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Feature book: Rock Hard

20 May 2015

Rock HardRock Hard by Nalini Singh

The third novel in the Rock Kiss series continues to deliver on the promise offered with the first and second books but is very different.

We met Charlie in Rock Addiction, a shy but loving BFF as she cheered Molly on and supported her in her new life. This time she is front and centre with a T-Rex hot on her trail—and what a T-Rex he is!

Rock Hard opens with Charlie alone in the office on a weekend (as she is doing someone else’s job for them), and it is here we get a first glimpse of the fear she keeps a lid on every single day. It’s also her first ‘formal’ meeting with her new boss, Gabriel Bishop (aka The Bishop, aka T-Rex, aka His Carnivorousness). His reaction to her throwing a stapler at him is priceless … ‘Next time try a hole punch’. I laughed out loud.

Jump forward to Monday, and we cheer as Charlie gets promoted to the position she has actually been doing for the past three years. Though terrified at the thought of all the negotiating she’ll have to do—not to mention keeping her scared (and scarred) hormones under control around Gabriel—she accepts the job.

‘Smart women were his catnip’, so thinks Gabriel Bishop. Sigh.

A tenacious player on the rugby field, he turns that tenacity on the businesses he saves since he no longer plays rugby. Now, oh now, it’s focused on Charlie. He adores her intelligence, and how well they work together, even as her obvious distress around him frustrates him. He doesn’t do slow.

For her part, Charlotte wants to bite him—and not always in a good way. Besides the stapler throwing incident, there is a muffin throwing incident. When Charlie-Mouse roars, she roars. But good. One day after she yells at him as he drives her to distraction, he disappears for ten minutes and buys her cake to sweeten her mood. ‘I cannot be bribed with cake’, she mutters (even as she takes a bite).

Thus begins the sweetest, slowest seduction I’ve read in ages … and I never thought to skip ahead at any time.

Charlie doesn’t know Gabriel has settled on her as ‘the one’ and that his constant challenges are designed to lessen her fears—because when she is angry with him, she forgets to be scared, and the Charlie he longs for peeps out.

She trusts him with her past (such a gift to give him; he knows it) and future. They work ever so slowly towards a deeper relationship, conscious of being careful not to do or say things that will bring back the Charlie-Mouse or cause her distress. She even falls madly in love with his family, and she dreams of having the same with Gabriel if she can get her past firmly dealt with.

Charlie’s fears are well founded—her backstory is not a new one—and as she and Gabriel move ever closer to the happy ever after they both long for, her past comes back and threatens to derail all their progress.

But Charlotte is made of sterner stuff than she realises and is ready when it happens. With Gabriel fighting right by her side, they win through (after a good deal of snapping and sleepless nights).

The closing chapters have a bit of lovely negotiation in them. They made me laugh, sigh and wish them all the best. I recommend you read the series in order, but if all the good press surrounding it makes you pick up this one first, that’s okay too.

Reviewed by Sharon S

A review copy of this book was provided by the author.

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