Maida's Reviews > Hard as Steel

Hard as Steel by Laura Kaye
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It pains me to give this novella such a low rating. My loyalty & respect for author Laura Kaye are the ONLY things propping up my 2-star rating; otherwise, I'd have given this novella the 1 star that it truly deserves. And just for the record, I LOVE author Laura Kaye. (I've purchased nearly every book that she's ever published). I also have mad love for the Hard Ink series, & thus, I had such high hopes for this installment, featuring Ike Young & Jessica Jakes.

Ike & Jess were two characters that I really enjoyed getting to know in previous Hard Ink novels & novellas, and I was beyond giddy when I found out that they were getting their own storyline. Sadly, I wish like hell that I had never come across Ike & Jessica's novella, Hard as Steel, since it pretty much eviscerated any affection that I had for these two characters (and Ike's character, in particular).

Right off the bat, Jessica is depicted as a needy, overly-desperate pushover of a woman.

“He could just go up there and get in the bed—and take what he wanted, and what he knew Jess would be only too happy to give.... Jess wore her emotions like she wore her ink—out loud and unapologetically. He had a pretty good idea that she was rocking some more-than-friendly and more-than-physical feelings for him.”

“Jess was too needy to worry about pride, and they’d gone too far to avoid things getting awkward between them if that was going to happen. She needed him inside her, just this once.

'I want to fuck you, trust me,' Ike said, voice gritty. 'But I’m…that’s what it would be for me. So I get it if—'

'That’s what it would be for me, too,' she lied. 'Just for tonight. As often and in any way that you want. In the morning, it’ll all have been a fevered dream,' she rushed out, her mind racing. 'And we’ll be the same friends we were yesterday.' She nearly held her breath waiting for him to make up his mind.”

Jess & Ike are portrayed as very close friends, & Jess considers Ike one of her BEST friends. Well, here is what Ike had to say to BFF Jess, in regards to their hookup:

“He gestured with his hand between them. 'You and I?' Ike shook his head and ignored the burning pain in his chest. 'We’ll never be anything more than this. Relationships aren’t my thing anyway, and definitely not with a woman always in so much damn trouble.' He was the world’s biggest asshole, he knew he was, especially as hurt flashed across her face. 'And last night? That was just fucking, just scratching an itch. So whatever you think it meant, Jessica? It didn’t. Not even a little. Not to me.'”

“His words echoed in her brain, doing more and more damage as they sank in. She’d been nothing more to him than scratching an itch? As if she’d just been a series of holes to get him off and nothing more....

But to say being with her had meant absolutely nothing? That didn’t just negate what they’d shared, it negated their friendship, too. No friend talked to or looked at you that way. With friends like that… She chuffed out a humorous laugh. Exactly.

Except, fuck, his words were absolutely slicing up her insides. That he could say shit like that after she’d opened up with him hurt.”

And as if Ike's callous words to Jessica weren't hurtful enough, here came the breaking point for me as a reader. What did Jess do in order to stick up for herself in light of Ike's cruelty? Did she attempt to defend herself? Did she show an iota of self-respect? NO. Instead, she (view spoiler) He turned her around so that he could take what he wanted without being forced to look into her face & witness her heartbreak.

“Jess had been so happy to find Bunny up and around this morning because the lady’s company would provide the perfect buffer between her and Ike. With Bunny around, the pair of them probably wouldn’t fight and certainly couldn’t fuck. And clearly Jess needed that kind of third-party intervention after she’d so easily given in to Ike’s desire last night.... On the pool table.... Still mostly dressed and possibly more angry than she’d ever been in her life.”

WTF?!? Jess was such a doormat. And to make matters worse, forgiveness & the HEA came very quickly (approximately 20 pages) thereafter. It was absolutely ludicrous.

*1.25/5 stars*

*** I'm not part of the Safety Gang, but many of my friends are. Would I consider this novella safe by Safety Gang standards? Absofreakinglutely NO.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 15, 2016 – Finished Reading
June 16, 2016 – Shelved
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: books-that-piss-me-off
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: dysfunctional-individuals-families
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: erotica
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: moral-dilemmas
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: series-trilogies
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: socio-psychology
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: trauma
June 16, 2016 – Shelved as: worst-books-i-ve-ever-read

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