Monday, September 13, 2021

Read an Excerpt From Stained by Jessica McBrayer



Top 100 Amazon series.

I absolutely love this book and this series. I'm currently reading the next book in this series and it's excellent. I want to get a tattoo at Thorn's shop. I'm from the East Bay and the descriptions are spot on!

Thorn works after dark. That’s when she combines her gifts as a tattoo artist and her powers as a natural born witch to weave magick into her ink. Her tattoo parlor, Stained, on Berkeley’s quirky Telegraph Avenue draws clients from all walks of life. Her work is in high demand from the supernatural community and the undead.

With her raven familiar, Thorn’s been on the run all her adult life. She won’t talk about why. Only she knows of the horrors in her past. She only wants to practice her art of tattooing in peace. But when a murderer targets her clients, Sé, a tall, dark and Irish detective is assigned to investigate. They must trust each other to survive the cat and mouse game that ensues.

If You like suspenseful, supernatural, riveting stories then you like Jessica McBrayer's well written book.


Blood pooled with ink as the needles pierced her client’s skin. Thorn colored in the intricate design. Her stomach tightened as it always did, but years of practice kept her from showing it. The man she tattooed flinched as the pain registered. She smiled to herself. Pleasure and pain would soon be his addiction as it often was for those who came to her.

Her nitrile covered hands moved swiftly as they dipped the needles into ink and moved back to the design. The outline evaporating into blood and a more permanent ink. The flesh raw after she was done with it.

Her shop, Stained, tucked into the slightly seedy, increasingly funky but always vibrant Telegraph Avenue, hummed with the noise of tattoo machines, music and people milling around looking at the artwork displayed in books. Antique prints of ‘painted’ tattooed ladies gave the shop a burlesque feel. Thorn loved everything about it. Being just a few blocks from UC Berkeley, the shop was a favorite with students and more faculty and staff than one might guess. Each tat station was open to the public eye except for one back room where the artists could work on more private areas. She had chosen dark blue blending to cerulean towards the ceiling to soothe the customers, unlike the bright reds of so many other shops.

The man she worked on grunted, trying not to move, as she continued, adding ink and wiping away blood so she could see clearly. The design made itself known. As she wove it into existence, she chanted under her breath a spell of healing into the ink. She had created a sacred space in her store so she would be protected while she chanted and worked her spells.

Gérard, Reese, and Gwynn worked with her tonight, and they were busy with customers too. Gérard with his creole accent, Reese with her red hair, t-shirt and jeans, and Gwynn dressed in a hemp dress with her blonde hair thrown up in a messy bun held together with chopsticks. Jason, her intern, worked the front, helping customers, running errands for the artists and selling t-shirts and other souvenirs. Tonight he wore skinny jeans showing his boxers and a rainbow Muppets t-shirt.

Thorn had more work than she could handle, and that was the way she liked it. The shop was open during the day with a talented, experienced crew. Thorn covered the hours from early evening ‘til midnight and had a steady flow of customers until she shut the doors. Besides her discreet late-night patrons, she catered to a select clientele and never took walk-ins. The high fees from her late-night clients fed her bolt fund.

Her present client had made his appointment six weeks ago. He’d opted for a custom-designed pinup girl, and it was turning out nicely. She’d drawn up the design last night, and he loved it. Halfway through the night, Raven, her familiar, swept into the room onto his perch and cawed, “Trouble.” He was a large, midnight black raven, talons that could shred a man to ribbons and a beak like a bowie knife. He refused to be named. He mentioned that names held power over the being, and he wanted no binds on him, so she just called him Raven.

Raven would have warned her mind-to-mind if it had been a real threat. Whatever was coming was more likely some kind of annoyance.



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