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..
Laura Kaye knows how to write an alpha male - tough with a touch of vulnerability, broken and yet redeemable. In this series opener we get the added benefit of a strong willed, stubborn,and normal heroine. She is not a superhero; does not possess paranormal talents; is not trained to be an assassin; she is infinitely relate-able. She is also a nurse, so we know she is used to keeping a level head in traumatic situations.
So, in the spirit of honesty, I"m ready to crawl out of my skin over Charlie, my joints ache, these damn stitches sting like crazy, and my headache still hasn't gone away...But I'm okay. By morning, the worst of the aches will be gone. Until then, ibuprofen is my friend."
Unfortunately, she finds herself in that very circumstance when her younger brother goes missing. This is especially difficult because Becca has already lost her mother, father and older brother. Following a cryptic note left behind, Becca seeks out Nick Rixey to help find her sibling.
Amidst the search, Nick is drawn to Becca. He is in a really dark place after being unfairly framed and subsequently discharged from the Army. He is merely surviving, not living, even pushing away the people who mean the most to him, his unit-mates. For Nick, Becca brings hope and life:
Everything was dark and heavy, saddling him with the bone-crushing weight of guilt and regret and wants never to be fulfilled. But Becca was just...sunshine, warm and life-giving.
The chemistry between the two is scorching. The tattoo scene in the bathroom is heart-stopping and one of the most tender moments I've read in a long time.
In most romantic suspense stories involving a team of special forces operators, a teammate can call upon his brothers to assist. What strikes me most about this story is the dysfunction of the team. Usually, the team is driven by loyalty and intact despite circumstances. Here, we have a fractured team let down by both their commanding officer and second in command. After having been less than honorably discharged, Nick distanced himself from the team. Feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt, he could not reach out to his teammates when they needed him the most. It is awkward and agonizing to watch Nick reconcile with Shane, Beckett, Edward and Derek, but so satisfying watching them get to the otherside.
My one little critique of the book is that sometimes the pacing is a little slow. Laura Kaye writes with a lot of detail Most of the time that works, but sometimes it makes the action drag.
IN A NUTSHELL:
A great start to a new series, the men and women of Hard Ink are sure to bring us lots of great adventure and hot romance in the future. Cannot wait to see what's up next!
Thank you to the author and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.