March 10, 2015

REVIEW: Hard As It Gets (Hard Ink #1)

Hard As It Gets (Hard Ink #1), by Laura Kaye
Publish Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Avon
Format: paperback, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance/suspense/military drama
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(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...

So, when I found out I was going to meet Laura Kaye at Apollycon last month, it became the perfect excuse for me to finally dig into her Hard Ink series. The first book, Hard As It Gets, had been on my TBR for quite awhile, so the prospect of meeting Laura and having her sign something for me convinced me that this was the perfect time to get into this series. I'm so glad I did, and now I can't wait to read all of them. 

Becca doesn't know why her brother sent her to seek help from Nicolas Rixey when she got into trouble. But, with the rest of her family gone, she was left with no options. Nick initially wants nothing to do with the daughter of his traitorous former commander. But, the protector in him just can't leave her alone. Good thing too, because when others get wind that Becca's brother was looking into the circumstances surrounding Nick's military team's questionable discharge, all of a sudden, she's put in big danger. 

I loved this book because it's obviously just the start of a larger, broad-scale story that will span many books. Never fear though - Nick's and Becca's story has a beginning and an end all in this book. So, it's like the best of both worlds. We get a very satisfying HEA for Nick and Becca, and an introduction to a much larger story, rife with conspiracy theories, attempted murder and lots of hot military men running around trying to save the world. What could be better than that? 

Nick is very resistant to Becca in the beginning. We find out relatively quickly that a few years earlier, his commanding officer had made some shady deals that resulted in Nick's team getting ambushed and half of them dead. Nick hasn't been the same since, as he bears the brunt of the guilt associated with the event. He didn't know how to deal with his squad mates that were still alive, so he just... doesn't. I'm a fan of avoidance too, so I get that. 

Becca is admirable in her determination to find her brother. Even when Nick turns her away, Becca is resolute in her efforts to bring him home. While she would love Nick's help, she's not the type of woman to beg for it. I loved that about her. She's strong and capable and willing to do whatever was needed to get to the truth. 

And, the truth is out there somewhere, it just isn't someplace we can get to in one book. Luckily, we get a lot of backstory, and a lot of hot and steamy romance as Nick and Becca start to work closely together to get to the bottom of things. 

Although Nick and Becca come to a good place, there's still a lot of questions left unanswered in regards to the hows and whys of the rest of Nick's team. Luckily, there's still a few hot guys left on the team to help unravel the tale (and give us super steamy covers to look at). I can't wait to see what happens next.

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