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Publisher's Summary

I don’t have the best history with older men.

When Mateo saw my last relationship implode, he was there to help. He saved me. Hopefully, self-defense lessons will keep me from getting hit again.

I can’t ask for more of my friend. Even dreaming of keeping him is wrong. But when my ex makes things difficult, Mateo steps up again.

I don’t want a protector, but maybe, it’s time to accept a little help. For the first time in my life, I want something real.

What will it cost to keep the man I’m falling for?

Bryan needs a protector. Those rich old guys that chase after him aren’t the answer. All I want is to keep him safe.

I want to watch him grow into the strong man I know he can be. Falling for him wasn’t the plan. But now that I’ve had a taste, I can’t let him go. 

Sparks and ink fly in Hard Ink, a 60,000-word stand-alone m/m workplace romance between a tattoo artist and teacher Mateo and his student and co-worker Bryan. 

©2020 Special Fiction Books (P)2020 Special Fiction Books

What listeners say about Hard Ink

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A steamy work place taboo romance!

This is the fourth book in the Get Ink'd series and can be listened to as a standalone.

I absolutely enjoyed listening to this steamy, age gap, opposites attract taboo workplace romance!

I really enjoyed listening to the previous books in this series and this one didn't dissapoint in the least.

Connor Brown performed an amazing audio delivery and narration which made this all the more engaging and enjoyable .

3 people found this helpful

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Sigh...

Bryan, holy crap on a cracker did he have a bad streak of men. Mateo was just what he needed. These two guys just melted my heart! And Bryan got the self confidence he deserved. So good. I love this series and have listened to each book at least twice.

1 person found this helpful

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Mateo & Bryan

This is an age-gap/protector story. There are elements of daddy kink, but it's not called or recognized as that, just similar themes of an older man wanting to care for and protect a younger man. Older, successful Mateo wants to take care of Bryan who is coming out of an abusive relationship. Bryan wants to be cared for but also be treated as an adult who can run his own life. Both come from difficult pasts and have similar issues with trust and family. At times both of them act in frustrating ways and are insensitive to the other's feelings, but that matches their issues with intimacy. Many appearances from characters from the other books, but this could be listened to as a stand alone. The narrator did a pretty good job with the voices, but his cadence was a little odd and at times it affected the flow of the story. It wasn't a huge issue and maybe changing the speeds would have helped but it didn't bother me enough to try that. I received a free copy of this audio book in exchange for an honest review.

1 person found this helpful

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Mateo and Bryan's story!

The magic of Ali Lyda and the Get Ink'd series continues with Mateo and Bryan's story. This is an age-gap/protector story with a little bit of kink thrown in. As always, Ali developed these characters to be relatable and likable. The story was well thought out and developed to make it easy for the reader to follow along.

Bryan is being stalked by a former daddy he met on a dating app. Mateo is there to save him when he gets into trouble. Both Bryan knows he needs Mateo to protect him and their relationship forms on the premise that not only would Mateo be his protector but he would be a good daddy to Bryan. Their chemistry is amazing and the ways Mateo is always there for Bryan are heartwarming

This can be read as a standalone but if you want to understand what's going on and how the other characters play a role, I would highly recommend reading the other books in the series first.

I received and reviewed this book as part of Gay Romance Reviews.

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Bryan and Mateo's Love Story

Book 3 in the 'Get Ink'd' series, 'Hard Ink', centers on tattoo-artist and professor, Mateo, and Get Ink'd tattoo-shop assistant, Bryan. Start your 'Get Ink'd' experience here if you wish; the book can stand by itself, even though the series is interconnected.

Ali Lyda offers readers an age-gap romance mixed with workplace and forbidden-love tropes for good measure. The best feature of the book is the great character development Lyda explores. Mateo sees himself as the protector in his relationships and comes to realize that sometimes it's nice to have someone protect and give comfort to him. Bryan is struggling with low self-worth after years of juvenile detention then relying on 'sugar daddies' for support. They each endeavor to improve their individual self-destructive behaviors while working to form a solid loving relationship.

Once again, Connor Brown does a good job with narration. The tone he sets suits the story nicely. There's a tendency to rush the words together, but that's a minor personal quibble.

I was given a free review copy of this audiobook, at my request, and have now written this voluntary opinion.

Recommended.

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Great Story

I received an ARC of this audio for my honest review. This book is about Mateo and Bryan. Bryan is being stalked by a former daddy he met on an app and believes Bryan owes him and is determined to collect. Mateo is older by about 10 years and steps in to be Bryan's protector. Bryan and Mateo knew what it was like to be betrayed by those who were supposed to love you. I liked that Bryan wanted to be a great partner to Mateo and to be on equal grounds.

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Misunderstood bad boys

These 2 are the sweetest bad boys who are actually really good guys and just get the short end until they don't! I loved this when I read it myself and Brown's performance made it even better for me!

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Great!

Great listen! I liked these characters! Narrator was good. Good job by both author and Narrator.

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Enjoyed it

Connor Brown delivers a great performance here that to the overall enjoyment of the book

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So good!

Mateo...how many ways can I say I love his vibe. I really liked this character when I read the book and hearing him was even better! As it says in the blurb...Bryan does indeed need a protector and in comes Mateo. Their first interaction in the book made me want to know where their story was going. Honestly, I enjoyed this book even more when hearing it. The words plus Connor’s narration were great. Highly recommend.

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  • charneen
  • 12-23-20

Completely blown away

I have listened to this series from the very start and was just blown away once again at the narration of the story as well the ease of listening.

The story itself pulls you in and grips you magnificently

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 12-19-20

Turning his life around

This series started a little rough for me but I’ve settled into the later books with enthusiasm, snapping them up as they’re released on audio. In Old Ink, Regan brought Bryan into the ink shop after Brian had served time in juvie. Bryan was jaded, to be sure, but wanting to start fresh. Regan and his shop offered him that chance.

That book ended where this one picks up – with Bryan being attacked. There’s a predator who is going after young men looking for sugar daddies – something we all wish wasn’t necessary, but sometimes young people need money fast and there are always older adults ready to exploit that need. Bryan has got himself entangled with one of these predators and can’t seem to extricate himself. Mateo comes to the rescue and Bryan is humiliated that he needs help at all.

Mateo understands second chances. He also served time in juvie and although he’s only twenty-seven, he’s already got a solid reputation in the ink community as well as teaching art at a community college. Bryan signs up for Mateo’s class which makes things really interesting – because the professor is very attracted to the student.

Now, at one point the plot hinges on Bryan moving in with Mateo for protection. I wasn’t convinced Bryan leaving his grandfather alone was safe, but sometimes plot devices don’t have to make sense. Bryan moves into Mateo’s home as his stalker continues his pursuit.

Then Mateo’s mother reappears after years of neglecting her son. As a drug addict, she was a terrible mother and now there might be a chance for reconciliation – but Mateo will have to let go of all the old hurts. Balancing that fragile relationship and a young lover proves too much. So the question was – would the two men be able to right their relationship or will Bryan’s immaturity prove to be too much?

The narrator for most of the books in this series is Connor Brown and I have to say he’s great. His voice suits the characters and his narration is unobtrusive as he tells the story. A story I enjoyed.

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  • Rebekah
  • 12-16-20

Enjoyed

I enjoyed listening to this book following Bryan and Mateo as sort out their relationship and deal with some hurdles.

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  • Amelia
  • 12-16-20

Enjoyable romance, minus the temper tantrum

I liked this story as an audio better than the Kindle version, but it still wasn't a home run for me. I've read the other books in this series, so I already knew a lot about both Bryan and Mateo. I'm tempted to say this book shouldn't be read as a standalone, but I think if you can get over the abrupt-feeling start you'll be able to catch up on what's going on pretty quickly. For the most part, I loved the age-gap dynamic in this book. Sometimes I feel a little weird about the uneven power dynamics in books like this, but Bryan and Mateo were so obviously on equal footing in this relationship. At times, Mateo stepped up to fill the protector role, but he ceded to Bryan and let himself be supported just as often. That being said, I really hated the childish temper tantrum these two engaged in towards the end of the book. Everything up until that point had led me to believe that they were communicating clearly and trusting each other completely, so to have their relationship be tested by something like that didn't sit right with me. I understand that Mateo had so much more to deal with than just his and Bryan's new relationship, but it felt ridiculous that over eight days went by without these two even touching base with each other. In a story where I saw Mateo and Bryan building each other up and exploring their love so deeply, it did annoy me to go through such a rollercoaster at the very end. Putting that conflict aside, I have no complaints about the rest of this story. Bryan and Mateo both know what it's like to be betrayed by the ones who are supposed to love you, so it was all the more satisfying to see them find a lasting, unconditional love with each other.

**I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this book. This review expresses my honest thoughts and opinions. 

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  • Heather Rawlins
  • 12-16-20

I love the Get Ink'd series

I really liked Hard Ink. I am loving the Get Ink’d series and this one did not disappoint. I liked the sweetness between Mateo and Bryan, I loved the respect and time to allow Bryan to mature. I thought the pace of the story was perfect as these two build their relationship. Especially as Bryan was so young, it was a great Young Adult story. I thought that each of them having more in common and to discuss than tattoos was nice. I liked the side stories and the growth each of them developed over the course of their romance. I still loved getting to keep in touch with the rest of the Get Ink’d crowd. I am looking forward to the next story.
I really enjoyed Connor Brown’s voice was very nice to listen to. I liked the pace of narrating and loved listening to a book I had read. I definitely recommend this audio book.

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  • Susie Umphers
  • 12-15-20

Favorite entry in this series

I have enjoyed every book in this series, but this is my favorite by far. I love a story with a strong protector who also helps the other person develop his own strengths as the story moves along and we get that in spades here. By the end of the book, Mateo has helped Bryan learn to stand up for himself and not be abused by anyone. The ex-boyfriend makes a great, hissable villain here which is also a plus. Mateo and Bryan together are hotter than a firecracker. Connor Brown caught every nuance and emotion that made this story so great for me. He continues to do an amazing job on this series.

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  • Modwena Farrell
  • 12-14-20

loved this book

Mateo is such a protector and a real sweetheart. When he witnesses Bryan being roughed up by an abusive, controlling ex he immediately steps in. Bryan is feisty and working really hard to rebuild his life. Both men try to resist their attraction to each other but the more time they spend together, the more difficult that becomes.
I loved how strong both of the characters are, even though they both have their vulnerabilities, they keep fighting for and supporting each other.

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  • Allison's Book Corner
  • 12-14-20

Great

I really enjoyed this audiobook.
It was so entertaining.
Definitely a great addition to a great series.
I can't wait to listen to more.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • OldLadyStauffer
  • 12-13-20

Great story!

Four books into a great series, and I think I have a new favorite. 📍

Bryan has been through some rough spots in his life, including juvie. Things aren’t all sunshine and roses when he gets out, but he found an ally in Reagan, and a job at Get Ink’d. One requirement of the help he was getting to better himself, was to go to college as well. Things begin to look up for him, but he knew his luck was bound to change. Nothing good lasts long. On top of that, he has a crush on someone who probably wouldn’t even bother with him. 📍

Mateo was older, wiser, and has been around the block a few times. Yet, he finds himself drawn to this adorable, young redhead at work. After coming to his rescue, he finds himself wanting to help him. Since he felt like they could never happen, he had to at least teach him how to defend himself. The more time they spent together, the deeper they both fell, until it was inevitable. They were a forgone conclusion. With Bryan’s stalker still out there, and not taking no for an answer, the stakes become higher. 📍

This is a well written story. It was great seeing old faces again, as we get to know Bryan and Mateo better. I liked the dynamics of their relationship. They were sweet, and supportive of each other. The crisis kept me on my toes, and I found myself as nervous as Bryan was at various times throughout the book. This was more than just a romance; it is a story of personal growth for Bryan and Mateo. They both had demons to put to rest. It was touching watching them both be there for each other. Watching Bryan discover his worth, and that he had the strength all along, was incredible. 📍

While this story can technically stand on it’s own, I recommend reading/listening to them in order. It’s a good series, and you won’t regret it. 📍

Connor Brown does another great job with giving these characters a voice. This is the third book, in the series, he’s narrated. I read the book prior to listening to the audiobook, so I was able to focus more on his narration, and I felt like he did the story justice. His voice did not detract from the story; it enhanced it. He captured their emotions and personalities well. I’d gladly listen to his work again. 📍

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Donna Hirsch
  • 12-12-20

Mateo and Bryan

Bryan is looking for a sugar daddy and Stephen is his book up when he is assaulted by Stephen, Mateo his work colleague, steps in. He teaches Bryan self defense and allows him to move in WHEN Stephen becomes a stalker and threatens Bryan and his family and friends. Love blossoms, great book