Inked Memories - Carrie Ann Ryan
Carrie Ann Ryan Carrie Ann Ryan
Carrie Ann Ryan Carrie Ann Ryan

Inked Memories

Book 8 in the Montgomery Ink Series

The Montgomery Ink series by NYT Bestselling Author Carrie Ann Ryan continues when the final Denver Montgomery sibling refuses to fall for his brother’s former flame—the company’s new plumber.

Wes Montgomery watched his entire family fall in love, and now finds himself ready to settle down. Except the one person he seems to find chemistry with is not only his twin’s ex, she also works for Montgomery Inc. But when the two find themselves in one compromising situation after another, Wes realizes he’s having second thoughts about the dynamic woman who’s burst her way into his life. Sure she sets off his temper, but she also makes him hot in every other way possible.

Jillian Reid never loved her best friend like everyone thought she should, so she pushed him away so he could have his future. Now, despite fighting it, she finds herself attracted to the one man she shouldn’t. When her father’s health takes a turn for the worse, and a danger no one saw coming show its face, she’s forced to turn to Wes for help. The two of them have fought off their attraction long enough, and each cave to the desire. But this enemies-to-lovers tale might have an ending no one ever dreamed of.

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Inked Memories is Book 8 in the Montgomery Ink series

Inked Memories Characters Profiles

Inked Memories

Wes Montgomery was ready for a cold beer and a willing woman. Okay, maybe just the cold beer since he didn’t exactly have a woman to go home to like the other men in his family and inner circle. But he had damn good beer at home.

He rubbed the back of his neck and squinted down at his agenda for the rest of the afternoon. He probably should have written it down in a notebook to carry with him down to the jobsite, but he lived and breathed through his tablet. It connected to his phone, laptop, and computer and was constantly backed up in two places. Why would he risk his very detailed organization with something that could blow away on a windy day when they were in the middle of tearing down walls and putting in plumbing?

As soon as he thought about the wind, a hard breeze slid across his skin, and he looked up at the nearly clear-blue sky. Since they were in Denver, the weather could shift at any moment, but for now, there were only a few white and fluffy clouds in the sky, and most of them surrounded the tall and jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains. He couldn’t help but smile at the grand scenery that not only reminded him how small some of his worries were in the grand scheme of things but also told him what direction west was at all times. Seriously, he had no idea how people outside the area ever knew where to drive without a GPS if they didn’t have the long line of mountains and foothills telling them where to go.

“So, you’re daydreaming in the middle of the day now? Did you put that in your planner?”

Wes lowered his head and flipped off his twin as Storm strolled in. He narrowed his eyes though once he saw that the other man was in work boots and his usual threadbare flannel shirt—as if Storm were planning to work onsite today. Considering that he’d just recovered from a near fatal accident, Wes hoped that wasn’t the case.

He didn’t want to have to beat his brother’s ass for stupidity.

The two of them weren’t identical, but of the eight Montgomery kids in their immediate family, they looked the most alike, at least according to everyone else. They each had the same shade of chestnut brown hair that the rest of the family had, along with their bright blue eyes. But what made them look the most alike was probably their square jawlines and smiles—though Storm hadn’t smiled much before he finally gave in and fell in love.

The two of them were Montgomerys through and through, though. Most of the guys had big beards—though Wes tended to shave his when meeting with clients these days—and all of them had ink. Even his sisters had tons of ink, with Maya having more than almost anyone in the family. But considering she and their eldest brother Austin owned a tattoo shop called Montgomery Ink, that only made sense.

And while Wes and Storm had the ink and even some of the piercings his family tended to lean toward, they didn’t work in the family tattoo shop. Instead, they owned and operated Montgomery Inc., a construction company that their parents had started before handing the reins over. Wes ran the books and was pretty much the lead in charge at all times. Storm was their architect and a god at figuring out how to make things work in a renovation or a new build.

Over time, others had come into the company that their parents had created and slaved over. Now that he was in charge, the weight of that responsibility was never lost on Wes.

“What the hell are you doing onsite in what looks to be your gear?” Wes demanded once Storm came closer. He didn’t want to yell too loudly in case any of their workers were around. Never good to act like a toddler instead of the boss, as his mother would say. And his father for that matter. “You’re supposed to be in bed while Everly and the boys comfort you.”

Storm raised a brow. “We’re in my fiancée’s bookstore, dumbass, of course I’m going to be here.”

“And he’s not going to lift a thing,” Everly said as she made her way to them. Storm’s woman mock glared before coming to stand beside them. Her long, ash-blond hair was up in a loose bun on the top of her head with tendrils spiraling down. He knew she’d probably thrown it up like that during her busy morning of dealing with twin toddlers, a puppy, and a grumpy Storm, yet Wes couldn’t help but think that Storm was one lucky man.

Not that Wes wanted Everly in that way, but having someone, anyone to come home to might be a nice thing once in a while. Jesus, he was starting to sound morose.

“I’m not going to lift anything,” Storm repeated. “I promise. I’m just here to oversee and answer questions. These are just my comfy clothes for any work.” He slowly wrapped an arm around Everly’s shoulders, and she leaned into him, though Wes noted she was careful not to put any weight on him. Storm had hurt his back pretty severely and was lucky to even be walking right then, but he was allowed and encouraged to get exercise and stretch out.

“We’ll find you a chair and a station to set up, then,” Wes said. “We’re not taking any unnecessary chances.”

Storm sighed, but the corner of his mouth lifted up into a smile. “No worries. I’m not about to start dancing a jig or lift even a single box. I promised the boys I’d watch them play in the pool that we set up in the backyard this afternoon, and I’m not about to break that vow.”

Everly’s boys were from her previous marriage, but Storm had been in their lives from day one since he’d been friends with Everly and her late husband. Now, Storm was in the process of adopting the twins and marrying Everly.

Wes couldn’t believe how quickly things had changed, but hell, in the past few years, everything had changed so much he could barely keep up.

His eldest brother, Austin, had married the girl next door, Sierra, and they now had two children—though the eldest was from a previous relationship. Leif was a teenager now, God help them all. Wes’s youngest sister, Miranda, was married to their friend Decker, who also happened to work with Storm and Wes at Montgomery Inc. and Decker and Miranda also had a child. How his younger sister had grown up so quickly, he didn’t know. One minute, he was putting a princess bandage on her knee; and the next, she was holding her own child in her arms. Meghan, the oldest of the Montgomery girls though still younger than Wes, had married her best friend, Luc, and they were raising their three kids. The two of them even worked with Wes every day with Meghan operating the landscaping arm of the company and Luc as their lead electrician.

Their company was a family business through and through, and it seemed it kept growing with each passing month—just like the family itself.

His younger brother, Griffin, had married his personal assistant, though Wes wasn’t sure she filled that role any longer and he didn’t intend to ask. Autumn always blushed like crazy whenever Wes mentioned it, and he really didn’t want to know what she and his brother did together once the office door was shut.

Maya, the middle Montgomery girl, had not only married her best friend but his ex-boyfriend, as well. Legally, she was only married to one of them, but to everyone close to the family, they knew the truth. Maya, Jake, and Border had had a baby the same time as Meghan and Miranda had theirs, and the three sisters were now raising their kids together. So, like Wes and his siblings, they’d have a huge family to grow up with even though they were cousins and not brothers or sisters. Though for all Wes knew, everyone was gearing up for the next additions to their broods. For a while there, everywhere he turned, someone was turning up pregnant. Thankfully—since he wasn’t in a serious relationship and hadn’t been since he and Sophia broke up—it wasn’t him.

And, finally, there was Alex. Wes rubbed his chest just thinking about his youngest brother. Alex had been through hell and back, and Wes was only now learning the details. But in the end, Alex had come out stronger and was in love with Wes’s admin, Tabby. For a while there, most of the family thought that Wes and Tabby would end up together, but Wes couldn’t help but cringe at that thought. She was like one of his little sisters, nothing more, and he knew Tabby felt the same way about him. Just because the two of them shared a love of planners and organization didn’t mean they were meant for each other. Clearly, she’d been made for his brother. Not him.

And that left him all by himself these days. Alone. Womanless.

And if that wasn’t a depressing thought, he didn’t know what was.

“You’re daydreaming again,” Storm said softly. “You okay, Wes? You seem off today.”

Wes shook himself out of his thoughts and gave his brother a grin that he actually felt. He might not have a woman in his life, but he wasn’t unhappy. He had a job he loved, and a family that cared for him. And for once, everyone seemed healthy. That was saying something, considering they had been in hospital waiting areas far more than any family should, especially recently. They should just name the damn emergency room the Montgomery Wing at this point.

“I’m fine. Just thinking about how big the Montgomerys have gotten.” That was the truth, or at least part of it, so he went with it.

“We’re doubling each month it seems.” Storm wrapped his arm around Everly’s shoulder. “But I don’t mind.”

Everly rolled her eyes. “Considering the boys and I took over your house? I would hope not.”

“Well, Randy had already tried taking over, and I think the twins are helping their puppy along with that.”

Wes just looked between the couple and shook his head as they bantered. The two of them had been good friends before Everly’s husband passed away. Then, for some reason, they’d pushed each other away though they’d stayed in touch for the boys’ sake. Now, they were engaged and ready to build their new family as well as rebuild Everly’s bookshop.

Wes wanted that, damn it. He’d come close once, and it had gone to shit for many reasons, one being that he’d known Sophia wasn’t the one for him. Now, he didn’t have any prospects.

He ignored the needling thought in his mind telling him that there was a person he was beyond attracted to, but he’d be damned if he gave in to that particular urge.

And as if the gods themselves had called the siren with her own song, she walked into the building.

Jillian Reid. Storm’s ex friends-with-benefits, and Montgomery Inc.’s current lead plumber.

She strolled in wearing her normal cargo pants and a cotton shirt bearing the Montgomery Inc. logo—the MI iris that was a circle enclosing the letters with a flower on the side. Each of the adult Montgomerys—including those that had married in—had one tattooed on them. It was a rite of passage for their family, and he knew Everly was getting hers soon.

His thoughts went back to the woman walking toward them as Jillian set down her tool kit and stretched her back. The action pressed her breasts right up to the thin cotton of her shirt. He swallowed hard and pulled his gaze up to the blue of her eyes. She worked for him, damn it. He needed to get his act together and not be a freaking lecher.

Of course, it helped to remember that the two of them actively hated each other.

Regardless of how hard he got whenever she was near, he always, always fought with her. And he had no idea why they’d started out fighting, only that they kept irritating the hell out of each other.

“Hey, boss,” Jillian said with a sigh. She glanced at Wes and raised a brow. “Make that bosses. I checked out the bathroom on the first floor, and it’s going to have to be completely gutted. There’s no way I can save the pipes or anything there.” She gave Everly a small smile. “I’m sorry, hon. I know that sucks, but insurance will cover it for sure. The thing is, with these old buildings in downtown Denver, you’d have had to get them replaced sooner or later anyway.”

Everly shrugged before pulling away from Storm to give Jillian a one-armed hug. It would have boggled Wes’s mind that the two women could become so close in such a short amount of time, but Everly was a sweet and open woman who cared about those close to her with a fierce intensity.

“Thanks for looking,” Everly said with a smile. “And I’d hug you more, but since you just came from digging around toilets…”

Jillian batted her eyelashes. “That’s me. Toilets and clogs. It’s no wonder the men are chasing after me.”

Storm snorted and gently tugged Everly back to his side. “Sounds about right. If they only knew what covered your boots right now.”

Wes narrowed his eyes and looked down at the work boots she wore. “What is on your boots that you’re tracking through my jobsite?” He held back a wince at the harshness of his tone. He never meant to sound like an ass, but Jillian brought out the worst in him.

Storm sighed under his breath, and Everly muttered something he didn’t quite catch. Jillian, however, just raised that brow of hers and snorted.

“Don’t worry, Wesley, I wore booties when I was in there. I wouldn’t demean myself by daring to dirty your precious floors.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Storm pull Everly away toward the back of the building. His twin was probably getting sick and tired of being the middle of Jillian’s and Wes’s tiffs. Frankly, Wes was tired of it too, but there was just something about her that got under his skin and made him lash out like a man half his age.

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

“Whatever.” She brushed him off. “I’m just doing my job. Something you pay me to do, right? I need to head over to the Anderson house, by the way, to do the final check on my end of things so you can sign off. Is there anything you need me here for today?” She sounded so professional, but beneath the words, he heard the annoyance in her tone.

“There’s some plumbing I’d like her to check, if you know what I mean,” one of the guys working on the demo muttered under his breath as he walked by.

Jillian froze for an instant, her face paling before she tightened her jaw and dashes of red covered her cheekbones—from anger or embarrassment, Wes didn’t know.

Either way, he was pissed.

Jillian reached out and grabbed his arm as he turned to yell at the guy. “Don’t. It’s not worth it,” she whispered under her breath. “Just let it go.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “This isn’t the first time he’s said something. Is it?”

She raised her chin. “It doesn’t matter. Just let it go,” she repeated.

“Sorry, no can do.” He pulled away from her, annoyed that her touch left a heated trail on his skin. He went to Jeff’s side and tapped him on the shoulder. The guy looked surprised for a moment before scowling.

Jeff turned around and frowned before setting down his stuff. The man was around Wes’s age but looked far older since he drank and partied hard when he wasn’t working. He sneered over at Jillian before seeming to think better of it and turning again to Wes. They were out of earshot of others, but Wes had a feeling if the man started yelling, there was no way to hide it.

“Yeah?”

“First, apologize for that sexist and poor comment. You’re opening yourself—and our company—up to sexual harassment lawsuits because you’re an asshole. Second, pack your bags and get off our site. You’re fired.”

“You’re fucking kidding me, right? For this bitch? I’ve been working for this company for years. Hell, your daddy is the one who hired me. You have no right.”

Wes’s hand tightened on his tablet, and he blew out a breath so he wouldn’t hit the man. “I have every right. You never treat anyone like you just did. You hear me?”

“Fuck this shit. And fuck you. Must be great having that nice ass to bang when you’re not living in your high castle.”

He stormed off, and Wes stood there, his chest heaving. There was no way the others hadn’t heard that, even though he’d tried to keep the conversation private. But there was no damn way he was going to let that man work for Montgomery Inc. if he treated his coworkers—or hell, any woman—like that.

Wes stepped around the corner, and the others got back to work quickly, acting as if they hadn’t been listening. Storm and Everly were nowhere to be seen, but he knew they’d hear about it soon.

Jillian, however, stood exactly where she’d been, her arms folded across her chest and her face red.

“Jillian—”

“Thanks for that. I guess. But from now on, I can handle things myself.”

He clenched his jaw, anger spilling out with his words. “No. This is my company. My family’s company. No one gets to treat you like that. Or anyone else for that matter. If you have a problem with the way I run things, then you can get the hell out of here, too.” He didn’t mean the last part, but he was pissed off that anyone would say shit like that to her. And, apparently, this wasn’t the first time.

She raised her chin once more, her nostrils flaring. “Whatever, Wesley.” And with that, she picked up her things and walked out of the building, leaving him standing there like an idiot.

“My name’s not fucking Wesley,” he growled, knowing no one was listening to him. Or, at least, that’s what he thought.

“Just fucking ask her out already,” Decker mumbled as he passed by. “Seriously.”

“He’s right, you know,” Meghan singsonged. Apparently, the two of them hadn’t heard what had happened with Jeff yet or they’d be singing another tune.

“Just shut up,” Wes snarled and turned on his heel. He had things to do today, and none of them included growling over a woman he didn’t want to want.

He didn’t know much about what his future would bring, but he did know one thing for sure—Jillian Reid was not for him. Ever.

end of excerpt
Inked Memories

Reviews of Inked Memories

“Sassy sweet lovvin' with a dose of kismet thrown in makes Inked Memories one fantastic love story.”

Audrey Carlan, #1 NYT Bestselling Author

“Beautifully written, emotionally thrilling and completely enthralling conclusion to one of my top ten all time favorite big family romantic series.”

Cali Jewel

“An Engaging end to the final Denver Montgomery Ink series and I know most contemporary romance readers will fall in love.”

Yvonne Daniels

“I need to start off with the chemistry between Wes and Jillian because let me tell you, these two really know how to steam up the sheets. The air around them was combustible whenever they were together,”

Nadine is Obsessed with Books

“Sexy, emotional, and with a large, loving, intrusive family to keep it real, Inked Memories ended this series on a high note.”

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews