Friday, July 3, 2009

In a Tattoo Parlor. . .

Monday's motivation writing prompt was: In a tattoo parlor . . .

In a tattoo parlor, Bernie glanced around the room at the various blown up pictures of different body parts and the ink-art needled into the skin. On one man’s beefy bicep the artist carved a barbed wire into his arm. Bernie rubbed at the same spot on her own arm as she meandered to the next photograph.

A butterfly of red, yellow, and black adorned the ankle of a woman who posed with what had to be three-inch spiked heels. “Cute,” she murmured and moved on. She shuddered at the next image. It showed a very sharp pointed knife with three drops of red blood dripping from its tip on the inside of a man’s forearm. She wondered if the blood drops signified anything important like one for each kill.

Bernie wrinkled her nose and wandered the room eyeing the other photos. The black bull drew her in. It seemed almost real as if it would jump off the paper. All she had to do was wave a red cape in front of it. The animal’s head came over the man’s shoulder and when she blinked the bull’s dark eye seemed to wink at her. When she realized what hung from the bull’s nose, she gasped and her hand reflexively cupped her left breast in a protective gesture. In the center of the animal’s nose hung a gold ring from the man’s nipple. “Ouch!”

“You can say that again.”

Bernie jumped, spun, and caught off guard took an automatic step back. Her leg bumped into something, she lost her balance, and stumbled, her arms wind milling. If not for the strong hands of the man who had surprised her in the first place, she would have fallen onto her butt. Instead, he gripped her arms and tugged her upright. Her front slammed into his rock hard chest and the air left her lungs.

“You okay, little lady?”

Little lady? She blinked up at him, unable to speak for lack of breath, and swallowed the lump of lust that just lodged in her throat. Sparks of electricity tingled at every point his body made contact with hers.

“You okay?”

His jade eyes twinkled and she would have sworn she saw the corner of his mouth twitch. Bernie cleared her throat. “Fine, thank you.” She attempted to extricate herself from his grasp, but he held firm.

“I’d say better than fine,” he drawled in a smooth bourbon voice as gaze traveled down her body and back up again. “Can I help you?”

“N. . .no thank you,” she told him and managed to disentangle herself. She brushed at her sleeves and skirt smoothing out the material.

“Did you come in for a tattoo?”

Bernie straightened. Her spine snapped taut and her gaze narrowed on the man with the pretty jade eyes. “I don’t think that’s any of your business.” She turned on her heels and went toward the front desk in search of the receptionist or whoever was in charge. She leaned over the counter and did not see anyone in sight. Where could the tattoo artist be?

The man, her savior, her own personal heating blanket, followed her. When he moved behind the desk, her eyes widened. Persistent.

“Do you have an appointment?” he asked, shuffling pages in a book.

He was kidding right? Bernie arched one brow. No way, he didn’t really work there. He. . .dressed too nice, no denim, no Grateful Dead T-shirt. Her gaze drifted from the man’s face to his arms and back up again. He had no tattoos.

“It’s hidden,” he answered her unasked question.

Her lips formed an O, but no sound came out.

“Want to see it?”

He gave her a crooked grin and she shook her head. “Where is the tattoo guy?”

One of his chestnut brows arched. “Honey, you’re looking at him.” He held out a large hand.

“The name is Thor.”

After eyeballing the offered hand for a second, she slipped her nervous palm against his. Thunder struck, heat bolted through her, and her heart felt as if a jolt of electricity hit it. From beneath lowered lashes, she peered up into his jade eyes and her knees buckled.


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