Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: Hard As It Gets (Hard Ink #1) by Laura Kaye

Hard As It Gets (Hard Ink #1)
by Laura Kaye
Published:  November 26, 2013
Publisher:  Avon
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.

Normal price $4.99 | Sale price $1.99
4.6 / 5 Rating on 201 reviews!
NOMINATED for Best Romantic Suspense of 2013 in the RT Reviewers' Choice Awards
"Edgy, sexy and full of suspense!  
A great read from a great new author!" ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward

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My Thoughts:  Hard As It Gets is a phenomenal first installment in what is shaping up to be an outstanding series.  I love romantic suspense stories.  For some reason, I haven't read too many of them lately, so when I do get time for one, I devour it, which is exactly what I did with Hard As It Gets.  Not only does the story have the romantic suspense element going on, but it also has a slew of hot guys...and the hot guys are special ops military guys...."happy dance"...... and that just ups the hotness factor quite a few degrees for me.  The main character, Nicholas Rixey, is ex-military and co-owner with his brother of Hard Ink, a tattoo parlor.  After losing half of his team under questionable and really bad circumstances, Nick has cut himself off from all of his team members who were left.  He's bitter about what happened, so when Becca Merritt, his dead ex-commander's daughter shows up needing help, he sends her packing.  Feeling guilty, he decides to check up on her to make sure she is okay, and a whole sticky, corrupt, and dangerous plot begins to unravel. Becca's brother has been kidnapped and it looks really serious, especially when Becca's life is endangered also.  Nick sucks it up and puts his feelings aside, agreeing to help Becca.  He soon finds that not only does he "want" to help her, but he finds that she is someone he admires, respects, and is very, very attracted to. Needless to say, the attraction is mutual.

As the plot thickens, Nick has to eat crow and ask for the help of his former team members who are all looking to get to the bottom of what is going on in the hopes of revealing the truth about what happened in Afghanistan.  Becca is unaware of everything that went on, but senses the aloofness of the guys when she meets them.  However, as circumstances unfold, she quickly gains their friendship and their respect.  The story itself is filled with action, romance, intrigue, suspense, and danger, and it has some really hot and romantic scenes which are just icing on the cake, mixed in with just the right amount of humor.  All of the secondary characters were also well written and I felt connected to them, and I also really enjoyed getting to know them.  I especially liked Nick's brother Jeremy.  As far as the main characters, Nick proves to be quite the hero and Becca proves to be quite the heroine.  They were each strong characters individually, and were strong together as a couple.  The story is told from both of their points of view and I have to say that I really liked both of them.  Their connection was fast, but it really didn't feel like an insta-love situation to me.

I was pleased with how the first installment ended.  It is a series, so there are unanswered questions as would be expected, but Laura Kaye did an excellent job of ending the book at a point where you are satisfied with things and how they ended up at that point, yet looking forward to the next installment without feeling like your hanging off the edge of a cliff by your fingernails.  I really am looking forward to see where the author takes the story next and how she develops the characters in future installments.  Hard As It Gets is a great story and I most definitely recommend it.  
4.5 hearts

“God, this kiss. It was the kind she'd remember forever, that would invade her dreams and haunt her in quiet moments. The kind her older self could look back on and know, once, she'd really lived. The kind that, no matter what, she could never, ever regret.” 

About Laura Kaye:  New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller Laura Kaye is the author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.  Laura is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Maryland Romance Writers.

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  1. I love a good romantic suspense every now and then as well. I will have to keep this in mind.

  2. This sounds so good! I definitely have to add this to my reading list. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  3. This book is already on my TBR list but you may have made me put it up towards the top with this review!

  4. I enjoyed this one. I can't wait to read Shane's book!


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