Cris Reads | HARD TO HOLD ON TO by Laura Kaye

Edward "Easy" Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves--which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight.  He may have just met her, but Jenna's the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago. 

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can't describe how he makes her feel--and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to. 

My Thought:

When Jenna wakes up after a harrowing kidnapping experience, Easy is instinctively the only person who can calm the frantic feelings inside her. She feels safe with him like she's never felt with anyone else. As she struggles with feelings of guilt over all her sister has had to endure to protect her, Easy too understands the overwhelming nature of guilt and sacrifice, having lost one of his best friends who protected Easy during an ambush.

The jagged little pieces of their battered hearts seem to click into place together, finding refuge in a world that always seems to kick them in the teeth for their troubles. 

"...sometimes you gotta let someone else help you be strong before you can stand on your own."

And that's exactly what Jenna and Easy do for one another. They learn to forgive themselves and let go of their guilt and grief because of the unconditional love and support they find in each other. Easy, who had previously contemplated suicide and thought his life worthless, finds meaning and purpose in helping Jenna overcome her fears. 

Even in this brief Novella, Laura Kaye creates a novel's worth of emotional depth and delves into serious social issues which are often left in the dark. I've read many novels where the hero was an ex-marine or soldier who had lived through war and bloodshed, but I've never seen Veteran suicide and PTSD discussed on such an open and emotional level. It is truly commendable, as is the use of a mixed raced couple, which are often underrepresented in the Romance Lit. world.

Laura Kaye was able to elevate Easy and Jenna from mere characters to a truly human level by giving them both such deep abiding psychological and emotional scars to overcome. Although they tumble into love rather quickly, their connection feels profound and genuine. 

In Hard to Hold On To, Laura Kaye gives us a loving couple who despite both being a bit battle-worn, still manage to be playful and teasing with each other.We're given a taste of the 'Hard Ink' world, and a tattoo shop filled with muscled ex-soldiers, hackers, friends and lovers, all working together to take down a gang and discover who caused the ambush that killed the rest of their team, leaving them with the blame. This little taste is just not enough and leaves you wanting to know how the search began and how the rest of the team will find their mates. Suffice it to say this was the first book I read from Laura Kaye, but you can bet it won't be the last.

Disclaimer: As an Avon Addict, I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

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Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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