Review + Interview with Shane: Hard As You Can (#2, Hard Ink) by Laura Kaye - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review + Interview with Shane: Hard As You Can (#2, Hard Ink) by Laura Kaye

My Thoughts

Sexy and enticing, crackling with irresistible chemistry
as danger looms at every turn.



hard as you canFive dishonored soldiers. Former Special Forces. One last mission. These are the men of Hard Ink.

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn’t want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can—and never let go.

My Review

“Sometimes you gotta break some rules to do what’s right.”

The men of Hard Ink are back and they are more dangerous, more determined than ever. The stakes have been raised and as they might have said, shit’s gotten real. After rescuing Charlie, the team has learned more about the vile and corrupt dealings of the Church gang. They learn they’ve been trafficking girls … a fact that shatters Shane McCallan in more ways than one. Shane’s life is laden with guilt, shouldering a burden from so long ago when his sister Molly disappeared on his watch. Since then, he’s not only become a fixer, but one that is intent on helping women to escape the brutal realities whom some inadvertently find themselves in. When Shane runs into Crystal Dean, a beautiful waitress that unexpectedly helps their crew while at Confessions, he’s completely taken by her, but it’s not until afterwards that she can’t escape his thoughts. He wonders if she’s okay. Did she suffer any repercussions as a result of coming to their aid?

“Crystal was well aware that much of her life was a lie, a charade, a play in a never-ending series of one acts wherein the climax determined whether she lived or died,  remained free or got lost forever in the dark, seedy, underbelly of the world. Sad, sad fact that this place, this situation, this life wasn’t even close to the worst that there was.”

Crystal’s shoulders also bear the pressure of responsibility as she lives on the brink between life and death, a constant danger looming, a single misstep having very real consequences. She would know. With a promise made long ago and a debt that needed to be repaid, Crystal needs to stay at Confessions to provide for her sister, but she’s biding time before she can escape and start fresh. The last thing she needs is a disruptive force like Shane McCallan.

“He was a fire she had no business playing with.”

The story unfolds partly through Shane’s perspective and we get to see just how much he struggles to make sense of his emotions and his instincts to fix all the issues that surround him. Shane has a strong sense of loyalty and honor, always motivated to do the right thing no matter the cost. One of the intriguing things about Shane is that he’s all rough and tough on the exterior, a well-trained chameleon lethal and ready for any situation. Yet, his emotions run deep and he feels things profoundly. The feelings he’s begun to feel for Crystal are unexpected, but they suddenly breathe a new life into him. And perhaps if he could protect her, he could do what he wasn’t able to do for Molly.

“Saving her might represent a chance to earn a little redemption.”

For Crystal, Shane is showing her a level of caring that her current boyfriend (and Church gang member) has never considered showing. Shane is protective. Kind. Gentle. And the desired that he’s aroused in her is unstoppable. Every time their together the air is thick with longing. With so much at stake, however, Crystal is so afraid to let her heart feel anything for him when it seems like an impossibility for her to be free of Bruno, Church and everything that defines her imprisoning reality.

“Her heart told her Shane might well be the most dangerous man she’d ever met because he mad her want, wish, maybe even dream.”

Shane and Crystal’s story is one of finding the courage to take a chance at reveling in something real, despite the risks. I think book 1 had a stronger element of suspense, while this one focused a bit more on the relationship, but just as the first one, the story is captivating and the characters unique, alpha and totally badass.  We are still unraveling the bigger mystery at the end of this book and so I can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment, Hard to Hold on To, a novella out in August. So far I am wholly enjoying this series!

“You’re so good to me, Shane McCallan. Do you know that? You’re the best man I’ve ever known.”


Reading Order and Purchase Links

Hard As It Gets hard as you can

#2.5 Hard to Hold Onto
#3 Hard to Come By
#4 Untitled


Interview with Shane McCallen


What was it about Crystal that first drew you to her?

  • At first? The fact that she was beautiful and in trouble. But it didn’t take me long to realize there was so much more to her. Her selflessness, her bravery, her strength. And she made me want things I never thought I’d have.

You quickly realized that every time you sought Crystal, you were putting her in danger, but yet, you couldn’t stay away. How did you reconcile your feelings to keep her safe while at the same time, giving in to your intensifying feelings to get to know her, to be with her?

  • Yeah. Once I’d put her further into harm’s way, I couldn’t stay away. Not with my history. Not with how I’d failed my sister. And not with the certainty that Crystal’s situation was already so dangerous as to be unsustainable. What I did was like setting the attic on fire in a house already burning down. And all that was aside from the fact that my teammates and I needed intel from Crystal. That made it a matter of honor to help her.

How did it feel to be re-united with Nick? You were the closest of friends and what happened tore you two apart. Tell us about your relationship with him. How is it now?

  • It was rough, man. I’m not gonna lie. When you’re best friends and brothers-in-arms with someone and that shit falls apart, it cuts. Deep. But as hard as it was to be around him again, it also felt good. Right. And that was part of what hurt, too. Now? We’ve made amends—including me, because not everything that happened lay on Nick’s shoulders. So things are good. We’re tight. And we have a job to do.

Have you dared to imagine what you would do should your names be cleared and your honor publicly restored? What do you see in your future?

  • To be honest, right now I can’t see beyond the end of this situation. There are so many moving parts and we still don’t know all the players. I hope that the end game might be we clear our names, but I’m not counting on it. Yet. Because we didn’t get in this position in the first place except that someone with some major pull set the ball in motion in the first place. So all I see in my future right now are my brothers and my sweetness.

What do you think needs to happen for your crew to be successful? Are you confident you can take down such an organized and notorious gang?

  • We could use some damn luck. That’s for sure. And a break in some intel so we can connect the dots. We have new allies, so that helps a lot. And some new leads. As for the rest, I have confidence in my brothers and faith in our skills.
About Laura Kaye

lauryLaura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. 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 | Blog | Facebook | Hard Ink Puppy FB | Twitter | Newsletter SignUp


There are TWO giveaways!!!! One is through the rafflecopter below and
the second one gives you a chance at winning one of Shane’s purple butterfly necklace (pictured below). All you have to do is comment on this post and leave your email address as a part of that comment!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Robin the Book Nerd said:

    My favorite genera is probably contemporary but I do love historical and paranormal.

    robin dot nichole 79 at gmail dot com


  2. Anita Yancey said:

    My favorite genres to read are romance and mystery. Thanks for having the giveaway.


  3. KellyMae Helfrich said:

    The necklace is a beautiful piece of jewelry. I would love to win a gift card, more books to buy! Prefer to read erotic/contemporary romance, but open to other in genres.


  4. Theresa Ann Fischer said:

    My favorite genre is paranormal and second would be romantic suspense!


  5. tori said:

    Paranormal romance.


    1. tori said:

      Tori (dot) whitaker (at) Yahoo (dot) com


  6. Brandy Gibson said:

    I like to read most anything in romance. contemporary, erotic, dark or thriller.


  7. Amanda Wilson said:

    Paranormal and contemporary romance are definitely tied for favorite right now. Thanks for the giveaway!


  8. Kim Perry said:

    One of my favorite genres is New Adult.


  9. mlynpeters said:

    Another Hot Read !!! hope to win !


  10. conniemarie63 said:

    My favorite genre is probably romance-suspense


  11. Becca said:

    Really loving NA!! SOme great stories and some schmexy times.


  12. Rachel Hilliker said:

    My favorite genre is Romance. I will read any type of romance.


  13. starchaser8808 said:

    I love all romance: contemporary, erotic, paranormal, historical and suspense. Thanks for a gret giveaway!


  14. clofton1 said:

    I like all romance except historical. Don’t read a lot of paranormal but have read some that I really liked!


  15. Noemi Riffo said:

    My favorite genre??? Mmmm…. Thriller and paranormal 😀

    The necklace is SO beautiful!!

    noemi.riffo27 AT gmail DOT com


  16. dulcejuliarossi said:

    Romance, historical romance and new adult are my fave


  17. Wendy Ward said:

    I love all romance, but my favorite is paranormal. The book looks hot!! Thanks for the opportunity.


  18. Elizabeth Haney said:

    Love the books and I love this necklace! Thanks for the extra giveaways!

    ehaney578 at aol dot com


  19. Terrie T said:

    I had to stop reading the interview with Shane because I have not finished the book and did not want anything spoiled BUT I will be back. 🙂

    I like they way you post your review and cannot wait to read more. THANK YOU!!


    1. Terrie T said:

      Oops – Left of my favorite genre – I would say romance mixed with suspense including paranormal or not


  20. Alexa W. said:

    I love romance and paranormal and historical as in Victorian era with pirates or Scottish men


  21. vickie schultz said:

    I love contemporary romance! Thank you for the chance! I am a huge Laura Kaye fan but she already knows that I stalk that woman like crazy! 😉


  22. bookskater said:

    I like paranormal and erotic romance most.


  23. Kris J. said:

    I read a lot of genres. But if I had to pick only one as a favorite, I’d go with Contemporary. I loved book 1 in this series, can’t wait to pick up book 2.

    Thanks for a chance to win a prize. kris.noellej AT gmail DOT com.


  24. Bube said:

    I love this book,amazing story! 🙂
    Great review Vilma,it was a pleasure to read both,review and interview 🙂
    Thank you Laura and Vilma for the awesome opportunities! 🙂


    1. Bube said:

      I forgot to write the answer to the question 😀
      My favorite genre is paranormal romance 🙂


  25. Marlena Fein said:

    Favorite genre-Romance of any kind. I absolutely loved this book and love the meaning behind the butterfly necklace! Thanks for sharing this today!


  26. Crystal Flannery said:

    I love paranormal romance!


  27. Sierra McBride said:

    Contemporary Romance. (Anything with an Uber-Alpha !!)

    LOVE your reviews !! <3
    TY for the chance.

    stamper_sierra [at] yahoo [dot] com


  28. Sara B. said:

    Favorite genre? At this point, anything with sex in it! LOL


  29. Raeline Peterson said:

    My favorite genre is pretty much any romance . thank you


  30. Jeanette (Jeannie) Platt said:

    Great interview… I love Character Interviews… congrats on release. Military and Paranormal Romances are m favorite.


  31. Janice Mouret said:

    I just love books, mostly paranormal, sexy erotica with a story but not just sex and motorcycle books just love tatoo’d men


  32. Lindsey RC said:

    Always love a good romance (:


  33. Laura Kaye said:

    Good luck guys! And thanks for hopping along with me! 🙂


  34. Gina H. said:

    I love all romance genres! I loved Hard as It Gets, and can’t wait to read Hard as You Can! Thanks for the giveaway!


  35. Betul E. said:

    I love all subgenres of romance (HR, Suspense, PNR, CR etc), I also love NA!


  36. Negar said:

    Romance, definitely


  37. Mindy S said:

    I love paranormal romance but I do love a good historical romance also ! I just love romance books lol


  38. Sabrina Taylor said:

    I read so many different genre’s it’s hard to choose my favorite. It all depends on the mood I am in and how invested I can get into the book. Although I always seem to get totally invested in the characters and story. I read romance, erotic, mystery, suspense, horror, and just straight fiction. I love books so very much.


  39. Daniela Lucero said:

    Mmmmm en realidad me gustan todos jajja es dificil decidirse


  40. carolsavoy1963 said:

    Depends on my mood 🙂 But I really like Angles and Demon romances, BDSM, historical, contemporary romances,


  41. marcyshuler said:

    I love both contemporary and historical romances. I adore this series and liked Shane’s interview. 😉



  42. Lola Figueroa said:

    I love romance novels from vanilla to erotica … thank you for the giveaway, my email address is


  43. Glittergirl said:

    I adore all types of romance…military/black ops, paranormal, historical, contemporary, erotic. Just not into the New Adult romance. The necklace is SO PRETTY. Thanks for the giveaways and writing such awesome books! glittergirl54 at ymail dot com.


  44. Scarlett Camaj said:



  45. Krysten M said:

    I’ll read anything as long as it’s some type of fiction! 🙂 ( )



    I can appreciate any genre because I love to read but I’d have to say that paranormal romances are what make my nerd girl heart happy 🙂


  47. Leslie Rodriguez said:

    shapeshifters, vampires, bdsm, romance, comedy, drama, & action all in one.


  48. lorrie zielinski said:

    Love paranormal and starting to get into NA and romance


  49. Cathy H said:

    Romance….specifically Historical, Paranormal and Contemporary.


  50. Cyndi Flores said:

    My favorite gener is paranormal my email is thank u ♡♥★☆♡♥


  51. raonaidluckwell said:

    Favorite genre to read is Paranormal abnd Fantasy


  52. mrsmac19 said:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I prefer NA or contemporary with a touch of mystery.


  53. bn100 said:

    Nice review
    like contemporary

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com


  54. Rhonda said:

    Can’t wait to read this!


    1. Rhonda said:

      I enjoy all romance…contemporary, historical, suspense…

      Msrh0ndaelaine at gmail dot com


  55. Cassandra T. said:

    any man in uniform is hot! So military books are always great!


  56. Sarah Chan said:

    My favorite military hero, and the only one i’ve read so far, is Nick Rixey (of course!)


  57. Lisa Hutson said:

    Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂
    lisakhutson at cox dot net


  58. PAULA MARIE said:

    Hmmm, my fave would have to be in Amy Harmon’s book Making Faces & Katie McGarry’s Fighting Redemption. 🙂


  59. Sue said:

    Thanks for the giveaway.


  60. Kerry said:

    What a beautiful necklace! jk1598(at)cox(dot)net. I like the military suspenseful, romance books. It’s a toss up between that and the fighting, romance novels.


  61. kelly t. said:

    don’t really have fictional military hero yet…still reading for one 🙂


  62. Stacy Sties said:

    No favorite hero yet but this group is heading to the top of the list.


  63. Jasmine Roman said:

    I don’t have a fictional military hero but I do have a real life military hero my dad a Navy Seal was in Desert Storm. I love your blog you help me pick amazing books that ordinary I would probably would not have found. Thanks again.


    1. Jasmine Roman said:

      Forgot my favorite genre Contemporary Romance and Erotic
      romance. I love the necklace I am the biggest Boston Celtic Fan so I would love it. Thanks again for helping me pick books I read a lot I mean over hundred a year I’m disabled and don’t have much to do so reading is therapy.


  64. Terrie Lynn said:

    Shane is so sexy. Loved the interview with him.


  65. Terrie Lynn said:

    I love Axel Reid in “Axel” by Harper Sloan.


  66. Sonia Ferreira said:

    I love reading romances: romantic suspense, contemporary romance or paranormal romance.


  67. Roselle Torres said:

    Awesome!!! Thank you for this giveaway <3


  68. Rachelle said:

    New Adult Erotica and dark contemporary are my favorite reads! As long as I have some alpha male lovins I’m a very happy reader 🙂
    rachiemarie11 (at) gmail (dot) com
    Thanks for the giveaway!


  69. Staci Pope said:

    My favorite military men are the Corps Security Corps men (Haper Sloan), however, I am more than willing to give these Special Forces men a fighting chance. Love military romances.


  70. heather27410 said:

    I do not have a favorite fictional military hero as of yet. Because I have not read many books with military heros in them yet. Well I read one recently so I guess he will do – his name is Aiden. He is Marine Corps. And he is in the book Everything I’ve Never Had written by Lynetta Halat


  71. bubbles11nc said:

    military hero – does Rhett Butler count?


  72. Irene said:

    Erotic romance is my fave but I also like PNR too.


  73. Jenny Dauksa Schaber said:

    You know that I love that necklace. I keep telling you, but I love the series even more. These men bring a sense of peace to the lives of the people they’ve encountered thus far and they are an honorable group to be sure! I can’t wait for the series to continue. Thanks for sharing them with us!


  74. Stephanie said:

    Aahh I love this 🙂 thanks for the giveaway


  75. Lilith Nyx said:

    My fav military hero is Caleb from Safe with me.
    My fav genre is dark erotica and anything with vampires 🙂
    Thanks for a chance.


  76. Missie Jones said:

    I find that with each book u write I have a new favorite hero…lol So I cant pick just one. That would be so unfair…hehe I am a huge fan & I have all your books. Cant wait til I either win a copy of this one or finally get to go buy it. Big Hugs Laura.

    Missie Jones
    missie25524 @ netzero dot com


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