Title: Hard as You Can (Hark Ink #2)
Author: Laura Kaye
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.
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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