NOTE: This review is for a book with mature content and sexy times!
Hard to Hold on To by Laura Kaye is a novella in the Hard Ink series, fitting in right between books 2 and 3. It starts up in the moments following the end of book 2 and focuses on Easy and Jenna as they help each other cope with a bunch of emotional trauma. It’s a wonderfully sweet story and my favorite of the series so far.
This could be read as a standalone by those interested in the series and wary of committing to a full-length novel, but it has so much more to offer if you’ve read books 1 and 2 first! I cannot recommend this series enough if you are a fan of suspenseful contemporary romance!
A quick note to series readers who are wondering if they can skip this one since it’s a novella: Yes, technically, but why would you??? For one thing, while no major developments occur, plenty of minor ones do, and this story definitely progresses the series. For another thing, Easy and Jenna are AWESOME!
Having just been rescued from a terrifying abduction, Jenna turns to Easy to help ground her during the panic she battles in the aftermath. They’ve had a connection since he was assigned as her protection detail for one night and the connection only grows as Easy helps her through the hardest few days of her life.
Any man willing to handle the tears and vomit of a strange woman to whom he owed absolutely nothing was someone worth getting to know better. That had to be in a girls’ guide to guys somewhere.
Easy is still suffering from PTSD and depression after the ambush that resulted in the death of his best friend and his own discharge from the military. I loved the way Kaye approached depression in this story. She didn’t shy away from the topic, one that is so prevalent among veterans, and she avoided the fairy tale ending of “true love immediately heals all wounds.” While I have no doubt that Easy and Jenna will overcome the horror in their pasts, the story makes it clear that recovery is a long and difficult road that is best traveled with the help of others.
She didn’t heal what was broken within him–he wasn’t that naive or delusional. But she sure as f**k made him remember the man he’d once been. Made him see glimpses of that man within the person he was right now. And made him believe maybe he could become that man again.
On a lighter note, there are more tattoos! Easy has a variety of them, but the showstopper is the quote he gets along the right side of his rib cage:
You were never created to live depressed, defeated, guilty, condemned, ashamed or unworthy. You were created to be victorious.
Once again, Kaye’s written a book that I know I will read again and again over the years. In fact, each book in the series fits that description. I can’t wait for the saga to continue with Marz’s story in Hard to Come By – I’m hoping to be able to add it to my list of keepers!
PS – Here’s my favorite of Jeremy’s dirty t-shirts from this installment:
It had the words, “The Man,” with an arrow pointing upward, followed by, “The Legend,” with an arrow pointing downward.