Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye

February 25th, 2014 Kimberly Review 62 Comments

25th Feb
Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye
Hard As You Can
by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink #2
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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

I fell in love with the men that make up Hard Ink, in Hard as It Gets book one of Laura Kaye’s hot new romantic suspense series featuring a former Special Forces team. Hard as You Can, brought us back into the action and shared the romance of Shane McCallan and Crystal Dean. Mini-review: Intense action, bikers, and a girl in trouble made this a page-flipping read.

The story picks up right where Hard as It Gets left off. These can be read as standalone since each features one case and romance but I am not going to recommend it since there is an overall story arc that is intense. The team is still trying to decipher clues that Becca’s Dad left and to clear the men’s dishonorable discharge. Shane decides to see if Crystal; the sexy waitress at the dance club will help them again. When Shane realizes she is in trouble he makes it his mission to help her.

While we get some fun banter between the men and get to know Shane’s character better, this second novel was heavier on the action. We get his backstory and it was heart-breaking. He is such a sexy, heart on your sleeve kind of guy. I liked Shane but at times his feelings, especially regarding Crystal, were intense. I am not talking about her situation but the romantic aspect. It came on a little too strong and left me floundering to completely connect with the romantic element. Crystal is incredibly strong. Her need to protect her sister helped me understand her predicament. The rest of the gang was present, and I enjoyed the banter and tidbits regarding their personalities. They all share a common bond and have their own voices. I love that I am able to visualize each of them. There are moments of laughter and camaraderie that I simply ate up.

Hard as You Can, takes us into the seedier side of organized crime, and gave us a few nibbles regarding the overall series ARC. Kaye can write suspense and kept me engaged. I felt Crystal’s fear and loathed her boss. This tale had everything from kidnapping to human trafficking and even a biker gang. While some of it was over the top, I took the little blue pill and enjoyed the ride. The human trafficking and darker tones made me squirm and I felt for these victims. It is quite common for insta-love in romantic suspense, but I needed more moments with this couple. The romance went from zero to sixty leaving my hair wind-blown but I wanted a slower more scenic ride. Kaye does a good job of tying threads together and making connects with the mystery aspect and it felt genuine. There are several threads and all get equal page time as we slowly built towards the action-packed and intense ending. Time spent with the gang were the threads I enjoyed most and love this dynamic team. Kaye wrapped things up nicely while setting things up for the next book a novella called Hard to Hold on To.

Fans of romantic suspense and yummy military men will enjoy Hard as You Can. I am anxious to continue the Hard Ink series with Easy’s story in Hard to Hold on To set to release in August 2014.


About Laura Kaye

Laura Kaye

Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Laura’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura 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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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw and Howler. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Find @kimbacaffeinate on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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62 Responses to “Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye”

  1. tonyalee

    I listened to the audio of Hard as it Gets a few weeks ago and fell IN LOVE with it. I can’t wait to dive into this one!

    (I agree with you about insta love in romantic suspense. But it works, usually LOL)

    Great review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Tonya I love this series 🙂 I haven’t tried an audio with smexy time..I am not sure I can do it..lol

  2. Naomi

    Each review I read in this series has me intrigued! The guys sound like great characters and I like how they are working to clear their names. Shane and Crystals book sounds awesome! Fab review Kimberly!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This is an intense and sexy series Naomi I hope you read them!

  3. Joy

    Sounds like such a sexy read. I don’t usually read these types of novels, but I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This is a fun series and I love the overall story arc. Thanks Joy!

  4. Jess

    I love when books don’t need to be read in order. This sounds like an exciting series! 😉

  5. Lindy

    I love action-packed books with suspense, and danger. The organized crime aspect in the story sounds like it made for a very engaging plot. I like guys who wear their heart on the sleeves, and Shane sounds very swoon-worthy. However, I have trouble buying into romance, when the it goes from 0 to 60, as you said. Excellent Review, Kim!!!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah I got the physical attraction but felt the “love” aspect was over the top.

  6. Melissa (Books and Things)

    I do enjoy her writing and haven’t tried this series yet. So need to! I think this sounds like a lot of fun and I don’t mind a story arc that flows through the series as long as the main couple story is finished. So, will read in order. 😀 Oh and love the comment about taking the blue pill. LOL Sometimes you just need to in some of these books. ;D

  7. Candace

    I like that the series has a story arc, but there’s one within each book as well. I like some suspense in my romance, so this sounds good!

  8. Kristin

    Hmmm, zero to sixty on the romance? I could totally see that, especially from the foreshadowing in the first book. Shane totally had the hots for her in the first book!!! And the way romance was a slow burn in the first book, I could totally see the author want to change things up in this book.

    I’ve got so many books right now I need to read, I’m spinning in circles try to decide between this one and a YA book. It’s absolutely crazy b/c I’ve never felt this way before, not knowing what to read first!!! 😀

    Anyways, super review!!! I’m glad I actually read through your review so I compare my thoughts – I usually skim reviews before I read the books. There it is… my dirty secret (ha!)

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I loved the heat, the sexual chemistry and the passion but it was strong on the love, die without you aspect and sadly I didn’t feel that it was too soon. Shane is yummy though, he just needs to chill and let it happen..LOL

  9. Lily B

    Holy batman, why am I not reading this one. Oh gosh so swoon worthy, but this plot sounds like I would need to read book 1 first?

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, the overall story arc demands that you read them in order, but Kaye does a good job of touching on it for the book jumper 🙂

  10. Sharlene Wegner

    I picked up the first book recently. Hope to read both in order soon! Love the cover art! 🙂

  11. Jenea

    I like that this can read as a stand alone, and I do like the sounds of Shane. He sounds like a seriously intense man. Great review.

  12. Debbie Haupt

    Kimba, I Love fallen angels/heroes etc. So the premise for this series is right up my alley. Thanks for the great review and the contest!!!

  13. Jenny

    Hmm. I really like the premise of this one, but the speed at which the romance progresses and intensity of his feelings seem like they might be a bit much at times. Then again, insta-love in adult books doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it does in YA, I have absolutely no idea why. Sometimes I’m just all about being along for the ride, and I think that’s how I’d be with this book. Thanks for your thoughts Kim!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I usually can handle it too, and it wasn’t the sexy time or attraction because that was yum, it was the intense I cannot live without you stuff but I loved seeing all the boys and the action and adore Shane 🙂

  14. Braine Talk Supe

    Still have to read this. I planned to over the weekend but then I went through a slump so now my calendar is skewed. LOL #bloggerproblems

    I have a feeling I’ll enjoy this as well, I love romantic suspense and the first one was real good so I’m sure this won’t be too far from book 1. Good day to you, Kimberly!

  15. Michelle

    Thanks for the recommendation! I think I’ll be reading the first book in the series before taking on this one. Never read any book by this author before.

  16. Nick

    Great review, Kim. I don’t think this is the right kind of book for me. I usually like my romance books with little action and dark tones. I’m more into the fun contemporaries. I’m glad you enjoyed this despite some scenes being over the top.

  17. Mary

    Definitely over the top. Too much so at times but, like you, I strapped on that helmet and went along for the ride. I’m actually much more interested in the other guys like Jeremy and the guy with the bum leg! And I kind of want the story arc to end so we can find out what really happened and then have the guys get together for another adventure. Still, highly enjoyable!

  18. anna

    Yup I needed a bit more with the romance too on this one. I am looking forward to the next one though 🙂

  19. Melliane

    One day I’ll really have to try this author, I keep hearing great things about her but I confess I haven’t tried a book yet. Really should! Thanks you review reminds me that fact!

  20. Christy

    Shiznit … I was just trying to decide which book to read. I should’ve started the first one book of this series, but went with something else. I’ll make Hard As It Gets my next read, or the one after the next.