Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hard As You Can (Review) by Laura Kaye

Title: Hard As You Can
Author: Laura Kaye
My Rating: A 

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Hard Ink #2
Main Characters: Crystal and Shane
Release Date: February 2013
Publisher: Avon
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he's shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister's sake, Crystal can't get too close. Until her job and Shane's mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He's exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can--and never let go.

Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets
Buy Hard As You Can at Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

My Review:
And the plot thickens....Whoa, I am dying to know where these guys are going to end up. This is another (fabulous) installment of the Hard Ink series. 5 guys dishonorably discharged from the military who are searching for an answer to why. In this book, that over-arching story line took a backseat to the story of Crystal and the mess that she's caught up in....a mess that loosely ties to the guys' circumstance too.

Crystal was introduced briefly in the first book when the guys saved Charlie from the nightclub he was being held and tortured in. She works there and aided them in getting out. But Crystal is more than just a waitress in a seedy club. She has her own story. She's paying off the debt her father left to the local gang...in so many different ways. She's basically spent the last four years as a slave, bowing to the whims of Bruno, to help keep her sister safe with the medicine she needs for her epilepsy. 

Shane has a soft side for down-trodden women and Crystal immediately captures his attention. I liked his backstory and the way that it immediately tied him to Crystal. He has his own very personal ties to human trafficking which makes this mission so hard for him....both what's happening to Crystal and what the Church gang is doing. That side of this story really worked for me. 

I also really, really love the relationships that all these guys have as a team. Shane and Nick...their scene sorting it all out broke my heart, but in the best way. Really well-written scene. The entire team is in this book again and I liked that we got to see where Charlie's recovery is at. I like the images of the Hard Ink warehouse as they begin to transform it into what they need it to be. With the addition to all the siblings and new allies, this building is becoming quite a hive of activity.

This book jumps right into the action and it doesn't seem to let go throughout the entire story. Crystal is definitely living right on the edge and having Shane in her life puts her more at risk. That gives reading the book a healthy dose of adrenaline....because these guys have pitted themselves against Church and his gang, which holds really high stakes for them since Church has the local law and it looks like federal support in his pocket too. Things are definitely heating up for these five and I have to wonder how/where they go from here. The events in this book definitely take them to new levels and are bound to make things even more uncomfortable for their security in the future. I can't wait to see what happens and how Laura Kaye plans to unravel it all. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

NOTE: located just below this review on my blog is a promo post for the book. It has an excerpt, interview with Laura, and a great giveaway rafflecopter. Be sure to check it all out. 

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