Review - "Ink" by Isabelle Rowan
Fantastic take on the vampire legend
Very Highly Recommended
Dominic is old. Tired. Alone. His existence tires him, makes him withdraw from the human contact he craves, but fears. It has been so long since he has felt a lover's touch, care, love. He sits across the street from Ink and watches the humans go in and out, smelling the blood and sweat. And sees a good looking young man who stirs things in him that he hides from.
Michael is a tattoo artist at Ink, funny, smart, young, handsome. When the attractive man comes in to the shop as it is ready to close and asks for a tattoo, he notices, is attracted, but has fear mingled with attraction. Once the tattoo is finished, Dominic makes him forget.
But Michael doesn't. Not completely. He is drawn to the smooth skin, the sadness, the emptiness. Even when he shouldn't be. So he tracks Dominic, watches for him, and is drawn to him in spite of himself. And when Dominic pushes him away, he cannot help but trace him again and again.
When Dominic decides to end his existence rather than harm Michael, Michael calls upon all of his caring and tracks him, finds him and restores him. And makes Dominic admit he wants. Needs. But to take Michael to his bed, that is impossible. He would kill the man.
Will Michael push Dominic to open himself to feelings he has denied himself? How can they be together? And when Dominic's maker returns for his "son", will he be able to keep Michael safe, or will the new found love be crushed out?
This wonderful, dark and yet hopeful take on the vampire legend is just terrific. Isabelle Rowan has crafted a memorable and inventive love story between two men drifting, not allowing themselves to connect with another fully, and yet who forge an instant and powerful connection. The build is slow, the pacing masterful, and the characters fully developed, believable and whole. Dominic is tragic, a man with a long history of denying himself love and comfort. The slow awakening of his heart is so true and honest to his character. And Michael is just wonderful - stubborn, young yet mature, the polar opposite and yet the perfect compliment to Dominic.
The supporting characters in this book are so good also. Ben and Abby work with Michael at Ink, and are his best friends. They figure hugely in the last half of the book and are so well imagined. And Galen, Dominic's maker. I think he was the most interesting character in the book. So evil, it seems. And yet, so fragile and human, broken and flawed, just fascinating.
This is a strong strong book. It grabbed me by the throat and, strangely, by the heart. Funny, and I didn't mind either.
Grab it for a different experience.