Title: Hard As You Can (Hard Ink, #2)
Author: Laura Kaye
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: ARC received from Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
Where to start? Such a good read and things continue to heat up with the Hard Ink Series! Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye is the second book in her Hard Ink Series. It was every bit as good as Hard As It Gets,if not better. Hard As You Can is a romantic suspense story that is driven by the characters more than the suspense. There is romance sprinkled throughout with one main intimate scene that is beautifully written and so right for the characters.
Our hero, Shane is one of five former Special Forces teammates that is trying to clear his name after being dishonorably charged from the army. While the group is rescuing someone from a very dangerous gang in Baltimore, Shane and the heroine, Crystal meet for the first time. After a few more brief encounters, they both realize there is an attraction. However, acting on that attraction could potentially cause a lot of problems for a lot of people…
Shane and Crystal are complex characters who have experienced horrific events in their lives. The scenes between Shane and Crystal were the highlight of the book for me. Laura did a wonderful job with the two of them and their relationship moved along at just the right pace. Shane is very patient with Crystal and it shows in his respect for what she has been through.The intimacy they share is so incredibly sweet and honest. It’s an amazing love story like no other.
There are parts of Hard As You Can that had my heart beating quickly out of fear for Crystal and worried she would get “caught” at some point or another so when things finally went downhill I was surprised and didn’t anticipate it happening quite the way it did. I was fascinated by the teams recon work and research that lead to their carefully laid plans. Because there were some heart wrenching scenes where Crystal was concerned, the tension built in a way that I was relieved that the final action scene was quick.
I love a book series because I hate leaving characters once I finish a book, and the good thing with this one is that I didn’t have to! The rest of the guys (and Becca) from Hard As It Gets graced the pages of this one throughout the entire story. Hard As You Can is a solid romantic suspense story that will have you hooked from the first page, falling in love with the hero, and cheering for the heroine. I so look forward to the next one in the series!
Reviewed by: Amy R.