Hard As You Can (Hard Ink Series #2)

( 148 )

Overview

From New York Times
and USA Today bestselling author
Laura Kaye comes the second book in a hot new series about a brotherhood of elite Special Ops. When Shane Brody meets Crystal Dean he knows there is more going on than meets the eye.

Five dishonored soldiers.

Former ...

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Overview

From New York Times
and USA Today bestselling author
Laura Kaye comes the second book in a hot new series about a brotherhood of elite Special Ops. When Shane Brody meets Crystal Dean he knows there is more going on than meets the eye.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Jennifer Probst
“Laura Kaye is synonymous with great, sexy romance.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781482992113
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Series: Hard Ink Series , #2
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 1,314,981
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Kaye is the
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen romance novels, including Hearts in
Darkness
, Her Forbidden Hero, and
One Night with a Hero.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 148 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(83)

4 Star

(44)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 148 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 8, 2014

    3.5 stars, rounded to 4 for the mystery I'll start off with the

    3.5 stars, rounded to 4 for the mystery

    I'll start off with the same description I gave the first book in this series--this is not your typical "fluff" romance, and it's more a mystery that happens to have sex scenes (although, not that many...page 261 of 292...). With this one, the underlying mystery/plot is still great, but I just didn't really get why the main characters were immediately so in love, the hero's denying himself a relationship due to his past was mentioned and then ignored, and I'm hoping the future books have a different climax than "someone needs rescued."

    I will read the rest of the series because I want to find out how everything is resolved (I know it will work out for the heroes and I'm guessing Becca's dad, but the how's, who's, and why's are still being revealed). FYI, it is obvious that the mystery will not be resolved until the final book--it is a series, after all--so buyer beware if you don't have the patience for that.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I love Laura Kaye's books, and I really enjoyed Hard Ink, the fi

    I love Laura Kaye's books, and I really enjoyed Hard Ink, the first book in this series.  Needless to say, I have been waiting on Hard As You Can to see what happens next in this series.  The story picks up right after where Hard Ink ends.  Though this is Shane and Crystal's story, the other characters in the book also play big roles.  The suspense continues as the team continues their quest to get to the bottom of all that has happened to them, and to Becca and Charlie, hoping to redeem themselves and finally discover the truth about what happened in Afghanistan, and figure out how all that ties back to Becca and Charlie.  The plot thickens as they discover more about the club where Crystal works, opening up a world of sex, drugs, and human trafficking.  Crystal takes a great risk to help them, while maintaining her cover and revealing the truth about her, her sister, and her past to Shane in the process.  Things heat up and culminate into an explosive ending where some answers and closure to some problems are found, and even more questions continue to arise.  

    I really love Shane with his sexy drawl, his panty-dropping smile, and he proves to be quite chivalrous also. I mean the guy's got swagger and is a big piece of walking, talking, eye candy of the best kind.  I really liked her reasoning behind it.  Her situation is quite heartbreaking.  She has been and continues to go through so much, yet she is brave, and focused on what she needs to do to save and protect her sister Jenna, which I found very admirable.  There is instant chemistry between Shane and Crystal and really, though Crystal fights it, it is pretty much a "fall hard and fast" type of love situation, occurring under the most intense of circumstances.  Shane fights for it.  Crystal wants it, but has a hard time believing she could ever have a relationship, and that someone would really even want her when they found out the truth about her and the ugliness she believes about herself.  

    As far as the other characters, there are quite a few and all play significant roles in the story.  We get to see Nick and Becca of course, as well as the other guys, which I've grown quite attached to.  The next book in the series will be a novella, and will be Easy and Jenna's story, which I can't wait to read.  I don't know who books 3 and 4 will be about, so I am looking forward to finding that out.  I really like Nick's brother Jeremy to, and I hope he gets a book or novella somewhere in the process.   

    The story is told from both Shane and Crystal's point of view, which I enjoyed.  I really enjoy Laura Kaye's writing style also.  Not only does she bring on the romance and steam, but she creates a suspenseful plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat and turning the pages wanting more.  Overall, I really enjoyed Hard as You Can.  I liked Hard Ink more than this one, and Nick with his bad boy and mysterious self is my favorite of the Hard Ink guys thus far, but I really did enjoy Shane's story to. This is a fantastic series and a wonderful second installment.  Laura Kaye delivers yet again, a story that her readers will want to devour.     

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2014

    This was the fabulous 2nd book in the author's "Hard Ink&qu

    This was the fabulous 2nd book in the author's "Hard Ink" series and it starts right where the first book ended. While it can be read alone, I'd also recommend reading the first book (Hard As It Gets) for a more in depth look at the characters and the mission they're on.

    In the first book Shane, along with the rest of his team, have rescued Charlie from Confessions (a strip club and more) where he'd been tortured, with some help from Crystal who works as a waitress. Shane can't get over this and hopes she can help them further in the investigation into illegal activities...and he also wants to help her in any way he can. He's impressed by her strength and begins having feelings for her. He's been carrying a burden of shame and guilt from an incident within his family and has been questioning his self worth. But deep down, he's just a big old southern gentleman/teddy bear. I loved Shane.

    Crystal finds herself drawn to Shane since he's the only man to ask her opinion and treat her with respect. She's stuck working at Confessions and in an abusive relationship with a manager there, partly because she needs the money to care for her younger epileptic sister. I really liked how she found her strength throughout this story and began coming out of her shell.

    Now I'm eagerly looking forward to Hard To Hold On To, a Hard Ink novella due out in August!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Shane was such a good guy!

    This book kept going from the first book. Shane meets "Crystal" rescuing Charlie. Crystal and Shane are attracted to each other, but Crystal doesn't want to let anyone close to her. Crystal is protective of her sister, Jenna, and when things get crazy Crystal asks Shane for help. This was a really good book and I am really enjoying this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 24, 2014

    I was waiting less than patiently for Laura Kaye's second Hard I

    I was waiting less than patiently for Laura Kaye's second Hard Ink installment but it was soooo well worth it! The novel continues with the major conflict of the survivors of a betrayal attempting to figure out the reason their commander turned against them. But meanwhile, from their new headquarters at the Hard Ink location, along comes Crystal Dean. The book is an adrenalin fueled, suspenseful and highly erotic romance ride that begins when Crystal stumbles upon the rescue attempt that snatches a young victim from the clutches of the men who hold her life, and her sister's in their hands. Innately good, Crystal aids the rescuers, but it starts her on a collision course with the man who pays for her sister's epilepsy medication - and makes Crystal pay for it in trade. She's given up her life to protect her sister, and she has all the plans laid out. Plans that are thrown into utter turmoil when she meat Shane McCallan. Once he's met the incredible woman, he can't get her out of his head. When the truth of her hellish existence comes out, he's hell for leather on a crusade to rescue her, rescue her sister and stop the white slavery operation that's sending young women into a life of grotesque torment and death.

    The cast is a wonderful amalgam of men and women. The love story is as powerful as the sexual attraction and the action-adventure is riveting and suspenseful - you will seriously be biting your nails as the couple meets the forces responsible for Crystal's horrific treatment, and the men prepared to sacrifice her sister to that same slave trade. Crystal is the perfect tortured heroine and Shane well named. (Of course, this being a perfect romance, Shane DOES come back!).

    If you haven't discovered the Hard Ink series, start with book 1, and then hurry hurry hurry to book 2. If you love your erotic romance with a hard edge and lots of blood, guts, grit and danger? Then this is the series - and the book - for you!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

    Good but could have been better

    This was an OK read but nothing more. It was a copy cat of the first one but with a different team member. It got boring at times. What were supposed to be bad-a$$ action scenes turned out to be flat and lame. And almost nothing new is revealed about the mistery that drives the suspenseful plot. I know there are at least three more books planned for this series, but I am seriously considering not buying them. If I do, it would be because I have read some really good books by this author before. But so far, the two books in this series are quite mediocre.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Laura Kaye has done it again this is the 2nd book in the Hard In

    Laura Kaye has done it again this is the 2nd book in the Hard Ink Series and it just blew my mind.
    In this book we have southern talking sexy man Shane McCallan who like the rest of his comrades is
    battling his own demons.  When they rescued Charlie from the night club Confessions he ran smack
    dab into Crystal who helped them and from that moment on Shane can not get her out of his mind. 
    Shane talks his buddies into helping him rescue Crystal and her sister Jenna from the clutches of Church
    and Bruno.  While doing so they learning even more shocks that one of their men from Afghanistan is also
    apart of this entire thing but who knows why?
    Shane is oh so Alpha  can he save Crystal from Bruno? 
    The action in this book is off the charts and it’s a CAN NOT PUT DOWN BOOK.  I totally recommend it. 
    Although it is a stand alone I’d suggest grabbing Book 1 so you can follow along with all these SEXY , HOT,
     Alpha Men !

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2014

    Shane and Sara(alias Crystal at club), meet when shame and a fri

    Shane and Sara(alias Crystal at club), meet when shame and a friend rescue a buddy being held in basement at Confessions-a strip club and home to Church gang-a very dangerous group who had appointed apostles in place as the bad men who did whatever Church needed.
    Sara's sister, Jenna-has severe epilepsy and suffers grand mal seizures. Her medicines costs $5000 monthly-Sara is forced to date Bruno(apostle), a mean badass man, who pays for the meds and other things. Sara works at Confessions as a waitress, but sees unspeakable things in the club.
    Shane's team offers help in the form of a way out. Shane and Sara fall in love with each other despite the overwhelming odds against them.
    Very good romance rolled in with lots of suspense, drama, and a spectacular ending.
    Laura Wright doesn't disappoint the reader with this book 2 in the "Hard Ink" series. Outstanding reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    If you¿ve read my review of the first book, you know I thoroughl

    If you’ve read my review of the first book, you know I thoroughly enjoyed it. That’s probably an understatement, considering I’m still using it as fuel for more than a few daydreams and fantasies. That being said, I was really, really looking forward to the same kind of dynamic and sexual tension (and release) in this book. It didn’t quite deliver in the same way.

    BUT, it did deliver in its own way, and I was not disappointed in the least. Shane and Crystal’s story conveyed emotional need and tension on a much more personal level. Due to Crystal’s current predicament and personal history, she desperately needs a protector and benefactor. Shane, with his military background and current mission is the perfect man for each of those jobs. Shane has become the ultimate defender with a fierce protective streak continuously fueled by a personal tragedy involving his sister many years ago. A tragedy he has never learned to let go. Crystal is the daughter of a former mob underboss who died and left her responsible for a huge debt owed to the kingpin. She has paid for it many times over, in my opinion.

    These two are made for each other, and seeing them come together and learn to trust and love each other is quite an experience. Although not at all what I was expecting, I was absolutely satisfied with this story and the continuation of the series. I can’t wait to see who’s next up for their HEA!

    Rating: 4.5

    HEAT Rating: Hot

    Reviewed By: Daysie W.

    Review Courtesy of: My Book Addictions and More

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    When I read Hard As You Can, Laura Kaye¿s second book in her sus

    When I read Hard As You Can, Laura Kaye’s second book in her suspenseful, romantic and can’t put down Hard Ink Series, I
     was hooked by page two.  I was once again swept up into the lives of the Hard Ink Team, the mission they were on, how Shane
    and Crystal met, and how their story developed and became part of the mission. The love and relationship Shane and Crystal
     had by the end of the book, made me want to be Crystal because of Shane. I love both Shane and Crystal and admire them
     for the way they dealt with their personal, life changing challenges. Watching the Hard Ink Team struggle to reconnect as
     “brothers” was both heartbreaking and joyful. I got tearful, cheered them on and found myself admiring all Special Forces troops
     even more, troops who are still out defending our country and the Special Forces in this Hard Ink Series. I just MIGHT have to
     read this book again while waiting for the next book in this series, Hard to Come By, to be released! 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    I love Laura's books, but this one hit it out of the park for me

    I love Laura's books, but this one hit it out of the park for me. This is a fabulous series and I wish we already had all of the books so that I could keep reading. Yeah, I knew Shane was going to have a thing for Crystal at the end of the last book, but I could never have imagined the story the characters had Laura write for them. It took a lot longer for Crystal to completely trust Shane than you normally see in books, but it was absolutely perfect for their story and each of their pasts. Crystal's working at a waitress at a strip club paying off the debts of her dead father. Shane just wants to rescue her, protect her from all dangers and keep her in his life. He's looking for a sense of belonging and self worth even though he doesn't know it. All of the men are. The men are becoming a closer unit emotionally and forgiving the separation that took place once they all returned to the US. As they spend time together, past hurts are coming to light and their strong bonds are not only tested, but are becoming stronger with each passing incident or conversation. I love the suspense and the intel gathering constantly being done by the team. I adore how honorable these men all are and always come down on the side of right. This book (and series) has everything I could want and even things I didn't know I wanted in a good read. I'm so glad that I picked these up in paperback and cannot wait for the rest of the teams stories. If I were you, I'd pick this series up and put it to the top of your to read list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2014

    Okay

    This book was okay. Enjoyed the first book much better. Never felt the connection between Shane and Crystal.

    Will continue with the series though. Hope the next book is better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    Good

    ## Good but not great. I liked the first book better for sure. In the first story I loved that the 'team' reunited to find out who set them up in Afghanistan so they can clear their names. I wish Ms. Kaye had continued more along those lines since that wasn't resolved in the first book. Now in this second book the story is starting to get too convoluted. Too many different things going on. The romance was strange in this one as well. The hero loved the heroine right off the bat without them getting to know each other. That was really hard to believe. Even though this wasn't my favorite book, I did still enjoy it and will buy the next one. Oh and please let there be a story for Jeremy (I would gladly be his heroine).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Boring! I found this book to be the same format as the prequel:

    Boring! I found this book to be the same format as the prequel: Girl in distress, pretty boy savior. Boy has unresolved emotional issues, so does the girl. While she is under extreme duress with her issues, she can't wait to get into his pants, it's all rationalized on her part. What I do not like about this book is how the good guys turn out to be vigilantes, killing and fire bombing in the name of justice, outside of the law. The original mystery from the first book does not make any progress in this book. This book is just passing time. How many more of these installments do I have to go through to soleve the original mystery from the first book. For me, a waste of time and MONEY on this book.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Just so-so

    Liked the first book a lot more

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2015

    Great sexy story

    Loved the 2nd book almost as much as the first

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  • Posted December 6, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    It's hard not to like the Hard Ink group! I enjoyed this 2nd no

    It's hard not to like the Hard Ink group!

    I enjoyed this 2nd novel in the Hard Ink series even better than the last one. There was more Jeremy as I’d hoped and a nice bit of flirting between him and a slowly recovering Charlie, Becca’s brother.  The Hard Ink group is still trying to solve the mystery of the Colonel’s betrayal and restore their honor.  Their rescue of Charlie was unhindered partly because of Crystal who worked at the club that night. The connection between Shane and Crystal made so much sense in light of their individual struggles. Crystal had it so tough and got stuck with working off her dad’s debt in a craptastic club and enduring Bruno, her brutal boyfriend who also happened to be the club manger. Crystal’s strength and sacrifice to keep her younger sister, Jenna in college and regularly treated for epilepsy, but in the dark about the reality of their situation was incredible. 

    I liked how Shane and his best friend, Nick Rixey worked through their anger and hurt over the damage done to their friendship as well. The scenes with Easy and Jenna were nice previews to their upcoming story. And the team/family vibe this group of characters had was really something to envy.

    I’m debating whether or not to reread Hard To Hold On To (Hard Ink #2.5) before beginning Hard To Come By (Hard Ink #3), available now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2014

    Great

    Loved it!!!

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  • Posted November 25, 2014

    Hard as You Can is the second book in the Hard Ink series by Lau

    Hard as You Can is the second book in the Hard Ink series by Laura Kaye. This is a great series if you like action, suspense and romance – along with former military guys. This book is about Shane – best friend of Nick from the first book in this series. Along with Nick, Shane has suffered from deaths and betrayal from his time in the military – but he is also suffering from the loss of his sister all those years ago. It's something he feels responsible for and can't move past.

    The heroine in this book is Crystal. She is a waitress at a club – though not by choice. She is doing everything she can to protect her sick sister, and she is paying off her deceased father's debts. The world that Crystal lives in is dark and scary. She can't escape and has a lot of physical and emotional scars.

    She meets Shane and his friends when they come into the club she works at. There's a lot of criminal activity going on at the club, including drugs and human trafficking, and Shane knows this. Crystal aids them in a rescue mission, and then neither of them can get the other out of their heads. They seem to have an instant connection. It was almost too much of an insta-love thing going on.

    This is definitely not a light, fluffy romance. There is so much intense, complicated story going on here. Shane and Crystal's romance is a little emotional and sweet. Shane is such a protective sweetheart. He is completely different than the men she is used to. There are some sexy parts, but the complicated storyline is front and center.

    You definitely want to start with book one of this series. While they don't end in cliffhangers, the backbone of the storyline snakes its way throughout these books. It's like you keep finding missing pieces to this big puzzle – and I don't think everything will be revealed until the very last book. The only reason I give this book 4 stars instead of 5, is mostly because I am more of a romance (less of an action) kind of girl. It's just a personal preference. I still adore this series and all of the characters though. There are a lot of great guys left in this series that deserve their own books, and I can't wait to see where their stories lead.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2014

    Sammi

    Swx or nah

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