"Jenna Dean soothed a very jagged part of his soul."
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.*
I have been a huge fan of the Hard Ink series so far. I love the perfect mix of romance, mystery and suspense. Hard To Hold On To is the first novella in the series and it focuses on Edward Cantrell’s story, or Easy as he is known to his friends.
Easy has been reunited with the surviving half of his Special Forces team, circumstances brought them together and now they are hell bent on clearing their name after being dishonourably discharged from the army. Since Easy was assigned to look over Jenna, the sister of his friend’s girlfriend, he felt a connection to her, a longing almost. There is a slight age gap and Easy knows he is in no state to get involved with someone as fragile as Jenna but after he comes to her rescue again, there is no denying his feelings.
“She hadn’t known about his past or his failures or the black hole inside him, and it was so goddam freeing that Easy had felt like he could fill his lungs for the first time in a year.”
Easy had a lot to deal with over the last year, the loss of his team weighs heavily on his mind along with the current set of circumstances. Easy didn’t reach out for help and he hid his feeling from the people that would understand most. Now being a part of a team again, forces Easy to confront his fears and open up for the first time. Jenna may be someone he shouldn’t be involved with, but Easy can’t deny it is because of her that he is beginning to believe in himself again. Easy has missed feeling wanted and needed.
“She’d fallen asleep. In his arms. That she’d found solace in him –a man who had no solace for himself –was the sweetest fucking thing he could ever remember experiencing. And it made him feel strong in a way he hadn’t in what seemed like forever."
Jenna isn’t without her own troubles and following her kidnapping by the Churchmen, Jenna is scared to be alone and she hasn’t yet processed what has happened. The one constant she can grasp onto is Easy. He makes her feel safe and even though the timing could be far better, Jenna knows she needs him.
“Jenna needed him. Fierce protectiveness and a deep masculine satisfaction roared through him. She’d sought him out for comfort, for strength, for protection.”
“He held on tight, like she was his anchor in a storm. He was certainly hers.”
I believed in the connection between Easy and Jenna, I loved seeing Easy open up to her, I loved to see him smiling again and to see his burden lessen, even if only for a little while. When Easy confessed how he was feeling to his friends, I had tears in my eyes. It was really well written and I love the fact Laura Kaye was able to give us so much in the space of such a short story.
“I see a woman who’s made me feel more alive in the past few days than I have in a long, long time.”
This novella captured a few days between Easy and Jenna, it stayed true to the characters and the plot. There were no declarations of love, or crazy twists. Easy and Jenna knew there was something between them to build on and the plot was simple. It was more about Jenna and Easy’s feelings than anything else. I felt this was really well done and it made their relationship more believable and hopefully we will continue to see it blossom throughout the other books in the series.
“What you told me doesn’t change my mind at all. It makes me care for you even more. It makes me want you even more. It makes my urge to help even stronger.”
I’m really glad Easy and Jenna got a story, no matter how short. It’s just the beginning for them both but the issue highlighted with Easy was an important one and I’m glad it is raising awareness. Twenty Two is a scarily high number.
“Ever since everything that happened to us in Afghanistan. The friends we lost. Our careers ruined. Our reputation. It all weighs on me so much that some days it’s a load I can barely carry.”
It was great to gain a better understanding of Easy as he has been the strong silent type up until now and I really can’t wait for the next book in the series as I know the suspense part of the storyline will be back in full force.
Hard To Hold On To was a sweet and emotional novella and if you are a fan of the series so far, you need to check it out.
Praise for the Hard Ink Series:
For Hard As You Can:
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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