AS HARD AS IT GETS (Hard Ink #1) by Laura Kaye
384 pages, paperback
Available November 26, 2013
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review
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…
First Date: Besides a Top Off Tuesday-worthy cover, As Hard As It Gets delivers between the sheets…er…covers, too. (Still, as much as I love Avon, I’ve never been a fan of all the extra stuff they put on their covers. Do we really need the publisher’s mark AND that red star thing? No.) Wounded and recovering at his brother’s tattoo parlor (and doing a little tattooing on the side. Smexy artist alert!), Nick is one hot, broken man. *swoon* Becca’s a woman in need of serious help — which Nick has no desire to give. But, after booting the woman to the curb, he has second thoughts and agrees to help, especially after realizing that not only is Becca’s brother in trouble, Becca is in danger, too. Danger that involves Nick and his past.
Second Date: This dude is carrying some serious baggage. It’s the moment of truth — do I want to carry on with this wounded warrior or escape out the bathroom window while he sips a beer at the table? Oh, hell yes–I’m checking my lipstick, adjusting the girls for maximum fluffiness and heading back out there. I can definitely handle his baggage, especially when all his super-gorgeous Army Special Forces buddies show up to help search for Becca’s brother and dig into the shady happenings that brought a dishonorable end to their military service. Oh, and Nick’s brother…nice. Surrounded by smart, determined hotties. (I’m pretty sure this was last night’s dream…no wonder I woke up smiling.)
Third Date: All this testosterone is lulling me into a sated coma. Luckily, Becca doesn’t let the boys run roughshod over her, proving her intelligence and determination to find her brother even as she falls hard for Nick (and, seriously, who wouldn’t? He’s a protector at heart. *swoons again*). The only issue I have with this whole story is that it doesn’t really end. There’s not a cliffhanger, per se, but, besides Becca and Nick falling hard for one another, the main storyline and mystery isn’t solved. I guess you could look at the romance as the main story and the mystery surrounding Becca’s brother’s disappearance and what really happened with Nick’s team out there in the desert the secondary story arc but that’s not really how I saw it. Oh well. Still a great story. And as for Nick, I’m so glad I wore my good bra and panty set on this date.
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