Monday, November 24, 2014

review || HARD TO COME BY { blog tour }


Hard to Come By by Laura Kaye

Publisher: Avon (11/25/2014)
Series: Hard Ink, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: InkSlinger
Buy It From Amazon&Kindle | BN&Nook || Goodreads
My Rating: ★★ 

click here to jump to { mm:r's } review

Caught between desire and loyalty…Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his
disgraced Special Forces team—sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.

When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he's become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.

As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…

Purchase from || Amazon | | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes | Kobo
Pre-order or purchase before December 2, and get awesome bonus content!

And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:

Praise for Hard to Come By:

"Rough sex and explosive fights power Kaye's third Hard Ink novel, a thrilling adventure that feels more like an action movie with a romantic subplot than a typical contemporary romance. New readers will head straight for Kaye's backlist after powering through this installment." ~Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"TOP PICK! If you're looking for danger, gritty action, and sizzling passion, then Kaye has just the book and the series for you." ~RT Book Reviews Magazine

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. 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.

connect with Laura || Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter SignUp

Want to see other reviews and goodies for HARD TO COME BY? Check out these other tour stops!

November 20
November 21
November 22
November 23
November 24
November 25
November 26
November 27
November 28
November 29
Naughty Book Eden-Excerpt
All in a Book-Excerpt
Ramblings From This Chick-Excerpt
Book Nook Nuts-Review
Renee Entress’s Blog-Review
Sassy Divas Book Blog-Review

{ review } .

This book...

What a great addition to this Hard Ink family. This series started with Nick and Becca, moved to Shane and Sara (where I started), slid into Easy and Jenna, and here we are, reading about Marz and Emilie.

This series only takes place over a few weeks, thus far anyhow.

But the beauty of it? It's written in a way that you forget. I'm not typically really big on quick romances but if I can forget that it's a quick romance, well then, props to the author. When I sit back and look at Shane and Sara's relationship, Easy and Jenna's, and now Marz and Emilie's (because I've yet to read book one...), well, I see a lot of 'love' that maybe could be a result of circumstances...

...but then again, Laura writes it well enough that you can feel and see all of the emotion.

So finally, after Becca and Jeremy entered the fold, and Sara and Jenna escaped Church's hold... Marz gets his story. And his leading lady? Well, she's the sister of enemy number one.

Marz first follows Emilie for intel, then he needs to keep her from her house while the team searches it. He doesn't really expect to fall for her like his teammates fell for their ladies, but he quickly falls down that slippery slope.

Marz is one of the strongest men on the team. Yes, all of the men are strong in their ways, but Marz has a few obstacles he's needed to overcome. Not only did he lose a leg in their last legit mission, he nearly lost a friend as well, not to mention the teammates they all lost.

But when he pushed Beckett out of the way, saving him... well, Beckett, man that he is, has an enormous amount of guilt and seeing Marz and his prosthetic leg shuts him down. And as much as Marz manages to hide it, it hurts him that Beckett doesn't look at him the same.

Marz is the group jokester. Even when he'd been laying on the ground, bleeding profusely, he was cracking jokes. Beyond cracking jokes, he always sings -- terribly off-key, but singing nonetheless. He always manages to keep the mood light.

With Emilie:
She turned toward the sound.
Derek slowly rose from behind the table of bananas, balancing a pineapple and bunch of bananas on his head. He wiggled his hips like he was dancing, and everything fell off. He caught the fruit in his arms before they hit the floor and gave her a sheepish smile.
Emilie tried not to smile as she turned back to the case of berries.
A few minutes passed. “Psst,” she heard again.
A smile already tugging at her lips, she looked over her shoulder and found Derek holding two huge melons of some sort under his T-shirt.
“Derek! Put those back,” she said, looking to see who had noticed him. His playfulness eased some of the tension from her shoulders.
And with the boys:
“You know, you two are dating sisters. You really didn’t need to get matching GSWs, too,” Derek said. The guys chuckled. And there went Derek, lightening the mood again.
Beyond the leg loss, the essential friend-loss, and the fact that the team is still in critical-mission-mode... Well, boys will be boys:

A split second of inattention, and Nick had grabbed his upper body, swept a leg behind Marz’s knees, and knocked him to the ground.
“Aw, shit, man. Are you okay?” Nick asked. “I wasn’t thinking.”
Marz rolled onto his back and smirked. “What was there to think about?” As if he had to ask. “It was a clean takedown. Fair and square. And I’m fine.”
“But, I, uh . . .” Nick tugged a hand through his damp hair.
The guy was dancing all around the elephant in the room. Marz’s amputation. And that sucked some major ass, especially as Marz lay there, knocked on his own gluteus maximus. Maybe they were right. Maybe he was the weak link now. At the thought, ice slid into his gut and he shook his head.
“Just didn’t want to knock your limb off or damage it. That’s all,” Nick said, planting his hands on his hips.
Pulling himself out of his mental funk, Marz decided to give Nick the benefit of the doubt and believe him. Besides, since some prosthetic limbs could be knocked or moved out of position, Marz couldn’t deny it was a legitimate concern. One he could put to rest.
“No can do,” Marz said, unzipping the track pants at the ankle and hauling the material up over his knee. “I am vacuum sealed into this mother. You couldn’t remove it if you tried.” He chanced a glance at Beckett, and, sure enough, the guy’s gaze was glued to them. Which probably meant he’d seen Marz get his feet knocked out from under him. Peachy.
Nick crouched down and took a closer look. Marz reached into his pocket and removed a small black remote control. He held it up between his fingers. “I am literally a machine.” The remote operated the limb’s vacuum, the part that ensured that the socket and outer sleeve held an airtight, immovable grip on his stump.
“You’re the Six Million Dollar Man,” Nick said with a grin as his gaze scanned over his limb.
“No, no. I am the Terminator,” Marz said, affecting Ahnold’s accent. Having grown up on the Terminator movies and reruns of the bionic man, he did rather enjoy both references. “Here, I’ll show you.” He lifted his leg toward Nick. “Grab the shank and try to pull my leg off.”
Nick’s eyes went wide before his brow cranked down. “Uh . . .”
“It’s not like pulling my finger. I promise.” He grinned.
“Well, that’s good to know. I guess.” Humor slid into Nick’s gaze, but it didn’t replace any of the skepticism.
“I’m serious. You won’t be able to do it. Bet you a twenty.”
Rising, Nick took ahold of the black metal shaft that extended up from the foot. “You sure about this?”
Marz laughed. “Dude, pull my leg already.”
With an uncertain smile, Nick pulled. Marz’s body followed, his shirt riding up against the cold floor. Nick’s smile broadened and he pulled harder, dragging Marz across the floor. Soon, Marz was fighting against him, trying to find purchase against the smooth concrete or by grabbing at a weight bench. No luck. When Nick twisted his ankle, Marz did the same thing he would’ve done if he’d had his real leg—his body flipped in the direction Nick twisted.
The longer it went on and the more they laughed and cursed at each other, the more Nick’s reservations appeared to melt away until they seemed to be gone entirely.
Wonder if it was working on Beckett, too.
“See? I told you,” Marz said as he slid across the concrete.
“This is the most fun I’ve had in days,” Nick said.
“Yeah, yeah. You can let me go now.”
The devil in his expression, Nick went faster.
“All right, asshole. Hands off the hardware.”
“You’re at my mercy now,” Nick said, waggling his eyebrows. When Nick peered over his shoulder to check his path, Marz used the moment of distraction to his advantage.
“Says who?” he called as he hooked his free foot behind the back of Nick’s knee and tugged the guy down.
“Shit!” Nick said as he lost his balance and fell, laughing.
Sure, the prosthetic and loss of his leg gave him some dark times, and the muscles in his leg feel fatigue quicker than his other, and he has serious phantom pain in his nonexistent heel... But while he's pretty optimistic and full of jokes when it's with the guys...

...when he stays the night with Emilie, he battles himself when he goes to take the prosthetic off. We finally see a chink in this man's armor (even though by this point we know Emilie is a huge chink, as he keeps battling on when to tell her and what to tell her about the mission they're completing that will take her brother down).
When he rejoined her, he sat on the edge of the bed, his back mostly toward where she leaned against the headboard, and he appeared decidedly less relaxed—shoulders bunched, jaw tight, eyes no longer at ease. With his lean muscles and miles of ink, he was still the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen, but she wanted the sweet, playful light back in his eyes. Emilie frowned. What could account for the change?
Her eyes scanned over his back and side. Tucked under his right arm, inked script on his ribs read, “For those I love I will sacrifice.” He’d certainly proven that. Her gaze scanned down, and found the words Carry On in block letters running sideways down his right hip to the top of his thigh. Derek was a living embodiment of the idea of wearing your emotions on your sleeve—except he wore his on his skin.
“What’s wrong?” she finally asked, her belly threatening to take a nosedive. Please don’t let her have misread him. Please don’t let her be the only one getting sucked into this.
Because they might’ve been a crazy, too-fast whirlwind, but Emilie definitely felt herself taking a step off a cliff. It wouldn’t take much at all for her to actually be falling.
Derek shook his head and shrugged. “Gotta take my prosthesis off.”
Emilie waited for more, but that was all he said. “Okay.”
He rubbed the back of his neck, drawing her gaze to the intricate collision of tattoos across his back.
“Derek, talk to me.”
He shifted toward her, drawing his right leg up on the bed so he could face her. “It’s not attractive, Em. The amputation site, I mean. And sometimes, the whole prosthetic limb thing feels downright emasculating. If I get up in the middle of the night—which I almost always do, because of phantom pain or nightmares or just plain old insomnia—I either have to use a cane, crawl on the floor, or go through the steps to put the limb back on.” His words spilled out faster and faster as he spoke, and his eyes were almost bleak. “I’ve adjusted to that to the point it’s almost second nature. But I . . .” He dropped his gaze like he was suddenly fascinated with the architecture of his prosthesis. “In all the months since I’ve had to wear this, I’ve never gone through a night with another person. You’ve been through so much today, and I don’t want to ruin this moment of . . . fucking perfection we managed to carve out of the chaos—”
“Hey, no, don’t worry about any of that, Derek,” Emilie said, grabbing his big hand in both of hers. As if his fears didn’t melt her heart enough, the fact that he also thought what they’d shared was perfect absolutely lit her up inside. “I want to know all of you..."
And what it stems from? As well as he hides it, he's terrified that the loss of his leg is a true weakness, and because of it, he won't be able to protect Emilie.

Oh, Marz... Emilie is so good for him. She doesn't judge him. At one point, she senses he's in pain but refrains from asking in front of the guys, because she knows him well enough to know he won't like the weakness being brought to light in front of everyone. He is, after all, the one who lightens the mood, not brings the team down.

I understand why it was difficult for him to find an opening to tell her the truth, and in the grand scheme of things, everything happened quickly. Marz has a right to feel guilt from keeping secrets from her, just as Emilie has the right to be thoroughly pissed at him when she finds out...

But because they're both so good for one another, they find their way.

So now my question is... These are the next titles: HARD TO BE GOOD, HARD TO LET GO, and lastly, a cross over with Laura's Raven Riders, HARD AS STEEL. Which one is Beckett's? And is his lady going to be Katherine, 'cause there are some serious vibes between Marz's best friend and Nick's sister.

1 comment:

  1. You know, you just convinced me to keep reading this series. LOL I read the first three, and while I enjoyed each one, I found the suspense aspects a tad too predictable to truly hook me. But man, I so loved the guys...and think I need to keep reading. Thanks for the review. I'm heading to the bookstore now. :)