Release Day Review | HARD TO LET GO (Hard Ink #4) by Laura Kaye

Beckett Murda hates to dwell on the past. But his investigation into the ambush that killed half his Special Forces team and ended his Army career gives him little choice. Just when his team learns how powerful their enemies are, hard-ass Beckett encounters his biggest complication yet—a seductive, feisty Katherine Rixey.

A tough, stubborn prosecutor, Kat visits her brothers’ Hard Ink Tattoo shop following a bad break-up—and finds herself staring down the barrel of a stranger’s gun. Beckett is hard-bodied and sexy as hell, but he’s also the most infuriating man ever. Worse, Kat’s brothers are at war with the criminals her office is investigating. When Kat joins the fight, she lands straight in Beckett’s sights . . . and in his arms. Not to mention their enemies’ crosshairs.

Now Beckett and Kat must set aside their differences to work together, because the only thing sweeter than justice is finding love and never letting go.

Laura Kaye's Hard Ink series has come to a climactic conclusion with the release of HARD TO LET GO. This is not the first book I've read in the series and I am, in fact, a huge fan of the books! The series follows a disgraced Special Forces team and their road to redemption and justice, as they investigate the conspiracy behind the ambush that killed seven of their fellow teammates. In HARD TO LET GO, sparks fly between the stern and imposing Beckett and Nick's sister, Kat Rixey. 'Best friend's sister' is one of my favorite romance tropes and I already loved this series so this book was really just a win-win situation for me.

Kat was probably one of my favorite heroines of the series. She's often underestimated among the elite Special Ops team as "the kid sister who practices law", but she can shoot and fight with the best of them. Family is incredibly important to her and she has this core of strength that allows her to be incredibly supportive of Beckett and the entire team. She comes to Hard Ink looking for a sanctuary to hide out from her stalker ex-boyfriend but is instead thrown into an even more dangerous and stressful situation. She doesn't miss a beat and is immediately there for her brothers and their friends, helping them in their quest for redemption and putting her own career on the line to further their goals. I really admire her selflessness and that she's just an all-around bad-ass with a big heart.

Like the other Hard Ink men, Beckett definitely has some emotional baggage that has been weighing him down since the ambush in Afghanistan. He not only carries incredible guilt over Marz losing his leg to protect him, but has even deeper rooted doubts of self-worth dating back to his childhood with an emotionally and physically abusive father. He's a bear of a man, but with a sweet and caring heart that really gets exposed in this novel. He has some truly touching moments of vulnerability when he opens up about the abuse he faced and expresses his survivor's guilt over having walked away from the ambush. You can't help but love a man with a strong, muscled exterior and a warm, gooey center. And the patience and persistence with which he tries to win over Cy, the poor, wounded and abused Cat that now resides at Hard Ink, just makes me melt.

Much as you'd expect from Laura Kaye, the sex scenes are incendiary (and quite diverse, might I add). Kat and Beckett just can't seem to get enough of each other once he finally stops trying to push her away. Although this is most definitely a romance novel, the love story itself is only one facet of the greater story. Much of the story focuses on the entire team and their attempts to finally unmask those responsible for the ambush that killed their comrades and reclaim their honor. The story was jam-packed with suspense and unexpected twists and turns. Each book in the series has done such a great job of revealing the conspiracy piece-by-piece and keeping the reader on their toes. I can honestly say I didn't see this coming, which says a lot because normally as soon as something starts to sound like a clue or lead-in it's all I can focus on.

HARD TO LET GO has probably one of the happiest endings I've read in a long time - not simply because Kat and Beckett find love, but because the whole entire team has found the honor and justice they thought was lost to them, and the loves of their lives along the journey. I'm so sad that the Hard Ink series has come to an end but I know it'll be one I'll reread and continue to love in the future. Luckily, I still have a book and a novella in the series which I haven't read yet so there's still some new material for me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Laura Kaye's Hard Ink series is one of my very favorite contemporary romance series of all time. It's got romance, sex and passion, with so much added suspense and mystery to fuel you through the whole series. The characters are artfully developed, with doubts, fears and desires that give the books so much heart. I just can't say enough good things about the Hard Ink series and Laura Kaye's writing. If you like tattooed military men with wounded souls and hearts of gold (which c'mon, of course you do) this is a series you need to pick up.

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

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About the Author:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. 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.

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