Publisher: AvonSeries: Hard Ink #2
Format Read: Kindle ARC
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | ARe* | Barnes & Noble
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Blurb from 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 something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can--and never let go.
Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets
I didn't read the first book but that wasn't a problem; Kaye works in the events and the backstory smoothly and only a couple times was I confused. I'm a sucker for romantic suspense so I was eager to give this series and this book a try and it's perfectly normal for me to start a series mid-stream. :D
Shane is a sweet, sweet man; considerate, kind, courteous, friendly, and polite. He almost seems too good to be real at times but I sure would like to know a man that nice.To balance out his niceness, Kaye gives him a tragic background, one which ties in nicely with current events in the life of Crystal, a waitress at Confessions who helps the team rescue one of their own. Doing so her puts her in danger and it's not long before Shane is all protective and worried about her. He gets close to her, both for the sake of the team and it's mission, and because he has feelings, many many feelings.
I liked both Crystal and Shane. I already mentioned what a sweetie Shane and Crystal is also likable. Family obligations have put her in a bad situation and she's trying to come up with a way out. In the meantime, she takes cares of her sister, keeps a promise to her late father, and emotionally distances herself from her life. She needs to or risk falling apart. I appreciated the relationship between Crystal and her sister Jenna and the relationship between Shane and his teammates; they felt real and they were mos;ty positive. It's nice to see good family interactions and not just angst and dysfunctin. The interactions between Shane and Crystal were sweet, tender and sometimes hot but their was something lacking. The romance and the "I love you"s were too quick, even given the intensity of their situation. I was happy to see them together but their feelings and romance were just too quick to be believable. They hardly knew each other and given Crystal's background and what she's been through, I'd have expected her to be slower to trust.
As for the suspense, there are several threads running through the book, some specific to the book and others part of the overarching story arc. There's some resolution and forward motion but still a long way to go. "Hard As You Can" is sweet, slightly steamy, and engaging. It has bikers, military men, family and friendship, action, humor, loyalty, heck there's even a dog. It kept me reading to see what would happen. I'll be back for the other stories to see how things play out.