Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Rock Hard
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Rock Kiss #2
Heroine/Hero: Charlotte Baird/Gabriel Bishop
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 284 Pages
Publisher: TKA Distribution
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.
And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.
Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.
If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.
Review: I need to confess something – at first, I absolutely had no intention of reading this book. I DNF’ed the first book in this series (for me it was horrible, it was basically PWP, and I hated it) and wasn’t impressed with the novella as well (I didn’t make it through the sample). I love Nalini Singh, but I thought I would stick to her paranormal romance series instead. Then, one by one, my friends (who also weren’t awed with the first book) came out with positive reviews for this one, saying that it was so much better (and so different) than the first book. I was intrigued, especially since I trust their opinion.
What’s a girl to do?
Call me a sucker because yes, I ended up reading this despite my initial reluctance. But guess what, my friends were absolutely right. In my opinion, Rock Hard is ten times better than the first book. Here, Singh blends in two strong characters, wonderful chemistry, sexy and witty banter, and most importantly, a compelling slow-burn romance that stems from more than just lust and attraction; it grows from respect.
At first glance, the set-up of a personal assistant and her boss sounds like a classic (if not cliché) romance of the good ol’ Harlequin romance. However, Singh adds layers to the characters that make this more than just love between a P.A. and her filthy rich handsome boss.
Charlie-Mouse might be shy – she prefers to stay in the background — and she is emotionally scarred from a horrific event that happened five years prior in her previous relationship, but it is clear that Charlie has inner strength. The way that Charlie manages to keep Gabriel on his toes, both personally and professionally, shows that she is not one to be overlooked. I really loved Charlie’s progress – how she tried to work on her fears and self-doubts and ended up in the winning corner. Charlie is a survivor and she kicks ass in her own timid way.
As for T-Rex (or what we call Gabriel 🙂 ), I must say that although he is a great hero, I didn’t love him as much as I did Charlotte. The thing is, for me, Gabriel was simply one of a long line-up of Singh’s overprotective Alpha heroes. There was nothing especially outstanding or different about him; one that I can’t find from Singh’s other heroes. I did like Gabriel’s way of dealing with Charlie’s fear, though. Often, when a hero finds out about a heroine’s past tragedy, he will treat the heroine like fragile china. Not Gabriel, though. He is brutally honest with Charlie, telling her about what he wants to do with her sexually. Gabriel sees the strength in his Charlie-mouse and that is how he treats her.
I did find the last few chapters of the book to be too ‘dramatic’ for my liking. Maybe it is appropriate for a romantic suspense – but not so much for contemporary romance. It is a tad too much on top of other drama plots that have already been offered to us readers – Charlie’s past, Gabriel’s family issue. I also wish that some important scenes were not written off-page, for example Charlie’s appointment with the new doctor or Gabriel’s hospital visit. I thought they were significant moments to the characters’ progress and I was robbed from witnessing it.
So if you were disappointed with the first book – like me – rest assured that this book will make you believe again in the amazing talent of Nalini Singh. Bottom line, Rock Hard is a validation that she is one of the best voices in romance.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*