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Hard Ink #1

Hard as It Gets

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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..

368 pages, ebook

First published November 26, 2013

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About the author

Laura Kaye

74 books7,460 followers
Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink, Raven Riders, Blasphemy, Heroes, and Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura's hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura also writes historical fiction as Laura Kamoie, and lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,569 reviews
Profile Image for ✝✝ Ⓓaisy ❣ ✝✝ .
493 reviews272 followers
November 22, 2013


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My first book and I am in love with her writing and this series!

Nothing can go wrong in this book - all the right mixture is in it!
Ex-Army Special Forces, Tattooed, Impressive Biceps, Hard Chest, Intelligence, Super Adorable, Hot, Delicious

Let's me introduce this fine specimen of man to you, Nick Rixey!

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And our cute heroine, Becca Merritt,

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Becca has no choice but to seek Nick's help! Her brother Charlie goes missing! She seeks Nick for help and everything between them not only becomes hot and hotter and Nick brings his team for this rescue mission! Alwiz hands off for our military team! Things that they have to deal with and yet they are the best!!!!!!

You will fall in love and enjoy every moment for this book! Thumbs up! Am already looking for my next book from this author.
And so can't wait for Shane's story next for the those missing answers about their mission! LOL

"Are you wet for me?"
"Oh, f**k, sunshine, you are so wet."
"I am wound too tight Becca. Do you understand? in about ten seconds, I'm going to be all over you. And I'm not going to be able to go slow. It's gonna be hard and fast and rough."

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"The man had big freaking hands, and his fingers stretched and filled her until her blood hummed and raced"

"Nice ass"

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I need a drink! This book is brilliant! Hope you all will enjoy it too! <3

**ARC provided by publisher**
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,377 reviews4,626 followers
August 13, 2016
3.5 Stars


This story although well written felt so damn long …


The writing is really good BUT for me it was way too much of both characters thoughts (PAGES and PAGES) and not enough actual dialogue.


I’ll be honest, I actually started skimming just to find Charlie because that’s the whole point of the story after all.

”Where’s Charlie?

Becca is the hunt for her missing brother Charlie. He has left her a clue which leads her to Hard Ink Tattoo Parlor in search of Nick Rixey.

Through Becca’s journey to find Charlie we meet Nick’s military buddies who assist in the search as well as his HOT brother Jeremy!

Becca and Nick fall in love with each other during their search. Both characters were really likable and the suspense to find Charlie propelled me forward to the ending. The ending leads to the next book in the series to find out the big picture as to what the heck is going on.

Overall, the concept and story was terrific and all the characters were cool as well.

If you cut out 100 pages of inner thoughts, commentary and upped the sex scenes a notch and eliminate the LOVE YOUS (just felt too fast for me) this would have been a win win for me.

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Profile Image for ~IreneOust~.
509 reviews784 followers
Want to read
November 21, 2014

BRing this with Jennifer ...

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You ready, babe????
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,599 followers
November 20, 2015

4 “Ink me up, baby” stars!!

Hard As it Gets, the first book in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series, is one of those stories that turned out to be not at all as I had expected, but more than I had hoped for. It’s fast paced, romantic, sexy, poignant… an exciting and entertaining read!

Cover blurb
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…
My review

Part of the reason this story took me by surprise is that it’s really not a contemporary romance as I had expected it to be. In fact, I’d be more inclined to place it solidly in the romantic suspense genre due to the ex-military hero and his friends, and the very nature of this ‘mission’ they’re on. There’s kidnapping, sleuthing, fighting, killing, maiming, shooting, stabbing, chasing… all the things that scream romantic suspense, and add to all that the intrigue and passion that makes romantic suspense one of my favorite genres and Hard As it Gets made me one happy reader!

And a very pleasant surprise - I didn’t realize this until I had finished Hard As it Gets, but Laura Kaye also wrote the awesome novella Hearts in Darkness, and I know there are more than a few fans of that story amongst my reading buddies!

The bottom line

With Hard Inked, Laura Kaye has created a world filled with complex, passionate, emotionally scarred people, and a storyline that grabbed hold and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering who, what, and why. I'm not so patiently looking forward to the next story, Hard As You Can!

This ARC was provided by Avon Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,442 followers
December 3, 2013
3.5--Too Much Suspense and Not Enough Romance--Stars!!

The only other LK book I have read was Hearts in Darkness and we all know what that was....hot elevator sex!!!

So imagaine my surprise when I reach the 50%+ mark and there's NO SEX and very little romance at all?!?!?!

I like a good romantic suspense....and honestly this book wasn't bad, it just wasn't great either. There just wasn't enough dialogue, making the story seem to drag.

The suspense portion did keep me reading...after all I had to find Charlie.

The Hard Ink series follows 5 dishonored soldiers....Hard As It Gets is Nick Rixey's book. It was told in 3rd person POV so we get inside both Nick and Becca's head, which was nice.

So the story begins with Becca showing up at Hard Ink (tattoo shop) looking for Nick. She was sent there by her brother Charlie, who has gone missing. To further complicate things....Nick was Special Forces with Becca's father who was killed, along with six of Nick's "brothers", during a mission gone wrong.

Nick is still troubled by the events and loss of his "brothers". He's hardened, emotionally closed off, pained. Becca is your sweet, wholesome down-to-earth girl. We see teeny tiny glimpses of some sexual chemistry between Nick and Becca.

We have some threats, some kidnap attempts, some chases....Nick calls in his other "brothers" to help with the investigation.

For as little romance as there was in this book somehow it was still insta-love for Nick and Becca.

How is that even possible? We go from a few stolen moments to "I love you's" and moving in together. IDK--there just wasn't enough build up of the romance between Nick and Becca for me to feel any sort of connection to them.

Overall, it was just okay for me. This is the first book in the series, so I am sure the story will build as well as the relationships. It is a more of a TBC ending.

I may give it one more book to see if the romance side picks up but if not...

Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,236 reviews304 followers
November 18, 2020
Hard as it Gets by Laura Kaye

1st book in the Hard Ink series. Contemporary romantic suspense.
Nick Rixey is Ex-military special forces. Their investigation into organized crime to help Becca find her missing brother takes the group into a war zone of danger.

Fast moving and intense. Sexy hot and engaging. A romantic suspense week worth reading.
Profile Image for Pam.
1,093 reviews1,014 followers
January 9, 2014
4 stars
her soul looked at this harshly beautiful man and thought, mine.

Becca brother is missing and after the police proved to be anything but helpful she follows the only clue she has, which leads her to Hard Ink Tattoo parlor looking for a man named Rixey. Nick Rixey takes one look at his former Colonel’s daughter and wants nothing to do with her, just seeing her in his brother's shop, makes all the memories come back.
Seeing her had brought the whole friggin’ mess with her father to the front of his brain. He was shit for company now. The loss of your friends, your career, and your honor did that to a man.

As much as Rixey wanted to ignore Becca, he can’t help but follow his instincts and make sure she’s safe at least for a couple nights, but on the second night of his watch, her house is broken into and he takes her to his home until the find out what the hell is going on. He has no clue why she thinks he could help her find her brother, but soon they realize that his past and their current issue are closely linked. They don’t have time for distractions but they keep on finding themselves in compromising situations.
“I am wound too tight, Becca. Do you understand? In about ten seconds, I’m going to be all over you. And I’m not going to be able to go slow. It’s gonna be hard and fast and rough.”

After some digging, Becca and Rixey realize there is no one that they can trust, so he has to call on his old team, with the hope that at the end of this all they will have redeemed their reputations. Rixey takes this opportunity to make the wrongs he did right, being second in command, he feels the guilt and shame for following their leader even though he knew better. The thing between Rixey and Becca goes deeper than just sex, she feels the need to protect him as much as he protects and cares for her.
He needed to be there for her— to protect, comfort, support. And he needed the redeeming light of her sunshine on his body, his heart, his soul. God, he just wanted her. Right or wrong.

They are running out of time, but with the help of Rixey’s team, they hopefully can get to her brother before it’s too late. But what is it that Charlie uncovered, and is it enough to help the team find redemption?

Hard As It Gets is a romantic suspense story that had me glued to my seat, it had a little bit of everything; conspiracy theory, steam, humor and some alpha protectiveness. I admired Becca’s caring nature and her strength. Rixey you could tell help himself more than accountable for the actions of his former colonel, and it was nice to see the positive change that Becca had in him. The bond between the guys was full of ribbing and respect, I can’t wait for each of their books, they have a long road ahead of them but at least for us it’s something to look forward too. Shane’s book is up next and I can’t wait to see what trouble this southern soldier finds himself in.
Profile Image for [~Ami~]♥Sexy Dexy♥ .
501 reviews454 followers
November 26, 2013
4 stars

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

My fourth Laura Kaye book and I enjoyed it as much as the others. Becca finds a note from her missing brother to seek help from Nick who is an ex-military.

I love Nick and I felt an instant connection with all the other side characters.

Jess: I still vote for tripod
Jeremy: or Hopalong

Compared to her other books, this book had more action/mystery/suspense. I thought it focused on the 'finding Charlie' storyline more than the romance. Not to say there wasnt any, as there was a nice amount of sexy time and the sexual tension between the two were undeniable.

If you enjoy romance with action/suspense and great characters, I would pick this up. Looking forward to more of the series

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss. Thank you x
Quotes subject to change
Profile Image for Plamena.
166 reviews
January 13, 2014
4 Stars


Action, courage, loyalty, honor, passion, love, conspiracy...Yep, I really like this book!

“Sometimes you plodded through life with nothing changing from one month to the next no matter how much you yearned for a revolution to erupt beneath your feet. And sometimes your whole world imploded and rebuilt itself in a matter of seconds.”

Becca’s brother is missing. She tries the police but soon decides to try her only other option- one of the guys that was under her father’s command in Afghanistan. Before gone missing, her brother left her a message with this guy’s name and address. Then surprise, surprise...he is gorgeous!
When Nick learns why this beautiful woman (who is the daughter of the man who ruined his life) is looking for him, he sends her away. But after that he really understands the danger she is in and he is determined to help her. And by doing that he hopes to find some closure about what exactly happened to him and his team and may be to be able to clear their names and restore their honor. So he gathers his team one more time and together they try to solve the puzzle with the kidnapping of Becca’s brother.

The story is very interesting and what I really like is the writing style. Usually if I get bored I tend to skip some pages but not with this one! It kept my attention the whole time. There is lots of action, strategy and hot ex-military guys going around with guns! There some awesome characters besides Becca and Nick. I hope they all get their own book. Also there is a really cute dog called Tripod/ Hopalong/ Skippy/ Three-Speed...and other weird names :D

The love story between Nick and Becca is really sweet. I liked them both. Becca is such a great heroine- strong, funny and sweet. She DID NOT annoy me at all (and this almost never happens ;)

“This isn’t over. Whatever this is, it’s just the beginning.”
Profile Image for Belle.
511 reviews515 followers
July 30, 2017
3.5/5 stars

UGH YES. SATISFACTION. I am so glad that I decided to give this author another go after being extremely disappointed with one of her other books, Hearts in Darkness. This was a fully fledged, full length novel unlike Hearts in Darkness, and it made me feel all the emotions.

I'm a sucker for a little bit of a mystery, especially if it involves a group of hot ex-military men. This had all my favourite things—romance, action, drama and mystery.

Becca Merritt is on a mission to save her only remaining family member, her brother Charlie, when he disappears after finding some shocking information about their father's military background. Becca turns to the last clue her brother left her, contact Nicholas Rixey.

Nick has had enough of the Merritt family, after serving in the military under Becca's father and losing half his team as a result. Nick left the military, not of his own volition, and owns a tattoo pallor with his brother.

Nick was an Alpha male through and through and Becca was the usual girl next door. Their story wasn't original in any way, it was rather cliche and very similar to Hell on Wheels.

edit: I've brought the rating down half a star because I have no real desire to read the rest of the series. It was an enjoyable enough book, but nothing very original.
Profile Image for Chris- Bookaddict.
751 reviews255 followers
December 2, 2013
Full Review now posted !!!!

4.5 stars

“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.”

This is the first book of Laura’s that I have read and it surely will not be the last one.

This story has it all, sexy tattooed Special Forces men, it was Gritty, sexy, suspenseful, fast paced.

Becca Merritt is an ER nurse when he younger brother, Charlie, goes missing she will do everything she can to find him. Charlie has left a note which points her to the Hard Ink Tattoo parlour and Nick Rixey.

Find Rixey, the Colonel's team, Hard Ink Tattoo.

Nick is Ex-Special Forces, he was discharged from the Military one year ago with a not so honorable discharge along with the rest of his team. He now works part time with his brother in his brother’s tattoo shop.
When she first finds Nick he turns her away. He wants nothing to do with helping her. Why because he has bad feelings towards his ex- Colonel. As time goes by Nick can’t get Her out of his mind and She refuses to not find her brother.

Once she convinces Nick to help her things slowly start to get uncovered, and this leads Nick to call in back up in the form of his Special Forces team he worked with under the Colonel.

The bond that these Men have with each other is truly special. One of true brother hood., with all the bad that happened with them all a yr ago they all still pulled together to come and Help Nick when he asked. As well as his brother Jeremy who as a brother was going to help whether Nick liked it or not.

As the story unfolds we find out more about Becca’s Dad and why they believe Charlie was kidnapped. There is a lot of suspense in this story, a lot of action, some sexual tension. The way Laura brings thins story to life is incredible,. I felt like I was right there along side all of the characters.

If you are into Alpha men, with tattoos, military background, and hot as hell. Then I suggest you read this story. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

This book is the first in a new series by Laura and I can’t wait for the next installment and the chance to read about Shane and Crystal.

Excited I got my review copy in the mail today :) :) :)
Profile Image for Claire.
2,308 reviews702 followers
November 19, 2014
4 - All Gave Some. Some Gave All. Stars.

I have been saving up the Hard Ink series as I love me some Laura Kaye, and I hate having to wait for books in continuing series to be released. I am now in the enviable position of having 4 to read on the trot, YAY me!

Nick and Becca are characters that you grow to love as the book progresses, add in a whole troupe of delectable, yet damaged and diverse ex-serviceman, a tattooist brother and a three legged puppy and you know you are in for a right treat.

He was as beautiful in the light of day as he was in the shadows of night.

Laura Kaye has once again smashed it out of the park, in terms of storyline, characters and development; I am always a little leery of the romantic suspense genre, as there are few authors who seem to be able to carry it off well. With this first offering in the Hard Ink series, Laura has added herself to my very short, but extremely distinguished list of those that can.

I am off too see how The Hard Ink Special Forces Team adventure continues in book two, with sexy Shane and his Southern Drawl, firmly front and centre!
Profile Image for Kim Bailey.
Author 9 books609 followers
August 6, 2018
Let's break it down:

Storyline - Not bad. There is an interesting concept here & it's somewhat unique.

Characters - The main characters are interesting and fairly well written. I actually buy into their chemistry and don't mind the insta-love in this case. The secondary characters are alright.

Writing Style - The pacing seemed a bit slow for a book with a mystery/suspense theme. It gets bogged down by details. Lots of details.

The best part - Not Tripod, or Trinity, or Shiloh, or Eileen ... oh wait, yes ... Eileen. lol! The three legged puppy, while completely irrelevant to the story, was 100% adorable ... and the journey to her name was actually rather enjoyable.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
2,417 reviews69 followers
September 4, 2015
I had to put down the ARCs before I threw my Kindle across the room.

This was so good especially after three DNF's. Loving this team. Nick and Becca are just amazing. Great suspense, drama, action, romance, sex. Can't wait to read the rest of their HEAs. I guess you would consider the ending a cliffy, but not really. There's an ending, but the bad guys aren't caught or in any way figured out. Guessing that part will be resolved in the future books.

Now do I finish this series or go back and alternate with the ones on my Kindle.....
Profile Image for K.
159 reviews60 followers
January 4, 2018
This book was my first military alpha male book! The main characters had such an angsty relationship that kept me on my toes! The story had an interesting crime and suspense aspect that was entertaining and allowed great plot development. The only reason why I gave it a 4 star is because the characters fell in love in such a short period of time. I wish they would have had more time to explore each other before admitting they “love” one another.

Also, this book ends on a cliffhanger!
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29k followers
January 6, 2014
Some definitions of OK include "fair," "acceptable," and "all right" and that's how I would rate this book.

The characters were OK and the plot was OK.

It wasn't great and it wasn't bad, it just felt like other stories I had read before, but with nothing new or memorable about it...OK.
Profile Image for  ~*~Princess Nya~*~.
1,004 reviews7 followers
July 24, 2020
This was an intense first entry to a series. What made it even better was that it doesn't suffer from First Book Syndrome as I like to call it. When there is a very substantial plot on top of other layers with a colorful spectrum of very diverse characters sharing the same plight, but on different levels.

This first book lays the land very well with everyone involved and the mysteries surrounding them as individuals as well as their shared nightmare. All of this is given without causing your head to explode from information overload. It keeps you engaged mentally and emotionally for all who are involved here. The hotness is just at the right temp as well. I loved this story and I can't wait to see what unfolds for everyone with this on going plot.

Hubby and I just started book 2 and we're enjoying this series thus far.

I would recommend this read.
Profile Image for Beth.
762 reviews125 followers
September 5, 2013
4.5 Special Forces Stars

Doing the happy dance right here baby. Yep. Its that good. H-A-P-P-Y DANCE. I have read several of Ms Kaye's books and I have come to the scientific conclusion that she is mind reader. Pure Science. What other explanation is there for her to know exactly what I want in a read? She hits all the marks:

Sexy, damaged hero (more about him later).....Yep
Strong heroine.......she's there
Actual plot with twists and turns and in and outs (wink wink)...oh Yeah!

So you can see why I am dancing. And that Damaged Hero... He is a Special Forces Soldier. With a hot bod. And tattoos.

Yeah...That is my kind of SPECIAL.

Becca is an ER nurse. Her dad was a Colonel in the Army and was killed in action. Her older brother died of a drug overdose. Her only other family is her brother, Charlie. Charlie is a paranoid computer hacker geek. And he is missing. Her only clue to how to help him is a cryptic message to go the Hard Ink Tattoo Parlor. Can we just pause here and say that I have never gotten a message, cryptic or otherwise to go to a tattoo parlor. I am waiting..impatiently. Where is my message???

Nick was a proud Special Forces soldier who witnessed 6 of his brothers in arms killed along with his mentor, the Colonial. He is angry, grieving, and in pain. From the gun shot wounds that he received when his friends were killed. When Becca comes into his brother's tattoo parlor he is not inclined to help the daughter of the man he blames for his injuries and his loss.

Nick and Becca are thrown together by Charlie's disappearance and his sense of responsibility. There are break-ins, attempting kidnappings, stabbings, and sexual tension. Lots of sexual tension. The good kind.

What she really needed was a cold shower. With a handheld shower head. And really good water pressure. The thought was not helpful.

He tasted of mint and man and sinful promise...

Will Nick forgive Becca for her father's faults? Will Nick decide to live again instead of punishing himself for surviving the incident that took his brothers in arms? How is Becca's dad tied to Charlie's missing status? Will Becca be able to break through Nick's walls?

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.

The good news...there are more tattooed special forces guys! Yes...Nick has friends. As they search for Charlie they uncover more than they expected. Nick wants to keep Becca safe. Becca wants to help Nick find his life again. She also wants to find herself...in his bed. The only question left is... how fast can Ms Kaye type? I need the next book. Now. I'll be dancing while I wait. Please don't make me wait too long.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,330 reviews29 followers
February 6, 2017
Series opener. I listened to the story, narrated by Seraphine Valentine. She is very good -- a solid hit -- but reads somewhat leisurely. My mind raced ahead, so I played it at a slightly faster clip. I think I would like this story more if I read it. It might be a 4-star story, if it weren't for fairly slow narration combined with fairly slow plot development (see quibbles below).

A sympathetic hero. My heart went out to hero Nick and his slandered SPECIAL FORCES team. Nick was second-in-command of the team, reporting to Colonel Merritt (the heroine's corrupt but dead father). His team was set up to take the fall. A year ago, Nick and his comrades were released from the army on a less-than-honorable discharge. To avoid prison, they agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement (frequently referred to in the story as NDA). They want to clear their name, and to do so, they need to learn more about the Colonel's dark dealings. I cared about their story. Special military operatives falsely accused reminded me of the new series by Lisa Marie Rice, beginning with I Dream of Danger.

Nick is tough and yet tender. I could do without his tattoos and body piercing, but that's just me.

The heroine, Becca Merritt, is a solid gold heroine. Not stupid. Not a tragedy queen. A sympathetic character, but not a victim. A pragmatic personality, with a solid sense of humor and a warm heart. She is determined to find and rescue her brother Charlie, who was kidnapped by the bad guys when he started digging into his father's dirty past. (Colonel Merritt died a year ago, in Afghanistan, when Nick and company were framed).

Solid secondary characters, including the adorable three-legged puppy. Loved the "name-the-puppy" scenes! Kaye put a certain 80's song in my head and it wouldn't let go. Funny! Loved seeing the men begin to bond again, naming the puppy. This part of the story mattered to me -- watching the fractured Special Forces guys begin to gel as a team.

Secondary Characters: (Not a spoiler, just collapsed to save space). I got the characters mixed up because the author referred to them alternatively by first name or last. In spoiler tag, I briefly describe secondary characters. Excuse any misspellings -- I didn't buy the book, only the audio.

QUIBBLES : The story felt slow at times. A little too much attention to minutia. For example: "Nick placed the pizza boxes, paper plates, and canned sodas on the bar..." (This type of trivia didn't matter to the plot, so my mind wandered away. Easy to do, when listening to a story).

Also, too much internal dialogue. That's a common flaw in romance writing, IMO. We spend too much time hearing the lead characters think. I grew impatient, because I really wanted to dig right into the horrendous cover up. I wanted more of the suspense plot line, and I wanted events to happen faster. Sometimes, I lost track of the threads of the story, because we detoured into mental rumination too much.

I skipped over some of the sex scenes and sex thoughts. They got in the way of the plot.

Also, too much religious profanity for me. F-bombs, too, but that doesn't bother me.

Quibbles aside, an exciting new series. I might read book 2, Shane's story. Pay attention to the waitress at the strip club in this book (Crystal) because she features with Shane in book 2.

PS. I do wonder whether Colonel Merritt was truly corrupt. After all, he was accused of betraying the bad guys he was working with, back on that road in Afghanistan.
Profile Image for Beanbag Love.
565 reviews246 followers
April 5, 2014
I'm not sure how I ended up with this book. I think it must have been a Book Bub alert or maybe I picked it up off a friend's review. However it got on my Kindle, I'm glad it did!

I've been having trouble enjoying romantic suspense lately, even though I've been kind of craving the genre. I find they're annoyingly padded and the leads seem to become absolute, inept morons the moment they become attracted to each other. The lengthy and repetitive inner monologues seem to be a staple for many authors in this genre.

I do not need to read how Female Lead is confused and anxious about how strongly she feels for Male Lead more than once in a book. I do not need to read how Male Lead has never felt this way about a woman and how complicated it's going to make his life more than once in a book. For some reason, romantic suspense has become mired in this awful, mind-numbing, dreck. Always playing out these inner thoughts over and over in multiple chapters, and I was seriously thinking of giving up on the genre altogether.

Okay, that being out of the way, I actually enjoyed this one. It was refreshingly straight forward and on task. The primary task? Find Becca Merrit's missing brother. The secondary task? Fall deeply in love while staying on primary task. THIS is what I want from romantic suspense.

"But wait!" you say, "Isn't this a tattoo parlor story?" Why yes, it is. But the tattoo parlor -- Hard Ink -- is owned and operated by Jeremy Rixey, who happens to be Nick Rixey's brother. Nick Rixey happens to be a former Special Forces commando hottie who had his world torn apart by powerful people including … Becca's father!!!!!!! Oooh, good setup. Nick also does tattoos as a side job. MMMMM. I love it.

There's also what's left of Nick's team, who likewise got screwed over in the cluster that killed most of their brothers and it's aftermath. They're going to be a lot of fun to read about.

Toward the end I got a little worried because there were a couple of wordy inner monologues similar to what I mentioned above. They were pretty minor compared to what's been so off-putting to me in other books, so I was able to get through them without getting annoyed.

I've already purchased the second book (out just this month) and I'm going to be starting it tonight.

I like surprises. This was a nice one. :)
Profile Image for ~ Cariad ~.
1,882 reviews54 followers
Want to read
May 10, 2013

Seriously?... JULY has a much better ring to it Laura!

As always, we'll get a gr crew together, come round and cook, clean, do chores, tie you to your PC?!
Whatever you need!

You have me drooling for this series already!
Profile Image for *The Angry Reader*.
1,374 reviews304 followers
July 11, 2020
Sometimes I go to the very end of my kindle library and make myself read whatever’s there. It serves a couple of purposes - getting a book from the Unread (548 books) to the Read (568 books) shelf. Plus it shows me how I’ve evolved as a reader. I bought this book in November of 2015. Now I wouldn’t add this to my kindle even if it were free. But, for a time, this was my bread and butter.
I’m happy to say it was far less he-man super hero BS than anticipated. The chick and dude were equals, and it made everything tolerable.
I read the first 40% over 6 weeks - just pieces here and there. And then it picked up, and I finished the second half over the last day.
I think I have another of this series on the kindle. And I’ll get to it. Eventually.

Profile Image for Lady Heather .
1,292 reviews692 followers
December 10, 2013

This was my 'virgin' read of this author.

I really liked Nick and Becca's characters (seriously, who doesn't like a tattooed warrior with a dragon clasping a sword tattoo on his back that actually looks like it's alive when he moves?), and the story-line holds a lot of promise for the series.

I just had a hard time getting into, and staying with the story. For a 'first' book in the series it should have grabbed me, and held me making me want MORE!
It seemed like it took FOREVER to finish this damn book (which it kinda did because I don't think it's ever taken me 10 days to read a 300... and something page book)!

What I didn't like was that I found there was a lot of repetition, and I ended up skimming parts of the book (yadda-yadda-yadda).

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I understand how frustrated and angry Nick was because of what happened to him, and I get how upset Becca was about her brother. But, it seemed they re-iterated their 'frustration' A LOT, and the hot/cold reactions from Nick towards Becca ended up getting on my nerves until he finally gave in to his feelings.

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This book really has me sitting on the fence (love/hate).

I think I will continue on with this series because I'm interested in what the author does with the series, and reading about the rest of Nick's team, in particular Shane's story (which is next).
Profile Image for Tpagirl Loves Romance.
1,622 reviews130 followers
September 9, 2018
Hard As It Gets was the first book in the Hard Ink series by Laura Kaye. I had read Kaye’s Blasphemy series where it referenced several characters from Hard Ink and couldn’t wait to dive into this series as well!

Nick Rixey was former Special Forces. He had been out for a year after half his team was taken out in an ambush. He was bitter and still had physical reminders daily of his loss.

Becca Merritt was an Emergency room nurse and the daughter of the Commander that Nick served under. She had a younger brother that she believed was missing and was led to Nick’s door.

Hard As It Gets had a suspenseful vibe. Although a few stories merged together, in addition to the relationship development, the entire storyline focused around discovering who was behind death, kidnapping and betrayal. It was well written, well developed, complex, captivating, intriguing and full of depth and dimension.

I loved the background and all of the characters. Kaye brought in each of the secondary characters that will be central to the series and set the stage well. Although Hard As It Gets brought closure to Nick and Becca’s relationship, the underlying story was just beginning and will continue throughout each book of the series. Shane is up next in Hard As You Can and I can’t wait!
Profile Image for Kelly Oakes.
248 reviews358 followers
December 1, 2013
Hard as it Gets by Laura Kaye is a fantastic book one in the Hard Ink series.

The image the author paints of Nick, our main character, is a drop dead sexy, tattooed & ripped Adonis. I can picture him in my mind... His dragon tattoo lithe and magnificent spreading out across his back and dipping beneath the waistband of his jeans...
Oh yeah, you'll love Nick.

Ex-Miltary hottie,Nicholas Rixey, and the dire circumstances that bring him face to face with the daughter, Becca Merritt, of his prior CO. Trouble followed her when she walked into Nick's tattoo parlor; she had no idea what she was getting into. No idea that Nick was the one person that could help save her brother, clarify her doubts regarding her father's past and steal away her heart. Filled with action, adventure, heat and pure sex on a stick hot males. The first edition in the Hard Ink series "checks all the boxes on the kinda books I love to read." A must read.

A very quick read, full of action, special ops, sexy soldiers and sexual tension.
It ended with the situation unresolved, so now I'm dying to know what happens next!
Profile Image for Keri.
2,046 reviews101 followers
March 10, 2016
WOWZA!!! What an awesome read this was. Picked it up yesterday and finished it late last night! Nick was so lickable...uhmmm....likeable!....no loveable! LK is a new author for me and I am so glad I found her. The strange thing was the love scenes were of the spicy vanilla variety, but my goodness, they were HAWT! I had to fan myself a time or two. Can't wait for the next one in the series and they are all on my TBR! 2014 can't come fast enough. :-)
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