Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye

Hard As You Can
(Hard Ink Series Book #2)
By Laura Kaye
Adult Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Gabrielle's 5 Star Review:
Shane McMcallan is a sexy ex special forces soldier who was wronged, as was his remaining teammates who still alive and even the ones who died on the day they were all betrayed by their commander. For a year after they were discharged, he tried getting ahold of Nick, their second in command, (Also, Nick's book was Hard as It Gets) but Nick never returned any of the phone calls, emails, texts... Anything. And in the first book, Nick did everything he could to regain his best friend's trust but Shane needed more than just words.
Shane struggled with the kidnapping of his younger sister when he was only a teenager. So, when they find out that Church (the gang they are in the middle of fighting) is kidnapping and selling women, he almost goes insane.
He meets Crystal at the strip club where he had to rescue Charlie. After their initial meeting, he goes to her place and he starts to slowly gain her trust and without him realizing it, falling for her.
Crystal is stuck working at Confessions, the strip club owned by the notorious Church gang because when her father died, he was in debt to them. In the beginning, she met Bruno. He rescued her from being used and sold off so she thought she could trust him... That he was a good (or at least better) man but as time went on he proved to be abusive. But she put up with it because he paid for her sister's epilepsy medication. She keeps telling herself that in a few months, her and her sister can leave because she's saving money but the longer they are there the more dangerous it becomes for them.
After a couple meetings, Crystal and Shane start to fall for each other. Their "relationship" is forbidden because she is helping him to go against very dangerous people. People who wouldn't hesitate beating and selling as if they aren't humans. As time goes on, both realize their feelings for each other but they try to fight them. Crystal was planning on leaving and leaving Shane behind in the process.
Then, Crystal sneaks into her boyfriend's office to look for any evidence that could be of some use to Shane. Her purse falls over and she picks everything up quickly before Bruno comes back. Bruno finds something she left behind and realizes she is working against him. So, he shows up at her house and kidnaps her sister. Shane and his fellow teammates team up with the Raven Riders to try take down Church once and for all, and most importantly, to save Crystal's sister before she is sold off to the highest bidder.
Can Crystal and Shane survive the race against the clock to save her little sister? Will their love hold them together even as they uncover secrets about each other?

I had no complaints about the book. It went above and beyond my expectations. I loved the inner battle Shane had when he wanted to forgive Nick for abandoning him but at the same time, he was too hurt to forgive. As time went on though, he forgave Nick, and Nick helped him mostly get over his sister's kidnapping. Crystal had more depth to her than I could ever think possible. She held on by a thread when everything fought against her. She didn't even want to tell her sister any of her problems because she didn't want her sister to feel guilty.
I also love how when Crystal went to Hard Ink for a safe haven, the men accepted her as one of their own. None judged her or held any grudges against her. And Becca welcomed her with open arms (literally hugged her the moment they met). This group of people are people I wish I could meet and even become friends with.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good romance with a bit of edge to it. Or just to anyone because it was simply that great. Great job, Laura!

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