Book 8.5 in the Montgomery Ink Series
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan comes a new story in her Montgomery Ink series…
Tattoo artist, Derek Hawkins knows the rules:
One night a month.
No last names.
Olivia Madison has her own rules:
Don’t fall in love.
Never tell Derek the truth.
When their worlds crash into each other however, Derek and Olivia will have to face what they fought to ignore as well as the connection they tried to forget.
Inked Nights is Book 8.5 in the Montgomery Ink series
- Book 0.5: Ink Inspired
- Book 0.6: Ink Reunited
- Book 1: Delicate Ink
- Book 1.5: Forever Ink
- Book 2: Tempting Boundaries
- Book 3: Harder than Words
- Book 3.5: Finally Found You
- Book 4: Written in Ink
- Book 4.5: Hidden Ink
- Book 5: Ink Enduring
- Book 6: Ink Exposed
- Book 6.5: Adoring Ink
- Book 6.6: Love, Honor, and Ink
- Book 7: Inked Expressions
- Book 7.3: Dropout
- Book 7.5: Executive Ink
- Book 8: Inked Memories
- Book 8.5: Inked Nights
- Book 8.7: Second Chance Ink
- Book 8.9: Montgomery Midnight Kisses
- Book 9: Montgomery Ink Bites Cookbook
- Book 9.2: Inked Kingdom
- Boxed Set: Montgomery Ink Box Set 1
- Boxed Set: Montgomery Ink Box Set 2
The full series reading order is as follows:
Quick intakes of breath.
Long sighs turning to moans.
That’s what awaited Olivia Madison, and she knew it. She’d always known it. She’d rake her fingernails down his back, arch into him, and let herself be taken in the most primal way. And then she’d walk away again without looking back. They’d have a drink. They’d fuck. They’d keep it to only those details. There would be no last names, no promises. Exactly how they wanted it. And in a month, they’d do it again.
It was her thrill, her deepest secret.
Well, not her deepest, but the only one she could face.
Just one more time. That’s what Olivia had told herself last month, and yet, she knew she would be back for more. She’d always be back for more when it came to him.
Because that was how it was, and she wasn’t sure it would ever change. She wasn’t sure she needed it to change. Wasn’t sure she wanted it to change.
But she was going to push those thoughts from her mind. Because tonight was about one thing. Hot, unadulterated sex. At least that’s what she kept telling herself. Because there was no way that Olivia was going to fall for the man she didn’t know. She might know his body just as much as he knew hers, but that was it.
She didn’t even know what his favorite drink was. She swore he ordered a different one each time they were out together just to throw her off. She’d found herself doing the same, but maybe not for the same reasons. She just liked variety, liked knowing that she didn’t have to commit to something as simple as a drink.
The only commitment she allowed herself was one night a month with a man named D. He knew her as O.
And every time he called her that, there was a little laughter in his eyes because he had indeed given her a few Os along the way.
She mentally rolled her eyes at the horrendous joke and took a sip of her lemon drop martini. Tonight, she’d wanted something extra sweet to get the bitter taste of regret out of her mouth. For some reason, this night felt different than previous months. Maybe she was just getting old, or the fragile relationship she had with her stranger was getting stale, but either way, she felt like this might be the last one. And maybe it needed to be.
Having sex with a stranger with no promises and no strings once a month for as long as it had been going on seemed crazy and a little as if she were playing with fire. She often wondered what the manager or bartender at this hotel thought of them. Because this wasn’t the first time she’d seen the same guy behind the bar, wasn’t even the first time she’d seen the concierge.
Olivia wasn’t the one who booked the hotel room; that had always been the job of the other person in this strange relationship.
She just had to show up at the same time every month, sip her drink, and wait. And the thrill of that set her on edge. She knew it was wrong, knew she was consistently making the same mistakes, but she didn’t care, not when it came to him. And perhaps that was the greatest mistake of all.
“I see we meet again.”
That deep voice went straight to her lady parts, sending shivers down her spine and making her want to arch her back like a cat. She loved that voice, loved that growl. She especially loved it when he was groaning above her as he made both of them slide into sweet ecstasy.
She looked over her shoulder and raised a brow, doing her best to look as sultry as possible. She knew she was sexy, knew she had all the right curves. She’d even learned how to dress those curves and apply just the right amount of makeup to enhance the smokiness of her eyes, the plumpness of her lips, and the angles of her cheekbones. She knew all of that, and had looked up tutorials and gone shopping with her friends to ensure that she knew the rules of this particular game she played.
As soon as she caught the look in D’s eyes, she knew she had played things just right—at least for tonight.
She had chosen a champagne-colored cold-shoulder dress. There was a split in the side of the skirt that showed just the barest bit of thigh that she knew he’d already noticed, twice. She’d put her long, wavy hair up in a sort of twist along the back of her head, only because she loved the way he pulled out the pins and let her hair tumble down her back.
Yes, she dressed for him, and she probably shouldn’t have. But she did.
“You say that as if you’re surprised.” She smiled, not able to help herself. She wasn’t some femme fatale that could act all unaffected, even if she tried. But she liked this man, even if she didn’t know exactly who he was. She liked their game, liked what they had, even if it was just an illusion. She would have tonight, and in the morning, she would wonder why she allowed herself to remain in this situation, but then she would forget again and only remember him.
D gave her a long look before taking the seat next to her at the bar. “I always am. Just as you always seem surprised to see me walking toward you. If only for a moment.”
“I like how you act as if you know me.”
He leaned down closer to her face, his warm breath on her neck. “Sugar, I know you.”
That made her snort. She couldn’t help it. Hence why she wasn’t that femme fatale she tried to dress as.
“Are you laughing at me?” he asked, a clearly fake put-upon look on his face. “You saying I don’t know you?”
She shook her head as the bartender came over to take D’s drink order. Johnny Walker Black this time. Interesting. Talk about smooth and smoky.
“No, I wasn’t laughing at that, but isn’t the whole point of…this, that we don’t know each other?” She held out her hand when he would have answered. She didn’t need to know what he had to say about their arrangement. It was weird enough already, even with how hot it was. “I was snorting at the whole ‘sugar’ thing. I’ve never heard you call me that, and we live in Denver, not the south. I don’t know where you picked that up.”
D shrugged, taking a sip of his drink. “A client said it. I must have subconsciously absorbed it.”
It was on her tongue to ask him what kind of client, but that wasn’t who she and D were to each other. She would do well to remember that. Even D seemed a little annoyed that he’d let that bit of his life slip. But instead of saying more, he took another sip of his scotch, then turned on the stool so his legs were caging hers. She didn’t mind. At this point, she’d use any excuse to get closer to him, to have him touch her, even if it broke her in the end.
Yes, she was an idiot, but she couldn’t help it.
Not with D.
Because she knew his rules, too.
One night a month.
No last names…or firsts for that matter.
She let out a deep breath, aware that he was watching her. She needed to stop thinking about what she shouldn’t want and just live in the moment. It was how she’d gone through every other month in the past with D, and it would be how she got through tonight, too.
“I’m glad you made it,” she said, honestly. Probably too honestly, but she was doing her best not to question herself the entire night like she was prone to do. The only time she was able to forget everything was when D helped her, and she knew she couldn’t always rely on that.
He studied her face, and she wondered what he saw. Wondered why she cared.
“I’m glad I did, too.” He held up his glass, and she did the same, knowing their routine was anything but. “To inked nights.”
She grinned. “Always.”
She knew the ink that was hidden under his clothes just as he knew the ink that lay under hers. Inked nights had been a passing comment between the two of them on their first night and had been their toast ever since.
Olivia took a sip of her drink, the sweetness coating her tongue. When he reached out and wiped some of the sugar from her lip, she flicked out her tongue, needing to taste him, as well.
“Sugar,” he said with a wink, and she couldn’t help but smile.
They finished their drinks, looking at only each other. For all she knew, there could be hundreds of people around them, and yet he was it for her. And maybe, just maybe, she was it for him. She’d already paid for her martini since she didn’t have a room, and D set out cash next to his drink, not bothering to wait for a bill. They never paid for each other’s drinks, never got close enough to a receipt to see a name. And while he paid for the hotel room, they didn’t bother with gifts or fancy words either.
Their nights were just about the two of them.
When he slid off his stool and took her hand, she knew she would follow, knew she would soon be in a bed they shared but didn’t own. Others might look at them, wonder, or know, but nobody but D mattered in her mind—at least for this moment. They went into the elevator together but weren’t alone. There would be no teases, no touches as they waited to arrive on their floor. Of course, there never were because it was only them when they were within the walls of the hotel room. He never touched her beyond taking her hand or guiding her with his hand on the small of her back.
His presence was foreplay enough for her. There didn’t need to be extra touches or caresses. As soon as the hotel room door closed behind them, however, everything would change.
Just like she wanted, just like she needed it to.
D pressed the key against the sensor, and as soon as the green light lit, she knew this was it. Just the two of them and no one else. When the door closed behind them, her pulse pounded, and she swallowed hard, knowing that it was time.
“I’m going to unzip that dress, but not before I have those panties of yours. Take them off.”
She loved the way his voice sent shivers down her body. “I’m not wearing any.”
He let out a rough curse and then was on her, his mouth on hers, his hands running down her sides. When she arched against him, her back against the door, and her breath coming in pants, he pulled away, his gaze roaming over her body.
“No panties? You were down in that lobby, with all those other men around, without wearing panties?”
She licked her lips, needing more. Needing him. “I figured it would save time.”
In answer, his eyes got impossibly darker, and his hand snaked between her legs. When he found her hot flesh, his fingers delving between her soaking folds, her eyes rolled back, and she rotated her hips.
“Eyes on me, O. Let me see those eyes when I make you come on my hand. I want you drenched. So wet that I’m going to take my time licking every drop. Now look at me, O. Feel my fingers inside you. Feel me tease then thrust. Then come, right here. Right now. Can you do that, O? Can you come for me?”
She could have said “yes” right then. Could have come on his hand and finished their first round. But she wanted it to last.
She needed it to last.
“Make it worth it.”
He grinned then, his eyes dancing. Then he moved. His fingers curled, touching her in just the right spot so she came without knowing she was even that close. She’d thought she could make it last.
But she never could when it came to D and his talented fingers.
And his talented tongue.
Or his talented dick.
“That’s it. I knew you’d be fucking beautiful. You always are.”
Then, he unzipped her dress, and she stepped out of it and her shoes. He undid the pins in her hair, letting the mass tumble down her back. It was just as sensual as she’d thought it would be, made her just as needy.
She could fall in love with this man. This stranger who wasn’t a stranger.
She quickly pushed that thought out of her mind and came back to the present, to the moment that was just O and D.
“I can’t believe you weren’t wearing panties,” he whispered against her lips, undoing her bra. It fell to the floor, and soon she was naked while he was fully dressed, and she couldn’t help but wonder why that turned her on so much.
“You’re still wearing your clothes.” A kiss. A touch. A lick. A graze against her nipple. He knew what he was doing. Knew her body better than anyone but her. It should have worried her, and it probably would later. But for now, it was all about him.
“I can fix that.”
He stripped as he led her to the bed, their bodies sliding against one another. Then he was naked and rolling on a condom. He was so quick that she almost missed a glance at his cock since she loved looking at his length, his girth, every inch of him. But she would later, she promised herself that much.
“On your back, O. Let me take care of you.”
“As long as I can take care of you, too.”
“Wouldn’t dream of having it any other way,” he said with a wink.
She let out a breath, trying to act calmer than she actually was. When he slid into her, inch by slow inch, she gasped, needing more of him. Her legs wrapped around his waist and her fingers dug into his back. He stretched her, moved within her, and made her eyes roll back once again.
He thrust in and out, his face buried against her neck as they slowly made love. She couldn’t think of it any other way, not when they were so in tune with one another. She’d call it screwing or fucking or something else later, but not right then.
“D,” she whispered, and he moved faster. Harder. And she met him thrust for thrust, ache for ache.
“Call me Derek, when you scream out my name, call me Derek.” Then he slammed into her, and she came, screaming his name, a name she shouldn’t know.
And even as she did, her mind whirled. She looked up, the light from the moon sliding through the blinds and hitting his face just right, in a way that almost made her scream again—this time for a far different reason.
She knew him.
She couldn’t know him.
But she did.
Her body shook, though not from the way he’d fucked her; from the realization that everything had changed, and not for the better. Then he came, screaming the letter she was known by because she hadn’t given him her full name.
And she wouldn’t.
There should have been no names tonight. There never were before. Those were the rules. The boundaries that had been set to ensure that no one got hurt.
And yet it was all a lie.
Because she knew his name.
She knew his face.
And in that one brief moment when the light had hit his eyes just right, and she had seen the boy he had been instead of the man he was, she knew that the fragile peace she’d thought she had collected was a sham.
He was the one person she wasn’t supposed to have. The one she knew could break her, shatter it all.
So she knew that when the time came to meet again, she’d have to walk away. She’d have to end what they had even though she was positive it would ruin a part of her.
She couldn’t undo the fragile trust they’d created through their promises and touch. If she stayed, if she came back, she’d be the liar she’d always told herself she would never become.
This was the boy she’d fallen in love with before she knew what love was beyond cupcakes and butterflies. This was the man that she had tested her boundaries with. And now, it seemed he was the man she’d truly tested fate with.
Because this man was a stranger with a familiar face. He was someone from her past who she had sworn to forget.
Someone who could break her.
This was Derek.
The man she needed to forget.
And the one person Olivia knew she wouldn’t.