Hard As It Gets
By Laura Kaye
Adult Contemporary Romance
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..
Gabrielle's 4.5 Star Review:
The book starts out with Becca Merritt, who goes to a tattoo parlor, in a desperate search for a man her brother told her to find in a secret code because he was kidnapped. First she meets, Jeremy Rixey. He is funny and down to earth, a breath of fresh air... But he soon realizes Becca is looking for the other Rixey brother, Nick. Enter Nick. He is brooding, doesn't give a crap about her problem, and is a complete a** hole. But after he turns her away, guilt eats away at him and he searches for her to make sure she is okay. Then crap hits the fan and they're thrown together because without him, she would be dead or kidnapped within five minutes.
A war rages inside Nick because she is the daughter of the man who betrayed him (who died) and his fellow soldiers but he soon realizes she is nothing like her old man. He calls in his former special forces team - the remaining live men - and tries to convince them that Charlie, Becca's brother's, kidnapping was part of why their commander betrayed them. Eventually, each member of the team agrees and they throw together a plan, without cops because the gang has some of them on their payroll, and attempts to save Charlie.
As time goes on, Nick and Becca grow a bond between the two of them. But Becca learns that Nick kept secrets from her, big ones... And Nick has to learn that she isn't her father and that she truly cares about him and his men.
First, I'll start off with saying how I like how he turns her away because if he didn't then it wouldn't make any sense because he hates her father with a passion and it only makes sense his hatred would be shot at her, too. But then he very quickly changes his mind and pretty much stalks her... But his stalking does save her from getting hurt. She somehow trusts him too quickly, in my opinion at least, and his men.
The heat between Becca and Nick is undeniable but it should have been the last thing on their minds. But I do think their chemistry is off the charts. Nick is stubborn and confused but Becca is patient with him, knowing there must be a reason for his mood swings.
When the rest of his team comes in, I love the tension between them. Each of them, other than Marz, holds a grudge against Nick because he disappeared without checking in on his men. (Nick was the second in command.) Shane, Nick's best friend, is the one who is the angriest and he has a reason to be. He called Nick numerous times, emailed, but Nick ignored every message. But they are a team and when one of them calls... They all come running to aid them. I love their sense of loyalty.
Becca quickly shows the men that she ISN'T her father and each of them start to realize it. By the end of the book, every man 100% realizes she is her own person and she personally earned all of their trust. It is a great book for romance, loyalty, friendship. I read it in two sittings because I couldn't put it down. None of the issues I listed above dettered me from wanting more and more and more. I bought the second book before I even finished the first so I could read it ASAP.