This book took a little longer than usual to finish, only because I’m participating in nanowrimo and a lot of my reading time has been taken up by writing time.
But in NO WAY did that mean I didn’t enjoy this book from start to finish. It really surprised me.
I knew nothing about Laura Kaye. Never read her books, didn’t look up reviews, nothing. I was caught solely by the blurb and was immediately hooked. EX-MILITARY, SEXY TATTOOED MEN, and an investigation that uncovers a secret about Becca’s father? That’s definitely a recipe for an intense contemporary romance if I ever read one.
Becca Merritt is in trouble. She doesn’t know who or why, but she knows she’s in danger and she needs help finding her brother Charlie. That help comes from Nick Rixey – former Special Forces. She’s his ex-commander’s daughter and he feels no obligation to help her. Having already given years of his life only to be betrayed he has absolutely no sympathy for her. But when the situation turns sour and Becca’s life is in danger he calls upon his old teammates to help solve the mystery and see what secrets put her life and her brother’s life in the middle of an organized crime ring.
I will admit the story was a bit slow for me in the very beginning, and literally I mean Chapter 1. It didn’t catch my attention right away as I had hoped but then again I don’t expect EVERY book I read to. Everything after Chapter 2 though PERFECT! It definitely took some time for the characters to grow on me and for the story to really feel interesting. I’ll admit I had THE WORST initial reaction to the main characters which now I look back and am ashamed over. Kaye has definitely created a cast of colourful characters in a very serious story, but still shows them in a wonderfully easy-going light.
Hard As It Gets does NOT feel like your typical contemporary romance novel. I think I was more excited to find out where the story was going than to see Nick and Becca get together. But when they did get together…Oh man…were they ever hot.
For one thing Becca isn’t and doesn’t seem like your typical almost occasionally defenseless female lead (not that female leads have to be useless and defenseless). She’s very independent and seems like the type of woman who can definitely take care of herself. If it wasn’t for all the bad things happening around her that endangered her life I bet she wouldn’t even call out to Nick for help. Becca is definitely on my list for bad-ass female leads. And she’s not the typical kick-ass heroine that makes her bad-ass, it’s her attitude toward life, her composure, how she manages to keep it all together that ears her my respect.
When first meeting Nick Rixey I thought he came off as rather assholish and douchebaggy (though I doubt those are real words, I’m pretty sure I just made them up). HOWEVER he does a quick turn-around and completely redeems himself in my books. He’s caring and considerate, he has tattoos and was in the military; Nick Rixey is like a FREAKING SWISS ARMY KNIFE! He can do it all! The only problem with men who can do everything is that they’re usually hiding something pretty important… and Nick is no exception to this.
“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 inner. This guy was ten kinds of dangers. And in more ways than she’d expected when she’d come to him for help. “Well, then, I eat meat.”
I definitely love Becca for all her wonderful qualities. She’s a strong independent woman, she’s very down to earth and hardly a pushover. I also didn’t think I’d like Nick as much as I do. I mean it took me at least 100 PAGES for his character to grow on me. I mean really, when he’s first introduced he SCREAMS asshole meanie pants jerky jerk! But when they’re alone together and he’s intent on Becca feel better, he really has a genuine desire to want to make her happy, or at least keep her from breaking down. More points to him for having a serious amount of moral fiber…
Don’t let all Nick’s goodness and caring self-fool you though… He’s a BEAST. He’s mad sexy, dangerously addicting, and I’m pretty sure he could make any woman weak in the knees.
“Because I want to make you hold onto that bag while I bury myself in you so had and so deep you don’t know your own name. But than tomorrow, in the light of day, when your brother’s still missing and we’re still trying to figure out the mystery of who broke into your house, getting fucked by a stranger in a warehouse will be just one more thing you have to deal with. And I won’t do that to you.”
Overall, Becca and Nick are an addicting couple, and I promise if you’re not addicted to them you’ll be HOOKED onto the story as I was. Kaye has definitely got this reader hooked onto the men of Hard Ink… and just when you think it’s over you’re probably dead wrong, because this is only the beginning.
5/5 Hearts of Love