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.
I literally just finished Hard as You Can. I. Am. Drained. This book took a toll on me. Whoa. Drug lords, human trafficking, rape, illegal gun sales – you name it, this book had it.
Crystal is one tough cookie. Since her father’s death, four years ago, Crystal has been doing everything she can to keep her younger sister, Jenna, safe. She’s been working off her father’s debts at a local strip club owned by the notorious Jimmy Church. Last book we witnessed her assist in Charlie Merritt’s escape, now it’s her turn.
When Crystal met Shane she felt an immediate connection. After suffering through horrific acts done by equally horrific hands, Crystal is slow to trust. If I lived her life…well, I’d probably be dead. She’s got a high ranking, gang banging boyfriend named Bruno. He was her savior once upon a time; now he’s hard, rough, and abusive. Shane is the opposite. He’s kind and loving, everything she wanted in a man. Too bad he’s everything she’ll never have.
Geez, I don’t even know what to say about this read. Crystal, or Sara, is such an inspirational character. She’s faced with insurmountable odds. The fact that she’s survived as long as she has is utterly amazing. She was handed a really shitty hand in life. Her dad was an apostle in the Church gang until his untimely death in prison. When he died, Crystal inherited all his debts. You don’t want to owe someone like Jimmy Church anything. Now, imagine all that and a sister you’re working extremely hard to protect who also happens to suffer from epilepsy. I know, right? I can’t even begin to imagine her life. Good news, though. She has a plan to escape… in 8 months.
Then she meets Shane and her timeline speeds up a little…
Alright, I liked Nick. I thought he was a pretty great catch, but Nick is no Shane. Gawd… He is just…yummy. He’s got this broken, tortured southern boy aura around him. His sister was abducted when he was in his young teens, and he’s never forgiven himself for the part he played in her disappearance. He may have failed Molly, but he won’t fail Crystal.
I enjoyed Hard as You Can a lot more than Hard as it Gets. Both are well written, adventurous reads, but I found that this story was a little faster paced. I am always drawn to severely damaged people. Shane and Crystal both fit into that category; it’s amazing how two very broken people can put one another back together.
The only think that really irks me is that the story is taking so long to develop. It’s a one-step-forward-three-steps-back-and-one-to-the-right-kind of series. What in the snot was Becca’s dad hiding? When will we find out how he’s connected to all of this? I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s not the bad guy everyone seems to think he was. Only time will tell.
Hard Ink is an enjoyable, action packed series. It will keep you on your toes while pulling you in all different directions. Just when you think you know what’s going on, something shifts. I like that aspect, but wish it would move along at a faster pace. I’m interested to see where Laura Kaye takes this series next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.