Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The men of Hard Ink are back with a vengeance, and better than ever!! The story starts off with a bang, set just a few days after the ending of Hard As It Gets. The men are now becoming a "family born of choice rather than blood", and have now worked through any issues they had with each other in Hard as it Gets. The comrade alone has me wanting to be part of the Hard Ink family.
Crystal is more comfortable in jeans and flip-flops rather than the high heels and slutty clothes she is forced to wear as waitress in a strip club. She is strong, but trapped in a bad situation she had no control over, and she does what she has to do in order to protect her little sister. She has the scars to prove it. She won't sit around expecting to be rescued by anyone- she's determined to get herself out, and while she PLAYS ignorant really well, don't underestimate her or her ability to put her pride aside and ask for help when it really matters.
Shane is a man with a kind heart who trusts his gut and sees past the situation Crystal is forced into, to see the good, loyal person she is. Shane's compassion comes from a terrible moment that changed his life when he was barley a teenager, and almost as a penance, he is dead set on helping the others protect their siblings. Maybe that will earn him a little redemption. I love his compassion, his willingness to be open with Crystal, and that he is willing to put his life in the line of fire to help someone he barely knows, but wants to know better.
I am fascinated that Laura Kaye can come up with this amazing series that is wonderfully woven with intrigue, action, and of course, the perfect amount of steaminess, while still being able to be read as stand alones. She brings in small details from Hard as it Gets, and then makes them relevant without being redundant. It's brilliant! I literally read the last 20 mins. of the story sitting on the edge of my couch, snapping at anyone who dared to bug me. (Sorry about that, family!)The story is what you have come to expect from Laura Kaye, just a step higher.
Here are a few random thoughts and things I love from the story:
Jeremy is back with his always awesome and highly dirty T-shirts.
I learned a new phrase: Sass and Swalls (sweaty ass and sweaty balls). I don't know if I will ever use it, but I am REALLY hoping a situation comes up where I can.
Out of the rest of the Hard Ink men, I am so looking forward to Marz's story the most. Think Laura will let me babysit, chauffeur, even cook, clean, and wash windows to get the next Hard Ink man here a little faster??
View all my reviews