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.
You guys, I miss football. I miss it a lot. So … I guess I’ve been filling the void with rugby heroes? XD It’s kinda funny though, because Gabe isn’t even a rugby hero, so much as an uber tycoon. Semantics – there’s a rugby ball on the cover. Good enough. Also, I really like Nalini Singh’s writing. I’ve been reading her books since her Silhouette Desires. Which was also right around the time of the first Psy/Changeling stories I believe… Anyway I first heard about her new contemporaries at RT last year. So here we are! Book Two of the Rock Kiss series!
Charlie-Mouse. What a name. Charlotte is a mouse in some ways, but it’s because she hasn’t entirely recovered from her brutal attack yet. Who could blame her? I love that almost from the start Charlotte is able to be herself around Gabe. Sure, she’s scared of him at first, but not physically. More professionally, and that ends quickly. You can see Charlie overcoming a number of her issues with love, care, protection, and space. It makes sense that Charlie had to take this time to just survive and take each day as it is. With her new boss and someone seeing her and appreciating her – her intelligence, drive, humor, and looks, well it might sound like a cliche, but Charlotte blossoms. She needed someone new to give her a push, and of course still has the support of Molly, who has been there with her for years. Even though Charlie didn’t have a wide support system she still has people at her back, and I liked that Ms. Singh didn’t write her into a vacuum. She’s complex because Charlie knows she has issues that she accepts, but it also frustrates her because she wants to do and be more.
T-Rex. Gabriel Bishop. You guys, Gabe is about as far from a T-Rex as it gets. At least, in the terms of his romance and relationship with Charlotte. He’s a giant marshmallow. Sure, if you’re his colleague, employee, or business opponent, you better bring your A game. And even so, you might get crushed. But when it comes to love? Gabriel has a giant soft fuzzy underbelly. It’s beyond adorable. I really liked that Gabe had such a great family, and that he gets on with them so well. He’s a warm, loving, and supportive to those he cares about. Gabe protects what he considers as his, and he does so intensely. He’s an alpha hero in that he’s a leader and protector. He’s also possessive, and I love the [basically one time] he acts jealously. He’s not an asshole about it, and doesn’t overstep his bounds. Gabe knows when his issues are something that he needs to deal with and not take out on someone else. And in my opinion all the sexual tension Gabe has to experience is good for his personal growth.
I love that it’s Gabe that suggests (additional) therapy for Charlotte. Our big, bad, T-Rex takes no prisoners tycoon understand psychological and emotional care. Also that things weren’t magically suddenly resolved, e.g. Charlie and Gabe sleeping together. And yes, I mean actually sleeping. There are setbacks and problems, and the relationship develops so realistically. Both Charlie and Gabe know they have to work at the relationship. Not just because of the myriad issues each has, but that it’s a natural thing for people to have to make an effort to establish a connection.
What I appreciated is that although most of Rock Hard focuses on Charlotte’s issues and her overcoming them, she’s not the only one who is a mess. Gabriel is far from perfect, and he has to change as well for them to truly move forward. Not him getting in touch with his emotional side or anything, but true deep seated personal baggage to let go of. It all comes full circle that Charlie is confident enough to not only call Gabe on his shit, but demand that he change – not just for them, but for himself.
You’ll have to read it … so I’ll mention that I also adore the bracelet. I knew when Gabe made Charlie pick it out that he was going to give it to her. Ms. Singh is tricksies though and leaves it until you’ve almost forgotten about it. I’ve also decided Ms. Singh is something of a closet sadist, because she seems to love ripping your heart out. And then when you think it’s safe and we’re on an even keel, with the characters experiencing something fun and lighthearted, she’ll jab her little finger straight into your heart again. Rock Hard is an easy read, but it’s also an emotional one. You’ll want to devour it in a day, but maybe keep some chocolates, possibly a tissue or two handy.
I can’t wait to read more from the Rock Kiss series, and the spinoff with Gabe’s brothers as well. More rock stars and rugby stars for all!