Rock Hard, Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary romance.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I loved Addiction and Courtship so was looking forward to this one. I wasn’t disappointed – its another great read!
The Rock connection is quite tenuous, Charlie is best friend to Mollie, who’s with Fox, lead singer of Schoolboy Choir, and they were in the first book. Mollie has had some huge trauma in her past, which has lead to her current problems. We don’t find out the full story til well into the book, but judging by the security around her home and her panic attacks and flashbacks when someone gets too close, its something huge. When it was revealed I felt so saddened for her – and admiration too. She’s come such a long way, lots of people would have just folded, given in to their feelings but she’s fought back. She doesn’t seem to realise just how strong she’s been, but luckily Mollie is only a phone call away to remind her and chivvy her on when needed. Gabriel – he’s such a star, gorgeous, rich, ex top rugby star and now a very successful businessman, he’s hotly pursued by models, actresses, anyone who wants to be seen, and usually they’re the tall, blonde, leggy type. They mean nothing to him, he only ever does one date and then its a dozen red roses and on to the next! He’s a reputation for being ruthless in all areas of his life. So when he’s hired to turn around the business where Charlie works, his reputation precedes him. He’s known for being brutal and inexorable in getting what he wants, so everyone is wondering if they are going to be the next to go. Poor Charlie, working late once again one evening, doing the work her boss really should be doing, but always passes on to her and then takes the credit herself, hears an intruder, and throws the only thing she has to hand- a stapler. To her mortification though its her new boss…oops! He’s intrigued by her, she seemed a shy mouse and yet she’ll take on an intruder. Bored by his current dalliances he decides he wants to know more, and as he learns about her he begins to appreciate her sharp wit, her intelligence, and once she’s persuaded by Mollie to wear clothes that aren’t two sizes too big, but fit and flatter he’s entranced by her tiny, curvy body too….
I love the way he’s so decisive about pursuing her, and yet so gentle and understanding, and so willing to wait for what he really wants. Given his past you’d expect him to just move on to the next willing body, but once we meet his family and learn more about him we can see he’s been brought up to appreciate when something is right, to hold fast to it and he’s decided Charlie is right for him. I love Charlie too – it’s hard to push yourself forward when everything inside you wants to hide and go unseen. Her boss Anya has taken advantage of that, getting her to do all the hard work and make her job easy. Gabriel soon sees through that though, sacks her and promotes Charlie. They’re working close so she has to find a way not to quiver every time he shouts, and soon she’s done just that. He’s actually been working on that, pushing her carefully to find her voice and argue with him, and when she does he loves it. Its not something that happens often at first but as her confidence grows so does her courage. That’s when he starts to move in, to flirt and make it clear just how much he wants her…I loved the bracelet issue and the cooking lesson. Shows some of his forward planning and let her know just how long he’d been working on her. She needed to know that, she needed to be certain she wasn’t going to join the ranks of one night and red roses! Of course its not all plain sailing, she has setbacks, and her past comes back to create some dramatics and danger. Sadly for me that bit – the drama – was over far too soon. I felt that in the first book too, I just like my sad parts to be strung out so I can wallow, but that’s not for everyone of course. Its why I’ve dropped a half star but it’ll be perfect for other readers. You can’t please everybody all the time etc….
Its a great read, covering some very real issues people have, and with a sharp wit that made me laugh. The chapter headings too and the T-Rex allegories etc were terrific, and I found myself looking forward to those at the start of a new chapter. Darynda Jones, with her Charley Davidson novels does great chapter heading too- hers are t-shirt/bumper type slogans, and I look forward to each one of them when I’m reading.
Stars: Four and a half, one to keep and reread.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers