Dead Ink(Karma Series Book 4)

By: Donna Augustine

(Karma Series Book 4)



A Karma World Romance



Chapter One





Lars’ hand was steadier than humanly capable as he guided the tattoo gun. It wasn’t a big surprise. After all, he wasn’t human.

He swiped a rag across his client’s skin and then leaned back in his chair as he looked at his masterpiece. The tattoo started between the guy’s shoulder blades and ran down his back, ending above his waist. The intertwining serpents were his creation, and a piece that was inspired by his former occupation as Death, also known as the Grim Reaper.

“How’s it look?” the client asked.

“Shut up.” Lars preferred either complete silence or blaring music while he worked, but never idle chitchat. The constant drone of a human’s voice was akin to a fly buzzing in his ear. He didn’t understand why the majority of humans constantly needed to vocalize every thought that popped into their brains.

It was only he and the client in his shop, since the two other tattoo artists he employed were off today. If you weren’t getting a tattoo, you weren’t allowed in the shop while he was working because, like he’d mentioned, humans never shut the fuck up. If they weren’t talking to themselves they were getting all into his space, oohing and ahhing. He didn’t care what some random asshole off the street thought of his work. Even if it was a chick he was considering having sex with later, and he got plenty of those in here too, he didn’t want to talk while he worked.

“How long do you—”

“I told you. Shut. Up. Speak again and I won’t finish.” Lars knew that wasn’t a problem. The guy would either shut up or he’d knock him upside the head and shut him up.

“Hey, I won’t pay you if—”

“Shut up!” Lars said as he jammed the tattoo gun over a sensitive area of his client’s already battered skin. “I don’t give a shit about the money.”

The guy didn’t say another word. Lars hadn’t been lying either. He didn’t do this for the money. He did it because, for some reason, he felt compelled to.

When he’d first retired, in an unorthodox manner, from the agency that ran the Universe, he thought a tattoo shop would be a good cover for him. There were always fringe sorts hanging around these types of establishments, the kind of people who weren’t looking to blend in with society but to break the norms and live as they wanted. He’d always respected that, and it seemed to be a perfect environment for him to hide in plain sight.

In the beginning, he’d hired some artists to do the work. One day, a hot chick he considered banging wanted him to give her a tattoo. Out of pure boredom, he agreed. He started dabbling, on and off. A year later, he looked up and realized he’d been doing it every day and that when he was tattooing was the only time he felt completely at peace.

When the door opened and disturbed his peace, that early evening, he didn’t bother looking up; he just shouted, “Get out.” He dipped the gun in some more ink and started working on the details of one of the serpent’s scales.

“Are you Lars?” a female asked.

Her voice was high pitched and screamed of estrogen, just the way he liked a woman’s voice to be. He knew exactly what that voice would sound like if he decided to take her to bed, but he was working so he didn’t bother looking up. He’d had too many women to get excited about just one, at least not while he was in the middle of a piece.

“I told you to get out.” She did have a nice voice. He knew she was cute without even looking. “Come back in a couple of hours,” he added as an afterthought, still not bothering to look at her. Even if she wasn’t attractive, he’d bang her from behind. There was usually at least one acceptable angle to be found.

“I can’t.” The sweet voice was edged with determination.

Lars sighed loudly and placed the tattoo gun down on the table by his side, accepting the fact that he’d have to stop working if he wanted to get her out of his hair. He should’ve dead-bolted the door before he started, but he’d been distracted lately.

He stood up, cursing himself for not hiring a shop helper, and refusing to schedule one of the other artists today, so he could delegate this nuisance. He turned, an aggravated sigh escaping as he did, and looked at the unwanted visitor.

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