Rock Hard by Nalini Singh
Series: Rock Kiss #2
Also in this series: Rock Addiciton, Rock Courtship, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding
Publication Date: 2015
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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.
After all the glimpses in Rock Addiction, I was really looking forward to Charlotte and T-Rex’s story. The hints at her traumatic past and his gruff persona made me crazy with want. Unfortunately, it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Though the story was interesting, I wasn’t as invested in them as a couple as I was the previous two (David and Thea; Fox and Molly).
Charlotte is a (self-professed) shy mouse of woman who doesn’t like to draw attention to herself. When her company hires a new CEO to get it out of trouble, she wants nothing more than to stay out of his way; especially since his reputation precedes him. Unfortunately for her, he notices the extra work she does, that her boss takes credit for, and decides to promote her to his personal assistant. She can barely speak in his presence at first, but as she becomes comfortable with him she opens up and stands up for herself more.
Gabriel wants Charlie as soon as he first meets her – when she throws a stapler at his head – but he can’t get over how terrified she is of him. His decision to promote her is based strictly on business, but he also wants to push her out of her personal comfort zone. He senses a wealth of strength and passion in her, and he wants to see her tap into it.
What Gabriel doesn’t realize is how emotionally scarred Charlie is. Events from her past have shaped the person she is now, and she can’t deal with his aggressive push to get her out of her comfort zone. For every step they take, it seems they take two – or three – back. But Gabriel is determined, and it isn’t long before Charlie realizes she wants more than to live this half-life she’s been suspended in.
Gabriel’s no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners attitude in the boardroom (and in the rest of his life) really worked on him. He was gruff and often snarled, but his bark was worse than his bite. I loved that he recognized Charlie’s work-ethic and pushed her to see herself in a better light. Her personal growth was the best part of the book. Though she starts off as timid and painfully shy, she quickly learns to push back when T-Rex goes too far. She also recognized the half-life she was living, and chose to break away from her past. For too long she let things she couldn’t change control her. It was wonderful seeing her come into her own, and push through the trauma of her past.
I was bothered by the way T-Rex constantly pushed Charlie, even when it was clear she wasn’t ready. Part of that was because we, the readers, saw inside Charlie’s head and knew she was dealing with some heavy stuff. She needed to be pushed out of her comfort zone, but at times he went too far. I was also disappointed in how quickly she caved to him. I wanted to see more backbone from her, especially in the beginning.
Still, I liked both of them. They worked well together as a couple, especially once she opened p to him about her past.
Despite the heaviness of Charlie’s past, this wasn’t as angst-filled as the previous two. I think because T-Rex was a lighter character, despite his gruffness.
Although this isn’t my favorite of the series, I really enjoyed getting to know T-Rex and Charlie. His gruff sexiness and her inner-strength really made the novel come alive.