Hard to Hold On To: A Hard Ink Novella

( 45 )

Overview

Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.

Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since ...

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Hard to Hold On To: A Hard Ink Novella

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Overview

Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.

Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel—and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her stretch far beyond gratitude.

When the pair is thrust together and chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: The things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062339409
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/30/2014
  • Series: Hard Ink
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 38,001
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Laura grew up amidst family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 45 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(27)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2014

    Great book

    I love this series of books so much. Easy is a great character whose struggles are very real and believable. This story really grabbed me as a reader. Jenna was a wonderful character as well. She was as scarred as Easy was and together they found what they both needed. I can not wait for the next story in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Hard to Hold On To was a slight departure from the fast paced ac

    Hard to Hold On To was a slight departure from the fast paced action of the first two books. This story took place right where Hard as You Can left off, with the rescue of Jenna Dean, Crystal/Sara's sister. The connection between Jenna and Easy was briefly established in the previous book, and the fierce determination that rode him to bring her back home. However, this story was so SO much more than a soldier who had lived through the hells of war, lost brothers in arms and was dealing as best as he could. It was also more than a woman who had been kidnapped, mistreated and suddenly faced with a man who was always in her orbit, protecting her while she healed physically and emotionally. Their connection went beyond mutual attraction and a simmering lust.

    Easy and Jenna made being together look so simple. I liked them before, but after this, I was enamored. For a twenty year old, Jenna was mature beyond her years. I loved her ability to analyze her feelings without any major drama, she didn't try to hide them or talk herself out of her feelings or emotions. It was so refreshing to just watch her process and express herself organically and let the chips fall where they may. Their ability to communicate openly and honestly also came almost as naturally as breathing.

    My heart went out to Easy. The depth of his anguish and mental weariness punched me in the gut. When he opened up to Shane, then the rest of the guys - that particular moment made this story truly special. But it didn't end there. Sweet, compassionate Jenna and her ability to put her feelings out there; she really saw Easy and was able to look beyond his insecurities and defenses.

    The development of their relationship up to the consummation of it was so beautiful and romantic. I was sucked into every moment they shared, every talk they had. There were too many special moments to mention here, but make sure to look for this: I believe. I hope to catch more glimpses of them throughout the series.

    The back story of the series was briefly recapped, therefore I would say this can stand on its own. The first two books were full length novels and packed with action and romance. This novella zeroed in on a serious and heartbreaking topic facing veterans, and after reading this, I doubt you'll look at the number twenty-two the same way again.

    **Complimentary copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for the purpose of an honest review.**

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Pulls the reader in with passion and power - and doesn't let go

    Pulls the reader in with passion and power - and doesn't let go

    As I'm writing this review, I'm still brushing away some tears. First of all, Laura Kaye's novella, HARD TO HOLD ON TO, is amazing. I'm saying that upfront, so if you want to stop reading this now and just hop over to whatever eRetailer you prefer - do. Simply said: Buy this book and read it.

    The third title in Kaye's Hard Ink series about a now-disbanded Special Forces team is an unbelievably powerful read. The story picks up immediately following the events of Hard As You Can and the rescue of Sara (aka Crystal) Dean's sister, Jenna. If you haven't read Hard As It Gets (book 1) or Hard As You Can (book 2) - do. You could read each of these as stand-alone titles, because Kaye fills in just enough back story to let you know what's going on. But why on earth wouldn't you want to read these books. Kaye is a writer whose ability to share empathy and understanding of her characters flattens me. Guts me. Reminds me why I love to read.

    When I read Hard As You Can, it was evident that there could be something special between Jenna and Easy. Sure, Jenna is an epileptic student who's been pretty sheltered by her sister and Easy is a soldier who knows both despair and loss, but truthfully they aren't so different under the skin.

    From the moment that Easy carries Jenna into the apartment after rescuing her from the drug dealing gang, The Churchmen (and her sister's ex), their connection and tie solidifies. If you're expecting a lot of physical action in HARD TO HOLD ON TO, don't be disappointed. But the psychological action, as we learn about the demons that surround Easy and now Jenna, is equally powerful as any commando rescue.

    I know many of us love stories about returning soldiers who are reintegrating into life in the states on black ops teams, as investigators, or bodyguards. It's a really popular trope. Many authors explore some of the steep tolls that warfare brings to these men and women. Well, my favorite authors do. However, I don't know if any author has really moved me to this extreme, as Kaye has accomplished so powerfully in HARD TO HOLD ON TO.

    Perhaps it's because she knows her bromance that it all feels so real. But that's too simple an explanation. To me the most powerful, strong, and sexy alpha hero is the one who can show and embrace his softer inner core. Who doesn't need remain stoic in all things, but can reveal who he is deep down to those he cares about. With this story, Kaye lets us get into Easy's skin and there is a scene where I'm just bawling, because I'm taking every step of this journey along with him.

    And Jenna. OMG, Jenna is key to this as well. Here is this relatively young (just turning 20) girl, who's been kidnapped, drugged, beaten and abused who's still trying to protect her sister from taking on any guilt. I totally buy into the connection she feels with Easy, because I can see her, tiny against this tree trunk of a man, brilliant red hair against his mocha skin, just drawing on his strength and caring to get through the day - and night. When he holds her, shelters her, as she's sick from the drugs. Scavenges in the kitchen for the making of a milkshake. Or when he's not even there, but she envelopes herself in his Steelers shirt that scents of him. It's as though the invisible bond between them becomes visible, like a golden string that ties them together.

    It's not a one way street either as it's clear that Easy finds solace with Jenna. When he lays down with her the first time - and I'm not talking about a sexual bedding, but one where two souls find comfort and home in each other - I just smiled. It was so beautiful.

    Yes, there's some humor here too. It's not all serious. But this book is a real reminder about what love is. How important it is to be open to our close friends - and to receive their care as well.

    So, I'm hoping you all will be one-clicking through to add Laura Kaye's amazingly passionate and powerful, HARD TO HOLD ON TO, to your library. Your purchase these first two weeks will help support a program that aids veterans as Laura will be donating the profits from the sales. No one can wonder why Laura Kaye is at the top of my must-read, auto-buy list. She just ROCKS!

    Hard Ink fans, remember to mark your calendars for November 25 and the release of book 3, Hard to Come By. I can't wait to read the story of Derek and Emilie!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Hard to Hold on To was just so good! The last few pages had me i

    Hard to Hold on To was just so good! The last few pages had me in tears--the good kind, fortunately ;) Easy's story isn't at all an easy read (see what I did there?) but it's definitely worth it.




    Both Easy and Jenna come into this story with a whole lot of baggage--which undoubtedly contributes to why they are so good for each other. Who else can better understand your pain, after all, but a person who's also gone through hell and lived to tell the tale? Their story is short, but it packs a wallop in terms of emotion and substance. I'll admit it isn't the best story to start the series with--it begins right after the events that ended book two, and you're thrown right into the action from the first page--but I picked up on what I needed to know pretty quickly without getting too lost. Still, I'd recommend reading the other two books first (Hard As It Gets and Hard As You Can) first if you have a chance, because then you'll be up to speed with what is going on from the very beginning. 




    The Hard Ink series centers around a group of former soldiers who have pitted themselves against an organized crime ring. The four men--Easy included--operate out of a tattoo shop. (I know! Ex-Special Forces AND tattoos!) In addition to fighting the criminals, they are also trying to clear their names after an event that preceded their discharges from the Army (and apparently it's all connected in some way). The exact event that lead to them leaving isn't gone into detail here, which is another reason it's probably a good idea to start with book one in the series. The events of a year ago--just before he left the Army--are still having a major impact on Easy as this novella begins. Jenna is a recent kidnap victim and also the younger sister of Sara, the heroine of book two.




    After getting a taste of the series through this novella. I'll definitely be backing up and reading the first two books. That way I'll be ready to go as soon as the next series novel (Hard to Come By) is released :)




    Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-




    I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 out of 5 stars The was an emotional addition to the Hard In

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    The was an emotional addition to the Hard Ink series and I loved it! Easy is an intense, tormented character and his story was sad and heartbreaking but full of hope at the same time. A really great read!

    I really liked Easy a lot, he was so protective and caring. He would do anything for his friends even though he's suffering with his own demons. I liked Jenna too, I have such an appreciation for these strong women characters that Laura Kaye writes. Jenna had been through such an horrible experience and I thought it was so sweet how her and Easy sought comfort in one another. They had a connection and chemistry, I really enjoyed watching it grow.

    I loved that a bit more information was learned in the overall story that is spanning the series. The suspense element is awesome! The author does a great job of catching you up to speed if you haven't read the other books. I loved seeing all the guys again from the Special Forces unit that have been in previous stories (and stories to come), they are such interesting characters and I love their comradery. This story had a more series tone throughout because of Easy's issues so it was nice to see how compassionate all the guys are, how they are family even though they aren't blood. When Easy opens up to his friends, oh man, I might have lost it… heart wrenching.

    Fantastic story, it definitely added to the overall series and it's not to be missed. This was an emotional read dealing with a serious issue with very real and engaging characters. There was a good build to Easy sharing with his buddies but other than that, there was no major drama, just the two characters coping with their pasts.  

     Complimentary copy received for honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This is Edward Candrell¿s book aka Easy  In the last book we kno

    This is Edward Candrell’s book aka Easy 
    In the last book we know Easy had taken a huge liking to Jenna the younger sister of Sara. 
    She had been kidnapped and beaten horribly by the ex thug of a boyfriend of  Sara’s. 
    Easy and his guys were able to rescue Jenna and now helping her heal could be his undoing. He knew he
    should not get close to her but he could not help it. Something about Jenna pulled him to her. 
    Jenna is white and Easy is a black man but this book is not about that. What this book is about is  
    A man who has PTSD after something happened to him and his guys in Afghanistan and only a few of them
    survived.  Jenna doesn’t see any of that when she looks at Easy. What she sees his her hero , A man who
    rescued her and has treated her with nothing but kindness. She clings to him. And on top of that he is one
    hell of a sexy man. 
    Things  between  Jenna and Easy heat way UP.  Only Easy is pulling back a bit because of the age difference
    between  Jenna and himself . She is 20 and he is 30. 
    But Jenna takes matters into her own hands on that level. 
    I enjoyed reading about Easy and watching him finally take steps to healing. 
    Jenna and Easy are two lost souls finding one soul and one heart. 
    I highly recommend you start with book 1 in this series. I have thus far enjoyed every book in this series. 

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  • Posted September 18, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Memorable Couple!

    Presenting the subjects of PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and suicidal thoughts is tough at best, but Laura Kaye masterfully writes an emotional and thought provoking romance that delves into these tough topics in Hard to Hold on To, a Hard Ink novella.

    Hard to Hold on To picks up where Hard as You Can leaves off. Edward “Easy” Cantrell is relieved that he and his team were able to rescue Jenna Dean from her kidnappers. Ever since that day, over a year ago, when Easy’s Special Forces team was betrayed and six of their teammates were killed, Easy has been struggling with PTSD and survivor’s guilt as well as suffering from depression. More recently though, Easy finds himself in a dark place and thoughts of ending it all are becoming more pervasive. His outlook begins to change when Jenna enters his life. Still dealing with the aftermath of her kidnapping, Jenna turns to Easy, where she finds safety and the ear of someone who understands what she is going through. I was captivated by how Easy takes care of Jenna and how Jenna is able to see the real man behind the gruff exterior. Easy is truly a strong character, especially when he finally reaches out to his surviving teammates for help. While fearful of what his friends will think, Easy is surprised when he discovers his friends more than willing to help him. More importantly, Jenna’s reaction to his admission is heartfelt and just what Easy needs to begin his road to recovery. The strong emotional connection between Easy and Jenna makes their intimacy in the bedroom powerful, even more so for the virginal Jenna. I am looking forward to seeing how Easy and Jenna’s relationship will grow, even if it’s in the background, as we meet the other couples in the compelling series.

    In a poignant and profound way, Kaye does a consummate job of presenting the struggles of soldiers returning home and in turn creates a memorable couple making Hard to Hold on To a perfect addition to the Hard Ink series.


    I received an eBook copy from the author/publisher for purpose of an honest review for The Jeep Diva. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2014

    Great addition to the series

    Love this series. Love the characters and really enjoy the story lines. Can't wait to see what happens next

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014

    When Jenna wakes up after a harrowing kidnapping experience, Eas

    When Jenna wakes up after a harrowing kidnapping experience, Easy is instinctively the only person who can calm the frantic feelings inside her. She feels safe with him like she's never felt with anyone else. As she struggles with feelings of guilt over all her sister has had to endure to protect her, Easy too understands the overwhelming nature of guilt and sacrifice, having lost one of his best friends who protected Easy during an ambush.




    The jagged little pieces of their battered hearts seem to click into place together, finding refuge in a world that always seems to kick them in the teeth for their troubles. 




    "...sometimes you gotta let someone else help you be strong before you can stand on your own."




    And that's exactly what Jenna and Easy do for one another. They learn to forgive themselves and let go of their guilt and grief because of the unconditional love and support they find in each other. Easy, who had previously contemplated suicide and thought his life worthless, finds meaning and purpose in helping Jenna overcome her fears. 




    Even in this brief Novella, Laura Kaye creates a novel's worth of emotional depth and delves into serious social issues which are often left in the dark. I've read many novels where the hero was an ex-marine or soldier who had lived through war and bloodshed, but I've never seen Veteran suicide and PTSD discussed on such an open and emotional level. It is truly commendable, as is the use of a mixed raced couple, which are often underrepresented in the Romance Lit. world.




    Laura Kaye was able to elevate Easy and Jenna from mere characters to a truly human level by giving them both such deep abiding psychological and emotional scars to overcome. Although they tumble into love rather quickly, their connection feels profound and genuine. 




    In Hard to Hold On To, Laura Kaye gives us a loving couple who despite both being a bit battle-worn, still manage to be playful and teasing with each other.We're given a taste of the 'Hard Ink' world, and a tattoo shop filled with muscled ex-soldiers, hackers, friends and lovers, all working together to take down a gang and discover who caused the ambush that killed the rest of their team, leaving them with the blame. This little taste is just not enough and leaves you wanting to know how the search began and how the rest of the team will find their mates. Suffice it to say this was the first book I read from Laura Kaye, but you can bet it won't be the last.




    Disclaimer: As an Avon Addict, I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014

    Where is the rest of the book?

    I enjoyed the Hard Ink series. Although I think it is important to focus on Easy's PTSD issues, I was truly disappointed that not more of the mystery to the other two books wasn't reveled. I guess I'll just wait for the next book in the series to find out what these ex Special Forces officers have been wanting to find out about their past. Again this book was a disappointment and needed several more chapters to finish the story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2014

    Loved it!

    I just love this series! Anxious for the next book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2014

    Fabulous

    ## Short but oh so sweet. "Easy" was an amazing hero and I even liked Jenna once she stopped being so afraid. I wish she was a tad older, only because 19 seems much too young for such a serious relationship. I highly recommend you read the other books of this series first so you fully understand the situations and characters. And once again, I adored Jeremy. Hope he gets a story of his own some day.

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  • Posted September 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I've thoroughly enjoyed Laura Kaye's Hard Ink Series and Hard to

    I've thoroughly enjoyed Laura Kaye's Hard Ink Series and Hard to Hold Onto is book #2.5 in the series, and is Easy and Jenna's story.  We originally met Easy in book #1, Hard As It Gets, and got to see more of him and also meet Jenna in Hard As You Can.  He was a bit of an enigma, so I have been looking forward to getting to know him better.  Hard to Hold Onto is a Novella and picks up right after the events that occurred in Hard As You Can.  Both of the previous full length novels not only focused on the romance between the main characters, but also had a lot of suspense and action that occurred as well.  Hard to Hold Onto mainly focuses on the Easy and Jenna's relationship and how their feelings for each other develops after the the events at the end of Hard As You Can.  Easy's past hurts, the tragedy that has made him the way he is, and how he deals with all of this is revealed.  While we met Jenna in and got to know a good bit about her history in Hard As You Can, we get to know "her" in Hard To Hold Onto.  




    The other characters from the previous novels also are a part of this novel and I enjoyed being able to have a glimpse into what was going on with them as well.  The romantic relationship between Easy and Jenna is hot and intense, and I was very pleased to see where things went with them.  Hard To Hold Onto is a great addition to the Hard Ink Series and I can't wait to read the next installment in this action packed series.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2014

    Another great Hard Ink story

    The story picks right up where it left you in Hard as You Can. You feel the pull that Jenna and Easy had and read while they fall in love. Laura Kaye is a brilliant writer who researches any facts she puts into her books. The story might be fiction but the settings and information are accurately depicted in each story. I love the Hard Ink series and can't wait for the next book. The only down side to this story was that it ended too quickly but I say that about all the books in this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2014

    Not the best...

    This wasby far the worst of the series. I have much hope for the next one.

    It was a quick read and I enjoyed that it began where the last book left off, but I did not enjoy it as I did the others. In the author's notes she identifies this as a book about depression and battleing thoughts of suicide but I felt as though she touched on that topic too briefly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    So raw

    Loved the catch up from the last book. Can't wait for November!

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  • Posted August 25, 2014

    Gripping, Emotional read! OK, so wow! Each time I read a boo

    Gripping, Emotional read!




    OK, so wow! Each time I read a book that Laura writes I am struck again by just how well she does the dialogue and raw emotion of the characters...I marvel at how she is able to think like a man. OK, at least how I believe how a hard edged, tortured man might think...Just an awesome, put through the ringer read. But at the same time real and so far into how these two will come out on the other side. I cannot wait to catch glimpses of them in the next book in the Hard Ink series. Truly was so caught by surprise when I hit the last word. I wanted more. Alas, I will have to wait until December! Trust me if you have not yet met the men and women of the Hard Ink, Hurry! You won't regret it!

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  • Posted August 25, 2014

    A Very Emotional Read This book was extremely emotional and hard

    A Very Emotional Read
    This book was extremely emotional and hard to get through. I cannot even imagine the emotional time that Laura Kaye went through trying to write this book. This was Edward "Easy" Cantrell's story. Easy is one of the 5 disgraced veterans of the Hard Ink crew working hard to clear their names while at the same time falling in love with the women who happen to get mixed up in their mission to clear their names. Easy's story was the most difficult to read thus far, which helps to understand why it was a novella, but at the same time, I wanted more from his story because of the topic that it dealt with.

    The Hard Ink series gets better and better, as well as more emotional, with each subsequent book. Great job, Laura Kaye!! I cannot wait for Marz's book to come out. I am seriously hoping that Beckett gets a book. Heck, I would love to read a novella on Jeremy. I love Nik's little brother Jeremy. He is great.

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  • Posted August 24, 2014

    Hard to Hold on To is a moving and powerful story of a reality s

    Hard to Hold on To is a moving and powerful story of a reality so many soldiers face:  depression.  A novella in the Hard Ink series, it delves away from the ongoing story arc of trying to clear the team’s name and focuses on Edward “Easy” Cantrell and the demons he’s been facing since the loss of the other six members of their team in Afghanistan, including his best friend.  The blame and guilt have driven Easy down to the point that he contemplates ending it all.  The formation of the Hard Ink team, the reuniting of their old unit, provides him something to live for, as does Jenna Dean.  The family that shines through these novels accepts Easy’s demons and provides the moral support he needs to begin moving forward.  This is only a beginning for both his battle back from depression and his story with Jenna, however it is a start on the right path for both.




    Kudos for Kaye for taking on this serious subject and being willing to put her money where her words are.  The proceeds from the first two weeks of sales benefit the Wounded Warrior project.  If this novella provides inspiration and hope to even one person dealing with this insidious disease it will be worth it.  The statistics she references in the afterward are far too real and far too many.  Though the donation is a good reason to buy this book, the well-crafted story and great characters are a great reason to actually read it.

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  • Posted August 24, 2014

    Another AMAZING Hard Ink novel from Laura Kaye! She totally ROCK

    Another AMAZING Hard Ink novel from Laura Kaye! She totally ROCKS!!!
    Hard to Hold on To leads to more questions, more intrigue, and more sexy ex-military heroes and their desires to clear their names.
    Hard to Hold on To is a novella about Edward Cantrell (Easy) and Jenna Dean. Laura gives us a glimpse into the guy’s lives right after everything went down with Church’s gang and Jenna’s rescue. Hard to Hold on To is a story about Easy, ex-military, trying to survive depression and suicidal thoughts over feelings from the loss of some of his brothers in the line of duty and Jenna who is trying to recover from a terrifying kidnapping and thinking that she should have died without truly every experiencing life.
    Although, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about the age difference at first. Easy is 30 and Jenna will be turning 20 on her birthday, even though I know age don’t matter, it kind of bothered me at first. But seeing how drawn they were to each other and how they made each other feel, how could you not root for them and their happiness.
    You cry with them, laugh with them, and pray for them as they are trying to survive this difficult time in their life. When Easy told everyone what he was going through it was hard to read and broke my heart. Easy is drawn to Jenna and she changes everything for him, because he wants to be a better man for her. Jenna is also drawn to Easy and needs him to help her feel safe again and heal from her kidnapping.
    I loved every page of Easy and Jenna’s story!
    If you haven’t read this series yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?? I recommend that you one-click the books in this series and start reading them now. You won’t regret it!

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