Thursday, January 23, 2014

ARC Review: Hard As It Gets

Hard As It Gets
Laura Kaye
Romantic Suspense
Hard Ink Series/Book 1
Avon/November 26, 2013

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...

Never having read Ms. Kaye I wasn't sure what to expect so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the suspenseful romance of Becca and Nick (or Rixey as he is also referred to).

Becca Merritt is a very capable ER nurse.  She's use to stressful, tense situations but nothing has prepared her for her brother's kidnapping.  So she turns to Nick Rixey for help.  I liked Becca and how she was portrayed as an intelligent women with faults and flaws.  She makes some mistakes but it's realistic since her experiences have not prepared her for where she has found herself.  Even though Becca is worried, stressed and scared, she holds her own with the big bad Rixey.  He's actually not that bad, he just gives off that attitude.

Nicholas Rixey is still recovering from his injuries sustained during his last battle.  He has withdrawn from his friends, his military brothers and would probably withdraw from his brother Jeremy if Jeremy let him.  Instead they work and live together, Jeremy having taken Nick in when Nick was drifting after his release from the Army.  Rixey is a wounded warrior without a war to fight.  Becca gives him that fight and makes him want to do more than just exist.

There is mistrust at the beginning between Becca and Rixey.  She doesn't know him, only that he was one of her father's men.  He has reason to hate Becca's father and in the beginning, transfers his attitude towards Becca.  He quickly changes his mind when he admits to himself what he knew all along - Becca is not responsible for her father's actions. Rixey is written in a way that you get why he reacts and thinks the way he does.  He is far from perfect and is willing to ask for help, even if it means humbling himself.  I liked how he and Becca learn to trust each other as they are falling for each other.  If there had been no trust, the relationship would have felt hollow.  Instead, it felt real.

I think real is a good word to describe Hard As It Gets.  The action, romance and characters all feel real.  The secondary characters fulfill their roles without overwhelming the hero and heroine and the suspense.  There were a few periods of a little too much character introspective, throwing the pace off but not enough to dampen the enjoyment.  Can't wait to see what happens next!

Rating: A-

Hard Ink Series ~

Hard As It Gets
Hard As You Can (February 25, 2014)


  1. I really liked this one as well and I'm excited about book 2 in the series!

  2. I'm glad we don't have long to wait for Shane's book!

  3. Sounds good, Leslie! I was eyeing this book. The only thing that prevented me from picking it up was the fact that the hero was from military. Sigh. I'll keep it in mind though for the future.