by Laura Kaye
Narrated by : Seraphine Valentine
Series: Hard Ink #2
Published by HarperAudio Release date : February 25th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Length: 13hrs 33mins
Source: Purchased | Format: Audiobook
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • Audible • The Book Depository • iBooks
Add to: Goodreads
Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.
Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed.
Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can—and never let go.
I didn’t post a full length review for the first book, As Hard As it Gets, and it’s always difficult for me anyway to review books in a series. Therefore, my review may be vague or you may be a little confused.
Hard As You Can starts off right where As Hard As it Gets left off, this time, with Shane and Crystal. We meet both of them in the first book, but don’t we don’t much about Crystal until now. Since this series has an overall plot arc, with each book focusing on two characters specifically; I recommend reading the first book before this one.
As much as I did enjoy this one, I didn’t love it as much as the first book. In both, the romance moves really fast but between Shane and Crystal, even more so. They have a lot of sexual tension and their scenes were steamy, but overall I just didn’t connect to it as I feel I should have. Still, there is so much else going on that it didn’t hinder my overall enjoyment of the book. Also, this is the only series that I have read AND ENJOYED, focusing on military men. If you know me, you know why.
The team is still trying to piece together the connection between the Church gang and Becca’s father. There were more leads to go on, but after the discovery of just how sinister this gang is, they handle the situations they can take on and handle. Which, is where Crystal comes in.
Crystal has had a very difficult life. After the death or her father, she is forced into working off his debts to the Church gang, and is also indebted to Bruno, her POS boyfriend. She is loving and caring, especially when it comes to her sister. I was more than amazed at the things she had done, and continues to do, to protect her. Her backstory was brutal. But after meeting Shane, her life literally spirals out of control.
Shane too, has suffered tremendously. Between the guilt he harbors for the loss of his sister, the loss of his comrades in Afghanistan, and then not to mention, the torn relationship between him and Nick; he is obviously, no stranger to pain. But he is still loving, badass and loyal. He is the type of guy that MUST fix things, or have something to protect. Which, is why I think his attraction to Crystal was so strong. Not to say that there is anything wrong with that. I think with everything that happened, I was happy about the patching of his bromance with Nick.
As I said, their romance was actually my least favorite aspect of the novel as a whole. I understand that their emotions are heightened becaues of the tense situations. Still, the L word is thrown around too soon for my taste but then again, who am I to judge? Shane and Crystal are actually perfect for eachother, and they work together, I just wanted to see more development there.
The Narrator –
I just adore Seraphine Valentine. She was the same narrator of the first book too, and I’ll admit at first, I didn’t like the idea. But she is amazing at changing her voice to all the characters. Also, she is not at all awkward with the steamy scenes. I have yet to “read” one that has been awkward, but she does an amzing job at it. She is by far, my favorite narrator. I do wish though, that there was a male narrator for Shane, or any male, but it’s a small peeve that I can overlook.
My Peeve –
The climax of the story came at the end. It’s one of those series/books that builds and builds, and then BAM! Action scene(s) over and so is the book.
I loved it! Sure, I was a little put off by the romance here, but Laura Kaye is an amazing writer. This series is fun, sexy and full of suspense that will keep hooked until the end. I can’t wait for Easy’s book, Hard to Hold on To.