Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Also by this author: Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1), Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1), Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling, #12)
Series: Rock Kiss #2, Hard Play #2
Publisher: TKA Distribution
Source: My shelves
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.
Rock Hard is one of my all-time favorites reads ever. You’ve heard me talk about it enough… somehow I think I recommend it at least once in all of my recommendation posts. The book is about the CEO and ex-professional rugby player Gabriel Bishop, a smoking hot and deceptively sweet alpha male who contrives and schemes to win the heart and hand of his mild-mannered and paralyzingly shy employee, Charlotte “Charlie” Baird.
This is one of my favorite books ever, and I don’t say that lightly. This blog is full of books that I adore, but this one of the few that take the cake this much. As this was the book that introduced me to Nalini Singh, one of my favorite authors, it holds a special place in my heart. I found this looking for, admittedly, a bit of smut, but I found so much more between these pages. I turn to this book every time I need a literary hug, or something to stabilize my emotions, and it always has my back ✨
1. Charlie’s journey and growth
The book follows Gabriel Bishop, who is *stealthily* pursuing the cripplingly shy Charlie, who he recently promoted as his executive assistant when her previous job became obsolete. We get to watch sweet Charlie, who, at first, locks up, shaking and unable to talk whenever Gabriel is near, slowly become a woman who can hold her own against the fierce Gabriel.
“He really was a T-Rex, stomping through the company, chewing up people and spitting them out left, right, and center. But the T-Rex wasn’t looking Charlotte’s way, and that was fine with her. She’d just be a quiet, industrious little mouse in the corner, not worth bothering with but too useful to fire.”
It takes a few weeks, but soon she’s giving back as good as she gets, throwing muffins at her boss‘s head when he becomes too growly and intolerable. Watching Charlie grow from a place where a tiny step outside her comfort zone sent her scurrying into the corner, to a woman who continually exists outside her comfort zone, and learns to live with her reactions is truly inspiring – and she does it all herself. Gabriel is there if she needs him, but he just encourages her to grow and stands back, letting her do what he knew she could do this whole time.
2. The Writing Style
Rock Hard straddles the line perfectly between it’s a fast but steady-paced plot and slow-burn romance that is absolutely perfect. It’s very much a contemporary romance, but this is no fluff piece. It’s got some romantic suspense in there and deals with very deep issues. But the writing in it is so subtle, you don’t notice how much you love it or how engrossed you are until you have to put it down.
3. The characters are hilarious
The characters are funny. I laughed my way through this whole book. Charlie-Mouse and the T-Rex’s interactions (T-Rex meaning Gabriel) always made me grin and giggle just a little bit – okay, a lot. As serious as the book is for the topic it handles, the overall tone is outrageously flirty and sweet, with a side of constant banter that just made my heart melt.
To be honest, I think everything about this book is perfect :)
4. The characters are so dynamic!
The dynamic characterization is typical of a Nalini Singh book, but it really shines in this one. The characters do everything but sit up from the pages and walk around. Every time Gabriel growls a sexy “Ms. Baird,” I can’t help but shiver and burrow a little bit further into my blankets with a secret smile on my face. I’ve read this book so many times (at least 12, to current count) that these characters are very real to me, and that’s all just part of Ms. Singh’s magic ✨
“Ms. Baird, no one is good or bad at sex by themselves,” he drawled. “It’s a team effort, and you know I’m a team player.”
I wish this guy would call me “Ms. Baird.” Jesus, he gets me every time 🔥🔥
5. The superb handling of sensitive issues
The best part about this book is that it’s not a woman-meets-man-and-he-changes-her-and-saves-her deal. Gabriel gives her the tools to help her heal herself and is there to continually support her during her journey, and while he may have been the catalyst, he by no means is the one who ~heals~ her and Singh makes that very clear in her beautifully written book that I ADORE <3.
I didn’t find a list of content warnings, but this book does handle some topics that may be considered triggering. Please reach out if you need more information!
6. And the troubles aren’t one-sided
I don’t want you to walk away with a misconception about this story. It’s the tales of woe for Charlie-Mouse who is trying to fix herself for her T-Rex. Gabriel has his own problems and issues, and the book is a journey that the two of them are taking together to help each other. This is no one-man journey, and it perfectly highlights Singh’s understanding of human nature and her on-the-nose interpretation of human interaction. Which is lovely and perfect, as always.
7. All my favorite tropes
You name it, this book probably has it. We’ve got an office romance, which is one of my all-time favorites (although this is the best one I’ve read to date), then there’s the shy-woman trope that just always gets me in the feels. It’s a slow-burn, unrequited romance which absolutely NOTHING can top, and it’s not an enemies-to-lovers, but it’s something kinda close. It’s not really a friends-to-lovers romance, either, but they do become mostly friends before the feelings start to be revealed, but it has those elements. There’s just so much good to LOVE here!!
8. Gabriel Bishop is sexy as fuck
I stand by this statement 100%. This book….. fans the flames and can be difficult to read in public. Maybe because I’m either laughing, sobbing, or getting a bit… overheated 😉
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What are you currently reading? What books have snuck up and surprised you in the best way? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!