Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye…Release Day Event & Review


Happy Release Day to Laura Kaye and Hard As You Can!

I’ve got tons of goodies to share today including an excerpt, my review and a Q&A with Laura! I’ve also got info on Laura’s fabulous giveaway!

Thanks for stopping by and ENJOY!

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Book links:

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  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.


My review:

Hard As You Can is the second book in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink Series.  Being a huge fan of Laura’s work and this series, I was so excited to read this second installment…and it did not disappoint!  Filled with action, emotion, intensity, and suspense, this book is a WIN!

Knee deep in a mission to answer some haunting questions, former Army medic Shane McCallan is working with the men he never thought he’d have the honor of doing so again.  After half of his Special Forces until had been killed in a horrific ambush, the surviving members had pretty much gone their separate ways after returning from overseas.  But his brothers in arms were never far from Shane’s mind.  Now, they were trying to put the pieces of an act of betrayal together and figure out just what happened to their unit in the desert that day.  Their first not-exactly-legal mission has come to and end but has left more questions.  With hopes of finding the answers, Shane keeps thinking about the strip-club waitress who helped him and his team the night of the daring rescue they pulled off.  If she hadn’t helped them, who knows what the outcome may have been.  But that’s not the only reason Shane keeps thinking about her.  She was beautiful and held a certain something that Shane knew was special.  She didn’t belong in the dangerous world he and his buddies were up against.  Little did he know just how right he would be and just how much that waitress would need the lifeline he gives her.

Cocktail waitress Crystal Dean has been pushed to her limits so many times that she isn’t sure she even has them anymore.  But she only has eight more months of living this hell.  The hell of working in this strip club, of being a thug’s girlfriend, and of paying off her father’s debt to one of the most dangerous gang’s in Baltimore.  In eight short months, her sister will have graduated from college and they can start over in a new town, with new identities and really live life the way it was meant to be for two young women.  The only problem now was the handsome grey-eyed stranger who kept coming back into her life and threatened to make her bad situation much worse.  She had helped him when he and his men came in to rescue the poor guy being kept in the basement of the club and she sure as hell never thought she’d see him again.  But he keeps coming back.  To the club and to her apartment and she finds herself taking chances with him that she knows are potentially deadly for her and her sister.  But there is something so good and honest about him that makes Crystal want more out of this hellish life she’s living.  Maybe he can help her and she can get out sooner.  Crystal has never wanted anything more.  Could Shane be her savior? Could he be more?

The odds against Shane and Crystal are stacked a mile high and the dangers are severe but they won’t prove too great to defeat hope.  Hope for a new life, hope for love, hope for becoming whole again.  Both Shane and Crystal need those things more than ever and together they can accomplish them….but at what cost?

This book rocked.  There was so much packed into the pages that I was excited and anxious for every chapter and to see what would happen next.  Shane is delectable.  He is charming and kind with a confidence most would envy.  But under all of that, he has a huge heart and has his own painful past that has made him hold the ones he loves even closer.  He is persistent in his pursuit of Crystal because he knows she’s in trouble and he knows she’s an anomaly in this world of crime and corruption.  He can feel her attraction to him and he vows to get her out of this hell.  His honor is immeasurable and I adored reading him.  Crystal is in an awful spot and really could use someone to trust.  She has been through so much all while showing a brave face to the world.  I was so happy Shane found her.  She proved to be an immensely strong woman and I was pulling for her and Shane to get together.  Did they?  Well, I won’t spoil anything for you but I will say this…..the sexual tension between them builds beautifully and ends in a most delicious way.

Of course, the heart of the story is the unraveling of the mystery surrounding Shane’s former unit’s commander and his betrayal of them.  Laura is doing an amazing job of building this aspect of the story and I can’t wait to see how it all progresses as the series continues!

Thank you, Laura, for another kick ass Hard Ink book!

4LovesRLBFour Loves



Today, I’m excited to share Shane and Crystal’s first kiss! Don’t you love first kiss scenes? Gah! I so do. *grins* Here we go:

“Tell me not to,” Shane said, his voice a raw scrape.

“I can’t,” Crystal whispered in a shaky voice. “I don’t want to.”

Shane’s body took over then, all urgent need and basic instinct. The rest of the world be damned. He pulled her in and kissed her, his lips devouring, his tongue exploring deep. Nothing held back. Nothing denied. Not even as her lips reawakened the sting from the cut on his lip. Totally worth it.

Crystal’s arms came up around him. She trembled against him, and Shane wasn’t sure if it was caused by adrenaline or fear. Unable to tolerate the thought that she might feel forced, he eased off.

She moaned and held him tighter, like his retreat had made something snap within her. Their kisses deepened, and her body moved against his, sinuously, maddeningly, desperately.

They tasted one another again and again, giving in to the heat that had sparked between them from the moment Crystal had collided with him at Confessions. Little nips and bites of lips and teeth warred with long, sensual strokes of tongue that stole his breath and made him instantly hard. The sting in his lip, the throb of his GSW, the aches from Nick’s asskicking, every bit of it faded away—no, her touch made it all go away.

The few times they’d spoken, Crystal had most often been guarded, tentative, fearful. Just as she’d been when he first kissed her. But, now, she was revealing a passionate woman who could be fearless, giving and receiving openly and without hesitation. Christ, the thought that this fierceness was the real Crystal slayed him because it meant she was burying and denying her true self, not because she wanted to, but because she had to.

No, because someone forced her to.

The thought reminded him of the bruises on her arm. Shane had known this woman for three days, and twice in that time she’d been hurt by another man. And both as a consequence for things Shane had done.

A crack of thunder echoed from the heavens, making Crystal jump and gasp into his mouth.

“I’ve got you,” he rasped around a kiss.

Part of him wanted to say more, to tell her he had her and he’d keep her safe. But he couldn’t make himself give up her heat, her sweetness, her obvious hunger—for him.

So he made her a silent promise instead.

Never again, Crystal. He’ll never hurt you again. Not on my watch.

Because Shane McCallan had made a mistake like that once. And, as bad as his sister’s disappearance had been, something’s happening to Crystal would actually be worse because Shane knew it was coming. The one break he’d ever given himself over Molly was that he’d had no way to know she’d be abducted. Didn’t excuse the role he played in allowing it to happen, but he couldn’t have known. But with Crystal, while he might not know when or how this Bruno asshole would strike out to do the ultimate damage, it was all but a done deal at this point. Always was with guys like him. And Shane would go to the grave before he let it happen, before he failed another female for whom he cared.

Because he did care. Made no damn sense given how long he’d known her. And the timing was beyond piss-poor. But there it was all the same.


So that’s Shane and Crystal starting to give in to what they feel for one another – I hope you enjoyed! Did you have a favorite line? Thanks for reading!


“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”

~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets

Q & A with Laura:

HARD AS YOU CAN is your second book in the “Hard Ink” series (after USA Today bestseller, HARD AS IT GETS). What can readers look forward to?

Readers can look forward to tons of sexy alpha male goodness, awesome bromance between the Hard Ink men, more antics from the Hard Ink puppy, and another great love story between Shane and Crystal. But readers should also be ready for a book that is darker, more intense, and more emotional. This book pushed me to emotional places that were tough as a writer, and might be tough for readers, too. But I think that just makes the payoff at the end so much sweeter!


Describe Shane and Crystal. What are their best traits? What are their weaknesses?

Shane and Crystal are such an amazing couple to me. They’re each exactly what the other needs. Shane’s best traits are his protectiveness, his fundamental kindness, and his soul-deep loyalty (his southern accent and humor are also right up there!). His biggest weakness for sure is a tragedy from the past for which he blames himself—and it’s something that continues to motivate him in Hard As You Can. Crystal’s best traits are her courage, protectiveness, and selflessness—she’s willing to do anything to keep her younger sister safe. Her biggest weakness is also that selflessness, because the sacrifices she’s required to make are getting bigger and bigger and bigger.


If you could describe your book in a 140 character tweet, what would it be?

When a woman in trouble assists an ex-soldier’s covert mission to regain his team’s stolen honor, he finds a new mission to save her, too


What are you most excited about with this second book release?

I’m really excited to take readers deeper into these awesome characters and into the mystery behind the Hard Ink team’s ambush and discharge!


What books are you reading right now?

I’m almost done with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander (yes, I’m very late to the party but OMG JAMIE FRASER!!!). And I’ve recently devoured and loved Juliana Stone’s Offsides and Shelly Thacker’s time-travel historical romance, Forever His.


What can fans of your “Hard Ink” series look forward to next?

There will be two more Hard Ink books in 2014!

Hard to Hold on To – August 2014

Hard to Come By – November 2014

Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets

Buy Hard As You Can at Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo



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About Laura Kaye:

Laura Kaye croppedLaura 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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  1. Shirley Bastian says:

    Loved book one ~ can’t wait to get started on book two!

  2. Liz Berry says:

    This book was amazing!! Can’t wait for the next one!

    • GAH! Wasn’t it amazing?! I can’t wait for the next one either! Thanks for stopping by, Liz! Heart you big!!!!

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