Hard to Hold by Incy Black

Hard to Hold by Incy BlackHard to Hold by Incy Black
Series: Hard To #1
Published by Entangled: Ignite on April 28th 2014
Pages: 268
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Anna Key Marshall is about to get what she's always wanted: a baby. Granted, it's through a sperm donor instead of her ex-husband, but you can't have everything. She has no idea why someone wants her dead, but she'll do whatever it takes to protect her unborn child—even if it means turning to her ex, the Black Ops specialist who broke her heart.
Five years ago, British Intelligence agent Nick Marshall slammed the door on the woman who betrayed him. But now Anna's back in his life with a vengeance, pregnant and full of attitude. He'd like nothing better than to walk away, but with her life on the line, he has no choice but to do what he does best—protect her at all costs.
As old wounds resurface, Nick begins to doubt his version of what went down with Anna so long ago. And he begins to believe they might have a second chance together. But with Anna's would-be killer on the loose—it will take the full force and fury of his protective instincts, fueled by a powerful love he can't leave behind, to hold on to the woman he still loves.

‘Hard to Hold’ is a difficult book to review, not least because of what I’d initially expected and what I’d gotten.

There were too many times when I wondered if I was reading about adults imprisoned in their past and consequently only knew how to be children (perhaps that is really Incy Black’s point). My head was pounding with the outpouring of emotions from Anna and Nick and if I hadn’t already gotten an idea of their dysfunctional relationship by the first chapter, it had certainly been hammered deep by page 45. The sheer screaming, yelling and emotional manipulation, while detracting from the chemistry that the characters could have had, seemed better suited to an opera and left me exhausted, helped along by prose that’s a little too dramatic and perhaps indirect for what I’d initially assumed to be a suspense/thriller novel.

The ending hadn’t sufficiently explained Nick’s sudden personality transplant and while I loved Anna’s spunk and her HEA, I was left more baffled than satisfied as I turned the last page. I also hadn’t managed to get a solid foothold of the context of the novel; granted, it’s Brit Intelligence and London here, but I went through the book with the disconcerting feeling of ‘rootlessness’ because there aren’t any memorable markers that make both place and location stand out.

There are sufficient hints however, of Fortress and the secret service that I’d love to read more about and now that I’ve just found out this could well become a series, I’d be more than willing to see how and where Incy Black takes this story arc.