Book Blitz: Hard As You Can by Laura Kaye

Happy book birthday, Laura Kaye! I'm so glad to be part of her release day launch for Hard As You Can! Partly because yes, I won an ARC (provided by the publisher via Edelweiss), but mostly because she's one of my favorite contemporary authors.

I have been reading Laura Kaye stories for a while now and all I can say is that she keeps getting better and better with time. So yes, Laura is like good wine or cheese. And her stories are meant to be savored.

Her characters are strong despite their wounds, and her sexytime chemistry rockets off the chart. I love the way Laura slows the action down so we are part of every vulnerable, shivery moment. And the emotion, oh the it! Want a taste?

Here's an excerpt from Hard As You Can featuring Shane and Crystal:

“I didn’t mean to criticize you, Crystal. I just cannot abide violence against women. Period. Especially not someone I know.” A long pause. “And definitely not someone I like.” After everything that had happened to her, the words were a balm for her psyche.

Footsteps came up behind her, slowly, cautiously, like she was a wild animal who would bolt in an instant. And she supposed there was some truth to that analogy.

Torn between returning to the danger she knew or staying with the one she didn’t, Crystal debated. Her heart told her Shane might well be the most dangerous man she’d ever met because he made her want, wish, maybe even dream.

Not at all sure it was a good idea, Crystal slowly turned.

Shane was right in front of her. A rock in the middle of a raging sea, a refuge she might claim if she had the strength and the will and the nerve to fight for it. To believe she deserved it. She hugged herself.

“Hey,” he said, cupping her face in his big hands. His fingers slid behind her neck and gently massaged.

She shook her head and glanced toward the treetops in an effort to pinch off the sting building behind her eyes. Why did she have to meet him now? She’d had a plan, and all she’d needed to do was follow it for a few more months. “You don’t even know me.”

“No. Not everything. But I know more than a little. And that much I like enough to want to know more.” His fingers rubbed her neck, gently, soothingly.

And his words, well, his words were perfect. Maybe even too much so. Too good to be true, she thought. “I already told you I’d share what I’d learned. You don’t have to play me.”

His eyes narrowed, and he frowned. “You listen hard and you listen good, sweetness,” he said, the words firm but the tone urgent, almost desperate, and laced with his southern accent. “I’m not perfect, and God knows I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. But I would never play with a woman’s emotions to get information out of her. That kind of manipulation doesn’t hold with me. Ever.”

Sweetness. She’d heard everything he’d said. The passion with which he’d said it. The sincerity that burned from his gaze as the words had poured from his lips. But it was the term of endearment that reached into her chest and gripped her heart. For a long moment, they stood there, bodies touching, faces inches apart, his hands holding her in that firm-but-gentle way he had.

Thunder rumbled again, closer this time, and her heart was a drum beat double-timing
inside her chest. If his hands didn’t feel it racing, he’d have to hear it, because the sound was a loud rush rush in her ears. Beneath the sports bra and tank, her nipples went hard. If his gaze dropped, she knew he’d see, but she couldn’t bring herself to feel self-conscious about it. Not when he was looking at her like he wanted to devour her.

His gaze dropped to her lips.

She shuddered, everything inside her but the smallest voice of reason crying out for him to do it. Just once.

“Tell me not to,” he said, his voice a raw scrape.


Yum, right? Speaking of yummy, here's a closer look at the cover:

 Laura adds to all this deliciousness by spicing things up with a generous helping of suspense and danger. I love my romance with a side of mystery! So very happy about that :D

About Hard As You Can:
Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he's shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister's sake, Crystal can't get too close. Until her job and Shane's mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. 

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He's exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can--and never let go.

Buy Hard As You Can at Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

The first book in the series is Hard As It Gets and, Laura shared, there are two more Hard Ink stories coming out this year. Woot!

Laura is also be hosting a Facebook party for HARD AS YOU CAN today from 12-9pm EST if you want to join the fun go to:

Now check out the awesome rafflecopter giveaway that's part of this bountiful blitz:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

IRC 2014 Best Indie Cover Award now OPEN

Woot! IndieReCon's first Indie Cover contest is now open for votes. You can vote for multiple covers & I'd really appreciate it if you'd consider voting for WILDFIRE along with others! :)

IRC 2014 Best Indie Cover Award: Adult #2 Wildfire: Goodreads Lynn Hana Alexander is a 25-year-old Japanese American shape-shifter haunted by guilt. She’s been questioning herself and...


Check out their website for speakers and details:

LOVE International Book Giving Day!

I just love this idea! International Book Giving Day, 100 percent volunteer supported, aims to get new, used, and borrowed books into the hands of as many children as possible.

Here are some eye-opening facts:

* Most children in developing countries don't own books.
* In the United Kingdom, one-third of the children do not own books.
* In the United States, two-thirds of the children living in poverty do not own books.

Having grown up in a third world country where many children drop out of school to help their families earn a living, I have always been grateful for my education. Books and stories have opened new worlds and opportunity for me. In tough times, I always reach for a book. A good story can give me respite and comfort. Often, a good story has given me hope.

So yes, I think a book is a perfect gift for Valentine's Day. To celebrate International Book Giving Day, I'm going to donate some books to a local Girls Home/Children's Emergency Shelter. Can you suggest any titles that might be popular with teen girls and kids in a tough situation?

If you'd like to celebrate International Book Giving Day and share some book love, please check out the International Book Giving Day Website for ideas.

Wishing you good books for International Book Giving Day and happy Valentine's Day too!

Support Your Fav Indie Authors with Nominations

Indie Authors are independent creatives who believe in their words and take entrepreneurial risks to bring you new ideas and new stories. If they didn't, many of your favorite authors and stories would stay lost in slush piles or hidden under beds. And that would be sad for those authors, but also for the readers who love them.

Besides being an indie author, I'm also an avid reader. I have discovered some fantastic voices and awesome reads thanks to indie publishing -- my favorites include Crista McHugh and Susan Kaye Quinn. I'm so thankful they had the courage to write and share their stories.

If you have enjoyed an indie story and felt similarly grateful to certain authors, well now is your chance to say thank you. There are several indie groups looking to hand out awards to deserving books and authors:

The 2014 Indie Romance Convention Awards is accepting nominations. Check out the pretty award!

Then there is Indie ReCon... 

They have two contest categories: Best Indie Novel Award and Best Indie Cover Award. Nominations are open from Feb 3 to Feb 14, 2014.

So go celebrate your indie authors with a nomination or two! Happy reading!

P.S. If you know of any other indie awards looking for nominations, mention them in the comments and I'll add them in!