Ink Enduring - Carrie Ann Ryan
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Carrie Ann Ryan Carrie Ann Ryan

Ink Enduring

Book 5 in the Montgomery Ink Series
Special Edition

The Montgomery Ink series continues with a forbidden love between three friends and a past that they can’t escape.
Jake Gallagher knew from the moment he saw Maya that she was the one for him—it had the same breath-taking intensity as when he’d first set eyes on Border. Only life never turns out the way one plans, and now he’s falling for someone else…or at least he thinks he is.
Maya Montgomery never should have looked past the friendship she already had. Now, she can’t stop thinking about Jake and what he means to her. When a mysterious stranger from Jake’s past shows up at their door, she’s forced to admit that if she doesn’t take the risk of a lifetime, she’ll regret it for the rest of her days.
Border Gentry walked away without a second glance once because of what could happen if he let go, but now he’s back and ready to see what he’s missed. He’s been on the road a long time and has seen things no man should ever see, yet once he rediscovers the broody Jake and meets the inked and fierce Maya, they’re like a balm to his soul, and he realizes what path his future should take.
When someone from the outside wants to stand in their way, it’s not only their hearts on the line…but also their lives.

read an excerpt

Ink Enduring Characters Profiles

Ink Enduring

Chapter One

That damn skirt was going to kill him. It rose up with every move of her hips, every dip, every sway, every goddamn bend. There was nothing better than a tight, leather skirt that hugged those kinds of curves in all the right places. Her hair touched her ass when she leaned back and brushed the small of her back every time she moved. She wore a tank thing with no bra, and the wavy, long black strands slid over her bare skin. It made him want to wrap her hair around his fist and bend her over the nearest barstool. He’d slide right into her, and they’d both come until they were panting and sated.

Jake Gallagher didn’t even know who this chick was, yet he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. He licked his lips and adjusted himself in his pants. The long swig of his beer did nothing to calm the urge. It didn’t matter that she was with another man, dancing and grinding and having a hell of a good time, all he wanted to do was sink his teeth into her shoulder, his fingers into her hips, and his cock into that sweet pussy—because it would be sweet.

He’d figure out her name later.

Her ink glistened with perspiration, and he wanted to lick it off, taste each curve of her tattoos to see if they tasted differently than her bare skin. He loved ink, loved the way—if done correctly—it enhanced the art of a woman’s or man’s body. He was an artist at heart, though he couldn’t draw the way her artist did. Her body and ink were a masterpiece. One he wanted to have in his hands.

The light glinted off her eyebrow ring, and when she turned to the side, he could see her tongue flick out and the piercing there press against her upper lip.

He wanted that tongue on his dick, that tongue ring sliding up his shaft, and those fucking sexy lips wrapped around his cock. He swallowed hard, a little disturbed at his reaction to this stranger. He didn’t normally respond like this in public when a girl—or guy, for that matter—was just dancing in front of him. Jake usually had a little more control.

A little.

“You done eye-fucking that chick in leather?” Graham, his older brother asked as he ran his hand through his beard.

Jake rolled his eyes and took another drink of his beer. “I’m not eye-fucking her.” He was totally eye-fucking her, and he might have felt bad about it, but from the look on her face when she caught others doing it, she liked the attention. If she hadn’t, he’d have stopped. He wasn’t a complete asshole.

“You’re totally eye-fucking her,” Owen, his younger brother said with a grin. Newly twenty-one, he seemed happy as hell that he hadn’t had to use his fake ID to get in that night. Their youngest brother, Murphy, didn’t look old enough to pass a fake yet, but that would come.

“Okay, fine,” Jake said as he shrugged. “She’s hot, and I’m single. Can’t blame me for looking.” He tilted his beer toward the very gorgeous woman dancing in the middle of the floor. There were other women in the bar and on the dance floor, but all eyes were on this one. There was just something about the way she moved, with a casual grace and a “fuck off” attitude that made people want to know more about her.

Jake wasn’t any different than those with their hungry eyes all for her.

“Well, she’s not single from the looks of it,” Graham drawled. “In fact, she looks clearly…attached.”

Jake flipped his brother off even as he watched the woman wrap one leg around her dance partner’s hips and grind. Oddly enough, with the type of bar they were in, she was probably the most dressed woman there, and wasn’t dancing as sexually as the others. But either way, she made him groan. He wanted her to dance with him like that.

“Speaking of attached,” Jake began, “where’s your wife? I thought you said she would be here with you tonight.” Jake liked Candace. She loved his brother, and Graham smiled when she was around. In Jake’s book, that worked.

“She wanted to stay home tonight,” Graham said with a shrug. “Told me to get out and watch your ass.” His older brother grinned through that big beard of his. “And since the wife told me to…”

He trailed off, and Jake punched Graham in the arm. “Fuck off.”

“No thanks, I have a willing, young wife at home. I don’t need your help.”

Owen snorted in his beer and shook his head. “I really don’t need to think about any of that.”

“Aww, you and your hand going through a breakup?” Jake asked, ducking as Owen threw a punch. “Hey, watch it. Don’t get us kicked out of here. It’s my favorite bar.”

Owen rolled his eyes. “Every bar is your favorite bar.”

Jake grinned and tipped his beer at his brother. “True, but this one has her.” He pointed with his beer again. “I like the view.” When he turned toward the mysterious woman, though, he frowned.

Some other dude had come up behind her, and from the look on the first guy’s face, this one wasn’t a stranger. But when stranger number two put his hands on the woman’s hips, all hell broke loose.

“What the fuck, Mark?” the woman spat. “I already told you, I’m not going to do your buddy so you can watch.” She tried to wiggle out from between them, but the two douchebags held her tight.

Jake ground his teeth and set his beer down. “Be right back,” he snarled.

Graham growled, “We’re right behind you.”

“No one touches a woman like that if she doesn’t want it,” Owen added.

There was a reason Jake loved being a Gallagher brother, but he pushed that thought out of his mind as he stormed toward the three on the dance floor. Not a single other person looked like they were going to help. In fact, some of the women looked happy that one of their own was in this situation. Fucking people and their fucking small minds. Just because someone wanted to dance, didn’t mean they wanted to fuck. It was as simple as that.

Jake held out one hand and opened his mouth to speak, only to come up short as the woman moved faster than he thought possible. In one move, she elbowed the one behind her in the gut and kneed the first dude in the nuts. When both of the guys leaned forward with a groan, she slammed their heads together. Just when Jake thought she might be done, she kicked them each in the nuts one more time.

“No means no, assholes.” With that, she tossed her hair over her shoulder and glared at the rest of the crowd before letting her gaze fall on him. She studied him for a moment, and he forced himself to let his fists relax at his sides. She raised a brow at him before smiling.

Damn, she was beautiful. Not just hot and sexy, but fucking gorgeous.

“Thanks for the assist,” she said without a hint of sarcasm. “Buy me a drink?”

He blinked a couple of times before letting out a rough chuckle. “That I can do, sweetness.” He held out a hand, but she smiled at him instead, moving past him and leaving the two dumbasses on the floor trying to pick themselves up.

Jake let out a breath and followed her to the bar where she was already holding up two fingers at the bartender. He sidled up to her side and noticed that Owen and Graham had moved a little farther down the bar, giving him space with this new development. He loved his brothers sometimes.

“You handled yourself well there,” he said as casually as he could. Kind of hard to sound casual with a hard-on from hell pushing against his zipper. “Jake Gallagher.”

She smiled and held out a tequila shot. He took it and tapped glasses. Neither of them bothered with salt or lime, instead, letting it hit the back of their throats as they shot it back.

“I have five brothers and about eighty cousins,” she said once they’d finished the shot. “I can handle myself anywhere.” She winked. “Maya Montgomery.”

Maya. He liked the name. It fit her well.

“So, Maya, I’d ask what brings a girl like you to a place like this, but that’s cliché, and considering you just laid those two on the ground in two seconds flat, I figure I’d best think of something else to say.”

She smiled again. “I like you, Jake Gallagher. No pretense, and yet you’re smooth.” She tapped her tongue ring on her tooth. “Or, at least you think you’re smooth.”

He clutched his hand over his heart. “I’m wounded.”

“You are not. You were totally checking me out the entire time I was dancing, and you liked what you saw. And from the nice bulge in your jeans, I’m thinking you liked it a lot.”

He didn’t look down at his dick, but it was damn hard not to—no pun intended. “You take no shit, I’m guessing.”

“If I did, I’d have to give a shit,” she said simply and held up two more fingers. “More shots?” she asked, even as the bartender worked.

Jake ran a hand over his day-old beard. “Tequila isn’t really my thing,” he said honestly. “Plus, with the beer beforehand, I’m gonna have a hangover from hell.”

Maya grinned. “Then I’d better make it worth it.”

Jake studied her face and forced himself not to reach out and touch. “I thought you were with that dude back there.” He might want her, but he wasn’t about to poach. He had enough issues going on at home right now without adding women trouble to the mix.

She shook her head. “We went on a couple of dates. He sucks at oral.” Jake choked, but she just grinned. “He wanted to bring in his friend. Now if this guy was as good as he thought he was in the sack, I might have. But I didn’t trust his friend. And I’m pretty sure both of them wanted each other but were too chicken shit to admit it.”

“You have a problem with that?” He hoped as hell not, considering he was bisexual.

She held up her hands. “Are you kidding me? Two men going at it is hot as hell. I love men, and I love men that love men. What I don’t like, is when two dudes who want each other but hate the idea that they could be gay or bisexual want to use me to get in bed. There’s a line I won’t cross, and being the bitch between two assholes is one of them.”

“Well, that’s honest,” he said finally after a moment. Tonight…tonight was going to mean something. He could feel it. “So…how are you going to make it worth it?”

She licked her lips, and Jake swallowed hard, knowing things were about to get interesting.

Jake slid his hand up Maya’s thigh and licked her lip. She arched her back against the door, and he couldn’t help but smile. He’d watched her dance, seen her kick ass and take names, and now she was in his room, against his door, and in his arms.

He was going to taste every inch of her like he wanted to, and fuck her until they were both breathless. Then he’d do it all again because he was so fucking hard it was going to take more than one turn for him to be sated. Probably more than two or three times for that matter.

He liked Maya. She made him laugh, she took no shit, and she was hot as hell.

He had a feeling if he had his way, this would be more than one night. He surely hoped so.

“What’s with that grin?” Maya asked. She licked up his shoulder and neck then bit down gently where the two met. He groaned, rocking into her so his dick pressed against the heat of her pussy. They’d already taken off his shirt and both of their shoes, but he still wore his pants and she, sadly, still wore that skirt and top of hers. For now.

“I was just thinking about how I knew your skin would taste fucking fantastic.” It was the truth, if not the whole of it. He didn’t want to scare her too much since he’d just met her that night. They’d taken a cab back to his place since they’d both had too much booze to drive, and neither of them had a car there to begin with. His brothers had left before he had, meaning he was all alone now with Maya in his home and in his arms. He’d count that as a win on so many freaking levels.

Maya pushed her breasts against his chest. “I’m glad you think so because I want that tongue to taste every inch of me.” She raised her brow. “You get me? Because I already told you, being shitty at oral is a deal breaker for me.”

He growled and pushed her harder into the door, using one hand to pin her wrists over her head and the other to hold her ass. “Don’t talk about that other dude when I’m about to fuck you. As for oral? I’m going to eat that cunt of yours until you come on my face, and then I’m going to do it again so you’re begging me to stop and fill you with my cock. How does that sound?”

She rocked herself on him, her legs wrapped around his waist. “Sounds like a lot of talk. I think you’d better use that mouth of yours for better purposes.” She paused, tilting her head. “Oh, and Jake, if you need an oral tutor, I’ll tell you exactly where I need your tongue. So I hope you’re good at taking direction.”

He took a moment to regain his control since he was about two seconds from blowing his load in his pants like a damn teenager. Once he could breathe again, he crushed his mouth to hers, needing her taste. Her tongue slid against his and she pulled back, biting his lip. He growled, kissing her again, using his hips to hold her in place so he could use his free hand to cup her breast.

“I love your tits,” he panted. “They overfill my hands, all perky and tempting. I wonder what color your nipples are.” Still slightly buzzed from the alcohol and the taste of her, he knew they should slow down, but he wasn’t about to. They both wanted this, and hell, if he were honest with himself, he needed this.

“Why don’t you find out?” She wiggled, and he pulled back, letting her to her feet.

He slowly undid her top from the back and let it fall to the floor. Of course, she wasn’t wearing a bra because the bar gods were looking kindly on him tonight. Her nipples were a dusty pink, slightly large on her ample breasts, and fucking hard as hell.

Jake bent down, taking a nipple into his mouth and using his free hand to cup her other breast. Maya put her hand on the back of his head and pressed him closer.

“Harder,” she panted, her nails digging into his scalp.

He did as she asked and moved his hand down her belly and over her skirt before sliding it back up again, this time under the fabric. When his fingers brushed her damp panties, they both let out a groan. He moved to her other breast and pushed her panties aside with his fingers, needing to feel her.

“Jake,” she breathed as she rocked her hips on his hand. He slid his finger over her clit slightly before spearing her with two fingers.

“Fuck,” he growled. “You’re drenched for me, sweetness. You want me that much?”

“Move, Jake,” she shot back. “Make me come before I make myself come.”

He took that as a challenge and fucked her hard with his fingers. She threw her head back, and that made her breasts push toward him. Grinning at his luck, he took her nipple between his teeth and bit down.

She came around his fingers, shouting his name and rocking her hips until she shook. He slid his hand up her bare back and to her head so he could bring her in for a kiss. She kissed him back like she couldn’t get enough of him, and he couldn’t blame her as he felt the same about her. When he slid his hand out from beneath her skirt and licked his fingers, she smiled.

“I want to lick something, too,” she said softly with a dangerous gleam in her eyes.

“Oh, really?”

He let her fall to her knees in front of him and had to swallow hard as she undid the button of his jeans. He slid his hand through her hair, and she smiled up at him before licking up his shaft. That damn tongue ring would be his undoing.

He shuddered and had to hold himself back from coming right then and there. “Jesus, you look good there,” he said honestly.

“On my knees?” she asked wryly.

“With my dick in your hand. I’m sure you’ll like the way I look when you’re riding my face.”

She laughed before slowly sucking on his balls. He swallowed hard and tried to keep his eyes open. He didn’t want to miss any of this. When she licked the tip of his cock, he groaned.

“You taste just like I thought you would,” she said, almost repeating his earlier words back to him.

“Yeah? You like it?”

“Uh huh. Now let me get to work.” She swallowed him then, taking as much of him as she could into her mouth. What she couldn’t, she used her hands on. She worked him, her tongue ring dancing along his dick as she sucked him.

He rocked his hips, unable to hold back, but when she hummed against him, he knew she liked it, too. She fondled his balls with one hand and reached around to his ass to run her fingers along his crack. Since he still had his jeans around his ankles, he couldn’t spread as much as he wanted to, but he wanted her hands on him, wanted everything about her on him.

The small of his back tingled, and his balls tightened, and he knew he couldn’t stop from coming. “I’m going to come, sweetness. Tell me where you want it.”

She looked up at him, big eyes and all hotness. When she didn’t pull back, instead opening her mouth wider, he just about fell in love. The first spurt hit her tongue, and he roared her name, his body shaking as he came.

Jake was about to bend down and pick her up so he could kiss her once more before going down on her when someone slammed their fist on the door.

“What the fuck?” Maya asked as she stood up on shaky legs.

Jake frowned and put his hand on her hip.

“Jake!” his brother Graham called out. “Get your ass out here. Murphy passed out. You need to get dressed, say goodbye to the chick, and get in the fucking car. Sorry to interrupt and all, but you didn’t answer your phone.”

Jake cursed, his body shaking for a whole new reason. “Damn it.”

Maya looked at him questioningly even as she helped him zip up his pants, tucking his still hard cock, wet from her mouth, away. He saw the questions in her gaze and knew he had to at least tell her something.

“Murphy is our youngest brother,” he said as he tied up her top. “He’s going through chemo now, but we thought he was doing okay.” Fear crawled up his spine and settled in his get. “He was supposed to be okay.” His voice cracked, and he didn’t care that Maya had heard it.

Tears filled her eyes, but she didn’t let them fall. She kissed him softly and patted his chest. “I’ll call a cab. Go to your brother. Family is important.” She gave him a sad smile. “Find me at Montgomery Ink, the tattoo shop off 16th Street Mall when you’re ready. If you want.” She paused. “I hope your brother is okay.”

And with that, she opened the door and passed a wide-eyed Graham before walking out of Jake’s home and life.

Three months later.

Jake stared up at the sign to Montgomery Ink, his hands in his pockets and his heart a little heavy, wondering if he was about to make another fucking mistake. It had been three months since he’d watched Maya walk away and his life had gone to shit. Now, here he was, his beard unkempt and what felt like another decade of living on his shoulders.

Murphy had almost died that night, and Jake wasn’t sure what he would have done if his baby brother hadn’t made it. As it was, it was still touch and go, but Murphy was stable, and Jake needed to get out of his home and out of the damn hospital. Maya had told him to come to Montgomery Ink when he could, and this was the first time he’d been able to—not only physically, but mentally, as well.

Since the place was called Montgomery, he figured her family owned it—or rather Maya had to. He liked the idea that she had her own shop, and he knew she’d be damn good at running it and everything that came with it. She was good at so many things.

He just hoped he wasn’t too late.

As soon as he entered the building, his senses were assaulted with rock music, laughter, and conversation. A young kid stood at the front desk, tapping her pencil on a notepad as she studied from some textbook. There were at least eight stations around the building with what looked like a door to an office and another to a bathroom in the back.

It was nice.

All hot pink and black with artwork on the walls that spoke of talent. He recognized some of the work as that of the artist who had inked Maya’s skin. He’d only been with her one night, but he knew her ink like the back of his hand. He remembered it vividly. He wouldn’t call it an obsession, but it was damn close.


His head shot up at the sound of her voice, and he froze. She stood in one of the stations, her smile wide, concern in her eyes, and another man’s arms around her waist. From the possessive way the man held her, Jake knew this guy wasn’t one of her many brothers or countless cousins.

He was too late.


He pushed that thought from his mind, as well as the achy feeling in his gut, and put on a smile. He just hoped she couldn’t read him. If she could, then she’d see the smile for the fake it was.

“Hey, Maya,” he said, his voice gruff. He cleared his throat and tried to act casual. “Nice place you have here.”

She beamed up at him before patting the guy’s arm. When the man didn’t release her, she glared up at him and moved away. She came up to Jake and punched him on the shoulder.

“Took you long enough to show up,” she said with a smile while studying his face. “Murphy okay?” She said the last part softly, as if afraid of the answer.

Jake nodded. “He’s okay now. It took me a while to get here because…well…just because.”

Maya gave him a sad smile and nodded, as well. “Well, you’re here. Welcome to my shop.”

“Our shop,” a big, bearded dude with eyes like Maya’s said from another station.

“That would be my brother, Austin.” Maya flipped the big man off. “We’re a new shop, but I think we’re doing pretty well. So, what do you think?”

He met her gaze and knew if he walked out today he would never see her again. If he didn’t stay and talk, she’d be out of his life for good, and Jake wasn’t sure he could handle that.

“It’s…fucking amazing, Maya,” he said truthfully.

“Baby, I thought we were getting lunch,” the dude who’d had his arms around her grumbled.

Maya rolled her eyes. “My boyfriend, Franklin.” She said it slowly, as if trying to make sure Jake understood. He got the hint, all right.

He held back a sigh. “If you’re going out to lunch, I’ll let you go.” Jake put his hands back in his pockets. “I just wanted to say hi and maybe get some ink.” He hadn’t been here for the last part, but he wouldn’t say no to Montgomery ink.

“Ink?” Austin asked. “We have room for some walk-ins in a bit. Why don’t you tell me what you want?”

Maya flipped her brother off once again. “Nope. If anyone is going to give Jake a tattoo, it’s me. You don’t get to touch him.” She said the last part over her shoulder before holding her finger up to Jake. “Think about what you want. I’ll just be a sec.”

She sauntered over to her boyfriend and said a few words to him. When Franklin patted her ass, Jake turned his attention to the books on the table by his side. He only had to wait a few minutes before the boyfriend was gone and Maya was smiling up at him.

“We good?” she asked.

Jake met her gaze. “We’re good.”

She let out a relieved breath. “Good, because I like you, Jake, and I think you’ll fit in this shop just fine. Now, tell me what you’re thinking about in terms of ink.” She pulled him to her station, and he let her lead him.

He liked Maya, and damn if he wanted to leave and never see her again. He could be her friend and be fine with it. They fit together, and if that was all he could get…well, he’d be good. Because there was only one Maya Montgomery in the world, and Jake wasn’t about to lose her.

And one day, he’d quit getting a hard-on every time he saw her.

Friends he could do. Friends lasted for a hell of a lot longer than sex.

end of excerpt
Ink Enduring