Book DescriptionSam Blanco is a young tattoo artist trying to get out of L.A. by earning money selling his talent to a prominent local gang. His life is thrown into chaos after giving a very special tattoo to the the gang leader’s beautiful girlfriend. Sam winds up torn between the desire for the girlfriend’s attention and craving the friendship of the gang leader he’s come to see as a brother. Who will ultimately pay the price for love?
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Leo Reyes Character SpotlightLeo Reyes has always played second fiddle to his older brother, Manny. Leo was the darker, quiet brother. He worked silently by his brother's side, during Manny's rise through the ranks of the LA street gang they belonged to, and eventually led. At the time, the gang was called "Valla Blanca" or White Fence, and was one of the oldest running gangs in the history of the city, but still under the control of a much more powerful force, the drug lord Arturo Flores.
Leo witnessed his brother's despair when his lover, the beautiful Toni Valentine, left him to pursue her dreams of becoming a tattoo artist in San Diego. Manny's subsequent descent into recklessly ambitious behavior should have tipped Leo to the impending betrayal, but it wasn't until the pair were face-to-face, guns drawn, that Leo realized how far gone his brother was in his ill-planned effort to undermine Arturo.
In the aftermath of Leo's fatal confrontation with his brother, he comes to know the love of his life, Pilar Flores. He's seen her from afar for most of his life, but she barely remembers him, and she is far too perfect a young woman for a killer like him to ever be worthy of. Her father is his boss, and he has his brother's memory to live up to, as well as Manny's betrayal to atone for.
Leo quickly learns that he would have been a better, more loyal lieutenant to Arturo Flores than his brother ever was. He just hopes that by accepting the job it will mean he can be even closer to the woman he loves.
Leo also has a particular love of tattoos, something that his best friend, Toni Valentine, encourages. He's seen Arturo's collection of fine artwork and fancies himself a collector of fine art as well, but the artwork he prefers is more personal. He seeks out the most talented tattoo artists and acquires their work on his own skin. He eventually befriends the young tattooist who has started tattooing his gang, and sees the young man as a surrogate brother. Sam reminds him of Manny, at least before his brother went off the deep end. They forge a close friendship. The closest Leo has had since his brother died.
Leo's InspirationLeo is a bit of a tragic lover. I wanted him to be conflicted about his love for the young woman, Pilar, who helps nurse him through his ordeal. She nurses him through both the tragic loss of his brother (by his own hand) and the injury he sustained as a result - the gunshot wound inflicted by his brother.
Part of Leo's inspiration comes from Jin Kwon's character in Lost. He fell in love with the daughter of a powerful man and in the process of trying to prove himself to her lover's father, he almost inadvertently destroys their relationship.
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