Not going to lie. This post was inspired by me watching Ink Master on TV. Especially this season, because there are so many badass female tattoo artists, but to the point, tattoos actually have a lot of symbolism in romance novels. For example, Kit Rocha’s Beyond series clearly uses tattoos to demarcate who belongs to the O’Kane clan. First there is the basic O’Kane mark that members get upon joining the rulers of District Four, but then you have the stylized name tattoos that come with making a permanent commitment. What I like about these tattoos is that they are equal opportunity so that the male and female characters both get them. My favorite description of a group of O’Kanes receiving their tattoos comes from book four in the series, Beyond Jealousy, especially the character, Rachel’s tattoo. She is in a relationship with badasses Cruz and Ace, as a result her tattoo includes both their names as well as some delicate flowers that have some crazy vicious forms, very nice stuff.
Some romance novels use tattoos for magic. For example, Melissa Marr’s Ink Exchange features the protagonist Leslie, getting a tattoo that binds her to Irial, fairy king of the Dark Court. Basically the tattoo then allows Irial to feel Leslie’s emotions and unexpectedly he finds himself in a bond with a teenage girl, who let’s face it, all teenage girls have a wide bevy of emotions.