Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hard as You Can (Hard Ink #2) by Laura Kaye

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.

“He made her lose focus. He made her wish things could be different. And he made her want to throw caution to the wind and, for just once in her life, take what she wanted”

“…every time your faith threatens to fail, you look at that and know I’ll be back.  Because I love you.”

“I don’t want to run.  I don’t want to hide.  I don’t want to act, not anymore.  I just want to be with you.  Wherever you are, Shane, that’s where I belong,”

The former Special Forces team consisting of Nick Rixley, Shane McCallan, Derek “Marz” DiMarzio, Edward “Easy” Cantrell, and Beckett Murda reunited after Nick had discovered information that could possibly clear their name and restore their honor. 

During a mission to rescue their ex-commander’s son (Charlie), Shane meets Crystal (a.k.a. Sara) Dean when she aides in their operation. Shane feels an attraction for the beautiful redhead and can’t seem to stop thinking about her.  After rescuing Charlie, the team realizes there are horrible things taking place at Confessions, a strip club that belongs to the Church Organization.   

Crystal is stuck paying off a debt her deceased father owed to the Church Organization.  She is a tenacious survivor amongst some of the roughest gang members in Baltimore.  Her boyfriend is abusive and the last 4 years have been full of humiliation, pain and suffering.  She protects her younger sister, Jenna, from that part of her life.  She hides her feelings in order to survive by pretending to be someone else.  

Shane and Sara’s story is about letting go of the past and looking forward to the future.  It is an emotionally sweet love story full of action and suspense.  Both have suffered deep loss and pain.  Relearning to trust and move forward, Sara realizes that Shane makes her feel cherished and safe.  While Shane discovers all he wants is to protect and love her.

This is a wonderful story that I highly recommend.  Looking forward to the next book in this series.

Overall rating: 4 Rockin’ Stars

Hero - Shane: 4.5 stars
Heroine - Sara: 4 stars
Steam Level: 3.5 stars 
Plot: 4 stars 
Cliffhanger: No

Would I recommend this book: Yes!
Would I read other books by this author: Yes!

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