Also in this series: Hard to Come By, Hard as You Can
Series: Hard Ink #1
Published by Avon on November 26th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Military Romance
Tall, dark, and lethal...
Trouble just walked into Nicholas Rixey's tattoo parlor. Becca Merritt is warm, sexy, wholesome--pure temptation to a very jaded Nick. He's left his military life behind to become co-owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, but Becca is his ex-commander's daughter. Loyalty won't let him turn her away. Lust has plenty to do with it too.
With her brother presumed kidnapped, Becca needs Nick. She just wasn't expecting to want him so much. As their investigation turns into all-out war with an organized crime ring, only Nick can protect her. And only Becca can heal the scars no one else sees.
Desire is the easy part. Love is as hard as it gets. Good thing Nick is always up for a challenge.
Becca Merritt, when receiving a frantic message from her brother, Charles, to find Nick Rixey, and learning of her brothers disappearance, she has no idea where to turn. She knows that Nick worked with her father in the military, and was part of the team he led. So she goes into the Hard Ink Tattoo parlor, to ask for his help. Becca is a nurse, and has never known the danger of gangs and terrorists, until her brother’s kidnapping. Nicholas Rixey, when first seeing Becca some into his brothers parlor, is intrigued despite his feelings toward her father, who betrayed their team, and they lost six of their team members, brothers he would have died for. Now he and the other remaining living members, are considered outcasts of the military, and not honored for their years of sacrifice. Nick knows that the last thing he wants to do is help a Merritt, but helping her and saving her brother, may lead them to being honored again. But as he helps investigate, Nick and Becca learn that the danger is more than they thought, and it will take working along side his team, with every asset they have, to survive.
Nicholas Rixey, fought in the military, mostly overseas, where he and other members of his team were on Special Forces. He sacrificed and dedicated his life to his country, and ended up being betrayed by his mentor and a man he had admired and respected. Nick suffers from a back injury, from that fateful day where his life changed. He works with his young brother at a Tattoo Parlor, and is a talented artist. But inking tattoos is not where he though he would lead his life. Nick, is one hell of a hero. He is sexy, dangerous, and has the type of sense of humor you could relate with on a personal level. He is charming and has a certain sexual appeal to him that makes him irresistible. His character is full of depth and you being to admire him. He is such a human character, he makes mistakes and has faults, but those qualities make him seem real to the reader.
Becca Merritt, adores her family. She has lost her father and her brother already, and has only one living member left and he has been kidnapped. But Becca isn’t going to just lay down, she will find her brother with or without Nick’s help. I loved her tenacity, stubborn will, and sweet nature. She is passionate, and quite a fighter. She doesn’t back down from a challenge, and I loved her smart wit and the way she endears herself to Nick. She was such a lovely character, and I really liked seeing her grow from page 1 to page 358. From the beginning of the story, I admired her. I never found anything I didn’t like about her, because she loved fiercely and didn’t shy away from danger, just because she might get hurt. As certain truths are revealed, I loved how compassionate she is especially toward the team. Overall a very sweet and likable character you can’t resist falling in love with.
Plot and Story Line
The story starts off with a intriguing start. I was instantly pulled into the story. Now I have read quite a few Romantic Suspense novels, but I will say this author is at the top of my list. She is a phenomenal storyteller, and she adds that level of tension and thrilling excitement to each of her stories. Hard As It Gets is the second book that I have read from this author, but is the first in the series. (I know I am reading it out of order…what else is new? 😉 Well the story starts off with Becca asking Nick for help, and quite frankly his answer isn’t the most encouraging for Becca. So she goes off on her own in search of her own answers. But when she is put in danger, Nick can’t resist Becca and has a need to help her find her brother. They both have a attraction to each other, and there is quite a bit of sexual magnetism, but you also see the seeds of a real relationship that goes deeper than just sex. I enjoyed seeing the way these characters grew and developed as the story progressed. We also get to see other members of the team, and the start of them working for a way to redeem themselves. I will say my favorite secondary character, is Jeremy, Nick’s younger brother. He is so funny, and I had a hoot of fun with him. I honestly can’t wait to read his story. What I found compelling about this book was the effortless way that this author combines suspense and mystery, with a endearing love story. There was a balance in the book, that I wasn’t quite expecting, and there wasn’t any chopping connections in the plot. The flow was pretty smooth, and it seemed to blend together in a harmonious way that you don’t normally see in Romantic Suspense. If you have yet to try this out out and you love a thrilling contemporary romance…this author is for you. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Now when I first saw this cover, it played mind tricks on me. I don’t know if any of you had the same reaction. But at first glance (and it still happens), oh the curse of the mind, is it looks like instead of holding hands, its gripping his pectoral. Kinda confused me at first but then I really looked at it…and I then I was like Oh….LOL. You just have to laugh at yourself.
A sexy and full of edge romance, that really keeps your heart rate up. A thrilling romance of action, sizzling sexual tension, and a whopper of a love story. A impossible to put down read! A must read for Romantic Suspense lovers…or anyone that loves a romance to give you thrills from head to toe. BRILLIANT!!
So, Becca, did you enjoy the sloppy joes Nick made for you?”
“Yeah,” she said, leaning against the counter. “They were great.”She didn’t seem to hear the innuendo dripping from the guy’s words.
“Jeremy,” he said, lacing the syllables with a warning his brother sure as hell would recognize.
Grinning, Jeremy started in. “Wow, that was really nice of Nick to–”
Rixey swiped the pan out from under Jeremy’s nose and crossed to the trash can. His foot depressed the pedal and the metal lid flipped up.
“Hey!” Jeremy whirled, following Nick’s quick movements.
Nick tilted the skillet at a forty five degree angle and paused, read to scoop the leftovers into the trash. “You were saying?”
Jeremy gasped, and threw his hands out. “What the hell are you doing, man? You can’t…that’s sloppy joe!” Mouth agape, eyes wide, his expression was almost comical.
Becca glanced between them, a confused smile on her face.
Nick winked at her, then arched a brow at Jeremy. Boy damn well knew what this was for.
Jer rolled his eyes. “All right, all right. Just.”–he gestured to the stove–“step away from the trash. Slowly.”
Settling the pan back on the burner, Nick glared, then finally let go of the handle. Jeremy pulled it close and shielded it with his body like it was his firstborn child.