These Hard Ink novellas - they are some of the best ones I've ever read. Ever. The only thing wrong with them is that they are too short. Check out my review and an excerpt from HARD AS STEEL. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!
Hard As Steel (Hard Ink #4.5), by Laura Kaye
Publish Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Format: e-ARC, provided by Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) After identifying her employer's dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn't make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.
Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he's ever known, one he's purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike's not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.
I remember in the Hard Ink novels when Ike whisked Jess away to hide her out after her house was ransacked. I remember knowing that there was something there between them, and being intrigued by that. Now we have their story.
Ike is an intriguing guy. He's a tattoo artist at Hard Ink. He's an important member of a motorcycle club. He's an all around heroic bad ass biker guy. And, he's got baggage from his past that has prevented him from acting on his interest in his co-worker, Jess, for years. It should demonstrate how good of a guy he is that he's willing to fight against his attraction to her when she is in trouble and in need of his help.
It's not a one-sided thing. Jess has wanted Ike for years as well, but she has her own reasons for not going after him. And, she is tired of them. Except, she can throw herself at him all she wants. Ike is made of steel and is determined to resist her. Infuriating man.
You know, the Hard Ink novels have a lot of really awesome elements to them - an intriguing mystery, incredible suspense, sweet romance, and ridiculously hot sex. Imagine taking all that and packing it into 100 pages instead of 300 pages. It's like anything else that's concentrated. You still have all the ingredients, but they are all way more potent.
My favorite part about Hard As Steel was the chemistry between Ike and Jess. My goodness - it was crazy. Ike had his reasons for fighting it most of the time, but you just can't fight something like this forever. And when it is unleashed... wow. So. Hot. Like, seriously - INFERNO.
It was interesting witnessing all the events at the end of the Hard Ink story from outside the fold. Remember that Ike's and Jess' story is happening at the same time as the last two novels. So, from time to time, Ike would call Dare to get an update, and Ike would relay the information to Jess.
If you're a fan of the Hard Ink series, you have got to read this novella. It's like the best kind of icing on this delicious cake.
I’m thrilled to be here celebrating the release of my 21st book, HARD AS STEEL! After a midnight break-in at her apartment, close friends and Hard Ink Tattoo co-workers Ike Young and Jessica Jakes are forced into hiding—and forced to confront the feelings they’ve always denied for one another. I have always adored friends-to-lovers and forced proximity stories, and HARD AS STEEL delivers that and more, including a taste of both my award-winning and best-selling Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series! Check out this excerpt:
“Night,” she said, heading up the steps.
“Night,” he replied, watching her hips sway in a pair of silky black shorts. Combined with the form-fitting black tank top and those perfect-for-grabbing pigtails, she was going to make it damn hard for him to fall asleep tonight.
Damn hard, indeed.
He turned out the light and went horizontal, the soft couch so comfortable against his sore back even though it was a little too short to fit his whole body. He adjusted his erection, willing it to get with the no-sex-with-Jess program. Problem was, in the quiet darkness, Ike could hear her moving around in the loft. Soft footsteps on the wood floor. The shifting of covers. The squeaking of the box spring. And all that did was invite his imagination out to play. Easy since he had so much material to work with after sleeping with Jess wrapped around him the past two nights.
His shoulders and chest knew what the silk of her hair felt like when it skimmed over his skin. His hip knew the heat of her core when she slept with her knee across his thighs. His hands had memorized the curve of her lower back and the shape of her biceps and just how much of her luscious ass he could fit in his palms.
Ike knew what her mouth tasted like, how tight her legs could wrap around his waist, and how fucking beautiful the combination of ink and steel was on her skin.
Jesus, his cock was never going to let him go to sleep at this rate.
And was it fucking hot in here or what? He tossed the cover off, wishing he had a ceiling fan downstairs, too. Something for the to-do list around this place.
Ike sighed and flung his hand over his head. And wondered why the hell he was torturing himself this way.
He could just go up there and get in the bed—and take what he wanted, and what he knew Jess would be only too happy to give. Neither of them was immune to the mutual attraction that had always been there between them. And her reaction to his kiss the other day made it crystal fucking clear that she was waiting for him to make his move.
Jess had plenty of one-night stands and casual hook-ups. Ike knew she was perfectly capable of handling that kind of relationship.
Except Ike wasn’t a clueless idiot, and he wasn’t in the habit of doing things he knew damn right well would hurt someone he cared about. Jess wore her emotions like she wore her ink—out loud and unapologetically. He had a pretty good idea that she was rocking some more-than-friendly and more-than-physical feelings for him. Right now, she thought them unrequited, and that kept a kind of sexually tense equilibrium between them. But if he let himself off the leash—even just once—he’d very likely raise and dash her hopes, give her all kinds of mixed signals, and screw things up royally between them.
He shook his head and heaved a deep breath. If he wasn’t going to go the distance with her, he had no business taking the first step.
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. 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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