My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
HARD TO HOLD ON TO continues the story of a group of men once proud to be a part of their country’s Special Forces who were forced out under a cloud of suspicion thanks to betrayal by their own company commander. Now they are trying to clear their names while under siege by a powerful street gang determined to stop their efforts and silence them for good. Each installment in this HARD INK series advances the overall story arc while providing a romance and HEA for each member of the group. And although this particular story is much shorter than those which have preceded it, Easy and Jenna’s romance still packs an emotional punch as they discover both love and solace within each other’s arms.
Easy may have been Edward Cantrell’s nickname, but his life so far had been anything but that. The Army helped him escape the mean streets of his childhood, but when that was taken away from him the hard way, all he had left was the Ravens motorcycle club and survivor’s guilt bordering on suicidal. When he helped rescue Sara’s sister Jenna from where the Church gang had held her prisoner, he never expected it to mean more to him than helping out the woman of his good friend, Shane. But now that Jenna needs him, Easy might finally have a reason to live again, and find the love he never thought he’d deserve.
Jenna had grown up mostly ignorant of all the terrible sacrifices her sister Sara had made to keep her healthy and safe. But after being held in the same awful place where her sister had been tortured after their father’s death, Jenna isn’t taking anything for granted, especially where it concerns the man she credits for her rescue. Maybe she and Easy aren’t the most likely couple to succeed, but after her near-death experience, Jenna realizes that life’s too short not to take a chance on love.
HARD TO HOLD ON TO upholds the great precedent of the HARD INK series with another well-written romance under pressure, made believable in spite of the otherwise implausible time constraints and reliance on an insta-lust trope. In HARD AS YOU CAN, we saw Jenna learn just how awful her sister’s life had been while she herself had only had to worry about finishing college and keeping her epilepsy under control. So when Jenna turns to Easy for support in the aftermath of her rescue, it makes a strange sort of sense in that Jenna feels like she’s already been too much of a burden for Sara. What nobody counted on, however, was the spectacular sexual chemistry between Jenna and Easy, least of all themselves. And while insta-lust may not be the best reason to pull back from the cliff of self-destruction, Laura Kaye made it work for me, with some scenes so heart-wrenching that I would have allowed the characters anything they wanted just to see them happy again.
As much as I always want more of something good, HARD TO HOLD ON TO works well at novella length, whetting my appetite even more for the next full-length HARD INK story to come. It’s a must-read in the series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.