Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: Hard as it Gets

Hard Ink #1
Laura Kaye
Romantic Suspense
368 pages
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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..

Hard as it Gets is a fast-paced, low-angst romance, giving us a lead pair who handle everything thrown at them with maturity and make communication one of their top priorities. The result is a relationship that brings a smile to our faces, the perfect amount of heat and tension combining to give us more than a little swoon while sparing us frustration with either party as they start unraveling what's clearly going to be a series-long military-based mystery.

Becca is everything we could want in a heroine, a young woman who's out of her depth when it comes to her missing brother and knows it, leading her to ask for the help she do desperately needs instead of going off half-cocked and trying to fix things on her own. Given Nick is ex-Special Forces, Becca could have easily fallen into one of two categories of heroine: One, she could have played a damsel in distress to the fullest, completely relying on him to save both her and her brother; or two, she could have been bound and determined to be the exact opposite, wanting to prove her mettle by tossing herself into the middle of everything dangerous. Thankfully, Becca creates her very own category, fully recognizing that Nick has skills she doesn't, but at the same time refusing to allow him to run roughshod over her and dictate her every move. She's honest at all times, both with feelings and with any information she has that might help the investigation, and even when she learns what a binding non-disclosure agreement keeps Nick from telling her, she handles it in a way that has us wanting to reach out and hug her for being awesome.

Nick, for his part, is as enjoyable as Becca, possessing an excess of alpha qualities but never once coming across as bossy or overbearing. He has every reason to bear a grudge against Becca's family, but after their initial meeting, he never once holds the sins of the father against either Becca or her brother Charlie, throwing himself wholeheartedly into helping them both. He respects what Becca brings to the table regarding her brother's disappearance, never once disregarding her opinion or relegating her to the sidelines because she doesn't have his training. They're partners every step of the way, and the two of them together delight from first to last page.

Overall, Hard as it Gets is an outstanding first installment to the Hard Ink series, introducing us to a military cover up that will span multiple books, but ensuring we turn the last page fully satisfied with a complete story in this first installment. We also find ourselves acquainted with the remaining living members of Nick's Special Forces team, a group of men who bring a sense of humor and camaraderie to the story, deepening our emotional investment as we look forward to seeing each of them find their own slice of happiness in future books.

Rating: 4.5/5

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This book was sent to me by the author  free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion. 


  1. I keep hearing great things about her books and I don't know why I haven't tried one yet, I really should do that!

  2. Angst and drama free romance? Sign me up, Jenny! I love romantic suspense so I'm definitely looking this one up. Wonderful review! :)

  3. Wait, did you says low=angst, maturity, and handle? Sold! :P

    Seriously, it is so nice to see these type of reads in this genre. I need to read this one! Wonderful review Jenny!

  4. I need some contemporary romance in my bookdiet again

  5. Oh this is my sort of novel and one I really need in my life at the moment. I reminds me of the Jay Crownover books and you know me, I adore that series. Thanks for putting this on my radar Jenny! :)

  6. Tattooed men are a weakness of mine. Sigh. Adding this to my pile! Love that it's not heavy on the angst. :)

  7. These alpha males though, Jenny! I love that this one is angst free and that the couple are very much a team together. I need to read more books by Laura Kaye. Everyone raves about them!
    Wonderful review, Jenny!

  8. I love this series so much so I am happy that you enjoyed it!!

  9. Low angst sounds good in this heat. Too much of anything and we're talking fire & short-circuit hazards, lol :)

  10. This one sounds right up my alley. I haven't read anything by this author but this looks like a great start.

  11. I've read one of Laura's previous romance novels and I know exactly what you mean about the communication--it's so refreshing! I really want to pick up another novel of hers and this seems like the perfect place to start. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Jenny, and fantastic review!(:

  12. A big military cover up? I am interested in that as well as all the hot guys. I will have to take a look at this series.

  13. YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!! I am so excited you loved this. I had so much fun with this series, the intense plot and swoon-worthy men.

  14. Low angst and good communication? Sounds like a win to me!

  15. Low angst? Gimme gimme! Great review.

  16. Sounds like my kind of book! Will I like it even though tattoos aren't my thing? Great review!

  17. Hmmm, a military cover up, with a mystery and a romance between equal partners and low angst? I'm totally adding this one to the list of MUST GRAB!
    Great review Jenny!

  18. I haven’t heard about this book before, but I love romantic suspense and I’m sold on low-angst romance with alpha hero who is not bossy or overbearing. Great review, Jenny!

  19. YAAAAASSSSSS!!! OMG. Yes. Such a great series!! I wasn't really a fan of the series arc, because I wanted to know what happened but I'm appreciating how it's running through the whole series (just one more book, I think? Five total?).