Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Release Day Launch - Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye

Release day is finally here! And I’m thrilled to share Hard As You Can, the second book in my Hard Ink series, with all of you here today! Hard As You Can follows the surviving members of a disgraced Army Special Forces team as they fight to regain their stolen honor, and finds their investigation crossing paths with a waitress willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive and protect her younger sister. For Shane McCallan, saving Crystal Dean is a mission he refuses to turn down.

Today, I’m super excited to share a sexy and emotional excerpt with you guys! Here we go:

“Don’t look at me like that, Crystal,” Shane said, his voice a raw scrape. It wasn’t a demand or a threat. It was a plea. And the thought that this big, strong, powerful man was begging her for anything was thrilling.

“Like what?” she asked, dragging her gaze up to his. In the diffuse light of the streetlamp, she could tell his eyes were absolutely blazing, and it only fueled the arousal rising up inside her.

“Like maybe you want me the way I want you.” Tilting his head, he nuzzled his face against hers, the tip of his nose trailing over her cheek, his breath ghosting over her lips. “Like maybe you’d let me kiss you and touch you.” A quick brush of his lips against her temple and ear. “Like maybe you’d let me in.”

Crystal could barely breathe for the way her heart was pounding and her pulse was racing. She slid a hand up his chest to his neck, wanting, needing, just absolutely yearning to have this. Just this once.

Leaning into him, Crystal held his gaze and adored the way his expression filled with such expectant satisfaction, like she’d surprised him. Pleased him. She pressed her lips to his.

The groan he unleashed was needful, almost triumphant. His arms came around her gently and pulled her in. And it wasn’t enough. She needed to be closer. Deeper.

She needed more of Shane McCallan.

She might never get another chance.

A flicker of unbidden panic whipped through her body. Bruno had been her only lover for the past four years, and she’d only been able to take him inside her after months’ buildup of trust and familiarity of touch. That was back before he’d shown his true colors. Or before she’d shed her naïveté. Maybe they were the same thing. Who knew? Stop thinking about Bruno and get out of your head. Just feel. You deserve this. You need this. Besides, cart before horse, much?

Shane pulled away and rested his forehead against hers. “I didn’t come here expecting this. Hoped, maybe.” He smiled. “But I really just needed to see you.”

“I’m glad you came,” she said, combing her fingers through the sides of his hair, then holding his face in her hands.

“What do you want, sweetness? I’d give you anything.” Over her hoodie, his hands rubbed up and down her back, hip to shoulder, hip to shoulder.

Crystal couldn’t find the words, so she tilted her face and claimed his lips, and this time the kiss unleashed a fire that seemed to flash through both of them. She shifted into a kneeling position between his thighs, and he hauled her into his lap so that she straddled him. The position brought the hard length of his cock between her legs and she gasped and moaned at the feel of him so close to where she was wet and wanting.

They pressed closer, held tighter, kissed more deeply until all Crystal knew, all that existed in the world, was this moment, this place, this man.

Shane’s hands moved over her body. Fisting in the long lengths of her hair. Gently cupping and massaging her breasts. Stroking her bare thighs. Crystal adored the way he seemed to need to touch her. How powerful and necessary human touch was. How life-giving and affirming. And how simply mind-blowing was it to discover that touch could be a giving thing, not just about taking, that touch could be healing, and not just about hurting, that touch could comfort, and not just exert control. Even when things had been better with Bruno, they’d never been like this.

And to think she’d found someone who could teach her something so fundamental that she’d never known before. Or, maybe, she’d known but hadn’t believed. Now she did. Because of Shane. No matter how little time she got to have him in her life, she would always be grateful that he’d shown her what it could be like. With the right person.

Gripping her hair in his fist, Shane reclined her head, opening the line of her throat to his worshipful lips and tongue. He trailed a path of liquid fire over her flesh that left her dizzy, totally awash in sensation. He tugged her hips in tighter, and Crystal moaned at the friction the movement created. He was deliciously hard and thick between her legs. Unable to resist, she rocked herself against him as he laid her back farther so he could kiss her the small part of her chest the V-neck of the hoodie revealed.

Slowly, he drew down the zipper, trailing kisses lower and lower until the heat of his breath fanned over her nipple through the thin fabric of her uniform. Just as slow, Shane raised her back up, bringing their bodies together again. Crystal ran her hands over his chest and stomach, but what she most needed was to feel him, skin on skin. Pulling back from their kiss, she tugged at the hem of his shirt, silently asking for permission.

“Anything you want,” he whispered, taking her belly and her heart on a loop-the-loop.

Man, I just loved writing these two! *grins* Did you have a favorite line? Thanks for reading!

“Edgy, sexy, and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!”
~J.R. Ward on Hard As It Gets

About Hard As You Can:

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

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.

Read an Extended Excerpt of Book 1, Hard As It Gets
Buy Hard As You Can at Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

Hard as You Can (Hard Ink, #2)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been dying to finally read one of Laura Kaye's books after hearing so many wonderful reviews & recommendations, so I figured what better way to start then with the Hard Ink Series?! Obviously I started with Hard As It Gets (Hard Ink, #1) (and LOVED it) which is where we are originally introduced to this amazing cast of characters. While you could potentially pick up Hard As You can without reading the first book, I definitely don't recommend it because there is an ongoing story line that carries right into book 2 and you will end up confused. And why would you want to miss out on getting to know Nick Rixley?!

In this next installment of the Hard Ink Series we meet Crystal, a waitress at Confessions, a bar/strip club that also caters to darker fantasies. Obviously this isn't Crystal's dream job, she's only working there in an attempt to pay off the debt her father, an Apostle in Church's gang, incurred while alive. So not only does he leave Crystal to clean up his mess she's now also in charge of caring for her sister, Jenna who was frequent seizures. The love she has for her sister is immeasurable so it's not even a job or hassle in Crystal's eyes, but the medical costs are outrageous causing her to rely on her abusive and controlling "boyfriend" Bruno, who happens to be the Director of Security for Church.Crystal is basically just biding her time until she's ready and able to make an escape. She's been saving money and will hopefully soon have just enough for herself and Jenna to take off and start over some place new, far away from Church, Bruno and the dangerous lifestyle she's been a part of.

Enter Shane McCallan. *BOOK 1 SPOILER* While on a mission to rescue Becca's brother Charlie, who mysteriously disappeared, Shane runs into a startled Crystal who inadvertently points him in the direction of where the injured man is being held captive. She realizes what she's done though as she runs into Shane once again, this time wearing a mask and fleeing the club with Charlie in tow. Even though their meeting and exchange of words was very brief Shane can't stop thinking about her. He sees something in Crystal that needs rescuing, and with as much guilt as he's carrying on his shoulders, it's almost his mission to help her. In an attempt to further uncover what Becca and Charlie's father was up to and exactly what kind of dirty business is going on at Confessions, Shane tries to keep the lines of communication open with Crystal…both for informational purposes but also to satisfy his ever growing hunger…for her.

So here's what I love. Hard As You Can picks up pretty much where Hard As It Gets left off. There's no annoyingly long, drawn out recap, you just jump right into the story. We get all of the same cast members from book 1 except for the new additions of Crystal and Jenna, even though Crystal isn't all that new. Both novels contain an unbelievable amount of action, intrigue, drama, romance and emotions that will tug at your heart strings and keep you glued to your seat until the very last page.

I enjoyed Ms. Kaye's writing style and was seriously impressed that even the unedited ARC I received to review was pretty much flawless. The characters are deep and easy to connect with emotionally, she really brings them to life right before your eyes. The story flows perfectly, and each scene has a purpose. You won't be getting any fluff or fillers in a novel by Ms. Kaye, just plenty of story!

I would highly recommend this series and can't wait to read more books by Laura Kaye!

View all my reviews

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She 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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