Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Release Day Blitz & ARC Review: Hard as You Can by Laura Kaye

 Title: Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2)
Author: Laura Kaye
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: February 25, 2014


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.

This book continues after Crystal had helped Shane and his friends get Charlie freed from the gang that was holding him at the strip club - and since then Shane just cannot get her out of his head.  He just can't shake the feeling that something more is going on with her being there, other than waitressing - and he can't shake the attraction he felt towards her.

Crystal is still reeling from her meeting with Shane - she was so attracted to him, but with the situation she's in there is no way someone like him would be interested in her.  Working at the club to pay off her father's debt and help take care of her sister - she's in a situation she can't get out of, yet.  Not to mention, she's involved with Bruno, not by choice - and there is no safe way to end that relationship.  She figures, she'll probably never see Shane again anyways. 

Shane places himself in Crystals life - he's determined to help her out, whether she wants the help or not.  She's used to taking care of it all on her own, and is not liking Shane trying to help out (well, maybe she is just a little bit!!) Because seriously, Shane is one sexy, southern ex-military guy - who makes you melt when he's calling Crystal darlin and using all his southern charms on her. 

When she finally gives in to the attraction - sparks are flying - until Crystal remembers she has other things she's hiding, and before she knows it - Shane has discovered one of her deepest secrets.  She freaks - and runs away.  Shane doesn't give up - getting help from his friends who are still trying to find out Becca and Charlie's father's secrets, he enlists their help to help Crystal and her sister out of their situation.
"The definition of courage is action in the face of fear.  By that definition, sweetness, you're the bravest person I know."
 Shane was such a caring man - accepting Crystal as she is - and never judging her.  This was a great continuation of the first story - full of sexy hot guys with a heart and determination to set things straight clearing their names, and the names of their "brothers" who lost their lives.  Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Laura Kaye never fails to deliver action and passion filled stories. I couldn't wait for the next installment after reading Hard As It Gets. You think you won't have a new favorite couple and then she blows you away. Shane was the sweetest sexiest southern gentleman that I've had the pleasure of reading about in so long. His protective nature and loyalty just warmed my heart. From the moment he literally crashes into "Crystal" his life was never going to be  the same. 

Sara "Crystal" tried to fight off the attraction between this sexy soldier and herself but everywhere she looked this 6 plus foot "Pretty Boy" was always there. He made her feel safe in a world of pain and betrayal. He made her feel beautiful in a world of scars and ugliness. Shane took goodness and put it back in her life. He put the person she loved the most right in his protective circle and made Crystal feel safer than her and her sister have ever felt. 

The friendships between these ex-soldiers are something that kept me riveted. I saw so many facets of how loyalty truly is born and bred. So many characters that kept me wanting more and more of each man's story. Big Easy with is smoldering depth, Marz with is funny quirkyness. Jeremy with his sexy stand up brother to everybody nature. I could go on and on but the guys in this book are one of a kind and Laura knows how to not only write romance , she delivers relationships of all kinds and makes you feel like you really know these characters in the end. 

They were becoming a family born of choice rather than blood.

The romance still built and built and sexual tension was evident from the beginning but more beautiful was watching this strong broken man fall for this girl who never thought she'd find happiness again. 
 How Shane saw the real woman beneath the facade was beautiful and inspiring. He knew what to say and do to make her feel loved and cherished. 


But most of all he saw the fighter underneath the meekness.

This was a suspenseful and passionate story and I was left wanting the next as soon as I finished. So much more will be in store for these amazing characters and I want to right in the front seat. 
Thank you Laura for such an amazing group of characters. 

Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets

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About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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