WOW, This book was not what I expected. It was much more.
Action/suspense packed, kept me guessing, flawless writing.
Hard As It Gets is book one in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series. This is beyond the story of Becca and Nick. It's the tale of five brave men trying to find a way to clear their names and find a purpose while doing so.
We begin with a 28 year-old woman entering a tattoo parlor, her name is Becca Merrit and she’s has endured hardship and loss her entire life; she is looking for Mr. Rixey. Turns out, her brother, Charlie went missing and the only lead she has, which was provided by her brother before disappearing, is to look for Rixey. She finds him, asks for help and, he sends her packing.
Nick Rixey doesn’t what to have anything to do with Becca; she is the daughter of the man who ruined his life and that of his men. They served under him in Army Special Forces and he turned out to be corrupt. The survivors were discharged, mud covering their names, no honor and a freaking NDA. In the end his sense of honor, curiosity and the instant attraction he felt for Becca, lead him into helping her. As the story unfolds, they come upon a very dangerous situation, therefore, Nick rekindles contact with his former team (those alive) and all of them play a part in the rescue mission. All of this paves a path to love, redemption, friendship, brotherhood and bullets flying.
In order to provide an objective review, I need to set aside the romance part for a little bit. For me, this book was more about the suspense. The way the story is told and how everything unfolds piece by piece is just marvelous. I loved the interactions with the men; I loved Nick’s brother, Jeremy (most of all his t-shirts); I loved how the tattooing business plays out, side by side the mission. I loved the banter and how forgiveness, loyalty and trust become the most important characters during the story.
Now, about the romance. I could have given the book five stars but I came upon yet, another insta-love story. Don’t get me wrong, the author played it well, it seemed almost believable but, it is just something that doesn’t sit well with me. I felt their attraction, felt the chemistry and understood what drew them together in the first place, and ultimately what traits in their personalities drew them to love. Then again, the insta-love was somewhat necessary due to the plot. It is kind of when you see an action movie, the hero meets a girl he has to sort of protect and, middle of the movie we get a love-scene between them, and they end up together (obviously here, there are several hot scenes).
Nick finds a new purpose, he finds love and meaning to his life. Becca also finds a new purpose among all the tragedies and truths that unfold. She also finds a dog, it was hilarious and adorable and “Tripod” was da-best-joke-ever! Needles to say, among everything this book had many, many quirky and funny moments. They helped ease the tension. Becca is a great heroine strong, intelligent, kind and resilient. I loved how there was no ridiculous angst and no stupid decisions like in other books. She becomes a part of the testosterone-rigged team, along with kind-hearted cute Jeremy (I want him to end up with Charlie, as we learn Jer is Bi!!).
What I want to criticize? Maybe the back and forth with characters thoughts. Yep! This book is written in a somewhat traditional romance book style; I felt that some parts were unnecessary and gave the urge to skim a little and I don’t like it when it happens, therefore I believe that in further installments, the author needs to be less descriptive in this regard.
Nevertheless, this book was great, action-packed and promises the delivery of great sequels!! I can’t wait to start reading Shane´s story; I know it will be another insta-love thingy but the Arc of the story is what really drives me to continue reading the series!!!! Kudos to Laura Kaye.. excellent writing.
“God, this kiss. It was the kind she'd remember forever, that would invade her dreams and haunt her in quiet moments. The kind her older self could look back on and know, once, she'd really lived. The kind that, no matter what, she could never, ever regret.”
“Happiness wasn't something you found, happiness was something you made-by living in the moment, by cherishing the people in your life right now, by finding the courage to change those things you didn't like.”
“Sometimes you plodded through life with nothing changing from one month to the next no matter how much you yearned for a revolution to erupt beneath your feet. And sometimes your whole world imploded and rebuilt itself in a matter of seconds.”