Title: Rock Hard
Series: Rock Kiss #2
Author: Nalini Singh
Format: Paperback, 396 pgs eBook, 351 pgs
Published: March 10th 2015 by TKA Distribution
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
In New York Times Bestselling author Nalini Singh’s newest contemporary romance, passion ignites between a gorgeous, sinfully sexy man who built himself up from nothing and a shy woman who has a terrible secret in her past…
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.
The company Charlotte Baird works for is going under and in a last ditch effort to try and save everything, they hire a new CEO, Gabriel Bishop. Gabriel is a former professional rugby player and has quite the reputation for storming into down and out companies and miraculously saving them. He is a bit pushy, demanding, and well, intimidating like a T-Rex while Charlotte is as forceful as a timid mouse. Charlotte has a traumatic past that has shaped her into who she is today but the more she faces off against the T-Rex, the more strength she gains and shows. The more Gabriel experiences and sees of Charlotte's mind and personality, the more he likes and wants her. He's smart enough to know to go slow and, barely, patient enough to wait for Charlotte to gain her strength before he shows her just how much he wants her. These two may just argue their way to true love.
The story starts off right out the gate with our heroine Charlotte throwing a stapler at our hero Gabriel, which he catches easily and sets the tone for the rest of the story; whatever Charlotte gives Gabriel to handle, he does. Charlotte had an abusive ex-boyfriend who traumatized her to the point of her having panic attacks, PTSD, and a general submissive fearful outlook on life and people. Charlotte sees herself as a mouse, just scurrying along trying to survive. She struggles to accomplish tasks and instead of celebrating any strides she makes, she puts herself down for not meeting the high standards she has set. When she meets Gabriel and comes up against his 6'5" muscular broad shouldered frame and even more forceful personality, she fights to not shut down immediately or run away. While Charlotte's obvious fear of him makes Gabriel angry, it is the not so obvious fight he catches glimpses of inside her that draws him.
Gabriel knows he is a beast to work with and learning Charlotte's nickname for him is T-Rex doesn't cause him to bat an eye. However, recognizing the fear Charlotte has of him and deducing why, he keeps a tight leash on himself around Charlotte while simultaneously giving her enough of a nudge to bring her fighting spirit out and help her gain strength. Rock Hard is wholly and completely a love story. Gabriel's restraint, handling, urging, needling, and patience set the tone while Charlotte's reactions, growth, temper, anger, regret, will, and fight set the pace. The pace may seem a little slow with focus on everyday actions but those seemingly innocuous instances are the power of this novel and what make this story a hidden fairy-tale. You will not find a truer prince charming or knight in shining armor than Gabriel, potty mouth and all. Gabriel slays Charlotte's demons and dragons in the gentlest, sexy, and most provoking ways.
Charlotte and Gabriel had great chemistry together and 95% of the story they are together and it works. However, since Charlotte's issues are such the focus, Gabriel as a separate being from Charlotte gets lost a bit. There is a little side line of issues pertaining to why Gabriel works so hard and how it relates to his feelings on his biological father but it isn't really focused on until the last 10%. Gabriel isn't quite a solid hero on his own but works beautifully as part and parcel with Charlotte. Charlotte is more dynamic and carries the reader along in the story well; you will be hurt for her and cheer her on. Secondary characters stay to the background with little snippets here and there to help carry our leads on. The villain of the story makes a physical appearance that I thought was a tad rushed and unnecessary as the impact of him psychologically was enough.
This is the second in the Rock Kiss series but can definitely be read as a standalone. The cover and title had me going in thinking I was to read a quick, light, and heavy on the sex contemporary. What I got instead was gutsy sweet characters with a beautiful crescendo of intimacy, contemporary. Rock Hard turned out to be a charmingly sweet fairy tale and I am not disappointed in the least. If you have a secret pair of glass slippers in your closet, you'll want to grab a copy of this book and experience Gabriel for yourself.
Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1) - Review | Purchase
Rock Courtship (Rock Kiss, #1.5) - Purchase
Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2)