Monday, September 21, 2015

Hard As Steel by Laura Kaye - Review

Author: Laura Kaye
Publication Date:  22 September, 2015
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts, Inc
Series:  Hard Ink, book 4.5 (crossover to upcoming series, Raven Riders)
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, MC based
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 5 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

After identifying her employer's dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn't make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.

Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he's ever known, one he's purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike's not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever.

My Review:

WOW!  Can I just say that and call the review done?  No, I didn't think so either but WOW.  I loved this book.  It is the perfect bridge leading us from the Hard Ink series and into Laura Kaye's upcoming series Raven Riders.  It is also VERY swoon worthy.  Ike, dude I didn't know you had all that in you but I am so glad to have found out.  

Jessica Jakes is scared, her friends are being attacked and now she's being hunted, after a terrifying break in at her house she calls on the one person she knows that can help her, Ike.  Problem is she wants him for more than just protection.  She wants him to be her everything.  Ike Young has kept Jess at arms length.  He knows she sees more in him than just a friend, but he's still living with the loss of his first love and the guilt that followed.  He can't be what she wants, he can't be more than someone that will keep her safe for a time.  So rushing her away on the back of his motorcycle to his secluded cabin outside of the city may not have been his best plan, but he's determined to keep her strictly in the friend-zone.  As we all know, the best laid plans don't always work out...Thank Goodness!  

I loved these two together.  Jess is a strong female character who pulls no punches when it comes to how she chooses to live her life and she isn't going to let anyone make her feel less for her choices.  She carries enough guilt on her own, she doesn't need other people adding to it.  In that way she and Ike are very much alike.  They both struggle with the guilt of issues from their past, but they are living their now on their own terms, except for when it comes to each other.  It is clear from the beginning that both characters know even if they don't want to admit it, they love one another but are just afraid to accept that love.  They are both scarred emotionally, they have both lost and the fear of loosing again keeps them from accepting the love that is right in front of them.  But, when they is everything.  The tension and chemistry between these two is off the charts and when they come together, GAH.  This is one steamy read.  If you have been reading the Hard Ink series up to this point you know that Laura can write a swoon worthy steamy scene...but those, they don't have anything on this.  This is grittier and 'dirtier' than any of those scenes from Hard Ink.  They are all fantastic, no doubt, but this book takes it to a different level and it's a level I think we are all going to like, haha.

Another thing I loved is that while this book definitely feels separate from the Hard Ink series, it is still tied in.  While Jess and Ike aren't with the rest of the Hard Ink crew they are being kept abreast of the situation through phone calls and texts.  You could read this as a standalone, but those little moments when you are getting info from back in Baltimore might seem a bit confusing to you.  For those that have read the entire series, these are updates you already know as the time lines coincide.  

We get to start meeting more of the Raven Motorcycle club in this book as well and I am already in love with at least one of the characters and hope to see her through out the new series and am hopeful that we will get a few more snippets of Jess, Ike and maybe a mention or two of our Hard Ink family. This book won't give you a lot of insight in to what is coming with the Ravens but like I mentioned earlier it is the perfect little bridge between to merging 'worlds' and will definitely wet your appetite for more.  This is an HEA, with no cliffhangers.  I hope that you will read the Hard Ink series, but it is not necessary to read this book (one of my favorite things about all 1,001 Dark Nights novellas)

Fans of Hard Ink will find this a most read, fans of Contemporary Romance and/or MC based books will definitely want to pick this one up.  


The Hard Ink Series
Click picture for Goodreads Link

Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink, Heroes, and Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura's hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. 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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