that we went to for Ichi, right? They’ve got a dog named… Earl.”
“Of course you remember the dog,” Kane chuckled. “Yeah, this is the place.”
“I remember the guys. We partied with them a few times and Damie wants one of them — Gus — to do the artwork for our next album.” Another light with three more to go and the cold drizzle turned into a downpour. “Fuck, we’re going to be frozen by the time we get there.”
“Well I know that they’ve got coffee going so we’ll get some in you,” he said, reaching for Miki’s hand. The open intimacy wasn’t something they did often and for a moment Kane wasn’t sure if Miki would let him, but Miki didn’t hesitate, threading their fingers together. “I really appreciate you coming down here with me. It means a lot.”
“Duh, why wouldn’t I? It’s really important to you,” Miki scoffed. “Like your — our — dad says, this thing is a two-way street and sometimes both of us have to drive but we should always be willing to be the passenger for the others dream.”
“My da said that?” Kane slowed his stride as the sidewalk turned uneven. “Most of the advice I get from him is a reminder to breathe and do not try to cage you in.”
“Okay, so yeah he says that more to Damie about me but the sentiment’s the same. D gets a little hyper focused on the shit he wants to do and forgets about the rest of us but I can usually yank him back.” Miki shrugged and edged in closer to Kane, an elegant feline grace to his walk. “Here, right?”
“Yeah. Here.” Kane stopped in front of the tattoo shop’s door to catch the moment before it passed. “Jesus, I’ve been waiting to do this for years.”
“Okay so how about if we get the fuck inside and out of the cold?” Miki shivered again despite his heavy leather jacket. “I really need some coffee and you really need some ink.”
It was a shock to see his father and older brother there in the shop. Kane couldn’t speak… couldn’t think past the bright sparkles of sentimental joy flowing through him. The hug from Connor was appropriately manly and brotherly, a bruising, ripped cracking moment then came his father’s more gentle embrace.
Being held by Donal with Miki’s hand pressed between his shoulder blades brought Kane to tears. He should have been made of sterner stuff but the Irish in him was strong and his family cried… with sorrow and with joy. It wasn’t simply the hug. Everything about Donal wrapping his arms around him broke Kane’s soul open. It was the familiar scent of Irish spring soap and the scratch of his father’s knuckles on his cheek where Donal brushed away a tear. The hint of butterscotch on his father’s breath was achingly sweet, a candy habit he never intended to break and one that always ensured he had a handful of treats ln his pockets for his children. And it was the smoky echo of peat and fresh green in his father’s rumbling voice that always took Kane’s heart home.
“I’m glad the two of you are here,” Kane mumbled around his burgeoning emotions. “Funny, I just said that to Mick. Thought you guys had to work.”
“Yer better half gave a sound argument for us being here even after ye told us not to come down.” Donal’s chuckle was as rich as the whiskey he liked. “So it was either respect yer wishes or listen to him. Ye see what we’ve chosen.”
Kane cocked his head. “What did he say?”
“He told us to get the fuck down,” Connor interjected. “He seemed pretty serious so I canceled my training session. And well, he’s right. This is something we should do together. Like the first time.”
“You three about done? Because you’re standing in the middle of the doorway and I need some coffee,” Miki grumbled, trying to get past them. “You guys are like mountains.”
Bear was waiting for them once they actually got through the door and into the shop itself. If Barrett Jackson had looked a bit more Irish, he could pass for one of Kane’s brothers, especially once Kane heard a sigh of exasperation when Ivo, one of Bear’s younger brothers, came out of the back room followed by a very wet shaggy mutt with the tips of his ears dyed blue.
Miki of course headed for the dog and from the sounds of it made fast friends with Ivo and Earl.
“You ready to do this now?” Bear asked. The stencil in his hand was a familiar one, and Kane grinned at the stupid look on Connor’s face. “It’s been a few years. You sure you haven’t change your mind?”
“No, I promised myself this,” Kane replied, stripping his shirt off and ignored the mocking wolf whistle he heard from the other side of the shop, mostly because he wasn’t sure if it came from Miki or Ivo. “Let’s do this. Time for me to become a real Morgan.”
“You’ve always been a Morgan,” Miki said as he approached Kane, the scruffy wet dog trotting behind him. His lover’s fingers were tinted blue and the coffee cup he held in his hand let out a steam that promised the brew inside of it was strong enough to strip off paint… just the way Miki liked it. “The best fucking Morgan there is. I’m including Donal in that.”
The kiss he got from Miki was as hot as the coffee and Kane had to lean his head back when they were done, willing his body to calm down and fighting the instinct to drag Miki to the back of the shop to find anyplace flat enough for them to have sex on.
“You’re the best thing that is ever happened to me, a ghra,” Kane whispered into Miki’s ear. “The very best damned thing and I’m so fucking glad your dog is a thief.”
The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something—it’s standing up for himself.
Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.
For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.
About Rhys Ford
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Harley, an off-kilter flower-faced grey and white cat-dog , as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.
Rhys has graciously offered up a $20 gift certificate to a retailer of the winner’s choice!! The giveaway starts now and ends January 9, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway, except to verify your Rafflecopter entry.
Don’t forget to check out Nikyta’s review of Rebel to see what she thought of it!