“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”
~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets
Laura talks about the series...
10 Reasons to Fall in Love with Heroine Becca Merritt...
I’m very excited to be celebrating the release of my twelfth novel, Hard As It Gets¸ the first in my new super sexy contemporary romance series called Hard Ink. The series has hot, alpha, prior military guys, a tattoo shop setting, an edgy suspense plot, a super steamy romance between hero Nick Rixey and heroine Becca Merritt, and a great bromance.
The book also had an awesome heroine who is tough, smart, and brave. Becca is an ER nurse whose younger brother goes missing, so she follows the clues to Nick Rixey’s Hard Ink Tattoo in her effort to get her brother back. I really enjoyed writing Becca because I found her so admirable – she is someone I’d like to be, or at least know. So, here are some reasons I think you just might fall in love with Becca, too.
She has a big heart. Becca is quick to feel affection, particularly for the men who fight for her and her brother. She looks past their flaws to the good men she knows they are. This same trait leads her to adopt a three-legged German Shepherd puppy, too…
She battles through her fears. Becca is real and she’s smart. She isn’t one of these heroines who goes charging into dangerous situations. But she also doesn’t cower from the fight, either. I find that really admirable.
She’s forgiving and open-minded. I think it takes a lot of strength to admit when you’re wrong, apologize, change your mind, and forgive. Becca does all these things.
She’s courageous. If the definition of courage is action in the face of fear, Becca has it and then some!
She refuses to be pushed around by the alpha men she meets. Another manifestation of her courage, Becca refuses to be pushed around or cowed by the bad guys or by the surviving members of her father’s Army Special Forces team. And she earns the team’s respect as a result.
She refuses to let life knock her down. Things have not been easy for Becca. She’s experienced a lot of loss in her life. But she uses that to realize how she needs to live and be now. This is one part of me I put into her…
She loves Nick unconditionally. Despite his flaws, his injuries, and his anger, Becca loves Nick Rixey unconditionally and whole-heartedly. And it redeems him in ways that I just loved writing.
She stands up for Nick. I absolutely love when a heroine comes to the rescue of the hero, don’t you? And there’s a great moment of that in Hard As It Gets. And her standing up for him absolutely slays Nick!
She does what no one else ever has. Only five of the original twelve-member SF team survive an ambush that ended the survivors’ careers. These guys are hurting. And Becca wins them all over when she gives them something no one else has in the year since it all went down. What was it? You’ll have to read for that!
She fights for herself. Becca needs Nick and the team’s help, but she doesn’t need them to save her. She’s no damsel in distress. She fights alongside the team and puts herself out there again and again, making her just as strong in her own ways. I love that in a heroine!
For me, all of these add up to one relatable, strong, and even kick-ass heroine, and I hope you’ll agree that Becca’s completely lovable and totally worthy of hero Nick Rixey!
Would you like to know more about Becca? Post a question for her or her author lady, and we’d both be happy to chat with you!
Thanks for reading!
*I received a paperback ARC from Avon Books in exchange for an honest review.*
I will admit any book with a tattoo parlour, tattoo artist or anything remotely to do with tattoos is a sure fire read for me. Combine that with a military man and I have hit the motherload. Hard As It Gets is my first book by Laura Kaye and I am completely sold. This book was edgy, suspenseful and downright sexy.
Nick Rixey's past comes back to haunt him when the daughter of his ex-commander turns up at his tattoo parlour with a very cryptic message and desperate for his help. Becca's brother is missing and the only lead she has is to put all her trust in the sexy tattooed stranger that is Nick. I loved the set up from the very first chapter, there is a mystery to be solved and with Nick's background and discharge from the army, there are secrets and cover-ups going on.
The action and mystery was very well done, I was hooked on this book and I begrudgingly had to put it down when my 'real life' got in the way, only for me to find myself sneaking reads whenever I could. I was desperate to know what was going to happen next.
The book was perfectly balanced, there was enough intrigue to make the storyline fast paced and engrossing but there was also the sizzling chemistry between Becca and Nick that made me desperate to read on. They both had their own reasons why they shouldn't be lusting after each other but I'm so glad that didn't last for long as I was rooting for them to get it on! ;)
I fell in love with Nick almost immediately, he was a strong, yet wounded soldier. He was pretty much perfect: "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 dinner. This guy was ten kinds of dangerous." Although hesitant at first, it wasn't long for his protective instincts to kick in and he was possessive over Becca. It was the small details about his character and actions that I loved, placing himself between Becca and a potential threat or just having to be near her. There was no messing about with him. "This motherfucker had manhandled her. Twice. At this point, he'd happily bathe in the guy's blood and dance on his bones." He was a great Alpha character and he had me swooning many a time. Even as strong as Nick was, he wasn't flawless and I needed that element of his character to make him more real. He carried wounds from the army; physically, mentally and emotionally. He was the type of guy you just wanted to rock against your bosom and make everything better. ;)
Becca was having the worst time of her life. She was no stranger to loss and death had claimed all but one of her family. So finding Charlie was imperative. Becca's eyes were opened to a whole new world, this information could have made her crumble but instead she grew strong and she did anything in her power to get Charlie back. Becca was a strong female character. I loved that about her. She was vulnerable yet determined.
Laura Kaye created a great group of characters. Nick called for back up from his comrades. Even though Nick had shut them out since his return home, they arrived in his time of need. I loved the camaraderie between them all. Each guy brought something different to the team and I really can't wait to get to know them more. There was a family vibe between them, even down to Becca picking up a stray dog. It added to the bonds and relationships they shared.
Now Becca and Nick were sizzling hot. I loved the connection they had, the first half of the book had lots of sexual tension but when they finally got it on, it was HOTT! I loved that Becca was a confident sexy woman. She liked sex, she was attracted to Nick and didn't hide either fact. I loved that she went after what she wanted. And Nick, well he was just plain delicious. He was dominant when he needed to be but was happy to let Becca take the lead also. Phwoar I loved it! "He wanted her writhing under him and boneless with pleasure and crying his name out loud. He wanted her seeking safety in his arms and comfort from his hands." The only niggle I had was the short time span in which the events happened. Sure Nick and Becca committed to each other very quickly but I love this couple and this book too much to care!
When I was nearing the end of the story I did worry there wasn't enough time to wrap everything up. The mystery is far from solved. We have more questions than answers. It's not posed as a cliffhanger, more like the next stage of the story. Becca and Nick's relationship is tied up nicely and the next book will focus on Shane. So I was more than happy with the ending and I am so desperate to read what has still to come!
I loved Hard As It Gets, it was such an entertaining, engrossing read. I need the second instalment now! I adore each character and really can't wait to read the books that will follow. I also can't wait to see how the mystery plays out. I am now a fan of Laura Kaye and I can't believe I hadn't discovered her before now. I am definitely looking into her other titles. You need to read this book today!
"If he thought he'd felt close to her last night, it was nothing compared to what sharing her body made him feel. Whole. Lighter. Not alone."
"This time, a woman had performed the simple act of walking through his front door. She'd sent his life spinning off on a whole new trajectory of rebuilding. Reclaiming. Maybe, even love."
"Nick came right up into Becca's space and, without a word, buried his hands in her hair and his tongue in her mouth. It was the kind of kiss that could change a woman's life."
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
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