Happily Ever After Book Nerd Favorite
Hard to be Good by Laura Kaye
Series: Hard Ink #3.5
Published: April 14, 2015 by Avon Impulse
Genre: LGBTQ+ Suspense Romance
Hard Ink Tattoo owner Jeremy Rixey has taken on his brother’s stateside fight against the forces that nearly killed Nick and his Special Forces team a year before. Now, Jeremy’s whole world has been turned upside down—not the least of which by a brilliant, quiet blond man who tempts Jeremy to settle down for the first time ever.
Recent kidnapping victim Charlie Merritt has always been better with computers than people, so when he’s drawn into the SF team’s investigation of his army colonel father’s corruption, he’s surprised to find acceptance and friendship—especially since his father never accepted who Charlie was. Even more surprising is the heated tension Charlie feels with sexy, tattooed Jeremy, Charlie’s opposite in almost every way.
With tragedy and chaos all around them, temptation flashes hot, and Jeremy and Charlie can’t help but wonder why they’re trying so hard to be good.
I’ve loved this series from the beginning and this novella was a more low-key entry to the series. Though there’s not as much action in this one, it’s full of emotional connections. I thought that Jeremy and Charlie had great chemistry together and they really just fit perfectly. Jeremy’s outgoing-ness could help push Charlie to be more extroverted and Charlie’s calm nature could provide a rock for Jeremy during all the turbulence. You can really tell how much they each feel for the other.
I’ve loved Jeremy from the beginning and he just jumps off the page in every scene he’s in. I love his humor and his ridiculous shirts, not to mention his tattoos and piercing; he just has so much personality. I admire Jeremy’s dedication to helping the team and supporting his brother anyway he can. He’s given up his personal space, his work, and his free time to help with the investigation and he’s embraced each new person with open arms.
I could relate to Charlie’s lifestyle. He’s very reserved in his emotions and I can connect with this. I love stories that have quiet, shy characters that find themselves suddenly being embraced by others and finding that it’s ok to be themselves when they’re around people who care for them. Charlie is very insecure about being out around the other military guys; in particular he worries about how he’ll be treated and he doesn’t want to ruin things between Nick and his sister Becca. But Charlie needn’t have worried and I adored the moment when he finally said “F*ck it!” (literally) and went after what he wanted.
**Reader Safety: References to kidnapping, gangs, human trafficking, abuse; Hero was kidnapped and tortured, finger cut off (referenced, off page)
5 stars – loved it!
Hard Ink reviews
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