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Hard To Hold On To (#HardInk 2.5) by Laura Kaye ~ Character Interview #Review #Giveaway

For today's tour stop, I'm so happy to present to you a character interview with Easy and my review of Hard To Hold On To! ~Grace

Let's begin...

G:  Hi Easy, I’m so excited for your visit today!

E:  Hey, Grace. *rubs hand over head* Thanks for having me.

G:  Can you tell us a little about yourself? Where did your nickname came from?

E:  Um, I’m not sure if there’s a lot to tell. I used to be in the Army. Spent a lot of years in Afghanistan with some very good men. That’s where I got my nickname. One of my teammates, Shane McCallan, combined the E and the C from my real name, Edward Cantrell, to come up with Easy. Fits me better, I think. Anyway, this past year, I’ve been working for my family’s business up in Philadelphia, and a few weeks ago, I caught up with some of my old teammates to figure out the bullshit related to why we were forced out of the Army. Oh. *smiles, just a little* And I met an awesome girl named Jenna. *smiles a little more* That was the best of it all.

G:  Being in the military has changed you so much. Do you have any regrets? If you could talk to your younger self, what would you tell him?

E:  Regrets? Hell, yes. Seven good men lost their lives on a dirt road in Afghanistan. Seven men who were as much like family as my flesh and blood. That I couldn’t save them, especially my best friend, Marcus Rimes, will always be a regret I carry inside. But carrying it is as much a privilege as it is a burden, because they’re not here anymore. And I will remember them every damn day I might have left. Being in the military changes everyone. It’s a given. It’s a culture as much as it is a job. So I wouldn’t change going on. It was one of the best things I ever did. Certainly, the place where I felt like I fit in the best. I would just tell my younger self that you have to hold on to and appreciate the things you care about as hard as you can, because they don’t always last, no matter how sure you are that they will.

G:  You met Jenna under somewhat unusual circumstances.  She’s pretty special to you. What would you tell her if she were sitting here with us right now?

E: *rubs hand over lips, shaping into a small smile* Yeah, it was a little unusual. But I also think it happened at exactly the right time. Wouldn’t change it for the world. I would tell her that I got her back. That I will protect her with everything that I have. And that she is very special to me. I’d also say thank you, because since I met her she’s had my back, too.

G:  Describe your perfect date night.

E:  Guys do not sit around thinking about perfect date nights. But as long as it was me and Jen together, it would be about as good as it could get.

G:  A few quickie questions...
Who inspires you the most?

E:  This is a hard one because I can’t say I’ve felt inspired in a long time. But meeting Jenna and reuniting with the guys have definitely made me want to be a better man, so I could say them.

G:  Favorite hobby?

E:  I’m a big fan of Eddie Murphy movies.

G:  You got any ink you can tell us about?

E:  I have a cross and chain that hangs around my neck and on my chest and the Special Forces knife and arrows on my arm. And I have three newer pieces on my ribs – a quote, my fallen teammates’ initials, and a little something from Jenna to help me remember to hold on no matter what.

G:  Thank you so much, Easy, for stopping by Sweet Spot Book Blog! It was such a pleasure to chat with you!

E:  Welcome.

Feel free to ask Easy or his author lady anything!

Did you know Laura is donating all of her proceeds of the sales from the first two weeks to a national non-profit that helps wounded veterans?

About Hard to Hold On To:
Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight.  He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel--and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

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Five Stars

I love reading novellas. I’ve read my fair share of novellas that leave you so unsatisfied and wondering what the whole point was, a tease perhaps? Not with this one! First, if you’ve been following along with the Hard Ink series, then reading Hard To Hold On To is a no-brainer! Second, Edward “Easy” Cantrell is counting on you to read what he’s all about. He’s finally speaking up and letting everything that he’s going through all flow out…it’s raw, it’s painful, and it all unfolds into a story with a very powerful message.

The timelines for the books of this series so far have run close together. This story begins immediately after where book 2 ended. I LOVE how Laura Kaye wrote the chemistry between Jenna and Easy. Jenna had just gone through something so traumatic. The way they’re written, you can feel that her pain is his pain at this moment in time. Easy totally gets her, and in return feisty and sweet Jenna is there for him when he needs her the most.

I loved that the other characters play a huge role in this story, too. What the others do just brought tears to my eyes! On the other end of the spectrum, Jeremy’s shirts continue to inject a bit of humor! I can’t wait to see what shirt he wears next. The romance and steam? This is Laura Kaye we’re talking about. She knows how to describe the emotions of when a man makes your belly flip-flop. Jenna is so freakin’ lucky! Remember, this novella is only the beginning for these two. I have a feeling we’ll see more of them in the next books.

Finally, Ms. Kaye covers a very serious and real issue in this story, one that veterans and those currently serving in the military deal with every day. I can tell that Easy was a very challenging character for her to write. I truly appreciate how genuine and realistic she wrote him. If anything, read this to be enlightened, to be touched, and to know that there will always be someone, somewhere willing to listen. Hard To Hold On To is absolutely worth reading!

*ARC received from publisher. This is my honest review.

Other Books in the Hard Ink Series:
Hard to Come By (11/25/14)
Hard to Be Good (3/10/15)
Untitled (7/28/15)

Praise for the Hard Ink Series:

For Hard As You Can:
"TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!" ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine

"Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!" ~San Francisco Book Review

For Hard As It Gets:
"Edgy, sexy and full of suspense!  A great read from a great new author!" ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward

"Sizzling romance... The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna." ~Publishers Weekly Review

"Kaye's depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks' KGI and Julia Ann Walker's Black Knight's series." ~Booklist

About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She 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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Willing Captive by Belle Aurora #Review

Title: Willing Captive
Author: Belle Aurora
Release Date: September 2013

(Author note: This is NOT a dark romance.)

Delilah “Lily” Flynn is used to her drab existence. Lily’s been living it for twenty two years. 
Her boring life is suddenly turned on its head when she’s rudely kidnapped from her bedroom.
Or so she thinks.

Nox Taylor is far too high up in his field to be assigned a babysitting job. 
There’s nothing more he wants than to complete his mission so he can be rid of the smartass tomboy, Lily.

Day after day, Nox watches Lily and her strange ways. She’s unlike any woman he’s ever met. 
Getting close to the girl is purely for her own protection…right?

Lily never imagined she’d make her first real friends in captivity. 
What lengths would she go through to keep them?

**This is a stand alone novel and is unrelated to Friend-Zoned**

Book Links:

Five Stars

I have seriously had this book on my kindle for almost a year! Not sure what took me so long to read it but I am thrilled that I did!! I completely understand the large number of 5 star reviews!! I LOVED IT!!

I mean, I loved it so much that I can't stop thinking about Nox and Lily, and it's been a few days now!! What an amazing couple and a crazy, strange situation to bring them together. It was kind of original and I really just want more, more, more!!

I wasn't sure what to expect, I mean despite the cover and title, I knew it wasn't a dark romance but I didn't expect to laugh throughout. Not that I think it was really supposed to be funny but some of Lily's internal dialogue had me laughing right out loud. I loved her crazy spirit and I actually hurt for her when she went on her little unexpected hunger strike of sorts. Now....Nox, he was just delish! Right from the beginning you knew there was so much more to this quiet, strong, brooding man - and who better to bring that amazing man out that sweet(and sassy) Lily!!

Oh, and yeah, I cried at the end, and a little in the middle! But I promise a HEA :) Enjoy y'all!

Author Links:

Release Blitz ~ The CONduct series by Jennifer Lane Exclusive Extra Scene + #Giveaway

Today we are excited to present an exclusive extra scene from Jennifer Lane's The CONduct Series!

This particular scene follows the conclusion of On Best Behavior:

Grant Madsen and Sophie Taylor take their nephew Ben Barberi on a college visit.

Sophie: I guess Notre Dame’s not bad, Grant. I mean, it’s no Northwestern…

Grant: Not bad? How can you so easily dismiss the beauty of the University of Notre Dame? The Basilica? The Golden Dome? (He points up as they walk across the quad.) They’re stunning!

Ben: Relax, Uncle Grant. You can rag on Northwestern when we visit Sophie’s alma mater next.

Sophie: You better not! We have some beautiful buildings, too.

Grant: But no Touchdown Jesus.

Ben: Or First Down Moses.

Sophie: (Rolls eyes) I can’t believe how football and religion go hand in hand here. Blasphemy.

Grant: We Catholics know how to poke fun at ourselves. Take this statue, here. (Points straight ahead) This is Jesus, of course, with the famous Bible verse about ‘come to me all who are weary’. Now, look up to the top of the dome. See the Virgin Mary up there? And look back at the Jesus statue. See how his arms are outstretched as he looks up at his mother?

Ben: Yeah. What’s the deal?

Grant: We refer to this statue as ‘Jump mama, I’ll catch you.’

Sophie: (Laughs) Okay, I gotta admit I like that one. (Eyes Grant) Almost as much as I love you in that sexy uniform.

Grant: C’mon, you’ve seen me wear my khakis for months now.

Sophie: It never gets old, McSailor. I bet you were adorable as an undergrad, with your cute Navy uniform...

Ben: You guys said you wouldn’t do that! Gross.

Sophie: Oh, Ben. When you get your ROTC scholarship, you’ll be in uniform, too. The girls will be all over you.

Grant: Ooh, don’t let your girlfriend Lindsay hear that.

Ben: Yeah, she’d kill me. Are we gonna visit the ROTC building next?

Grant: First I want to stop at the grotto.

Ben: What’s that?

Grant: It’s a rocky cave where you can light a candle and say a prayer. A real spiritual place I used to visit when I was in school here.

Sophie: (Scoops Grant’s hand in hers) I bet you lit many candles for your mom.

Grant: (Looks down). You know me well. But today…today I thought we could light a candle for your dad, Ben. (Ben is quiet.) He’d be real proud you’re off to college soon.

Sophie: To Logan. (Squeezes Ben’s shoulder)

Ben: Okay, I guess. (They head to the grotto.)

Sophie: And after the grotto and ROTC, let’s return to the hotel. To our rooms. Our separate rooms.

Grant: Bom-chicka-bom.

Ben: Gross!

How fun was that scene? Grant and Sophie's story touched my heart while reading the entire series! Check out my reviews HERE.

The CONduct Series
Can Two Ex-Cons Find Love? Will the Mafia Let Them Live Long Enough to Find Out?
Romantic Suspense with a Psychological Twist: Now Available in a Boxed Set!

With Good Behavior:
In a world gripped by organized crime, family dysfunction, and dim hopes of redemption, can true love persevere? For Sophie Taylor, a beautiful psychologist who lost everything when she violated an ethical boundary, and Grant Madsen, a handsome naval officer who sacrificed
everything to protect a loved one, finding that love may carry an unbearable cost.
Starting their lives over in Chicago, both are fighting influences from their family and running as fast as they can to escape the past. When their paths cross outside the parole officer's door, the attraction is instantaneous. But a hidden connection may not only shatter their fledgling love, but prove deadly to them both.

Bad Behavior:
Grant Madsen’s got issues. He’s still battling his Mafia family and doing everything possible to keep his loved ones safe. With the cruising season coming to an end, he has to find another job soon or he’ll rejoin his father in prison. And he’s trying to convince his rebellious teenage nephew to stay away from their criminal relatives (you can imagine how that’s going). But worst of all, Grant’s parole officer has mandated that he attend therapy.

The only saving grace is that they’re couples sessions with his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, a fellow parolee who’s struggling with a few issues of her own. Sophie desperately hopes her past with Grant’s brother won’t destroy her future with him.

There’s a sleazy professor at work who revels in

sexually harassing women in the psychology department. And her father still hates Grant.
Their psychologist has his work cut out for him.
When Grant’s ruthless father hints at a plot to get out of prison, Grant must use everything he’s learned in therapy and beyond to try to stop him. It’s a race against time ­­ and a race to rescue Sophie from the Mafia’s clutches once again. But this time McSailor and Bonnie refuse to play victims. This time the cuffs are coming off.

On Best Behavior:
Planning a wedding is never easy—especially when the Russian Mafia wants you dead.
On Best Behavior—the third and final book in The Conduct Series—finds our favorite couple moving forward, despite the odds. Following a pardon by the Governor of Illinois, ex­cons Sophie Taylor and Grant Madsen are finally free to pursue their love and the life that lies ahead for them. Grant now fights the forces that have hurt his loved ones by working undercover for the FBI, and he has infiltrated the Russian Mafia in Chicago. Sophie dives into swimming with Grant’s nephew, Ben, and into her career as a psychology professor. Thankfully, now it’s Ben’s turn to heal through therapy sessions with Dr. Hunter Hayes.
With so many things going right for Grant and Sophie, it's too bad the Russians aren’t their only threat. When Grant’s father, Enzo Barberi, discovers his own son thwarted his plan to break out of prison, his overdeveloped sense of vengeance flares to life. As Sophie scrambles to save her fiancé, it's impossible to say who will kill Grant first—the Russians or his Italian family. Can love triumph over evil? Are hard work and a pledge to be on best behavior ever enough?
Once again, author Jennifer Lane brings a harrowing tale of romantic suspense with a psychological twist, and it's sure to leave readers breathless.

Author: Jennifer Lane

Title: The CONduct Series Boxed Set Genre: Romantic Suspense

ISBN: 978­1­623421­69­4

Release Date: August 19th, 2014

Buy Links:
Amazon | Omnific Publishing

Author Website: http://www.JenniferLaneBooks.com/
Twitter: @JenLaneBooks

Author Bio:

Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she witnesses tremendous growth in her psychotherapy clients, and by night she wrangles misbehaving fictional characters as she writes sports romance and romantic suspense with a psychological twist. She can’t decide which is more fun.Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior. “In a story of betrayal, responsibility, treachery, and honor, Lane does an excellent job portraying the intricate intersection of two lives connected by love...and lies,” said reviewer Susan Swiderski.

Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, hanging out with her plus­size, “I’m not fat, I’m big­boned” Izzie cat, and visiting her sisters and their families in Chicago and Hilton Head.

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