Wicked DesignBy: Tina Donahue
“She does.” Lauren smiled indulgently. “I’ll leave you two to work out the details.” She closed the door.
A first. Unless a woman bared her breasts, pussy, or ass for an artist to ink, station doors always stayed open here. Kept everyone chaste. Screwing came after the parlor closed, not too many hours away.
His pulse sprinted. “Do you know what you’d like?”
Clover glanced at his groin. “For what?”
“Oh. No. Do you mind if I sit down?”
“No. Sure. Please.” With any luck, he’d move beyond monosyllables before she left. He pulled over a chair. “Do you at least have a theme you’d prefer? Flowers? Butterflies? Fairies? Something like that?”
“I love your bullet holes. Especially the blood seeping out.” She stroked his arm.
Pleasure shot to his teeth then back down, settling in his groin. “Thanks.”
“Can I see your chest?”
She gestured to his tank top. “I read those articles about your tat. Did you really do it yourself?”
“Yeah. No biggie.”
“Are you kidding? You inked yourself. That’s amazing.”
He smiled. “Yeah? You think so?”
When it came to emotions, he was admittedly clueless. Right now, he felt invincible and vulnerable yet also oddly comfortable. Totally screwed up.
“Come on.” She stroked his nipple through his top. “Show me.”
If his clothes had been on fire, he wouldn’t have undressed faster. Nude to the waist, he actually pushed out his chest. Like a douche.
Clover clutched her throat.
“Too much?” He grabbed his top.
“No. Seriously, that’s epic.”
His design was pure illusion, his skin seemingly ripped away to show his heart, ribs, and guts beneath. Everything in 3-D, completely realistic.
And gross to most women. When they spotted pictures of his tat next to the other designs gracing the walls, they curled their upper lips or shuddered. The same reaction they gave to inked testicles and cocks. In that, he agreed with them and would never fuck up his equipment. “You don’t think this is ugly?”
“I’ve never seen anything more awesome.” She traced the inked heart and touched his nipple.
Goose pimples rose on his arms.
She leaned closer. “You’re a real badass with spatial depth. I mean, check out those ribs. I can almost stick my fingers between them.”
She stroked his abs.
His belly trembled. “You talk like an artist.”
“Designer. Jewelry. Remember?”
He’d never forgotten. Lauren and Jasmina had discussed putting Clover’s work in other Wicked Brand locations when their franchise plan took off.
“You design this?” He touched her silver bracelet.
She laughed. A light, tinkling sound that encouraged joy and hope. “It’s your design.” She stroked the petals. “I made it into jewelry. Hope you don’t mind me stealing the idea from you.”
“You didn’t. It’s not mine. Maybe Tor’s. I’m not into delicate stuff as a rule. It’s nice, though. Pretty. I like how it fits your arm.”
“That’s one of my styles. I call it wraparound jewelry. Metal or precious gems that decorate a woman like a tat. Maybe Lauren will commission more of my pieces and you’ll see them in the display case. I love your artwork, by the way. You’re living up to your name.”
“Yeah. His work is incredible. Monet’s, Renoir’s, and Degas’s, too. They’re my faves.”
He pointed. “I figured you might be an Impressionist fan.”
She had an ethereal quality, like a sprite. Instead of her black tank top, shorts, and sandals, she should have worn a gossamer gown, fragile and feminine like her umbrella. He’d planned to put the piece in his drawing and give her wings. Maybe even a halo. “I don’t know. You’re so…”
She was, but in a good way. “Not exactly.”
“What? No. More like narrow.”
She glanced down. “You think I’m too skinny?”