Author: Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink #2
Publication date: February 25th, 2014
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
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
I received an ARC copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for participation in the the release day launch and for an honest review.
I had bought the first book but had not yet read it when I requested an ARC for review for a release day launch. There are authors that I just know I will love so I continue to collect their books as I see them. This was one of those cases. But, in order to review the second book I had to read the first and I was incredibly happy with the first book. It introduced me to a group of men I was anxious to learn more about. So when I dove into this book knowing I was going to learn a bit more about Shane, I was very excited. Shane's interaction with Crystal started in Hard As It Gets and continues through this book.
Shane has always been the guy who seems to have a sardonic smile plastered across his face and not a care in the world. Little does most know, but he carries a heavy burden with him. He lost his baby sister at a tender age and has regretted it all of his life. It is this lapse in diligence that makes him a determined soldier. At least until he was disgraced along with the other men of his unit and cut adrift from the military. Now, he has been called back by his long time friend and unit second-in-command, Nick, to help retrieve the son of his biggest enemy. To say he is hesitant to help is putting it mildly, but after Nick's pleas and the chance to clear his name and restore his honor, how can Shane say no. This decision brings him face-to-face with Crystal.
Crystal is in a bad situation. After her father's death she is put in charge of caring for her epileptic sister and repaying the debt her father had with a notorious gang. She works as a waitress in a strip club and treads lightly in her abusive relationship with enforcer, Bruno. Crystal helps Shane and his men recover his ex-commander's son and is inadvertently dragged into their world. She must decide whether to play it safe and bide her time until she can be free of the gang's clutches or rage against them and help those who could possibly take them down. Add to that, a smoldering sexy man who seems determined to help her any way possible, and a very confusing situation for Crystal.
Crystal is damaged, but so is Shane. Can these two ragged souls come together and start to heal all while taking down an organization that may have been at the root of Shane's problems in Afghanistan?
Another beautiful installment in the Hard Ink series by Laura Kaye. I don't know what else to say that doesn't just gush love and admiration for the world she has created. As a southern myself, I am liking the southern gentleman air of Shane. That coupled with a military man and tattoos. Yum to the infinity squared.
I even found myself sympathizing with Crystal. I wanted so badly for her to find peace in her life after the crap storm she has had to deal with. She made me look at my trials and tribulations as nothing but small potatoes.
Hard As You Can is the second book in a series that is likely to be one of my favorites for quite some time.
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.