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Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye - 4 Wine Glasses!

18053019Title: Hard As You Can 
Series: Hard Ink #2
Author: Laura Kaye 
Format: Print/ebook, 384 pages
Published: February 25th 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 0062267914 
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Kindle
Source: Publisher
Reviewer: Crystal
Rating: 4/5

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.

Thoughts: 
I like to think of author, Laura Kaye, as a sure thing. When you open up a book of hers you know that you'll find four things:  sensational writing, stunning characters, heart-pounding romance, and a world that you will never want to leave. 

We first met Crystal Dean in Hard As It Gets, as the waitress who helped the Hard Ink boys rescue Becca’s brother, Charlie from Church's men. Shane McCallan hasn't been able to get the cautious, yet brave, woman out of his head since. So when they need to infiltrate Church's place of business, a strip club, again Shane doesn't hesitate to offer to take the job. Despite the fact that he could be made just by walking through the door. There is more to Crystal then what first meets the eye though and Shane is determined to dig deep for her secrets. And despite the chaos that is Crystal's life at the moment, she can't help but let him. The more Shane learns about Crystal though, the more he knows that he must help her and her sister. Even if it is only to assuage his own guilt. But when all of their secrets are finally revealed, can Shane convince Crystal that he is the man she should hold on to and who will be there for her through thick and thin?

Hard As You Can is a book bursting with action and suspense that throws you straight into the heart of it. And if that wasn't enough, it has a romance so sweet and upholding that it will definitely tug on your hearts strings a time or two. Both Crystal and Shane's pasts and current circumstances are heart-breaking. You wonder how two such seemingly broken people can be whole together, but Shane and Crystal are like matching puzzle pieces. Not complete without the other. And that is easy to see right from the start. But Hard As You Can is more then just the growing romance between Crystal and Shane, and the intrigue and possible conspiracy of a mission gone bad. The dynamics of this group of hard, ex-military men are also opened and dissected making way for forgiveness and trust. The development and individuality of each of these characters is authentic and I really can't wait to delve deeper into each of them. The story ARC continues from the first book and will continue further into future installments. We see the growth of Nick and Becca's relationship, as well as the characterization of the all the secondary and future leading characters. So I would recommend reading this series in order. Will they ever solve the mystery that brought them all back together? 

The only reason that my rating of this book isn't a half of wine to full wine glass higher is that the romance between Shane and Crystal didn't seem as intense as what I found between Nick and Becca in the first book. There was a sense of insta-love and though I truly loved Shane's character and he was sweet, he may have been just a tad too sweet from what I was expecting after reading the first book. All in all though, I thoroughly enjoyed Hard As You Can and am on pins and needles waiting for more stories about the Hard Ink men! 


See our review of Book #1, Hard As It Gets HERE

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