Series: Hard Ink #1
Published by Avon on November 26, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Tall, dark, and lethal...
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...
From the very beginning Nick’s character pulled me in. I found him intriguing. Even if he was marred in the war he never let his injuries restrict him. In his own way he still exhibited much courage and confidence. Despite his honor and career being stripped away from him unjustifiably he managed to move on and get his life back on track. It took some time but I was glad that he swallowed his pride and reunited with his team to get things done.
Becca was terrific as well. She wasn’t your typical “damsel in distress” type. She had so much stress going on in her life but she possessed this remarkable amount of strength. I love how loyal and caring she was. She didn’t know the men that were helping her but she took to them like it was nothing. The one thing that I found most impressive was how outspoken she was. Most women would have been intimidated with that testosterone filled confrontation – not Becca. She was amazingly fearless. She wasn’t hesitant about making the first move with Nick either. She knew what she wanted and needed and was upfront about it.
I thought that the chemistry between Becca and Nick was outrageously amazing. I however wasn’t entirely sold on the insta – love aspect of their relationship which I thought was the only downfall of this story. Personally, I enjoy loads of angst and tension in my romances. In Hard As It Gets the couple seemed to have fallen too hard and too fast for my taste.
“Happiness wasn’t something you found, happiness was something you made by living in the moment, by cherishing the people in your life right now, by finding the courage to change those things you didn’t like.”
Will I be reading the rest of the series? Oh yeah! I am totally hooked! I am excited to see how this newly found brotherhood plus 1.5 ( Becca and Eileen) uncover the secrets that Frank Merritt took to his grave. That whole situation is puzzling and I can not wait to see how it all develops.
I also want to know how they get their vengeance and clear their tainted reputation. I’m also eager to know how each of these remarkable men find their own happiness that B & N achieved and see if any life-changing relations develop within the Hard Ink Team itself.*wink
I enjoyed this action filled, suspenseful and smouldering romance.The storyline was unique and enrapturing. The character building was terrific. The puppy was a very nice touch too. The camaraderie between the brothers and Nick’s team felt natural and genuine.
I have to say that this was a great start to this new series and I can’t wait to see where Laura Kaye takes us.
~ a meeting with the enemy…
Tires screeched against pavement. Becca whirled toward the parking lot. Through the new spring leaves, she could just make out a dark SUV cutting diagonally across the mostly open spaces. Her heart leapt into her throat, but she kept her eyes straight ahead. It was critical she not do anything to give the impression she wasn’t alone.
God, how am I going to do this? Just breathe, Bec. This is too important to screw up.
Right. As long as her lungs kept operating, she’d be fine.
The truck whipped into the driveway about twenty feet in front of her, the drive that also led to the boat put-in and dock where Miguel and Shane were pretending to be Sunday fishermen. Score one for the good guys—getting her attacker in this space was one of the things they’d hoped for. It was why they’d chosen the pavilion as their rendezvous point.
She recognized the driver right away. Her would-be kidnapper. In her mind’s eye, she saw him crossing the staff break room. It was definitely the same man. And, thank God, he’d come alone. Eyes drilling into her, he got out of the idling truck and crossed the grass looking like the gangster he apparently was—baggy jeans, hoody, chains at his neck. But, geez, he’d been beaten to hell judging by the bruises and cuts on his face. Every moment of this situation was more surreal than the next.
“That’s close enough,” she said when he reached the edge of the sidewalk that ringed the pavilion. Becca retreated behind a picnic table, placing a barrier between them.
He glared but stopped on the sidewalk. “So we meet again.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say we’ve met, since you know who I am, but I don’t know you.” Her gaze dropped to his hand, but she couldn’t get a good look at the tattoos there from this angle.
His brown eyes narrowed. “All you need to know is I’m the one who can help get your brother back.”
It sounded too good to be true. The breeze blew strands of hair loose from her ponytail, and she swept them away from her eyes. “What is it you want?”
“To know how your bro put two and two together.” Becca nearly groaned and her hands fisted. She had no more patience for bullshit mystery. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? Don’t play games with me.”
“Charlie found something that was supposed to be hidden, and we need to know what led him to it.”
“How am I supposed to find that out?” she asked, a chill running down her spine despite the nice morning. The hint of a smile played around the corners of his wide mouth. “I was thinking about that . . .”
A scuff. Rubber on concrete. Goose bumps erupted across her neck as she turned. Time slowed to a crawl, and everything happened at once.
Two guys stepped out of the trees and entered the far side of the pavilion. Both had guns.
Panic had barely welled up inside her as one screamed and fell to the ground for no apparent reason. The other bolted but, just as suddenly, crashed to the ground with a shout and a cry. Could Beckett’s silencer be the cause?
The punks writhed on the grass, but one of them returned fire, the gun’s report echoing loudly under the pavilion’s roof. Becca instinctively crouched down, hands cradling her head. Her gaze whipped to her attacker.
Expression absolutely livid, he stalked around the table with a gun pointed at her head. “Not getting away this time, bitch.”
She backtracked the opposite direction, her hand reaching for her gun.
His roiling gaze tracked the movement and he lunged.
Becca took off across the concrete, catching her shin on the blunt edge of a bench in a flash of pain. The stumble slowed her, and he grabbed her ponytail. Her head wrenched back, nearly taking her off her feet. Suddenly, her air was gone, his arm trapping her in a tight chokehold that had her clawing and gasping. Nearby, footsteps pounded on the earth. The team?
They’ll get to me, they’ll get to me, they’ll get to me in time.
Above her, the bright blue sky filled with little pinpoints of light as the guy’s arm compressed her windpipe. And her medical training meant she knew she had mere seconds before blacking out.