Series: Hard Ink #1
Author: Laura Kaye
Published: November, 2013, Avon Books
Format: Galley (Thank you Avon, Laura Kaye and 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...
“…brotherhood is a two way street. You have to let me walk it with you.”
I was so excited to read this book!! I mean, it sounded perfect for me; jaded but sexy military guy, caring and in trouble heroine, tattoos… Hard As It Gets was so much more than all of that. Laura Kaye has written a book full of compelling characters that I will be sad to see go as each book in the series ends. At least, that’s how I felt when this book ended – I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet. Let me tell you why!
First we have Becca. She seemed just alright at first. She’s in trouble; it seems her brother is missing. He’s managed to get her a very cryptic message that leads her to the Hard Ink tattoo studio. It took me a couple chapters to warm up to Becca, but once I did, I was so fully on her team I could have had pompoms. She’s a nurse, which is good, because she has a natural caregiver instinct in her. But what I also loved about Becca is that she is a fighter. I mean, her dad was a big tough guy in the Army, so somehow that had to have been passed down to her a little bit, right? When her world starts deteriorating right before her eyes, she doesn’t crumble with it. No, she stood tall, rallied her forces, and fought back. I was right behind her with a resounding “yeah!”
And then Becca meets Nick, and it doesn’t go well. He turns down her plea for help, and she leaves feeling angry and let down as anyone would. And at first you’re all like, “hey Nick, WTF is that about? You’re supposed to be the hero!” Then it happens. She’s on his mind. He’s on her mind. A little of this, a little of that, and their lives are inexplicably changed forever. Nick turns out to be this caring and touching man, a man who protects what is his. A man who stands up for what’s right. A man who knows how it feels to lose the things that you hold dear and will fight until his last breath to make sure that you don’t ever have to feel that despair and that grief… A man who will draw the sweetest piece of art for you, and love you all night long in the best of ways. A man who you will fall for in this book every bit as much as I did.
So what happens in this book? Well, Nick ends up agreeing to help Becca. Then a lot of bad things happen back to back. But there are also some good things. Like a little pup, and some sexual tension that could peel paint from the walls. And a bunch of hugs with apologies and thank yous that will bring a tear to the toughest eye.
She gripped the collar of his coat; half afraid her knees would go soft and give out. Nick pulled his body away just enough to tear the coat off his arms and throw it to the floor. Geez, the gun holster was sexy hugging tight over his shirt, but he slipped out of it, too, and eased to the floor with a thunk. Then his hands were back on her breasts and his tongue was back in her mouth, stealing her breath and convincing her she could live without it.
God, this kiss. It was the kind she’d remember forever, that would invade her dreams and haunt her 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.
But wait. I said sexual tension. You didn’t think I would let this review go without talking about the sex, did you? ‘Course not!! The heat in this book was freaking awesome! Laura Kaye definitely knows how to write a toe-curler. There was a ton of teasing and false-starts that had me ready to chuck my kindle to the wall and curse the day Laura wrote this book, but I kept reading cause I knew she would bring it home perfectly. And that she did. What Becca and Nick share is emotional and raw and beautiful and sexy and hot and sweaty. It’s terrific. I loved every minute they shared together, and that is why I am a bit sad for this book to end. I loved this couple so much; I don’t want to see them go.
But let’s talk about some of the other characters. There is Jeremy, who is Nick’s brother. I seriously hope this guy gets his own book. He totally deserves it!!! He is charming, sexy, and every bit the man his brother is. And then there is Nick’s Army team, who are all completely endearing and sexy too.
The only thing that keeps this book from being a complete five star read for me is that I felt like some situations just got taken care of a bit too easily. They felt a bit rushed at times, and some questions were not really answered for me. Hopefully that will get cleared up in the next book. And of course, I am eagerly awaiting that one!
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Also, TODAY November 26, Laura Kaye is having a Facebook party to celebrate the release of Hard As It Gets! Come on by and JOIN THE FUN!