Anna Key Marshall is about to get what she's always wanted: a baby. Granted, it's through a sperm donor instead of her ex-husband, but you can't have everything. She has no idea why someone wants her dead, but she'll do whatever it takes to protect her unborn child—even if it means turning to her ex, the Black Ops specialist who broke her heart.
Five years ago, British Intelligence agent Nick Marshall slammed the door on the woman who betrayed him. But now Anna's back in his life with a vengeance, pregnant and full of attitude. He'd like nothing better than to walk away, but with her life on the line, he has no choice but to do what he does best—protect her at all costs.
As old wounds resurface, Nick begins to doubt his version of what went down with Anna so long ago. And he begins to believe they might have a second chance together. But with Anna's would-be killer on the loose—it will take the full force and fury of his protective instincts, fueled by a powerful love he can't leave behind, to hold on to the woman he still loves.
Each book in the Black Ops Heroes series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Hard to Hold
Book #2 Hard to Forget
Book #3 Hard to Protect
About the Author
It took a swan dive from a roof to convince Incy (aged 5) she wasn't an avenging fairy and no, she most certainly couldn't fly. Bruised but undefeated she retreated deeper into her imaginary world populated with the brave and the poisonous.
When not fighting injustice and righting wrongs on ‘Planet Incy' she works as a Marketing Director. (Unfortunately, her law degree languishes unused, the distinction between good and evil proving too worrisome in real life.)
Her five children are well versed in what scares her (most things) and delight in pushing her neurotic buttons—at their peril.
Read an Excerpt
Hard to Hold
By Incy Black, Tracy Montoya
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Lindsey Hughes
All rights reserved.
Anna Key Marshall choked out a defiant laugh — because it sure beat the hell out of crying. She'd done it again. Successfully hurdled yet another of the obstacles that the Fates seemed to delight on tossing in her path. But it was getting harder. Example — tonight. When she'd had to drop and body-roll into the street gutter to avoid being flattened by the screeching approach of monstrous black tires. Thankfully, the truck had missed her. But only just.
She'd suffered a mild concussion. The abrasions skinning her limbs stung as if on fire, but all her bones were intact. She'd been lucky. But if her heart didn't stop pounding like a jackhammer and her hands didn't quit vibrating fit to register 7.5 on the Richter scale, the hospital wouldn't release her, and she'd be stuck here on Hell Ward for the night. Could life suck any harder?
"Where is she?"
Anna froze. Apparently, life could. That snarl from the past, all frigid and tight, was unmistakable — and despite the fact that it had been five years since she'd last heard it, her impulse to escape and hide was immediate. She drew up her knees and settled for hunkering beneath the pale blue blanket embossed with "Property of St. Stephen's Hospital" covering her instead.
Nick Marshall could have any number of reasons for visiting the ER late at night. In his line of business — policing the murkier depths of the British Intelligence Service — it went with the territory. His presence had to be an unhappy coincidence.
"Your wife — "
Anna's lungs flattened. Wife? Nick hadn't remarried. Oh, God. What if by some hideous mistake, he was here for her? Had she failed to correct some record of their former marital status? Christ, there had been so many documents to sign, and she hadn't exactly been thinking straight in the months after the divorce.
The lingering smell of disinfectant, steamed fish, and other things she really didn't want to think about broke through the barrier she'd studiously erected to keep the ever-present threat of nausea at bay.
"She's not my wife."
"You're listed in her passport as both her husband and her next of kin."
Passport! Anna swallowed a groan. She'd forgotten to score out Nick's details and insert "None" in the personal section of that stupid document.
"Something she'll regret. You'd have done her a kindness to call someone else."
She screwed her eyelids shut and rubbed her midriff to ease the sudden clench of muscles. Oh, yeah, who? Having someone care, really care, hadn't exactly featured big in her life.
The curtain of her cubicle zipped back with sufficient force to create a small tornado.
Anna damn near fell off the high, narrow bed. God, Nick looked furious. In that cold, remote, tightly constrained way of his that iced blood in the warmest of veins. And she should know — he'd sent her to the freezer often enough, the last time for good.
"What the hell have you been up to this time?"
She swallowed, just to see if she could. The past five years had sharpened the contours of his face. Gone was the ever-present tease of a smile, the twinkle of rebellion that had deepened the blue of his eyes, the compassion that had softened the glorious angles of to-die-for bone structure. Hard and chiseled now, Nick had grown up, and she wasn't sure she liked the change.
She wondered when he had last laughed. Suspected it had been a while, and very nearly caved to the temptation to see what it would take to put that right.
From his condemning expression, it was clear Nick had yet to forgive her. It didn't matter that she was battered and bruised, scared and, damn it, feeling vulnerable. He'd judged and found her guilty. No change there then.
Her disappointment tasted bitter. Like unwittingly biting into a rotten walnut.
It also ignited a need to strike back.
Avoiding his question, she looked beyond the glowering mass of muscle and forced a smile at the young, helplessly embarrassed nurse. "Ignore him," she recommended. "He's an expert when it comes to causing offense." Insulting Nick should get rid of him. He'd be relieved. So would she.
The poor nurse graduated from pink to puce.
Anna sighed. Maybe a little humor would help. "Seriously, beneath all that icy disdain lies an honest-to-God human being — I think. Quick, take his temperature, see if it registers above zero, or better still, cup him and ask him to cough. That should warm him up."
The nurse exploded in a belt of laughter.
She shifted into a more comfortable position and smoothed the blanket flat across her legs. "Niiiick," she mimicked to remind him she was immune to intimidation.
The sound of his teeth grinding kicked the corners of her mouth into a less-than-innocent smile.
The nurse spluttered another cough, then hastily stepped back when Nick turned in her direction and tilted his head. "I'll ... um ... I'll just get a doctor to sign Mrs. Marshall's release."
"Not into my care you won't. Find someone else. I don't want her."
The nurse's jaw dropped.
Anna forced a tight laugh and promised privately that if her face dared betray her and flush at his strike, she'd reach for the gun he most likely had hidden at the base of his spine and shoot herself with it.
"Good to see you haven't lost your honesty, Nick. Though it's obvious you were last in line when tact was handed out. But you're off the hook. I've changed my mind. Given the option, I'd really rather stay here the night after all. I was just being —"
"Flippant, contrary, irresponsible, stubborn, not to mention careless given how you managed to fall headfirst into the traffic ..."
God, he was actually counting off her sins on his fingers and still had a full hand to go. "Okay, okay," she interrupted, holding up a palm. Stupid passport. Why was it the little details always slipped her mind? "I didn't ask for you to be called. Why would I? You're the last person I'd want taking charge. Point of fact —"
"Point of fact," an intern interrupted as he crowded into her cubicle. "If you do have somewhere to go, and someone who will stay with you, we could do with the bed." His toe caught a metal cabinet on wheels, his harassment obvious as he damn near doused her with a full jug of water.
Nick caught it at the same time as she, their fingers crossing.
She pulling back sharply as if bitten. He shot her a frigid smile, secured the jug, and scathed the intern with a look that saw the poor man's skin mottle.
"Excellent. I'll go home," she responded with as much forced chirpiness as she could muster. She was in no hurry to have Nick-bloody-Marshall reject her again. She'd rather face down the recent violence she'd attracted on her own. She turned and swung her legs around in readiness to dismount the ridiculously high bed.
"Not alone," the intern insisted. "Your head injury isn't serious but —"
"Oh, for heaven's sake, make up your mind." She squeezed the bridge of her nose and strove for a lighter, more reasonable tone. Damn, now Nick would know that his unexpected reappearance in her life had unnerved her. "I can assure you I won't be on my own," she said throwing down her last card, an ace. "I know any number of hunky men who'd be delighted to play 'Doctors and Nurses' overnight." She smiled sweetly. "Don't I, Nick?"
Just as she'd anticipated, her ex-husband spun on his heel, raked back the curtain, and left without a word.
* * *
Anna turned to the nurse. "Please, if you would just get me my cell phone and my shoes" — thank God, they hadn't gotten around to insisting she discard her own torn clothes for a hospital-issue gown — "I'll make sure I'm picked up and out of your hair ASAP. Okay?"
She grimaced, the bitter aftertaste of forced saccharine sour on her tongue. Getting rid of Nick had been an absolute necessity, but she wasn't proud of how she'd had to go about doing so. She'd used his fierce possessiveness, his jealousy, to draw him to her often enough in the past. This time, beyond desperate, she'd called it into play to force him away.
As soon as the nurse returned with her things, she darted through the curtain and linked her arm through that of a startled, middle-aged man who happened to be heading for the exit, calling with forced jocularity, "One responsible adult willing to take charge of me, so I'll be off now. Thank you for all your help."
She hustled the stranger forward before he could protest and only released him when they'd cleared the ward. "Sorry about that. I thought you were someone else. Silly me."
She stepped into the waiting elevator and shot a breezy smile at the bewildered man, who shook his head in alarm when she arched her eyebrows in an unspoken query as to whether he'd be joining her.
She waited for the doors to close before losing the smile.
Then, palms flat against the unforgiving metal wall, she tucked her chin to her chest. God, she needed to get a grip. And fast. If Nick's unexpected appearance had disrupted her confidence, his savage withdrawal had sent it into a dizzying spin. And right now, with every sign pointing to the idea that someone wanted her dead, she needed every one of her brain cells upright and perky.
The elevator jolted to an abrupt halt at the ground floor, and the doors groaned apart as if in pain.
She straightened and looked up at the shadow looming just outside. Oh, God, not him. Desperate to avoid another showdown, she stabbed wildly at the "close" button.
Faster than forked lightning, a big, leather-booted foot flashed forward to keep the doors from closing.
Privately conceding defeat but determined not to show it, she locked her spine. "Nick — my, but don't you turn up in the most unexpected of places."
"I knew you'd pull something. You're so bloody predictable."
She considered the chiseled hardness of his unfairly attractive face, which could woo or intimidate depending on his mood. "And so are you. You always did enjoy an ambush, and you do realize if the wind changes, your face will be permanently stuck in that scowl." She tossed her head. "Oh, my mistake. It already is."
She spotted the hospital exit, the dark street that lay beyond, and skirted around him into the empty corridor, determined to stalk the twenty paces to freedom before he guessed — correctly — at how close to the edge she teetered. She cursed softly when, after a bare six steps, her sore muscles slowed her to a limp.
Once on the sidewalk, she scoured the dark for a vacant taxi and grimaced as long fingers fastened around her elbow.
"You know better than to fool about with head injuries, Anna."
"It's little more than a bump." She wrapped her free arm across her stomach to keep her involuntary shudder deep inside. She knew her injuries could have been so much worse. Fatal, and not just to her.
"Torn clothes. Skin the color of alabaster. Barely able to stand ... You look terrible."
"Just honest." She glanced upward, a long way upward, into the deep, frozen depths of his glacial-blue eyes. "Then learn to lie or, better still, keep your thoughts to yourself. After all, it's what you're good at."
"Ouch." He grimaced but kept his hold on her — why, she didn't know. It wasn't like she was in any shape to run.
She held his stare. "Don't pretend that hurt, Nick. You're untouchable, remember."
"True." The grin he cracked was like a fissure splitting a glacier. Sudden and dangerous to the unwary. Just like the one he'd flashed her before slamming the door in her face when he'd chucked her out five years ago.
She shuddered at the memory of that god-awful night when life as she knew it had imploded.
He misread the cause. "Damn it, Anna, you're in shock."
She laughed, hating that it sounded as if she had a mouthful of glass. "Nice of you to notice, but you're about five years too late with that observation."
A stupid, careless slip of emotion. One which, had she not been so distracted, she would have caught and swallowed before it escaped. "Do you mind easing some of that pressure on my arm, Nick? I've got enough bruises as it is."
"Sorry." He dropped his hold immediately, cursed eloquently, and buried his fists deep into the pockets of his navy suit trousers. Despite the lateness of the hour, he'd obviously still been at work when the hospital had called.
She rubbed idly at her elbow and searched his eyes to see if his remorse was genuine. She'd sit that one out on the fence, she decided.
"The doctor said you weren't supposed to be on your own," he said.
"I won't be. I called Will Berwick. He's meeting me at home." Will was Nick's über-sexy second-in-command of the Service's Internal Affairs unit. He was also the only one of her ex-husband's friends with whom she'd remained in touch. And not just because his relaxed disposition — the polar opposite of Nick's — appealed to her. Will alone had refused to judge her after the chaotic breakdown of her marriage.
A short pause was the only emotion Nick betrayed at her revelation. And then, "Will's a friend, Anna. He doesn't need a woman like you messing with his head ... or his career."
Her heart pinched. In spite of all she'd achieved, Nick still thought of her as an embarrassment. Impetuous, flighty, a liability. She saw little point in correcting his view. "Life's a bitch, Nick," she quipped, "but she can be tamed with a little fun. Will gets that and —"
"And I never did?"
God, she wished he'd just go. Maintaining this front of flippant bravado was draining her badly depleted defenses. "Okay, just to clarify, Will's fun to be around. You never were. Will's a friend. You're not. Succinct enough for you?"
"We were friends once."
She stared at the solid terrace of Georgian houses across the street. Maybe it was the lateness of the hour, but they seemed united in faceless judgment, none of it good. "No. We were comrades-in-arms against the system that didn't much care, then on-off-on-again lovers. I'm not sure friendship ever really came into it. You were too bloody unavailable for a start — in every sense of the word."
"So why marry me?"
"Great sex." The retort slipped free before she could stop it, and for the briefest moment she fancied she heard the houses opposite gasp their censure. Not that she cared. She was used to disapproval.
"That's a hell of a reason."
"Better than yours." Swinging round to face him, she swiped at the unhelpful bangs obscuring her glare. "You told me yourself that for appearance's sake you needed a wife quick, to secure a promotion."
"Or maybe I had a 'Will moment' and thought it would be fun."
Though his voice dripped cold sarcasm, she still caught the unspoken protest beneath his scorn. Nick hadn't liked her comparing him to another man. Strange. Why would he care? Crossing her arms, she turned away. Maybe if she pretended hard enough that he wasn't standing inches from her back, the heat of his body reaching for her, she'd make his disappearance true.
"Is that what you were doing tonight when you fell in front of the truck, Anna? Having fun?"
Her eyelids fluttered, and she choked on the urge to retaliate. She'd wasted more than half her life trying to blunt his scathing sarcasm, determined to scratch below its surface to get to the man beneath. It was a battle she had lost, time and again.
A rescuing beacon of yellow cut the darkness. Shooting out her arm, she waved frantically. The approaching cab flashed its lights, swerved, and drew to a halt beside her.
"Have a nice life, Nick." She scrambled in and yanked the door firmly shut against him.
Maybe it was the hurt, maybe just the unfairness, but the vehicle had traveled less than thirty yards when the temptation to jolt his too-ready assumption got the better of her. Unclipping her seat belt, she thrust the top half of her body out the open window and yelled like a shrew, "And I didn't fall, you sanctimonious bastard. I was pushed!"CHAPTER 2
Nick thrust back in his battered office chair, the one he stubbornly refused to exchange for the sleek ergonomic ones now insisted upon by the powers-that-be, and pressed heavily against his eyeballs with the heels of his hands. Traffic cameras monitored every inch of central London's congested streets, and he'd watched the same grainy footage of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) clips over and over for the past hour. He was no further forward in deciding whether Anna had indeed been pushed or had just taken an unlucky tumble.
Not that he cared. Anna wasn't his problem. Not anymore. And, damn straight, never again. He'd once kidded himself she was his salvation. Big mistake. She hadn't cured the darkness smoldering in his soul; she'd ended up fueling it.
Working black ops demanded absolute discretion, not just from operatives but from their families. An acceptance to fly so low beneath the radar of public life, it wasn't unheard of for belly skin to scrape the very bowels of hell itself.
He'd been up for it. Anna hadn't.
If anything, she'd been determined to burn more brightly, deliberately aligning herself with every nut group protesting against unchained authority that would have her. Her way of warning his superiors that no one clipped her wings.
Excerpted from Hard to Hold by Incy Black, Tracy Montoya. Copyright © 2014 Lindsey Hughes. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Action filled. Good story. Characters were likeable. First time have read this writer and if will not be the last.
I'm so sad that it's over. I wanted to stay in the world of Anna, Nick, and the Service a while longer. Nick is one of a kind. He's a grade A jerk and he did it all in the name of protecting Anna. His attitude is extremely harsh but he was trying to escape a violent past that he didn't want to touch her. They divorced. Five years later, she ends up in the hospital and they call Nick because he's her "in case of emergency" call person, which she forgot to change. Someone is trying to kill her and at the same time, someone is sending her gifts. Oh yeah, she's also pregnant by AID, Artificial Insemination by Donor. He never wanted children and she did. Donors are supposed to be anonymous, right? Wait until they find out who the father of her unborn child is! Fantastic story! I loved the constant pull between Nick and Anna. They still love each other but know they should not be together. His constant fight to keep her at arms length to protect her from himself. I just want to shake him and so does Anna. She loves him and all he does is get close and then push her away. Frustrating!!! Great story line. The best constant between book one and two is Will. He's great! I hope his story is going to be written. Incy Black has another 5-Star review written by this very satisfied reader. Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 stars Fast paced and action packed, Hard to Hold throws you right into the thick of it from the first page. Incy Black is a new author to me and this, her debut novel, is a well written suspense romance that will have you on edge of your seat the whole way through. Anna and Nick have a history, a painful history that cut them both to the quick. Their love for each other was never the question, the intense connection between them never totally severed, and when they are thrust back into each others lives, old hurts resurface and emotions are put through the proverbial wringer. The walls they thought they had in place to protect them from the past, come crumbling down as passions are ignited, truths are exposed and trust is tested. These two characters could be put forward as the definition of love hurts. They held nothing back from each other, both shielding their pain with harsh, brutal words and actions. When their backstory comes to light you see two deeply wounded souls who, through their stubbornness and pride, let their relationship suffer. I could really relate to Anna, putting up her defenses and hurting before she gets hurt. The dialogue was intense and sharp-tongued at times, then gentle and loving at others, pulling me in to their story, making me feel the connection and every raw emotion. The chemistry between Anna and Nick was electric and all consuming, the sexual tension palpable. Nick was only trying to protect Anna, having been through so much trauma in his life, not wanting it to taint her. Nick broke my heart with the story of his family and what he thought of himself. He honestly thought he was doing the right thing but Anna helped him realise certain truths about himself, helped him trust her with his emotions, and, in the end, was his salvation. Anna was not the fiercely independent woman we see today but was insecure and dependent on Nick for making her feel safe and protected. When they parted 5 years ago, she vowed to never rely on another person again and I admired the way she built her life back up, but at the same time I felt so much compassion for her situation. I thought Nick and Anna complimented each other while at the same time sharing similarities in their personalities, their vulnerabilities, their insecurities and their passion, their fierce need to protect and the intensity with which they loved. They each brought something to the relationship and I thought their qualities were well portrayed. Without giving anything away, I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this story and the action scenes were suspenseful and engaging. Each secondary character played their vital part and I liked how each situation lead us to the perilous conclusion. The final chapter gave us closure and was a fitting end to their story. Book Two promises more action and suspense laced with romance and I can't wait to read more from this author.
Hard to Hold is an amazing, mysterious and sexy book, full of twists and unexpected turns. Both Anna and Nick are still hurting over their divorce, but that doesn’t stop them from still loving each other and also making each other lives miserable. Both of them are very strong minded people, who do not back down from an argument; and that makes the situations quite spicy, fiery, explosive… Take your pick! Anna has worked very hard to reach where she is now. She does not take no for an answer and stands on her own feet throughout the book. She is a very strong woman, who can take anything and anyone on. She fights for what she believes in and protects the ones she loves. She is a remarkable and admirable character that you can’t help but adore! Nick has walls of a fortress. He doesn’t let them down for anyone, not even Anna. Actually, especially not Anna. Nick is a very strong, overprotective, fearless man! He is the one you can only wish to the stars to meet and hope that he is on your side! Otherwise, you are in trouble… But even though his fearless, he loves Anna so much that he is afraid to let her in, to let her get to know him..What he has done, what he is capable of doing.. The dialogues are smart, funny, fast and very umm hot at some points..Yep extremely hot..The dialogues and the story are amazing and amazingly written!!! Hard to Hold is an outstanding book and a perfect first book in a book series! I loved it and I strongly recommend from the bottom of my heart! So, Hard to Hold receives many stars more than 5!! Note: Hard to Forget (#2) is coming out in October! And it’s Jack’s story!
Just too annoying and slow. Could have been great, but not.
Angela's Review: I received a copy of Hard to Hold for an honest review. For readers that enjoy romance thrillers, this is a great read. Anna and Nick have a very entertaining love-hate relationship, which I personally loved. Their chemistry is fantastic! Anna is a stubborn smart-mouth and knows which buttons to push on Nick, and a few other characters as well. Nick is bull headed and egotistical enough to think that letting go of Anna is best for both of them. The twists, turns and surprises in the plot keep you turning page after page.
Oh my this book had action and suspense straight from the beginning. The main female character Anna forgot to do one tiny thing whenever she was finishing up the divorce that her now ex-husband Nick wanted. Well the little things are what will get you in trouble so when he comes and resurface after 5 years of no contact there are full of pent up fury and lots of powerful anger that are just waiting to be unleashed. This author knows exactly how to keep her readers attention through the whole novel from beginning to the end. Let's just say Anna didn't realize that the one way she wanted to have a baby will have possibly get her life in danger, and have stalkers. Will Nick help Anna face her deathly problems or will his anger and grudge from the past keep him from helping at the moment she needs him the most. As things begin to uncover you start to understand more and more the issues between these two and not only do they make me laugh but I felt sorry for them also. The descriptions of what was going on didn't leave any black holes for you to wonder what is going on, it had a great flow in the plot. Dealing with some of the issues in this book, it could probably happen depending on the type of people involved. If you like action and suspense to where your going to want to keep reading and finding out what is next, pick this one up you won't be disappointed. ~ sue ellen (girlygirlbookreviews)
Hard to Hold, Incy Black. Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Another book I’ve mixed feelings about. Nick and Anna were a great pair, the premise for the book seemed reasonable, the sex hot and sensual without being OTT, but somehow I just didn't quite excite me as much as I’d expected. Anna, she's successful and confident, and has decided to have a baby. I loved her attitude and independence but found her a bit confusing at times. Nick: wow what a man....and he's still in love with Anna but won't admit it. He threw her out believing she'd had an affair when he never even gave her a chance to explain, and she didn't seem to try either. They're both confident people outside but a muddle of insecurities inside. The weird stalking and the dangers would be enough to upset anyone but Anna. She doesn't seem to think clearly sometimes, arguing against what are sensible measures. I wasn't sure how one moment she was so tied up in work she wouldn't/couldn't leave and yet the next she was off for weeks and didn't seem to have much contact with the staff... Nick's hot, loved him, impetuous and protective he was just the right foil for Anna, and she for him. He doesn’t need a meek and mild “yes” girl but someone who'll create sparks and Anna certainly does that. The dangers start stacking up and made for some fun, but some of it seemed a bit hard to accept, money goes a long way but that far? Well, maybe, but I’m not convinced that the perpetrator was so untraceable by the specialists and yet annal could hack into pc's and get info easily even though she's an expert. Stars: three and a half, the Anna/Nick connection was great, the sex perfect but the plots went a bit too far for me. Arc supplied via Netgalley
Excellant read! Very intense, couldn't put it down until it was done. I highly reccomend this book.
This book is a great read. Anna and Nick story is sometimes you really never get over a relationship even when it doesn't go how you hoped but giving it another go at it can be better than before.
Anna had given up on her ex husband years ago and she wanted a family. So she choose to have a baby with an anonymous sperm donor. All of a sudden someone wants her dead. When she ends up in the hospital with a concussion and the nurse calls the very last person on earth that she wanted to speak with (her ex husband)she then has to put up with him meddling in her business. He decides that she needs protected, and much to her protest decides he is going to be the one to do it. As the story continues they fight each other and their feelings. Anna learns that the unborn child she is carrying is a criminal bosses child and the whole event was orchestrated for her to carry this child. Great book full of excitement and romance. It was a book hard to put down.
3.5 Stars - I enjoyed this story - it was very well written, there was plenty of action and suspense, and the characters were well-developed, but one thing I missed was feeling a connection to the two main characters. I think part of that has to do with how well the author has captured just how damaged both Nick and Anna are, since they themselves have a hard time connecting to anything except each other because of all they have been through. For me, I just wanted to feel a deeper underlying connection between the two of them – they ran hot and cold, and sometimes the connection just fizzled out for me. That being said, this was still a fun read with lots of action and suspense, tons of tension between Anna and Nick, some steamy times, and lots of snarky banter. Anna had me laughing with some of the things that would come out of her mouth…usually at the expense of Nick! “Seriously, beneath all that icy disdain lies an honest-to-God human being – I think. Quick, take his temperature, see if it registers above zero, or better still, cup him and ask him to cough. That should warm him up.” One thing I would have liked more of was the transition between the last two chapters. I like when an author leaves some blanks for me to fill in my own story line, but there was quite a jump in time that I would have liked to have just a little more information given to me – especially about what Nick went through and how that influenced his behavior in the end. I was happy with the ending, just would have liked a little more input into that crazy brain of Nick’s! It certainly seems that there are other characters who deserve a story of their own (WILL!!!), and I think/hope that we will get more from Incy Black and these characters! I received a copy of the book from the publisher for an honest review.
'Hard to Hold' the debut novel from Incy Black is a gritty, fast paced story. It will keep you on the edge of your seat, reading long into the night. This dark tale is full of missed chances, wrong choices and lives blighted by traumatic pasts. The question is can they save their future? Action and suspense colour every scene building to an explosive climax. There is plenty of sensual heat between Anna and Nick. Hot love scenes are the positive bi-product of their volatile relationship. Anna is a great character, intelligent and driven. Like the mythical Phoenix she creates a successful life for herself out of the ashes of her failed marriage. Nick is more in touch with his dark side and believes he is unworthy of true happiness. No wonder these two fight whenever they are in close proximity. 'Hard to Hold' is a unique blend of angst and sensual romance interwoven with nail biting suspense. Graphic visual imagery depicts the often violent action and there is a particularly menacing antagonist. This will appeal to those who like me prefer their romantic suspense dark and twisty. I received a copy of this book from the author/ Entangled Ignite via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.