I am so sad to see the Hard Ink Series by Laura Kaye come to an end. I have loved every one of the Hard Ink stories and I feel like I am one of the team after reading them all. I love how different each love story has been with this series while following the common plot between them all. In Hard to Let Go, we get to read about Beckett and Kat. Their story is explosive. Their passion for one another as well as their short tempers makes for an interesting romance. It kept me turning pages, along with the team unraveling more information to get closer to solving the series-long mystery. If you have not read this series, you really need to read it in order, so I suggest you go back to the beginning and read Hard As it Gets.
Hard to Let Go definitely made me squirm at the insanely hot intimate scenes but also had me in tears at a few heartbreaking scenes. The pacing is great, however there was a scene or two where I wanted to tell Beckett and Kat to keep their pants on and get on with what else is happening around them (they do enjoy their sexy time together). Beckett and Kat each had their own internal struggles that added another layer to this book. I was so happy for both of them when they finally trusted each other enough to let the other one in.
Hard Ever After by Laura Kaye is the absolute perfect ending to the Hard Ink Series (assuming this is the end). I had so much fun with the characters as they were on the other side of their quest for answers. It was the time to get their lives back and live a normal life. Not a life on lock-down and always watching for bad guys. It was time for Becca and Nick’s wedding!
Kaye has really done a phonemoneal job with the Hard Ink Series. I love the balance of romance, suspense and smoking hot scenes she writes in her stories. Like the other books, Hard Ever After was a page turner for me. I hung on every word the characters spoke and felt like I was one of them. Even though Nick and Becca were in the other books in the series, it was like coming home to read a book where they were the main characters again.
Of course, the Hard Ink guys had one more loose end to tie up before they could all truly move on with their Happy Ever After and Kaye did not disappoint with this story line. She provided a realistic plot that had me looking over my shoulder at times while reading the story. The way it played out mingled with the rest of the story so well and in the end there Becca (and the rest of us) were given the much needed closure. I couldn’t have imaged a better ending to it all.
I freaking love Marz! I freaking love the Hard Ink Series!
Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let me tell you all about the book I just read, Hard To Come By by Laura Kaye. It was awesome. It has everything I love in a good story – action, romance, friendship, first dates, first loves, flirting, danger, food, animals and some naughty talk in the bedroom. Hard To Come By is the third book in the Hard Ink Series and it’s Marz’s story. He is one of the men trying to help his special forces team figure out what went down in Afghanistan that caused them to lose several of their teammates and to be discharged from the military not so honorably.
Derek DiMarzio, aka Marz, is an amputee who never had a family and finds himself surrounded by one. He saved the life of his best friend Beckett Murda, which led to Marz losing part of his leg in the process. Beckett is having a tough time with he guilt that eats him alive over it. Marz just wants him to get over it. This relationship in the story is emotional and funny has heck. I applaud the author for the way she crated Marz and how he handles his life post-amputation. I read in the acknowledgements of her book that she watched a lot of videos from someone who explained what it was like to live as an amputee and I think Laura did a fantastic job portraying that in Marz. I don’t have any experience with this so it gave me great insight into the mind of someone who has gone through it. It added so much to the story.
Emilie Garza is a girl who is mourning the loss of her marriage, trying to figure out what to do about her brother, Manny, who suffers from PTSD and just trudging through her life the best she can. Enter Marz. Her life is not the same. Emilie is so dang sweet and I love how good and polite she is but also how much she is willing to let loose in the bedroom with Marz. The two of them have an amazing romance. Marz’s honesty alone with Emilie is refreshing for a romance novel. I love how Laura is able to tailor the intimate scenes for each of her characters throughout the Hard Ink series. Marz and Emilie were completely unexpected in my opinion but I quickly realized how perfect they were together. Emilie likes it a little naughtier than you would expect and Marz knows exactly how to bring out that side of her and in a way that makes her feel incredibly sexy and loved. Very well done!
I am loving the Hard Ink Series by Laura Kaye. Hard To Hold On To is the third book in the series, but it is a novella and features Easy and Jenna. While the suspense aspect is not present as it is in the other books in the series, the relationship building and romance is definitely there. I love watching all the guys and gals in the series continue to get to know each other. Their “family” is definitely growing. I am curious if they will all go their separate ways when the investigation is over or if they will stick around Jeremy and Nick’s place with all the space that is yet to be finished?
Hard To Hold On To takes place immediately after the end of Hard As You Can, so I think you need to read that one in order to understand all that is going on in this one. Hard To Hold On To packs quite an emotional punch in such a short time frame. I shed tears during this read but also smiled, sighed, and even laughed. That to me shows the depth of the characters Laura has created in this novella.
Daylight by Julie Cross, is the first story I have read from the Fifty First Times anthology and while I liked that it worked as a short, it could have easily been stretched out into a full length novel. It packed quite a punch emotionally.
We meet a newlywed couple on their wedding night with flashbacks of how they met, and other important moments in their relationship. How Julie was able to provide that much background and development on characters in about 50 pages, I don’t know but it worked. I felt a connection to both of them and wanted more.
The intimacy between the two of them is typical of a first time on a honeymoon night. Unsure of yourself and what is going to happen, yet total trust and love. It was all done very nicely. If the other stories in the series are written this well, I can’t wait to read the other stories in this anthology!