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…
“You should be inside celebrating,” Jeremy said, his voice a raw scrape. “You and Marz did an amazing thing this morning.” An hour ago, Marz and Charlie had cracked open a heavily encrypted microchip that contained a wealth of information that not only seemed likely to help the team clear its name, but proved that Charlie’s father hadn’t been dirty, like they’d all thought. “And I’m so happy for you about your dad.”
A wounded darkness passed through Charlie’s gaze, but he finally nodded. “Didn’t feel right without you there.” Pink filtered into his cheeks, and damn if that wasn’t as cute as it was sexy. Jeremy wasn’t sure anything had ever made him blush.
“I’m just not—” Jeremy shrugged and looked down at Charlie’s chest again. Having seen the guy dress more than once, he knew that shirt covered lean muscle that ran from strong shoulders down to his narrow hips. Jeremy fisted his hands against the urge to burrow them under the hem of the tee. After weeks of looking, and wanting, he was dying to touch. Jeremy found Charlie hard to read though, and hadn’t wanted to do anything to scare him off. “—very good company right now. I’m sorry if that—”
Charlie nudged Jeremy’s chin up with his hand, his fingers just barely touching Jer’s stubble-covered skin. But then his thumb landed softly against his lips.
Jeremy’s heartbeat kicked up and his lips fell open. Slowly, oh so tentatively, Charlie stroked the soft pad of his thumb back and forth across them.
“Charlie,” Jeremy whispered as arousal surged through his body, spiking his pulse, tensing his muscles, hardening his dick.
Uncertainty poured off Charlie as the man’s hand trembled where it touched him, but those blue eyes absolutely blazed desire. No way was Jeremy imagining that.
“You’re always good company, to me,” Charlie said in a low voice, his gaze dropping to Jeremy’s lips. Charlie leaned in closer, and closer still, and Jeremy could hardly believe the other man was the one to initiate this. But he was fucking thrilled.
Jeremy swallowed, his lips anticipating that first soft brush. Charlie was so close his shaky breath caressed Jeremy’s lips. His pace was maddening but so damn sexy Jer could barely breathe. And then Charlie’s eyelids fluttered closed and he was right there…
Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye
As most of you know I’m a big Laura Kaye fan. I love everything she writes. Laura hooked me with Hard As It Gets and now I gobble up everything I can get my hands on. So it’s no surprise that when I got the chance to read an ARC I jumped on it.
With that being said I’ve never read a M/M novel before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m not saying I’m going to run out and read more, M/M doesn’t do anything for me personally and normally that’s what I look for in a romance novel (now that I read them :)). LK, however wrote a great story. It didn’t matter that I don’t read M/M or that it didn’t turn me on. What mattered was the connection between Jeremy and Charlie, and of course what’s going on with the Hard Ink team.
Remember this is a novella. 😀
I’m sure you’ve guested Hard to Be Good is the latest in the Hard Ink series. It’s the second novella in the seven story series (4 full length books & 3 novellas), and its story 3.5. This is Jeremy’s story, well I should say it’s Jeremy & Charlie’s story as you can see from the cover. Hard to Be Good starts the day after Hard to Come By “Marz’s story,” ends. Meaning the team is still dealing with the aftermath of the all out warfare from Seneka and the Church gang on their doorstep along with the revelation that Colonel Merritt was not a traitor to his team and country. Didn’t that just rock the boat.
In the mitts of war can two seemingly to different people put aside their past and fall in love? Unlike Nick & Becca, Shane & Sara, Easy & Jenna and even Marz & Emilie, Jeremy and Charlie are worlds apart. It may not look like they are at first glance but when you look at their way of life you’ll see it.
Jeremy “Jer”Rixey, our artist, tattoo wearing, tattoo business owner and bisexual, has always felt loved no matter his choices. Between him and Marz they are Hard Ink’s resident jokesters. Granted Jer more so then Marz with all his tee shirts and easy going attitude. He’s also a hard working, tattoo loving artist who knows what he wants and normally goes for it. That’s not to say he doesn’t show that Rixey stubbornness we’ve come to know and love from Nick and himself since Hard As It Gets, because we do. In this eleven chapter novella LK dug deep into Jer’s goofy side to show us that there’s more to our fun loving sexual innuendo tee shirt wearing, artistic badass.
Jer is outgoing, full of love, compassion, honesty, loyalty and of course humor. We’ve see all of that since the beginning. What we don’t see much of until now is his self doubt, confusion and survivors guilt. Granted his survivors guilt doesn’t compare to Eazy’s but its there all the same. Between part of the warehouse that Hard Ink is located in being destroyed, friends and allies dying and trying to figure out if the man he’s craving is into him it’s no wonder we see more to Jer. It’s not all fun and games when war hits your doorstep.
[The backs of his eyes stinging, Jeremy turned away. He’d lost it once in front of Charlie. Yesterday. After the full weight of the attack had hit him. Last thing he wanted was to do it again. Because crying was so damn attractive. “All this can be fixed,” he managed, waving vaguely at their surroundings.]
Where Jer could be seen as the life of the party Charlie Merritt is the total opposite. Our resident introvert, is shy, a little self hating, a wickedly brilliant computer genius/hacker and geek who doesn’t know what its like to be accepted for who he is. Where Jer’s family accepts his bisexuality, Charlie’s father – Colonel Chuck Merritt – Nick, Shane, Easy & Beckett’s commander disapproved of Charlie’s homosexuality. This leaves Charlie with some lasting emotional scars. Even though Charlie is out of the closet he’s never sure how others feel about it especially his father’s former team or how Nick will react if he hooks up with Jer. Because of this Charlie is on the fence when it comes to starting a relationship with Jeremy.
Unlike in his personal life where Charlie is shy and introverted when it comes to computers and hacking Charlie knows he has skills. In fact its because of those skills that Hard Ink and its team are in a war. Now that Charlie is safe and healing he along with Marz are putting those skills to use. Well those aren’t the only skills we learn Charlie has but I’m not telling you the new ones. 😉
As Charlie and Jer figure out there blooming relationship and whether or not they can have each other, the team starts to sift through the documents from the encrypted microchip to clear the teams name.
“Dude,” Jeremy whispered. “There’s a one-eyed cat staring at us.”
“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” Marz said, his tone dripping with innuendo.
Jeremy smirked over his shoulder. “Kinda leaves the playing field wide open, doesn’t it?”
“Jesus, Charlie,” Jeremy rasp, standing back enough to look down between them. “Your dick is a thing of fucking beauty. Gonna take two hands to stroke you right.” …
… “She’s not better than you,” Charlie blurted. Nick’s pale green eyes cut his way. Rising, Charlie wondered why the hell he’d started this anyway. “What I mean is, you’re every bit as good as she is. You saved my life, Nick. And hers. Hell, so many people around here owe you a debt of gratitude for what you’ve done. So, she’s lucky, too. That’s all I wanted to say.”
“Putting my ink on your skin is making me really fucking hard.”
LK also left us a teaser at the end for Hard to Let Go book 4 in the Hark Ink series. Just like the Hard to Be Good and the previous Hard Ink stories Hard to Let Go is going to be Hard to put down and so damn good to read.
And don’t miss the other Hard Ink books, now available:
Praise for the Hard Ink Series:
“TOP PICK! If you’re looking for danger, gritty action, and sizzling passion, then Kaye has just the book and the series for you.” ~RT Book Reviews Magazine
About Laura Kaye: 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.