BLOG REVIEW: Hard As It Gets by Laura Kaye

Nurse heroine is desperate for help with her missing younger brother. He's all the family she has left since her military father's recent death in Afghanistan.
She asks part-time tattoo artist and former Army Special Forces Hero for help since her brother named him in his cryptic message.
Hero initially rejects her when he found out who she was. But he can't stop thinking about her due to a nagging feeling that she's in danger. And he's very attracted to her.
Rescuing her from her house intruder convinces him that there's much more involved with her missing brother and has her move in with him and his brother for her safety. Their close proximity enables them to get to know each other more and fires up their shared attraction.
However, Hero becomes more unsettled by the secret he's keeping from her. And it becomes increasingly evident when his former Special Forces teammates join him in helping locate her brother. Which side will she take when she finds out his secret? How does his secret connect to her brother's disappearance?

The best part of this book was the first quarter. The beginning was exciting, sexy, and well-paced. It established heroine's desperate search for her brother and the reason why she was so anguished by it. Her daring approach for help from Hero was rooted on this vein and was emotionally engaging. Their sexual chemistry was instant and compelling as was his automatic resentment towards her mixed with some guilt over slamming down her genuine request for his help. The first 1/4 of the book was well-paced & made me eager to read more. Then, it slowed down a bit after that and hit a plateau all the way til the end. The story became more concentrated on everyday details of their lives, mostly centered on their plan to find her brother and why they keep on targeting heroine. The initial action-suspense excitement and emotional pull subsided. 

Hero and heroine's emotional connection developed but the book became more action-suspense oriented that their romance got pushed towards the side. Their sexual chemistry was still evident but it got prolonged and distracted by the aforementioned everyday details. When they finally had sex, it was steamy but my overall interest in the book had waned at that point. I skipped some pages just so I can finally get to the sex scenes.  Even my interest in heroine's reaction to Hero's big secret dissipated. There were many characters (including a 3-legged dog) introduced by the second half of the book and that only added to the emotional and romance distraction. When the big-secret reveal occurred, heroine's sense of betrayal and Hero's guilt failed to engage me. Hero's teammates plus the dog was there at the reveal and the whole thing felt contrived and was resolved pretty quickly. Hero and heroine's love confessions were predictable and lacked the intensity and drama that I like when they occur.

Aside from the excitement of the initial part of the book, the action-suspense part was involved but failed to engage my interest. It wasn't predictable per se because there were some parts that were creative. The problem was that the writing wasn't suspenseful & didn't grab me.

I limitedly recommend this book.

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