Title: Hard As It Gets (Hard Ink, #1)
Author: Laura Kaye
Publisher: Avon Books (HarperCollins)
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: ARC received from Publisher via Edelweiss
Tall, dark, and lethal…
Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey’s tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome–pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He’s left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander’s daughter. Loyalty won’t let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.
With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn’t expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.
Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge…
Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye is a fantastic start to a new series titled Hard Ink. The series is about several Special Forces men who were kicked out of the military and are trying to figure out why. The book is categorized as Contemporary Romance but whenever you have ass-kicking ex-military men that play with guns, you are going to experience action and suspense. It only makes the book better.
In Hard As It Gets, we meet Nick Rixey, former Special Forces second in command and Becca, the daughter of his late commander. Becca’s brother, Charlie, has been missing and her only clue is to find Nick to help, but she has no idea why. Nick is moody and a little lost in life when Becca meets him. If anyone can get through that tough guy exterior, though it’s Becca. She is one tough woman who has been through a lot of crap and still manages to come out sweet and caring. With the help of Nick’s former SF team members, Becca and Nick start on a journey that they hope will bring back Charlie and the team’s honor.
The story itself moves along at a great pace and the balance between the romance and suspense part of the story is done very well. The characters are so well developed and really drive the story. Nick and Becca’s romance is very entertaining to watch unfold. They complement one another so well since Nick is a very rough and jaded guy and Becca is so compassionate and optimistic. There are no awkward intimate scenes that were thrown in to make the book hotter or sexier. The intimate scenes between Becca and Nick are have the perfect blend of heat and romance that you would expect with the tone of the story and the characters. Sounds bland, right? Nope, not at all, but you’ll have to read it to find out. Becca is probably one of my favorite heroines ever. She knows she is in over her head but manages to stay strong since the team is helping her out. She brought me to tears in one scene because of her compassion for the guys. She stole the show for me.
The supporting characters are all lovable in their own way and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series because of them. After reading Hard As It Gets, I particularly have a soft spot for Nick’s brother, Jeremy. He is out of his element with Nick’s team but doesn’t back down and does what it takes to help Becca and Nick. He has such a great personality and I love all the funky t-shirts he wore. He and Becca hit it off from the beginning. I don’t know that he will get his own story since he was not part of the SF team, but, Laura, maybe a novella later on for Jeremy? Please? I want him to find that special someone.
Hard As It Gets is an engaging love story with heart racing suspense and heart warming romance. It is well balanced for those that like to read contemporary romance but also has enough action and suspense for those that like romantic suspense. You won’t be disappointed. I look forward to reading the others in the series!
Reviewed by: Amy R.