Series: Hard Ink, Book 2
Also in this series: Hard As It Gets, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to be Good, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel
Published by Avon on 25 February 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Love & Romance, Suspense, War & Military
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Also by this author: Hard As It Gets, Hard to Hold on To, Hard to Come By, Hard to be Good, Hard to Let Go, Hard as Steel
Place(s) Traveled To: Baltimore, Maryland
First Line(s): Crystal Dean hurried out of the private party room and let the fake smile drop off her face.
Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye picks up a little before the first book in the series, Hard As It Gets, ends. It begins with Crystal’s POV and you learn a bit about about the mysterious girl who assisted the former Special Forces team and as you can imagine life isn’t all sunshine and roses for our heroine. She of course attracts the attention of Shane McCallen, a member of the team, who like Nick Rixey can’t get the vulnerable beauty out of his head and its not long before he’s helping her get out of a bad situation just as she helps him in return.
Events move more quickly in Hard As You Can than they do in the first book as you already have a good background on the story and so this one just continues to build on that mystery. This means that unlike many contemporary romance series you really need to read the first book before you can read the next one. If you don’t you’ll be completely and utterly lost. This isn’t always a bad thing as I do like a continuing story line but the one in the Hard Ink series is borderline ridiculous at times and it just seems to grow exponentially in each book. What started as a military cover up and hidden bank account is now a full on war with the biggest mobster in Maryland which somehow these five guys are going to bring down as they work to clear their name. Not to mention the addition of a rogue motorcycle gang because really military men, damsels in distress, and mobsters weren’t enough to carry the tale.
While I may have rolled my eyes a lot during my read of Hard As You Can and wondered at the infinite amount of money that Nurse Becca seems to have at her disposal I did like Shane and Crystal’s story better. They just felt a bit more real and genuine and its because of them that I managed to make my way to the end of the book. As there were times the story got bogged down with pointless details and asides before the crazy rush to end and yet not end the book. And while I did like Crystal and Shane I do feel as though their romance was rushed. The events of this story happen over just a few days (much like its predecessor) and in the end the two main characters are professing their love for each other. Now while I can get myself to believe in one whirlwind romance it is hard to believe it happening twice, at the nearly the same time, with people in the same group of friends. Especially since these are big tough alpha men who won’t let no woman tie them down for this reason or another.
This is part of where all the sighing (not the happy heart achy sighs) and the eye rolling came in. Its just hard to take this book seriously even as its trying to be all serious and suspenseful. For me, it would have been better if more time had elapsed between the first book and the second. And more time between the start of the book and the end. And maybe even more time between my read of the first book and this one. I think I may have read them too close together and that might have clouded my brain a bit. This is not a series that I would recommend for people to wait until all books are out and then just blitz read them. Its one that needs a gap of time between so you can forget some of the details of what came before to help bring the realism back to the story. While I didn’t love this book and find it flawed I am still curious to see what happens next and so will most likely pick up the third book in the series.
“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”
~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets
About Hard As You Can:
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
About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
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