Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: Hard As It Gets (Hard Ink 1) By Laura Kaye

 Title: Hard As It Gets
       Hard Ink Novel 1
Author: Laura Kaye
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: AVON ~ HarperCollins
Category: Contemporary Romance
Type: Digital, Audio, Paperback


Tall, dark, and lethal…

Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey’s tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome–pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He’s left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander’s daughter. Loyalty won’t let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.

With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn’t expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees. Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge…


Nick wanted to claim her and possess her and climb so far inside her heat that he’d forget about all the shit in his head. He wanted her writhing under him and boneless with pleasure and crying his name out loud. He wanted her seeking safety in his arms and comfort from his hands.
He spun the chair around to face her. She reared back on her knees and her gaze flew up to his. He shook his head, competing desires warring inside him. To possess her and protect her. To be honest and shield her from hurt. To do the right thing and do what felt right.
Damnit, he needed her.
On a groan, he reached out, grasped her neck, and hauled her up to him.
Rixey consumed her with the kiss, pouring every bit of his gratitude and desire into the movement of his lips, his tongue, his hands. She moaned in surprise, and he devoured that, too. God, she smelled of warm vanilla and tasted of mint. Little needful whimpers and sighs and gasps spilled out around their lips, and he reveled in every last note of her pleasure, of her desire. He pulled her closer and penetrated her more deeply with his tongue. The damn backrest separated them, but he couldn’t let her go long enough to rectify the problem.
“God, sunshine, what are you doing to me?” he rasped around the edge of a kiss.

Dialogue Highlight:

Becca stepped into the room and dropped her pillow onto the bed, and a growl roared out of her stomach so loud it nearly echoed among the exposed beams and ductwork of the tall ceiling. She clamped a hand to her belly and chanced a glance at Nick.
The corners of his lips tipped up. “Guess it would be redundant to ask if you’re hungry.”
She couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, I didn’t realize how much.”
“Well, that’s a problem I can solve. Tell me you eat meat.”
Nick was going to cook her dinner? Or, er, meat at least? Now she was curious. “Uh, what if I don’t?”
His bottom lip almost pouted, and the expression was as unexpected as it was cute on his masculine face. “Well, that would be a shame, because it would mean I can’t cook you my specialty.”
“You have a specialty?”
He crossed his arms. “Of course I have a specialty.”
She just bet he did. A soldier who carried her bag, tried to open the car door for her, put her up in his house to protect her, and now offered to cook her dinner. This guy was ten kinds of dangerous. And in more ways than she’d expected when she’d come to him for help. “Well, then, I eat meat.”
The left side of his mouth pulled up in a crooked smile, hinting at a dimple on his cheek.
A freaking dimple. A single spot of softness on a man otherwise built of hard planes and rough edges. Becca tried not to stare, she really did. But she found herself wanting to press her lips to the little indent. For starters.
“Good. Take whatever time you need to get settled in. There’s towels and stuff in the bathroom next door. Come out to the kitchen when you’re ready.”
She shook the ludicrous urge away. “You really don’t have to go to any trouble. We could just order a pizza. I already feel bad enough---“
He stepped in close, his heat and masculine scent, all leather and clean spice, invading her space. “It’s no trouble, Becca.”


Color me turned on. I officially now want a tattoo – from Nick! It is no secret that this has been a hard year for me in reading and reviewing. There has been so much going on that I had to put everything blog-related on hold. So I couldn’t have possibly have chosen a better book, author, or series for that matter, to come back with. First of all, if you haven’t read Laura Kaye, what the hell is the matter with you? She is made of awesome. Simple as. Side note: LMAO tonight because that phrase pops up quite often within the book and I actually heard a friend of mine use it tonight. Totes one of my new phrases now. But I digress. Laura Kaye gets it. I have several favorite authors, but a few of them are simple sentimentality because they were the chosen few I had begun with. Johanna Lindsey, for example. My first ever and I will always love her, but the books are just monotonous and completely predictable. Julie Garwood. Love her, but she burned me when she ditched HR and switched completely to CR. Bleck. Not that I don’t love each genre, but sheesh! She was phenomenal at HR and now she write cookie cutter contemporary that reads like a broken record. I still enjoy them, but they don’t grab me and suck me into the dang pages to the point I get upset when I have to put the book down for any reason. 

Anyway --- back to that digress thing. Ms. Kaye is masterful at her craft. She fills her books with suspense, intrigue, snarky wit, and arguably some of the hottest sex scenes I have ever read. The key to the sex is that it is slightly over the top, but not so over the top that the reader is feeling like his/her life sucks because of a failure to experience such magnetic attraction or multiple orgasms with their partner. Maybe some do, experience such mind blowing sex, but those of us in the real world who stumble back into reality after the conclusion of the book call bullshit when we read it. Ms. Kaye excels at hitting the mark of ample without excess. And within it all, she builds this world that is so near tangible, that the reader could darn near walk down the street and meet these very people in their own town. Calm down. I said “darn near”, not that they actually would. 

I was blown away by these awesome characters, not only Nick and Becca, but there wasn’t a single secondary character who I didn’t appreciate. Each one has their own purpose and role and together they form a connection that is pretty much unbreakable. The men of Hard Ink are sure to blow your mind and leave you breathless for more. Now, I am not going to get into a patriotic rant here, but I also really love that despite the circumstances of this former Special Ops team and their exit from the armed forces, their patriotism rang true. They could have shut down and told the world and everyone in it to kick rocks, but these guys are what it is really all about. Listen to me, like they are real. Maybe for me they are – or at least a representation of what I believe the All-American Patriot to be. And that struck a chord within me. 

Rather than describe the characters and summarize their conflicts and character flaws that endear them to us, I am going to leave the review at this. Buy it. Read it. You will absolutely NOT be disappointed. In fact, you might cry when you realize you do not yet own the next book in the series. I didn’t because I have it. But I swear I would have if I didn’t have the next book to dive into next. Oh yeah – and here’s another positive – the book does not wrap up all nice and pretty with a little bow. Our main characters are in a good place, but in no way is the mystery solved. In fact, the end brings up more questions than the team began with. I am even doubting Merritt’s true intention at this point. And I am only starting the second book in the series. Says a lot. I can safely say that I am hooked and for a reader, there is no better feeling for a book and its author to attain. Simple as.

Paperback purchased for personal library

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