Caught between desire and loyalty…
Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his disgraced Special Forces team—sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.
When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he’s become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.
As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Everytime I finish a book in the Hard Ink series, I always fangirl over Kaye and the series and all these books have to offer. This book is no exception to that…
Derek lost more than just his teammates and his job when everything went to hell overseas. He also lost his leg, and learning to live without it has almost been easier than being without his brothers-in-arms. Getting pulled back into the fold is exactly what Derek needs, but Emilie (the sister of his current target) is a temptation from left field he didn’t expect.
Emilie knows something is up with her brother, but trying to help him is next to impossible. When she meets Derek and learns the true extent of her brother’s crimes, she is shocked and scared and oddly pleased that Derek is the calm in her storm. But as things around them start blowing up, Emilie and Derek will put their shaky relationship to the ultimate test, and they might not make it out intact.
I was a little hesitant with the way Kaye set up the meet between Derek and Emilie, especially as Derek was forced to lie to Emilie about his romantic intentions for a little bit in the beginning. However, I have to admit I loved the fact that Derek was so troubled by it, and that when he came clean to Emilie, he seemed to have real regret about their meeting and initial courtship.
Aside from that, there was so much to love about this book. Not only are Derek and Emilie fabulous characters, but the series overall got expanded in a way that I am so excited to see. Kaye continues to do this incredible balancing act of answering just enough questions while asking others. The overall plot about their leader and why they were betrayed and everything else is still chugging along, and I am so excited and anxious and nervous each time the team gets closer and closer to another answer. In that regard alone, this series is a MUST READ for romantic suspense fans.
I felt so bad for Emilie throughout this whole book. It was obvious to me that she was the kind of heroine who wore her heart on her sleeves, who refused to give up on those she loved, and who would fight with her very last breath to defend those closest to her. I loved the conflicting emotions she had about her brother, especially when it came to her deciding to submit formal paperwork to have him put on a psych hold. It was real and heartbreaking and I loved the way it played out in the book.
Although Derek never had to overcome such strong emotional turmoil, I loved the way he forced himself and his fellow teammates out of the grief and guilt they carried surrounding his amputation. While so many stories about war vets focus on PTSD and the wounds of war that you can’t see, I loved the way Kaye took on a new and different aspect. Derek was in a good place with his amputation, but getting his teammates there was so wonderful to read. I loved it.
And like I said, although I was worried the romance wouldn’t be as strong because of the way these two started off, I loved the way they navigated their relationship. It wasn’t always black and white, and it sure wasn’t easy, but I loved the fact that the mutual respect and affection they had for each other was enough to make them want to fight for the chance to make it work. They were so fun and sexy and great together.
All in all, Kaye continues to write an incredible series that I can’t wait to get more of. I love this rag-tag team that has come together, and I can’t wait to find out where the series goes next. Derek and Emilie were fabulous, seeing all the previous couples continue to grow together is awesome, and I need the next one, NOW!
I give Hard to Come By a B+