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Hard As It Gets: A Hard Ink Novel Mass Market Paperback – November 26, 2013
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Becca Merritt’s brother has gone missing, leaving behind a cryptic note instructing her to contact Rixey at Hard Ink, which turns out to be tattoo parlor. Nick Rixey, who has many reasons for loathing Becca’s father from his Special Forces career, at first refuses to help her but then feels guilty about it. When he checks on her, he finds an intruder in her house, after which she is mugged at work, so Nick relents. While fighting a fierce attraction to Becca, Nick calls in the remaining members of his Special Forces unit, and they’re joined by a Baltimore cop and Nick’s brother in an effort to protect her and find her brother. Kaye leaves enough loose ends for a sequel in what is obviously the beginning of a series about five Special Forces guys getting their reputations back after their unwillingly forced army discharges, thanks to Becca’s father’s corruption in Afghanistan. Kaye’s depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful, and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks’ KGI and Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knight series. --Mary K. Chelton
"Sizzling romance... The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna." ~Publishers Weekly Review
"TOP PICK! A suspenseful and electrifying new series. The collision of Becca and Nick's lives makes for sizzling danger with a spicy edge! Kaye is one to watch!" ~RT Book Reviews Magazine
“Edgy, sexy and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!” (JR Ward, #1 New York Times bestselling author)
“Laura Kaye is synonymous with great, sexy romance.” (Jennifer Probst, New York Times bestselling author)
“Kaye’s depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful, and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks’ KGI and Julie Ann Walker’s Black Knight series.” (Booklist)
Top customer reviews
--ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY--
Sister desperately searches for missing brother and must rely on the help of dead father's ex-special forces team for answers.
--WHAT ARE THE ISSUES--
Charlie is all Becca has left of her family and she'll do anything to find him. The last time they talked they got into a fight over Charlie's claims that their military father was not what he seemed and now Charlie's gone missing. Nick was a dedicated soldier until an ambush killed half his team, including their CO, Colonel Merritt, who they've just discovered was corrupt. But when the badly injured surviving members make it back to base, they find themselves blamed for the ambush, their personnel files altered, and their freedom threatened. Discharged and abandoned from the military, Nick wants nothing to do with the Colonel's children until he realizes that Charlie may have found something to clear his team's name. However, a Non-Disclosure Agreement means that Nick can't tell Becca anything about what really happened overseas.
--WHAT I LIKED AND DIDN'T LIKE--
This book was absolutely amazing and it's rocketed up into my top 5 favorite books ever! Mature, intelligent heroine? Check! Gruff, protective, but still lovable hero? Check! Band of badass brothers? Check! Tattoos, Tattoos, & Tattoos? Triple Check! There is quiet the grand mystery going on in this one, and I will caution that the overall resolution to what happened to Nick's team does not get solved in this book.
Great Chemistry and insta-love done right -- I loved Becca and Nick! Readers often complain about insta-love, but Laura Kaye knows how to write it correctly. Yes Becca and Nick fall in love over a few short days, but Kaye manages to capture that intangible essence of love. That feeling of safety, acceptance, and commitment that you feel with another person. The way they become your touchstone, your rock, and your support. The way a certain person just makes you feel better by simply being next to you. These are all important parts of love that do not require a set length of time to develop, they can happen instantly.
A Heroine I Can Truly Respect -- The circumstances that Becca is under are way out of the norm but I admire her rolling with everything and being smart about her actions. Even when things get revealed in an upsetting way, she's still mature enough to do what needs to be done. And once she thinks things through she's willing to accept and grow.
Brilliant Secondary Characters -- In fact they're really not secondary characters. Nick's brother Jeremy was great, and probably my favorite additional character so far. He's funny, goofy, covered in tattoos, and loves to wear innuendo shirts. He might be the younger brother, but his love and support for Nick was beautiful to see. The scene where Jeremy insists that Nick tell him what's going on was so real and poignant. It made me wish I had siblings, just so we could love each other like these brothers do. I also loved the Special Forces guys and can't wait to see them begin to reconnect with each other. Even though things ended badly after they were discharged and they didn't stay in touch, they're still brothers and they still live by the code that represents. These are some rough, tough, and somewhat dented soldiers and I can't wait to see them fall in love.
Laura Kaye has rocketed into my top favorite authors and I am totally in love with this couple.
Gah, where to start? Okay, Nick and Becca. Loved. Them. Nick is an alpha male through and through. This guy has some serious sexy going on. He's inked up, fierce and a bit damaged emotionally and physically from his past but he doesn't let it slow him down. And when he needs to eat crow and apologize...he does. Lickable, people. Lickable.
And Becca. She's exactly what I look for in my heroines. This woman was amazing--strong, bold, caring, and determined and willing to admit when she needs help and can't do something on her own. Absolutely adored her and that she was intelligent and just a solid and respectable person. And she loves a little 3 legged puppy.
And together. Scorching! The chemistry was sizzling and it definitely carried over to between the sheets *fans self*. Hot, erotic and incredibly emotional. And they had some amazing innocent moments as well that were just so sweet and touching and made me aww a few times. The romance moves fast but I completely bought it and loved every second as the two fought side by side and got to know each other.
The suspense was nicely done too. It kept me curious throughout wanting to know exactly what was going on after Becca's brother disappears and attacks start against her. I loved that Nick's teammates from the military joined in and that there were ties between what was happening and their pasts. It really did keep you on your toes. My only complaint (other than having trouble with the hero being called by his last name half the time--just pulled me out of the story a little each time) was that everything wasn't completely wrapped up at the end. The immediate threat was dealt with, the relationship had a happily ever after but the underlying storyline with the 'bad guys' is carrying over. Not a terrible thing but I would have liked a bit more finality in that. A fairly minor complaint though for an excellent read.
If you haven't read Kaye yet you've really been missing out on a treat. I don't know how she does it but time and time again she completely knocks it out of the park. Sexy heroes, strong women, beautiful romances and stories that'll just leave you smiling. Hard As It Gets was all that and a great start to what looks like a very promising series for both romance and suspense lovers.