Monday, August 8, 2016

★★★ Review For Hard Time Book 1 & Hard Case Book 2 ( Hard as Nails series) by Hope Conrad ★★★

Hard Time (Hard As Nails Book 1)

 by Hope Conrad   
175 pages
Published May 24th 2016 

Muscled, tattooed, and irresistible.

Thomas Street is an ex-con, but before he got out of prison, 

he locked eyes with her…

The moment Street sees Katie serving food in a hellhole of a 

prison, he wants her. Her sweet little body against his. Under
 his. Her screaming his name until she admits she’s never 
had better.

Now he’s found her again, working in a bookstore of all 

places, and she’s just as gorgeous as he remembers. Only 
Katie thinks he can be redeemed. That there’s a good man 
underneath his darkness.

He’s not so sure.

But then Katie becomes his. Katie and her daughter.

And he’ll risk everything, including fighting the devil himself, 

to protect them

Wow what a book. This is a fast read, but well worth it. 
I loved the bad guy gone good underling story. This is the
 first book in the hard as nails series, where 5 friends that 
grew up through adversity and did what they had to, to 
survive. But at 18 all went in together and all go straight, 
till one of them ended up in Jail and the others did what they
 had to, to get him out. Hope may be a new author, but she 
came out with one hell of a first book. The story is well 
thought out and flows so well that you can get totally lost in 
the story and loose all track of time. I started the book at bed 
time next thing I know its 6am and time to get up.

This book is Street and Katie’s story. They met in the worst 
of circumstance, she the cafeteria server and he the inmate.
 Well I say met, but really it was more like the where acutely 
aware of one another, draw to each other. When Street gets
 out he kind of becomes a stalker as he has to se Katie. She 
stopped working there 2 years ago and he wants to make 
sure she is okay. Well next thing he knows he walks into her
 place of work. And lets just say the sparks fly. She still thinks
 he is a good guy under it all. And even convinces her boss 
he is worth takeing a chance on, but there is a cost for that. 
Her sister dose not want her with him, but one night when 
Katie’s crazy ex comes after her with an axe it is what 
happens next that xhanges her sisters mind. But when he 
runs into and old friend all of a sudden he wants Katie’s out
 of his life where she will be safe. Now can Katie fix things 
and convince street to come back.

Now before I ruin this for you I will leave off here. I hope you
 enjoy this book as much as I did. If you do like this book,
 please consider leaving a review. The Authors really like 
it when you do; they value your opinions too.


My mom used to tell me to dream big. That I could be anything I wanted to be. Funny, I never wanted to work in a prison cafeteria, but that’s exactly what’s happened. Now my days are a never-ending vortex of the same mundane task, tossing two scoops of what can only be described as slop into each tray as inmates march down the service line.
They all look the same. They all act the same. It’s impossible to distinguish one from the next, even though they vary in skin color and personality. It’s a blur of one ghosted face after another.
Some of the men scare me.
Most of them do, to be honest.
But he scares me most of all.
Thomas Street.
In the montage of blurry faces, his sticks out like a sore thumb. Something about him is different. Mary, my older—and far wiser—co-worker says that something different is the way he looks at me. I laugh her comments off, but deep down I know she’s right. He’s always staring, his eyes on me even as he settles at a table and pokes his fork at barely edible food.
I look at him, too. I have for months. And while I tried not to get caught looking at first, I soon abandoned all pretense. Even when he’s not around my gaze searches for him. My body yearns for him. And when I finally spot him, it’s always more than a quick gaze.
Like now.
Entrapped by those deep, piercing blue eyes, I can’t look away. I’m stuck in place, dreaming into the abyss of space between us while he eats.
Even as I’m lost in an unwelcome world of longing and desire, my hands continue to scoop slop against trays. It’s the easiest job I’ve ever had, and I’ve become accustomed to running on autopilot. I’ve become a robot, a machine, in the six months I’ve spent here.
I often find myself wondering if the inmates that pass me notice. If they see the emptiness hidden behind my hazel eyes. Probably not. They’re too lost in their own fantasies, if not of what it would feel like to rip my clothes off and fuck me where I stand, then what it would feel like to be on the outside again, living a life of freedom. Little do they know that even when I go home for the day, I wonder the same thing.
How’d I get stuck behind these prison walls? At what point in time did I say to myself, You know, maybe I should go serve processed food to the most dangerous men on Earth. Even worse, how is it that when I’m in my car driving home after work, I often feel like I’m going from one kind of prison to another?
It’s so ironic—this place is my escape from the outside world, and yet each of these men wish they could find an escape to the outside world. In here, I almost feel safe.
I jerk when I feel fingers wrap around my wrist. There’s no one in line, and I’d just scooped slop onto the metal counter in front of me.
“What’s up with you?” Mary asks with a furrowed brow, letting me go. “What are you dreaming about?”
Heat swamps my face as I imagine Street witnessing what I’d just done. I shoot Mary a weak smile as I clean up the mess I made.
“You know me, Mary. I don’t dream.” It’s a lie, of course. I dream about him and I’m sure she knows it. But I’ll never admit it out loud. I sigh and pull the latex gloves off my hands. “Reality is reality; no amount of dreaming will change that.”
“You’re watching him, aren’t you?” She shifts slightly so that her eyes are angled at Street. “I don’t blame you if you are.”
“Don’t be stupid,” I huff and flip a switch, turning the heat lamp above the dish of slop off.
“He watches you too.”
When I say nothing, when this time I manage to keep my eyes on her face, she laughs and turns to the kitchen. I follow her, but take one last glance—this time it’s a quick one—at Street before pushing through the swinging double doors.
He’s still staring at me, as if he couldn’t take his eyes off me if he tried. There is a landmine of magnets between us, with a pull impossible to ignore, but he’s off limits. He’s a man behind bars, and I’m a woman caged in another form of prison, one that’s my own personal hell.

When my shift is over, and the food is prepared for the next day, I begin the long walk to freedom along a path flanked on either side by towering fences with barbwire, one separating me from the prison courtyard, and the other cordoning off some utility buildings. My feet plod against the beaten gravel as I speed down the path, hurrying so I can get home in time to prepare dinner for my boyfriend.
He’s a man with a temper, and nothing sets him off like coming home to an empty table. Sometimes, it seems as if all I do is cook.
The dying sun beats against my face as it prepares its descent from the horizon, and a light trickle of sweat traces down my forehead. I hear the shouts of men playing basketball in the courtyard. Suddenly, my body tenses. My skin prickles. And somehow, without seeing him, I know Street is there. As if to confirm my suspicion, someone calls his name, and I stop and turn.
Street dribbles a basketball along a concrete court, weaving his way around his opponents. Any other time, the inmates wear their prison garb, but for some reason, in the yard when they’re playing basketball or working out, the prison lets them wear athletic gear, and play shirts or skin.
Street’s showing lots of skin. He’s tall; I’ve always known that, but somehow he looks taller without his shirt on.
His abs are crunched tight as he shifts downward, spinning beneath the arm span of a man on defense. He quickly gains his footing, steadies himself, and throws the ball into the basket, scoring a three-pointer with ease. In celebration, he claps his hand against a teammate’s as they cheer, and they bump chests.
His fingers fall to his hips, pressed against his body where the line of his black basketball shorts melts against tanned skin. A spider spins a web beginning at the arch of his right shoulder, and trailing all the way to his elbow in the form of an ashen-colored tattoo. On his left shoulder, a tiger with the same bright blue eyes as Street threatens to pounce.
His teeth sink into his lip, and it’s like he’s putting on a show. But there’s no way he can know I’m watching, right? He hasn’t even shifted his attention in this direction, giving me time to study him. He has a strong jawline and even though I can’t see it now, he has a long scar just under his right ear, where some left-handed nemesis tried to cut his throat in a fight.
It happened before I arrived. From what I know, Street’s been here about a year and still has several years left. When he walks, that scar will go with him.
If he doesn’t stay clean, it’ll be a way for someone to identify him.
But for me, it will always be a sign that there’s much more to him than meets the eye.
A guard caught me staring at Street once and assumed I’d been staring at his scar, which in all fairness I had been.
The guard told me he’d gotten it during a prison riot, when one gang had gone after another. “Street’s one of the few inmates not in a gang,” he’d said, and I’d heard the hint of admiration in his tone.
“So he just got caught in the cross-fire?” I asked, unable to squelch my damn curiosity.
“Nope. He waded right in.”
“Oh,” I’d said weakly.
“Saved a newbie. A kid that had been targeted to be raped.”
“Oh,” I’d said again, this time my voice stronger. “That’s…nice.” I’d known it was a lame thing to say, but if it were true, it was damn nice, literally putting your neck on the line to save someone else. Even if you were a man in prison who’d obviously made mistakes.
According to Mary, who’d heard it from another guard, Street is serving time for a burglary gone bad. Apparently the house owner had interrupted him. Someone had pulled a gun. The owner had been shot but lived.
The talk was that Street had accepted his fate, never trying to fight the ugly fight of feigning innocence. It doesn’t erase his actions, but now when I see his scar, I’m reminded of a book I read about a young Odysseus who joined his grandfather and a group of uncles for a hunt on the wooded slopes of Mount Parnassus. Odysseus was the youngest of the group, but when the men and dogs spotted a giant boar, Odysseus was the first to go after the beast with his spear. The boar dodged the blow and gored Odysseus in the knee. Thereafter, the scar was used to identify Odysseus, but also to symbolize his rite of passage into manhood. The scar helped make Odysseus into a man and marked him as one.
I view Street’s scar the same way. No matter his past sins, the scar will forever be a testament to his bravery.
Jesus, Katie, you’re a fool.
I’ve romanticized the scar, romanticized Street. Except for random bits of information, I really know nothing about him. Most of what I know is what I see. Yes, I really like what I see, but what does it say about me that I’m drawn to such a man for the shallowest of reasons?
His eyes.
His abs.
Those biceps, and a particularly beautiful smile.
His lips, and did I mention his eyes?
Maybe it’s the hint of danger in spite of my relative safety. He can’t touch me, but what if he could? What if I couldn’t stop him? The thought heightens my desire not just for physical release, but for an adventure to escape my mundane life.
His head cranes in my direction, and with a fire burning in his eyes, I know I’ve been spotted. I’ve been caught. I swallow a lump in my throat as I try to turn away, but crave just another second of visual contact.
He bites his lip again, and this time it’s intentional. He’s beckoning me, letting me know that he’s spotted me, and I know, more than ever, that he thinks of me the same way I think about him.
Sometimes, the torture continues into the depths of the night where I’m left yearning for something more while my boyfriend snoozes beside me. Sometimes, the only way I can shut it all off, and close my eyes, is when I picture Street on top of me.
Picture him inside me.
I shake the image out of my head and turn away to once again walk down the path, fighting the urge to turn back around for one last peek.
I sling my purse over my shoulder, and dangle my keys in my hand. I smile at Ken, the prison guard behind the counter as I shuffle toward the front door; one of only two routes out of the prison.
But something catches my attention—behind the counter and behind Ken, an unfamiliar guard with a severe, attentive face has a phone pressed against her ear. Her eyes shift, and she hangs up the phone with an amused but abrasive smirk.
“Fucking animals,” she says with another shake of her head.
“What happened now?” Ken questions without flinching from scribbling on a notepad.
“There was an incident on the courtyard.”
“Let me guess,” he groans and spins to face her. “Someone was running his mouth, and someone else threw punches.”
“Close, but no cigar.” She reaches for a pen from her pocket and clicks it, prepared to do some scribbling of her own. “An inmate stabbed another inmate with a shank.”
“Christ. Did you recognize any of the names?”
“The victim didn’t ring a bell, but the attacker was Thomas Street.”
“Damn,” Ken sighs. “I thought he was one of the good ones.”
“They’re animals,” she says, and my stomach sinks to my feet. “They’re only good until they’re not.”
I swallow a lump in my throat, and swipe my tongue against my lips. Before they realize I’ve been listening to their conversation, I’m out the door.
I’ve known it my entire life—I have the absolute worst taste in men.  

Want to read more go to Hope's website

Hard Case (Hard As Nails Book 2)

 by Hope Conrad
 147 pages

Published May 24th 2016

Slate Rawlings keeps mobsters out of prison, but now he’s 
tasked with defending an innocent women who makes him 
imagine all the naughty things he can do to her…

Slate battled his way to the top and now he’s the most 
successful lawyer in the city. His clients have pasts even 
darker than his, so he avoids honest, decent women.

The moment he sees kindergarten teacher Rose, however, 
he’s overcome by desire. She has blue eyes, pale skin and 
legs made to wrap around his hips. He wants to push her 
sweet body against the wall and f**k her until she cries out in
 complete surrender, but she deserves better than the 
monster hiding inside him.

Only Slate can’t leave Rose alone because he’s the only 
one who can save her.

And eventually he knows he won’t be able to 
resist temptation.

Blackened soul or not, he’s going to make Rose his in 
every way imaginable.

She did it to me again. I was up all night stuck in this book. 
I just could not put it down. This series of books may be fast 
reads, but well worth it. I loved the bad guy gone good 
underling story. This is the first book in the hard as nails 
series, where 5 friends that grew up through adversity and 
did what they had to, to survive. But at 18 all went in together
 and all go straight, till one of them ended up in Jail and the 
others did what they had to, to get him out. Hope may be a 
new author, but she came out with one hell of a first book and
 her 2nd is even better. The story is well thought out and flows
 so well that you can get totally lost in the story and loose all 
track of time. Hence the sleeping till noon as I finally went to 
sleep at 8am.

This book is Slate and Rose’s story. Slate is a hot shot 
Lawyer with that bad boy edge to him. And Rose is the sweet
 kindergarten teacher who is has shot her husband and 
killed him. Now it is up to Slate to save her, and he will do
 whatever it takes to save her, even go up again of the King 
of crime. Rose is suspicious of Slate she knows he has a 
connection to some bad guys, but she thinks he’s a lawyer of
 course he is acquainted with bad men. When he takes her to
 his home to protect her, she keeps having these naughty 
thoughts about slate. And in one night of terror from 
nightmares, slate is immediately there to take care of her.
 And well that is where it all begins. But one night while 
looking on the net she sees something that has her running. 
And know it is up to slate to prove he loves her and will take 
care of her. Have to read to see if he can.

Now before I ruin this for you I will leave off here.  I hope you 
enjoy this book as much as I did. If you do like this book, 
please consider leaving a review. The Authors really like it 
when you do; they value your opinions too.


Chapter One
Jail is quieter than I imagined it would be. On TV, it’s chaotic and full of loud mouth inmates and guards shouting at each other.
I haven’t heard any of that in here. It’s been quiet except for the occasional clanging of cell doors or the clanking of barred gates leading from one section to another as guards move around. The guards are calm and respectful. Occasionally, one of my cell mates speaks, but it’s usually in a mumble or in a quivery voice that makes it obvious she’s trying not to cry. Often, this is at odds with a hard outer shell. So far, I’ve been locked up with a gang banger, prostitute, homeless woman, and drunk driver. Our orange jumpsuits and dingy surroundings aren’t the only things we have in common. We’re all waiting.
Waiting to see what happens next.
At this point, I don’t know what to expect. How can I? I’m a kindergarten teacher. One who married my high school sweetheart. The love of my life.
I’d been living a fairy tale, if not oblivious to the darkness in life, then at least insulated from it.
Until Prince Charming tried to kill me
Josh was my first boyfriend back in high school. I can still remember the day we met. It had been near the beginning of the school year, on Picture Day. I was a freshman, and he was a junior. He’d been standing around in the cafeteria with a couple of his buddies when I’d shown up. It had been cool that morning, so I’d worn a light jacket over my short-sleeve shirt. The photographer asked me to remove the jacket.
I’d stood for a moment with the jacket in my hand, looking for a place to put it, when the guy standing in front of the stage with his buddies whistled at me and approached with his hand out. “I’ll hold it for you,” he’d offered. He had short, messy blond hair and a strong, confident voice. When he’d reached for my jacket, I had seen the definition in his arms, the way his muscles contoured his skin.
He didn’t look like the freshmen boys in line with my class. He looked like a man by comparison. After my photo had been taken, he’d been waiting for me, still holding my jacket.
“Name’s Josh,” he’d said.
“Rose.” I remember thinking my voice sounded so weak compared to his. I’d blushed as I’d reached for my jacket. “Thank you for holding it.”
“No problem. Hey, I gotta give the boys a ride home today. You wanna tag along?”
We became inseparable from that moment on. Dated all through high school. Dated through college. Got engaged soon after. Had a dream wedding and a fantastic honeymoon. For the first few years I’d been happy.
Until things went south. And they went south in a big way.
He’d started acting funny a little over a year ago. He’d started staying out late at night and coming home reeking of cigarette smoke or a distillery. He became skittish and jittery. My first thought was that he was on drugs, but that didn’t seem right. That didn’t seem like Josh.
Neither did staying out all night and acting like a paranoid junkie.
The money draining from our account didn’t seem right either.
Then one night he came home, shaking and panting like he’d been running from someone. And he had a gun.
“What the hell is that?” I’d asked him.
“It’s a fucking gun, Rose. What does it look like?”
I’d been taken aback by his harsh words. Up to then, he’d always spoken to me with kindness and respect, even when I was questioning his erratic behavior.
“I know it’s a gun, Josh. Why do you have a gun in our home?” I’d spoken softly and slowly, trying to tap into the endless well of patience I used for my kindergarten class.
Still shaking, shaking so much that the gun was rattling, he’d looked at me with wild, bloodshot eyes. “I’m not going to let them come after you, Rose. They can come after me, but they won’t get you.”
“Who? Who won’t get me?”
But he hadn’t answered. I’d tried to stick by him. I’d begged him to go to therapy with me. It hadn’t mattered. He’d changed. I’d changed. I became angry. Asked more and more questions.
Questions he didn’t like.
The first time he hit me, I checked out of our marriage. That was when I reached my breaking point. I couldn’t take anymore.
The steps I took to file for separation and get him out of the house happened quickly. One night, I heard him at the window, the gun he was holding tapping against the glass. The next night, he begged me to forgive him for striking me. And the night after that, the police escorted him out of the house.
He came back. Over and over. So I filed a restraining order.
I didn’t know who or what he thought was coming after me, but I knew that I was more afraid of him than some invisible boogeyman.
For a while, he stopped coming by, but he still called.
“Rose, don’t let them get you. They’re going to get you. Let me protect you.”
When I stopped answering the phone, he left voicemails.
“I don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you. I can’t lose you.”
At some point, the frantic paranoia in his voice was replaced with something darker.
“I can’t live without you. I’m afraid something terrible is going to happen.”
“Protecting you is all I live for.”
An eerie calm had come over his voice on his last few calls.
A few times, I thought I saw him walking down our street or hanging around where I worked. The sightings were fleeting. I’d catch him out of the corner of my eye, but when I looked to double check, he was gone.
I changed the locks while all of this was going on. I bought a gun and learned how to use it because I was afraid of what he might do.
I even quit my job, left my kids, because I feared they’d get caught in the cross-fire.
I should have done more.
I should have disappeared. Moved somewhere he’d never find me.
The new locks didn’t keep him out of the house. Nor did the legal separation. Nor did the restraining order.
I guess those things merely delayed the inevitable.
Six months after I left him, he barged into my home, what had been our home, late one night. I’d just settled into bed when I heard the door explode from being kicked open.
“Rose,” he’d called out in a terrified voice. “Rose, where are you?”
I’d grabbed the gun from the drawer in my nightstand. It wasn’t heavy anymore. In the terror that seized me, it had lost all of its menacing weight and just became part of my hand.
I should have called the police then, but I didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t. Instead, I walked to my open bedroom door, holding the gun down and behind my back.
“Rose,” he’d cried in relief from the hallway. “You’re okay.” He’d hurried into the bedroom and pushed me back from the door, closing and locking it. Then, he’d pushed the nightstand in front of it. He’d talked at break neck speed. “I’m not going to let them get you, Rose. I’m so sorry to have to do this, but this is the only way I know to protect us. They won’t get you.”
He raised the gun and pointed it at my face. I watched the barrel bob in front of my eyes as he shook uncontrollably.
“Don’t,” I whispered. “Please don’t, Josh.”
“I have to. I have to, Rose. It’s the only way.”
Fear. Sadness. Drugs. I didn’t know what gripped him, the former love of my life.
“Give me one last kiss,” he’d whispered suddenly, then leaned toward me.
He kissed my lips softly and that’s when I knew.
He was going to do it.
He was going to kill me.
Unless I stopped him.
“Carter,” a guard says in front of me, and I snap back from the past. That’s my last name, Carter.
Josh’s last name.
“You have a visitor.”
“Who is it?”
“It’s your lawyer.”
“I don’t have a lawyer.”
“You do now.”  

Want to read more go to Hope's website



***Book 5, Hard Act, available for 
pre-order on iBooks (1/24/17 Release) ***

·٠•● Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ●•٠· Hope Conrad·٠•● Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ●•٠·

Hope Conrad writes sultry, intense contemporary romance. Her Hard As Nails series features her favorite kind of heroes: bad boy alpha males whose quests for redemption are fueled by their love for the strong women who take them on.

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