Thursday, February 4, 2016

ARC Review: COLD EVIDENCE by Rachel Grant

COLD EVIDENCE
by Rachel Grant
Evidence series #6

ABOUT THE BOOK:
The frigid waters of the Pacific Northwest are about to get hot… 

The only thing Navy underwater archaeologist Undine Gray fears more than facing former SEAL Luke Sevick is never scuba diving again. But when a dive on a Cold War-era US Navy submarine ends with an accidental explosion, she’s terrified of going into the deep, forcing her to beg the most experienced diver she knows to take her back to the bottom of the cold Salish Sea. 

Luke wants nothing to do with the woman who destroyed his career a dozen years ago but finds it impossible to turn his back on her plea. Caught off-guard by an attraction he doesn’t want to feel, he’s eager to be done with this mission of mercy. But when they dive on the wreck, he only gets sucked in deeper. Someone has been digging on the Navy sub…and it appears the explosion that almost killed Undine was no accident. 

To find the truth, Undine must navigate murky waters and the unexpectedly hot undercurrents swirling between her and Luke. Worse, divers are searching for something lost in US waters during the Cold War, and they’ll do anything to keep Luke and Undine from finding it first.
Links: 
amazonbadgenookbadge



In the past I have noted that Rachel Grant writes my favorite kind of heroines – intelligent, quirky, courageous, and just this side of dorky.  But I also appreciate that Ms. Grant always infuses history into her stories as well.  It’s not the kind of history that focuses on names and dates, but history as the study of human choices.  

The story behind the story is heroic.  The mystery of the Wrasse feels like a treasure hunt, not for gold, but for the truth, and this nugget feels precious. I was sucked right in. The circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Wrasse is complex. Cold War politics is insidious and the potential nuclear threat against the U.S. very real. It is a very stressful time in our history.  To that, the author incorporates more recent events from Russia's struggle to maintain its territories. As an ally, we have a level of culpability to what Russia does to its people.  We are engaged in geo-politics.  Some might find it highly detailed, but I enjoy the complexity. Maybe it is because of the submarine, but it reminds me a little of The Hunt for Red October

It would not be a Rachel Grant book without hot romance. The start of Undine and Luke's relationship is messy and complicated. I had a moment of pause when the circumstance of the initial relationship is revealed.   Luke's fury is fully justified. Undine does him wrong. I understand her explanations, but the consequences of her deception could have been profoundly bad for Luke, and it takes a while to restore my faith in her.  There is a lot of back and forth in this relationship.  Both are indecisive on what they want from each other and this continues through most of the narrative.  Perhaps for me, this is the weakest part of the book.  Nonetheless, given their really rough start, I can understand Luke’s confusion on why he is still attracted to this girl.  A relationship with her is a land mine of triggers. I give Undine a lot of credit for her bravery in trying to mend this bridge. The snappy dialogue keeps the relationship moving, and their flirting is intimate like second chance stories should be. 

After reading this book, I’m packing my bags and finding a way to get to the Pacific Northwest.  Rachel Grant paints a vivid picture of the region that is irresistible. It’s an area filled with gorgeous sunsets, a serene environment, and majestic ocean views. A stay at Hobuck cabins is on my bucket list.  

With a compelling fictional history, beautiful environment, tightly written mystery and a complex romance, Cold Evidence is a great addition to Rachel Grant’s evidence series. 

Thank you to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Book Blast, Review and Giveaway: AGAINST THE WALL by Jill Sorenson













AGAINST THE WALL
by Jill Sorenson

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Fans of Katie McGarry, Simone Elkeles, and Tammara Webber will love Against the Wall! As teenagers, they fell for each other despite the odds. But now that Eric and Meghan are all grown up, they’re reunited by fierce passion and dangerous secrets. Eric Hernandez is the bad boy of every schoolgirl’s fantasies—and every mother’s nightmares. But after serving time for manslaughter, he’s ready to turn his life around. He just needs a chance to prove himself as a professional tattoo artist. The one thing that keeps him going is the memory of the innocent beauty he loved and left behind. Meghan Young’s world isn’t as perfect as it looks. The preacher’s daughter is living a lie, especially now that Eric is back. Tougher, harder, and sexier than ever, he might be the only person she can trust. But there’s no telling what he’ll do to protect her if he learns the truth, and that’s a risk Meghan won’t let him take. And yet, back in the arms of the troubled boy with the artist’s soul, Meghan can’t help surrendering to the man he’s become. 







For me, one of Jill Sorenson's greatest strengths as a writer is her ability to take deep dives into her characters.  I felt so overwhelmed with these characters and their desperate desires to break a out of cycle of violence.  My heart kept breaking for Eric and his attempts to resist his old life - wanting to start fresh but being tempted again and again into his old life.  This again reminds me that meritocracy is a myth. The belief that everyone starts at the same place and life and has the exact same opportunities to make choices is simply untrue.  Some people are born into circumstances in which choices are more difficult and the price for those same choices are often higher. 

The narrative is intense.  I wondered how the author was going to resolve the issue with Eric and the gang members.  I felt stressed throughout the entire story, especially because the author made the story real.  Most of us do not deal with life and death situations everyday, but for some, the quest for survival is a daily battle.  I thought Ms. Sorenson brought the story to a satisfying conclusion.  

My one critique is that there are left over storylines that peaked my interest.  I'm hoping that the author will consider writing additional stories for Junior and Kelsea.  Crossing my fingers here. 

IN A NUTSHELL:
If you enjoy a social relevant love story with great emotional tension, pick up this book!




Author Info Jill Sorenson is the RITA-nominated author of more than a dozen romantic-suspense novels. She has a degree in literature and writing from California State University. Her books have been selected as Red-Hot Reads byCosmopolitan magazine, and have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Sorenson currently lives in the San Diego area with her family. She’s a soccer mom who loves nature, coffee, reading, Twitter, and reality TV. 



($25.00 Amazon eGift Card) 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Blog Tour, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: FATAL TRUTH by Misty Evans

Fatal Truth
by Misty Evans
Shadow Force International, #1

ABOUT THE BOOK:
She’s an investigative reporter who lives to uncover the truth.

Feisty television host, Savanna Bunkett, exposes government coverups on her award-winning show, The Bunk Stops Here. When she digs into a rumor about a top secret government project that's producing “super soldiers” for the president, she suddenly finds herself on an assassin’s hit list. 

He's the man who knows the truth.

Navy SEAL Lieutenant Trace Hunter is the only soldier to survive Project 24. After refusing a direct order from the president, he was branded a traitor, and his career imploded after the sexy reporter turned him into a national headline. He now works undercover for Shadow Force International, a secret group of former SEALs helping those who have no where else to turn, using his enhanced skills to fight for justice and protect the innocent. His first assignment? Protect Savanna from the one man who wants them both dead—the president.

One wrong move and they’ll be silenced forever.

Helping Savanna is the last thing Trace wants to do, but her unwavering determination to expose the president's dark truth matches his own. She's his one chance to set the record straight and he’s her only chance at survival. When their mutual enemy closes in, can they put the past behind them and trust each other? Even if it means losing their hearts in the process? Or will secrets, lies, and forbidden passions cost them everything?

Buy Links: Amazon / Amazon UK / iBooks / Kobo / Barnes & Noble coming soon!


This is a lesson on giving an author a second chance. Last year I read a book by Misty Evans and gave it two stars, less for writing style, and more for what I perceived as unbelievable plot points.  I'm glad I had the opportunity to read Fatal Truth because this author comes roaring back with an entertaining romantic suspense read. I enjoyed Fatal Truth in the same way I would enjoy a Tom Clancy movie. There is plenty of drama; a mysterious, clandestine agency; a government conspiracy; and lots of action. 

Trace Hunter is arranged to be released from a high security prison and picked up by Rock Star Security, the legitimate division of Shadow Force International.  Shadow Force is a covert, special ops groups dedicated to helping those who have nowhere else to turn.  If The Equalizer had a supporting cast, Shadow Force would be it.  He is assigned to guard the very reporter who revealed his identity and accused him of being an enemy of the state.  

Savanna Bunkett is the news reporter dedicated to uncovering the many faces of corruption in the government and corporations.  She takes pride in exposing villains and standing up for the little guy. Unfortunately, one of her stories will expose the President's involvement in an illegal plan to create a private army of enhanced soldiers.  Now the President' is targeting her to shut her down.  

For me, one of the highlights of this story is Savannah Bunkett.  Savannah is not a kick-ass heroine.  She has no special physical skills and she's not a crack shot. But she is spunky, smart, and loyal to a fault.  Her tenacious desire to find and protect her sister, despite the President's attempts to the contrary, makes her a strong character.  She is a good complement to Trace, who is an enhance soldier and former assassin.  Believing he was working for what was morally right under the direction of the President, he in conflicted about this job when his boss, POTUS, turns out to be a corrupt ego-maniac. She is a nice foil with her friendly demeanor and open spirit to his closed personality and brooding looks.  I enjoyed their interaction and the development of their relationship. 

IN A NUTSHELL:
A robust story with an appealing couple, Fatal Truth is a fine start to a new series.


Trace climbed the stairs two at a time, the stairwell of the fancy apartment building empty at the dinner hour. Or maybe the rich snobs who lived here were too good to take the stairs.
He was two hours late. Not the best way to start his first assignment for Shadow Force International. Then again, he hadn’t planned to be working for Rock Star Security and shoved out the door and into the world of protection services so fast it had made his head spin.
The past couple of days had been a whirlwind. He’d struck out on his own, surviving the first Virginia night in an empty fishing shack with no heat or running water. Reese’s cheeseburger didn’t last long, and while the lake wasn’t frozen over and the owner had left some gear behind, Trace hadn’t been able to catch a damn thing.
The next morning, he’d stumbled through a snowstorm into Murder Creek, found the lone greasy spoon in town and ordered breakfast. The coffee was mud and the eggs were runny. He didn’t care. It was better than prison food any day.
The small 1980s TV in the corner was turned up, a weatherman dressed in a fancy suit waving at various colored blobs on the map and declaring the storm would intensify throughout the day and continue overnight. By the next morning, they were expected to have six feet of snow.
As Trace had finished his toast, a sheriff’s car had driven up. The two men who got out walked like military men, not cops. Before the bell over the door rang, he’d left the waitress a generous tip and disappeared out the back and into the woods.
His mother had always said he was as stubborn as the day was long, but he wasn’t an idiot. While there’d been nothing on the news about his escape from Witcher, he’d known the men in that car were looking for him. A storm was moving in that would lock down the area. He had no vehicle to get out and no supplies to hunker down and ride it out. 
He needed help.
Admitting that fact had taken every last ounce of his common sense, but now he was here. Beatrice had cleaned him up, made him shave his beard and cut his hair. 
Because of his specialized work for Command & Control, the agency had scrubbed his past years ago. Few pictures existed of him before his time in Iraq with SEAL Team 3, when he’d first grown his hair long and sported a thick beard to blend in with the locals. SEALs often needed out-of-the-Navy-box appearances on their assignments, and that was the picture Ms. Bunkett had spread all over America.
He was a squeaky-clean Boy Scout now, with colored contacts and new clothes—nice threads, not the usual camo gear he was used to. The only thing he hated was the fancy dress shoes.
Petit and Reese had put him through their version of basic protection service training, and Reese’s wife had explained all the ins and outs of his new job.
Beatrice. He was pretty sure that hadn’t been her name when she was in Command & Control, but it didn’t matter. She’d confirmed that she had played a part in getting him out of Witcher and that there were men looking for him. Nothing official on the news yet, the government wanting to keep his “escape” a secret and hoping they could find him and put him back before the public caught wind of the situation.
Petit and Reese hadn’t been happy when Beatrice insisted Trace take this assignment. They’d wanted more time to work on him, and they’d planned to send him out of the country on a Shadow Force assignment. Beatrice had other ideas, and neither man seemed eager to argue with her.
So here he was, playing bodyguard. A test run, Beatrice had called it. He’d kept himself in good shape inside Witcher, had kept his skills sharp. His enhancements from Project 24 had never faded.
Still, with a secret manhunt on for him, he had to stay in the shadows as much as possible. Beatrice had given him a set of rules to follow, briefed him on the client. Single female, twenty-eight, with a potential stalker. He was to keep an eye on her but not be obvious about it.
The stalker is high-profile, Beatrice had said. Has possibly harmed the client’s sister, but there’s no proof and the client can’t make public claims without evidence. We’d like you to investigate, see if you can incapacitate the stalker and discover the sister’s whereabouts.
The woman lived in the penthouse on the top floor. He climbed the last set of stairs and went through the fire door.
It was Beatrice’s fault he was late and she’d supposedly called ahead to let the client know. Still, Trace felt a shot of nervous adrenaline firing below his breastbone as he rang the doorbell. There was a marble-topped table near the elevator with an elaborate floral arrangement. A ficus tree sat in the corner under a skylight, and a large painting of the sun rising over a mountain range hung on the wall left of the door.
Seconds ticked by. He straightened his tie, smoothed the lapels of his suit coat, fiddled with the brim of his baseball hat.
The hat didn’t go with his outfit. He’d picked it up on his way over, feeling too exposed otherwise. Even with his change in appearance, he feared being recognized after Savanna Bunkett had done such a fine job of splashing his face all over the news a year and a half ago.
On the other side of the door, he heard a muffled voice, “Coming!”
A second later, the door swung open. The woman was out of breath, her hair swept up in a high ponytail. She was dressed in workout attire and a fine coating of sweat glistened on her ample cleavage as she wiped her face with a towel. The rhythmic beat of a drum, tambourine, and finger cymbals of Middle Eastern music echoed in the background.
From behind the towel, she said, “You must be…”
And then she moved the towel to her neck and met his gaze.
Oh, shit.
The towel stilled and the woman studied his face. “Coldplay?”
Trace felt frozen in place. In the briefing with Beatrice, she’d referred to the client only as Ms. Jeffries.
Ms. Jeffries, my ass.
His heart stuttered in his chest for a second. Even without makeup and her signature red power suit, she stood out like a diamond among glass. She was striking, her dark hair offsetting her pale skin, all of it softened by a delicate nose and high cheekbones. Workout clothes did nothing to dampen her natural, elegant demeanor.
Before him stood the woman who had ruined his life.
Trace took a step back. Waited…
She didn’t seem to recognize him.
One hand went to her hip. “Are you the strong, silent type or is this one of the rules, that you can’t speak to me? I must have missed that one in the contract.”
Why would she recognize me? She had one grainy photograph of me from six years ago, and I was nothing but a story to her.
Trace forced his mouth to work, struggled to get sound out. He tipped the brim of his hat down a little farther. “Sorry, I’m late.”
“Randy didn’t buzz me. How did you get in?”
Randy, the doorman. What a joke.
Trace shifted gears, forcing the anger boiling in his gut aside. As soon as he could get hold of Beatrice, all bets were off. “Security check of the building showed me some weak spots. I got in through a service door entrance on the first floor. I’ll speak to the manager tomorrow about beefing things up.”
She stepped back, using the towel on her arms. Long, slender arms with small wrists and finely-boned hands. “Come in. I’ll grab a shower and then we can talk about…my problem.”
Talk. Right. “I’ll stay out here at the door until you’re ready.”
“Um, okay. Sure.” She gave him another once over. “Have we met? You seem familiar.”
Met? Jesus God. “No, we’ve never met.” Not in person. If we had, I would have wrung your neck.
She gave him a small smile. “Even if we had, we have to pretend otherwise, right? Sorry, this is all new to me.”
He nodded and stepped back, grinding his teeth. She closed the door, leaving him alone in the penthouse hallway.
Counting to a hundred to give her time to get in the shower, he paced to the elevator doors, locked the thing down, then locked the door to the stairwell. He withdrew the cell phone Beatrice had provided and punched in her number.
She picked up on the first ring. “Yes?”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“Sorry?”
He forced himself to lower his voice. “Ms. Jeffries? Her name isn’t Jeffries and you know exactly who she is and what she did to me. If this is some kind of joke, I swear I’ll…I’ll…”
“Yes?”
What would he do? The woman was smarter than smart and she was, well, a pregnant female.
A man, he would beat the shit out of for tricking him like this. But he would never hit a woman. “…I’ll beat up your husband.”
“You can try,” Beatrice said without concern. “What’s the problem?”
Trace nearly crushed the phone. “You know exactly what the problem is. You lied and set me up with the woman who crucified me.”
“I didn’t lie. Her real name is Savanna Jeffries-Bunkett, but she only goes by Savanna Bunkett for her show. Her mother, Doris Jeffries, is from the New Hampshire Jeffries, a Daughter of the Revolution, and a top-notch lawyer. Her father, Shawn Bunkett, is the president of a private Catholic college. Her sister Parker works for National Intelligence as a glorified profiler, you might say. Her job is rather vague and ill-defined. She has a degree in cognitive therapy and a knack for understanding how criminals work, which National Intelligence has found helpful. For reasons I haven’t quite figured out yet, Parker pulls together the president’s daily briefing and presents it to him. I doubt that has anything to do with her brain research, other than to profile a terrorist here and there. A month ago, she went missing. All I can get out of my sources is that she’s on assignment.” Her voice emphasized assignment. “Odds are there was something…personal…going on between her and the president, or he gave her a black op job and she got caught.”
Linc Norman. The president sure liked to spread himself around.
The sound of a fridge door opening came from Beatrice’s end. “Who do you think passed your file—the bogus one—to Savanna?”
Trace took off his hat and scratched his hairline. “The sister?”
“If my guess is accurate, and I am correct ninety-nine percent of the time, Parker received the file outlining your rogue activities from the president.” 
A patient silence descended, as if she were waiting for him to connect the dots. A possible scenario spilled out without too much brainpower. “Linc Norman told Parker to make sure Savanna broke the story.”
“Parker is missing. The president is stalking Savanna. It adds up, only we don’t know exactly why. Norman is now keeping tabs on Savanna, no doubt fearing she’ll reveal her suspicions to the world that he’s made Parker disappear. She doesn’t have any facts—yet—and President Norman hopes to keep it that way.”
“What am I supposed to do about it?”
“I don’t suppose you want to tell me why the president had you branded a traitor on national television?”
When he didn’t respond, she went on. “Well, consider this your chance to prove to Savanna that you’re not a traitor and that her intel from President Norman was bogus.”
“How am I supposed to do that?”
“Find her sister. And if the president is the one who threw your ass in prison, who better to have on your side than an investigative reporter with a fan base of six million viewers? She can clear your name, Coldplay. Think about it.”
He was thinking all right. Thinking his former job as a cleaner for the president might put Savanna Jeffries Bunkett in more danger than she was already in.
“She can also help you dig up dirt to blackmail Linc Norman,” Beatrice went on. He heard the clink of silverware against a bowl. “So he stops trying to kill you.”
Trace returned the hat to his head and pinched the bridge of his nose. “You set me up.”
“I did,” Beatrice admitted freely. “In so doing, I also gave you a way out of the mess you’re in. I don’t care about your past and the things you’ve done, but it would solidify your job with Shadow Force International if you’re not a hunted felon.”
His past was not something to be proud of, Navy SEAL or not. He’d killed for his country, sure, but his job as a cleaner went beyond that. While once he’d believed he was doing the morally right thing, helping the president wipe out threats to America, he was no longer sure there was such a thing as morally right. “Savanna is already suspicious. Even with the change in my appearance, she suspects we’ve met.”
“So come clean. Tell her the truth. She needs you and you need her. Besides, she signed a contract.”
So did I. Every employee of Shadow Force International, whether they worked as bodyguards for Rock Star Security, performed search and rescue missions, or assisted on kidnapping cases, were required to sign one. If he breached his agreement, he was out in the cold again.
Petit planned to put Trace in charge of a team. If things worked out. Even if they didn’t hold him to his contract, bailing on his first assignment would hardly help his cause. He’d never make team leader if they couldn’t depend on him.
Did he even care? He wasn’t a team player anymore. Couldn’t endanger anyone else.
“Follow the procedure I gave you and think about it overnight,” Beatrice said. “If you wish to terminate the assignment in the morning, I’ll find someone else to guard Ms. Bunkett.”
A growl formed in his throat. Beatrice’s logic was so…so…logical. Be the hero again. Keep someone safe. Solve all your problems.
If only it were that easy.
Didn’t matter. He couldn’t complete this assignment without risking his freedom. Morning was nearly twelve hours away. Could he keep Savanna Bunkett from figuring out who he was in the meantime?
The woman was a bloodhound when she picked up the scent of a story. Sure, it had been eighteen months since she’d run his, and she’d had plenty of stories since then, but she wasn’t one to forget a name or a face for long, he bet. “She’ll terminate the assignment before morning.”
“You can’t hide forever,” Beatrice said. “And there’s only so much I can do to keep you off the grid. This is your chance to clear your name. Don’t blow it.”
The line went dead.
Trace braced one hand against the wall and sighed. Twelve hours. He had twelve fucking hours to keep up this charade, and then what? Bail?
He’d never quit a job in his life—except the last order from the president—and he wasn’t about to do so now. If Savanna figured out who he was and called the police, he’d have to, but until then, he’d lay low and plan for the worst case scenario.
…clear your name.
Pocketing the phone, he shook the ridiculous idea from his brain and walked back down the hall to wait.
He’d follow procedure like Beatrice had instructed him to when she gave him the assignment. Scan Savanna’s apartment for bugs, make sure her windows and doors were all secure. Check her personal security system. Then he’d stand guard for the night.
By morning—if he made it that long—he’d have a plan of escape.
Or one that would take down the president of the United States.




USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Connect with Misty:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Review, Excerpt Tour and Giveaway: HARD EVER AFTER by Laura Kaye

Hard Ever After - Review & Excerpt Tour Banner

We are over the moon excited to bring you the Review & Excerpt Tour for Laura Kaye’s HARD EVER AFTER, a novella in Laura’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling Hard Ink Series releasing February 2, 2016

Hard Ever After - cover

Hard Ever After
by Laura Kaye
Hard Ink #4.6

About the Book: 
Justice served. Honor restored. Team reunited. After a long battle to discover the truth, the men and women of Hard Ink have a lot to celebrate, especially the wedding of two of their own—Nick Rixey and Becca Merritt, whose hard-fought love deserves a happy ending. As Nick and the team shift from crisis mode to building their new security consulting firm, Becca heads back to work at the ER. But amid the everyday chaos of demanding jobs and their upcoming nuptials, an old menace they thought long gone reemerges, threatening the peace they’ve only just found. Now, for one last time, Nick and Becca must fight for their always and forever, because they know that when true love overcomes all the odds it lasts hard ever after.   

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads




Although this novella features Nick and Becca, it's really an extended Epilogue for the series.  Thank goodness!  I say this because all of our favorite couples are back: Shane and Crystal, Easy and Jenna, Emilie and Derek, Charley and Jeremy, and Beckett and Kat.  It's a homecoming for the Hard Ink crew.

Taking place a short time after the conclusion of the major story arc, Nick asks Becca to marry him and the wedding is on.  Unfortunately, Becca is still dealing with the trauma of being kidnapped twice and injured by a member of the Church gang.  And now she is "seeing" her attacker. Will this derail Nick and Becca's happy ever after? 

This book is lovely.  It is perhaps the most romantic of the series.  Because we are already acquainted with the characters, we experience the growing depth of love between Nick and Becca.  Nick continues to articulate throughout the story about how much Becca means to him, what she has done for him, and how much he needs her.  In his words, "Becca Merritt had saved his life in every way that mattered." If you have been following the series, you know that given everything the Hard Ink characters went through, this is no small declaration.  

There are beautiful little moments and gestures including a tattoo scene that signifies their commitment to one another.  I got a little teary-eyed at Nick's wedding proposal and the wedding is beautifully written and packed with emotions (as weddings should be).  

If you are looking for high level of suspense, you may be disappointed.  The mystery and suspense is secondary to the love story (stories, if we include the check-ins all the other couples).  It adds a little extra drama, which fits, but is not the center of the story.  

In a Nutshell: 
Their story reminds me of the awe of falling in love.  Reaching a depth of emotion beyond the other books, this is a beautiful little topping to the Hard Ink series. 

Nick nailed Becca with a stare. As he watched, she made a valiant effort to button up just how upset she was, and that made him worry even more. He knelt down in front of her, his hands on her knees. “What’s going on?”

She shook her head, and his heart fucking broke as he saw her struggle to find her voice and hold back the tears.

Kat grasped something from Becca’s lap and held it out to him. “Someone left this in front of Becca’s locker at work today.”

Frowning, Nick accepted the small, floppy, black-and-brown stuffed animal into his hand. He guessed it was supposed to be a German shepherd, and the damn thing was missing a leg. It looked like someone had cut the back leg off and stapled the opening closed. What the hell?

“Look at the neck, Nick,” Kat said, her voice serious.

He flipped it around, and that was when he noticed that the animal was so floppy because the head was connected to the body only by a thin strip of material along the back. He might not have thought much about that if someone hadn’t gone to the trouble of spray painting the torn opening red. As if the neck had been slit.  “Sonofabitch,” he said, hot prickles running down his back. “Talk to me, Sunshine.”

She heaved a deep breath. “I found it at the end of my shift,” she said. “I went to get my stuff, and this was sitting upright on the floor in front of my locker. I thought someone had left me a present until . . .”

“This is fucking twisted,” Kat bit out.

The words echoed Nick’s own thoughts. Twisted and threatening. The removed leg was clearly meant to communicate that the person knew Becca’s dog had only three legs, which made the threat personal and specific.

“Did you talk to security about this?” he asked, making sure to keep his voice even.

Becca shook her head. “I was so freaked out, I just wanted to get out of there.”

“I didn’t know about this until just now, or I would’ve brought us home earlier,” Kat said.

“I’m sorry,” Becca said, turning to Nick’s sister. “I just wanted to forget about it for a few hours.”

“I know,” Kat said. “You don’t have to apologize, but I’m worried about this.”


Nick nodded. “Can you think of anyone at the hospital who would do this? Who would have a problem with you?”


Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. 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.      

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Newsletter Sign Up | HARD EVER AFTER on Goodreads




Join the rest of the tour:
Laura Kaye’s HARD EVER AFTER – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
January 25th
I Love Romance – Review & Excerpt
My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt
Provocative Pages – Review
Sofia Loves Books – Review
January 26th
Reads All the Books – Review
Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads – Review & Excerpt
Biblio Belles – Excerpt
Krista's Dust Jacket – Review & Excerpt
January 27th
NightWolf Book Blog – Excerpt
Barbara Book Blog – Excerpt
January 28th
She Hearts Books – Review
JordansBookReviews – Excerpt
Write for Your Life! – Review & Excerpt
Always YA at Heart – Review & Excerpt
January 29th
Book Sojourner – Review & Excerpt
Brittany's Book Blog – Excerpt
Obsessive Reading Disorder – Review & Excerpt
Smut Matters – Review & Excerpt
January 30th
Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous – Review & Excerpt
mignon mykel : reviews – Review & Excerpt
Only One More Page – Review & Excerpt
Bookalicious book babes – Review & Excerpt
January 31st
Extreme Bookaholic's – Excerpt
It's About the Book – Review
Ticket to Anywhere – Excerpt
Kelsey's Corner Time – Review & Excerpt
Cocktails and Books – Review & Excerpt
February 1st
Read-Love-Blog – Review & Excerpt
Bambi Unbridled – Excerpt
Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt
First Dream of Books – Review & Excerpt
Carol Kittie Reviews – Review & Excerpt
February 2nd
The Book Hammock – Review
I A-M a Bookaholic – Excerpt
About That Story – Review
What I'm Reading – Review & Excerpt
FMR Book Grind – Review
February 3rd
Books Need TLC – Review
My Girlfriends Couch – Review & Excerpt
February 4th
Reviews by Tammy and Kim – Review & Excerpt
Book Lovers 4Ever – Review & Excerpt
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
Ripe For Reader – Review
Sultry, Steamy Reading – Review & Excerpt
February 5th
Vera is Reading – Excerpt
Wickedcoolflight – Review & Excerpt
JB's Book Obsession – Review & Excerpt
Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt
February 6th
Love Drug Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
She's a Lip Biter – Review & Excerpt
Book Nook Nuts – Review & Excerpt
I'm A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore – Review & Excerpt
Shelf_Life – Review & Excerpt
InkSlinger PR Blogger Banner - New