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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review & Giveaway: Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye

Title: Hard As You Can
Series: Hard Ink #2
Author: Laura Kaye
Published: February 25th, Harper Collins/Avon
Format: Egalley, from Edelweiss.  Thank you Harper Collins!

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.

Holy.Crap. Laura Kaye, I love you.

Hard As You Can picks up at the end of Hard As It Gets, overlapping a bit. This is the book of Shane and Crystal, and it is everything that is wonderful in books.

“A red-hot need to protect Crystal, to defend her, to avenge her roared through his blood. It made him need to be closer, go deeper. One hand guiding her head, the silk of her bound hair sliding over his fingers, his other arm slid lower, wrapping around her back. He crushed her to him as their lips sucked and pulled over and over.”

Shane has so much baggage in his life, its not difficult to feel for him. He’s ex-military, and plays off like he is a playboy. But he has a platinum heart. Time and again during this book I wanted to reach out and hug Shane. Or ahem, do other things. Tattooed, sexy, protective… he’s the whole package, and then some. On the way out of the strip club he sees Crystal, and you can almost feel his world stop.

Crystal feels it too. They are instantly drawn. But just as herself, she feels so stuck in her life. And you just want to tell her to hold on, help is coming! She is just like Shane, but in a much smaller package. She’s caring for her sister, she’s formulating a plan. She’s doing everything she can to keep it all together, and all you can do is respect this woman who is a formidable force in herself. I love Crystal, from beginning to end, this woman never disappointed me.

Laura Kaye easily brought me back into the Hard Ink world. There was no awkwardness, no lag. It was like I’d never left, and I never want to. Laura’s writing style is so easy to get caught up in, with her easy flow and enigmatic characters. She can grab you attention, and she doesn’t let you go. On top of that, she has this amazing talent for creating new words, like swass & swalls, and catastrofuck. Truly, a talent, indeed. I adore her.

Hard As You Can also looks closer at the rift between the men when they were discharged, and some of them went separate ways. Gone was the brotherhood they felt, replaced by feelings of abandonment, and isolation from those they trusted most. I easily felt their pain.

Other characters are staying active in this story. It feels like a continuation of their attached lives, not just the story of Crystal and Shane. We also get a look at some new characters, some which I despised and some which I think were awesome. I’m really interested to learn more about Jenna, Crystal’s sister. She’s epileptic, in college, and has just gotten a crash course in the real world.

This is a book I could easily gush on and on about. But you all know that this series is to die for. Everything is so vivid and real to me, I’m eager to learn about each new character. I have special hopes for a few of them, in particular Jeremy (Nick’s brother) and Easy. Anyhow, this book went above and beyond Hard As It Gets. You definitely won’t be disappointed. I promise. This book is full of heart, and you will feel it beat on every page.

Find Laura Kaye Online
Laura will also be hosting a Facebook party for HARD AS YOU CAN on 2/25 from 12-9pm EST 

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