Published by Avon, Harper Collins Genres: contemporary, Military Heroes, Romance
HARD AS IT GETS
Book 1 – The Hard Ink Series
by Laura Kaye
Avon/Harper Collins, November 26, 2013
Ebook, Paperback 368 pages
E-Galley provided by publisher via Edelweiss for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted. I am a member of Laura Kaye’s street team which means I support her work with my honest enthusiasm and respect for her writing.
“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 It Gets:
Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.
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…
Nick wanted to claim her and possess her and climb so far inside her heat that he’d forget about all the shit in his head. He wanted her writhing under him and boneless with pleasure and crying his name out loud. He wanted her seeking safety in his arms and comfort from his hands.
He spun the chair around to face her. She reared back on her knees and her gaze flew up to his. He shook his head, competing desires warring inside him. To possess her and protect her. To be honest and shield her from hurt. To do the right thing and do what felt right.
Damnit, he needed her.
On a groan, he reached out, grasped her neck, and hauled her up to him.
Rixey consumed her with the kiss, pouring every bit of his gratitude and desire into the movement of his lips, his tongue, his hands. She moaned in surprise, and he devoured that, too. God, she smelled of warm vanilla and tasted of mint. Little needful whimpers and sighs and gasps spilled out around their lips, and he reveled in every last note of her pleasure, of her desire. He pulled her closer and penetrated her more deeply with his tongue. The damn backrest separated them, but he couldn’t let her go long enough to rectify the problem.
“God, sunshine, what are you doing to me?” he rasped around the edge of a kiss.
Welcome LAURA KAYE!
Welcome to my virtual parlor and would you like some canapes and a drink: tea, whiskey or champagne?
Ooh, champagne sounds delightful! Thank you!
Make yourself comfortable, hope you like cats!
I love them but, sadly, I’m allergic to them. So I must admire them from afar!
I love all your series, but you know that. Fan Girl Moment!
Aw, thank you!!!
1. So, you began writing after a serious head injury. Did an interest in writing arise directly from the head injury or was it something to do as you recovered?
Within five weeks of my head injury I was outlining my first manuscript, which ultimately became my vampire romance, Forever Freed. So pretty much once I was over the critical part of the injury/recovery process, the creative urge hit me and I started writing. And the urge to write was almost compulsive. I had the book drafted in less than 12 weeks.
2. I was attracted to your work, because of the sincerity reflected in your writer’s voice. Where does that voice come from?
Good question! It’s hard to say where an author’s voice comes from, you know? I do know there’s a lot of me—sometimes my experiences, sometimes my own challenges or losses—in my characters, which I think brings an authenticity to my writing and characters (or, at least, I hope it does!).
3. What inspired you, when you were recovering from your injury, to start off writing about vampires both in Forever Freed and the Vampire Warrior King series, and then the gods and demigods of the four directions and seasons? Which couple in the group is your favorite?
Vampires have always been my favorite paranormal creature, and I grew up reading all things supernatural. So it was only natural that I’d start by writing what I loved. Forever Freed is the story that came to me in the midst of recovering from the head injury and it just came to me as a fully formed story, so much so that I write a 22-page single-spaced outline over the course of a week just to get it all out of my head and down on paper. The Vampire Warrior Kings series came to me a lot later, during the summer of 2010. I was driving home very late at night from an urgent care center (I had horrible bronchitis) and on the drive home I saw Kael pacing the floor of his chamber dreading a feeding ceremony (the opening chapter of In the Service of the King). I got home after midnight and, despite my illness, stayed up until 3 a.m. writing the first 20 pages of the book. The Anemoi series came to me because the snowman in the little Christmas novella I thought was writing refused to be just a snowman. He insisted he was a snow god, so then I did research to find a culture or tradition that would support his characterization. The Anemoi – wind gods the Greeks associated with controlling the weather and seasons – were perfect.
In the Vampire Warrior Kings, Kael and Shayla of In the Service of the King are my favorite. In the Hearts of the Anemoi series, it’s a very close tie between Owen and Megan of North of Need and Chrysander and Laney of South of Surrender, though, to be fair, I haven’t written East of Ecstasy yet…
4. And then, what brought about your contemporary series? I just read JUST GOTTA SAY, which as far as I know was the only thing I had missed, and may I just say, it made me blush! You look like the girl next door, “such a nice girl;” to what do you attribute your ability to write truly hot and dirty action?
LOL! I am pretty dang open minded about what constitutes a sexual fantasy for people and what’s sexier than three big, strong, attractive men wanting you…at the same time??? In all seriousness, my first published story was a contemporary romance, Hearts in Darkness (although it was the second book I wrote, after Forever Freed). So I’ve written both contemporary and paranormal from the start.
5. Your Heroes and Hard Ink series focus on our military heroes mostly returning from service in the Middle East and Afghanistan. They return damaged, for the most part, physically or emotionally. I know you taught at Annapolis, our nation’s Naval Academy, and I find your sensitivity and empathy for these characters remarkable. Can you tell us about why you’re focusing on these returning soldiers and from where your obviously deep feeling arises. You take it to such a deep level; it’s so moving. Not that they aren’t really hot, and in the case of HARD AS IT GETS suspenseful and edge-of-the-seat thrilling.
Aw, thank you for that wonderful compliment! It means a lot. My respect for and desire to honor our men and women in uniform is one reason I wanted to write military or prior military characters. And, with the U.S. being at war for so many years, almost everyone is affected by our nation’s need for service members. Most of us either have someone who’s served in our family or know someone who’s served. Many of us have lost a loved one or a friend to the last twelve years of multi-theater warfare. So it’s an increasingly common experience and one that deserves to be acknowledged. War alters us. It alters the society that fights it, the society where it’s fought, the people who fight, the people who support it. I wanted to show that in its most personal connotation, and prior military characters offer the perfect way to do that. I write deep point of view in everything I write – it comes pretty naturally to me. That means I interweave the physical, emotional, and intellectual reactions a character has at any given moment. I think that’s what creates the sense of deep emotion. It’s totally squeeworthy for you to describe it that way, too!!!
Thank You Laura, It’s always a delight to read one of your books and I want to share them with everyone else!
Read an Extended Excerpt of Hard As It Gets
THE BIG GIVEAWAYS TODAY ARE AT LAURA’S RELEASE DAY CELEBRATION:
Join NYT Bestselling Author Laura Kaye as she celebrates the release of the first book in her new Hard Ink series, Hard As It Gets (11/26/13)! Excerpts, giveaways, guest authors, and prizes all day TODAY, November 26!!
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.