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REVIEW - Hard to Be Good

Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink) - Laura Kaye

See my review at Sinfully .

4.5 “Conquering Fear” Stars!

“The instant his lips crashed into Jeremy’s, Charlie realized something he’d never known before. Conquering fear didn’t mean not being afraid, it meant being afraid of something and doing it anyway. It meant saying no to fear—no you can’t rule me, no you can’t hold me back, no you can’t keep me from the things I want the most. Not anymore.”


Hard to Be Good is a novella in Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series. Since the onset of this series, I have been a huge fan . The books simply get better and better. If you have yet to pick up this series, it is a darn great one to dive into. This novella picks up where book three ends as the overall story arc essentially flows from one book to another. For this reason I highly recommend reading book one first if you have not already done so. This book also marks the first M/M one in the series. I commend this author for branching out and giving us Jeremey and Charlie’s story.

Essentially, five former Special Forces soldiers have rekindled their connection and bond that was severed one year prior when their commander betrayed them all with his involvement in illegal activities. Forced to leave the army with reputations in shambles, the men are now on a mission to uncover exactly what their ex-commander was involved in, to clear their names and restore their honor. The team is searching for answers and as they become more entrenched into the world of organized crime, drugs and the sex slave trade, they discover that more is at stake than what they could have ever imagined. This novella is about two background characters who are not the former soldiers but are an important part of the storyline nonetheless.

Jeremy Rixey is the owner of Hard Ink Tattoo, the place that has become the hub for the Special Forces team led by Nick Rixey trying to seek out justice. Jeremy is also Nick’s younger brother and is determined to stand by his brother and his team and help them with their fight. His life has been turned inside out with the team, and now many others, invading his shop and personal space. Charlie Merritt is a computer genius who was recently kidnapped for his connection to the commander. His sister sought out Nick to help her save Charlie and this led to his eventual rescue, but not before damage was done. With Nick and his sister now romantically involved and Charlie being wholly invested in uncovering the truth just as much as the others, he is now fully entrenched in this dangerous search for answers. Both Jeremy and Charlie are shouldering a lot of blame for things beyond their control. They both have also been attracted to each other from the start but have yet to act on what they are feeling. Can they move past their guilt and try and find a sliver of happiness when everything else in their worlds seems so out of control?

Jeremy and Charlie experience a few bumps when they both decide to take things further than the strong friendship they have been building. Charlie grew up with a father who was anything but accepting of his sexual orientation. He’s afraid of what everyone will think if him and Jeremy were to come out into the open. Would they be accepting or would he once again experience ignorance and disgust just for simply embracing who is his? I loved how patient Jeremy was and how open he was with Charlie, fully understanding that he needed to tread carefully. With Jeremy’s kind support and gentle nudges, Charlie may just be able to let go of his past.

Both men have a few sizzling hot stolen moments amidst all the chaos. And, I must say, those scenes were not only passion-filled and sexy but they were also a lot of fun to read. One of my favorite lines in the book was when Jeremy gets an eye full of all that Charlie has to offer.
“And holy. Fucking, Hell. Charlie was hung. He had a good ten inches of long, hard cock. It was like learning unicorns were real.”

I must say. I got a little jealous of Jeremy. I want to learn that unicorns are real, too! ;)

All in all, Hard to Be Good was a wonderful addition to this series. I loved this novella and this little snippet that we get of Jeremy and Charlie. I’m hoping that this is not the last M/M romance that Ms. Kaye writes. Regardless, I am wholly invested in this series and can’t wait for more!

****An advance reading copy of Hard to Be Good by Laura Kaye was generously provided to me in exchange for an honest review.