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Hard As You Can (Hard Ink #2) by Laura Kaye ARC Review

Title: Hard As You Can
Author: Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink #2
Release Date: February 25, 2014


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

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5 Thrilling, Intense, Suspenseful Stars! 

As I read the last sentence of this book one word came to mind...Wow! Laura Kaye surely stepped up her game. Hard As You Can is her most intense and most suspenseful book thus far!

I was curious about Shane McCallan from the first book, Hard As It Gets. As I got to know him in this book, my heart just broke for him and the immense guilt he holds inside. While he can't change tragic events from his past, he dedicates his life helping others. Oh boy, Crystal is mixed up in an impossible situation! There's a reason why she works at the seedy dance club, and it's not by choice.

So much goes down in Hard As You Can. This story touches on serious and sensitive subject matter, such as human trafficking and sexual abuse. It paints a picture on the ugly side of life. While Laura Kaye doesn't explicitly go into these things in great detail, she doesn't skim it either. The painful moments are balanced out with incredibly tender and romantic moments. I loved how Shane and Crystal were written. She's a survivor who has an inner strength that allows her to be resilient. He's one of the most caring heroes around, one who has the heart and mind to right a wrong. They are what each other needs at that moment in time. The build-up to when they physically connect intimately was so heart-tugging. Yep, I cried!

You bring out the best in me, sweetness.”

As far as timelines go, this book picks up from where the last book ended. The entire group is back working together as a cohesive unit. More insight into the guys' primary mission is uncovered. The Hard Ink world also gets a tad bigger as new characters are introduced, and I'm excited to see what will happen next! If you're a fan of sweetheart Jeremy like I am, he will make you smile again. I hope we'll see more of him as the series progresses, because I can't get enough of those funny t-shirts!

If you loved this book and seek something similar in terms of intense subject matter and is as anxiety & excitement provoking, then I recommend Pamela Clare's I-Team series. For me, the Hard Ink series is a must-read. I get such a rush reading this type of romantic-suspense. I found Hard As You Can absolutely thrilling!

I would love to hear your comments!

Are you a Laura Kaye and/or Hard Ink series fan? What other romantic-suspense books do you read?

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