Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2)
by Nalini Singh
A Contemporary Romance
Released March 10th, 2015
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.
I soooo want me a T-Rex…right this moment!
I loved this story. And while I admit that I was hesitant to start it, I’m glad I did. I love Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter and Psy-Changeling series, but I didn’t finish Rock Addiction, the first book in the Rock Kiss series. Thankfully, Charlotte and Gabe’s story had a lot more of the elements I’ve come to love about Singh’s writing. There were laughing out loud moments, intense passionate ones and emotion-driven ones too to round it all up.
Charlotte is trying to move on from her past relationship. She has taken some steps to move forward but she’s not there…yet. All it takes is the magnificent specimen that is her boss to get her moving in the right direction. With his no nonsense attitude but underlying caring personality, Gabe soon has Charlotte all up in knots. She finds her backbone, gives as good as she gets and drives him just as crazy as she is driving him.
Gabe aka T-Rex is not a relationship kind of man. A retired professional soccer player turned business man he has a lot on his plate and romance is not on the menu. That is until he meets Charlotte. Something about the woman draws him in and he will not rest until she becomes his.
I was hooked on this story from the very first chapter. Having Charlotte throwing a stapler to her new boss and him being all gentlemanly and advising her on which office supply would make a better weapon had me in fits of laughter and wondering how these two will come together in the future. From then on I was a goner…children-eating-cereal-for-dinner-GONER!
At the beginning, Charlotte was withdrawn and guarded, but it was such a treat to see her blossoming into a confident woman. Her growth throughout the story felt real which I attribute to the pace on which the author worked their coming together. I don’t think it would have worked otherwise for them to have a full on hook up without having seen Charlotte’s development. She’s still faltered in her journey, but Gabe was there providing his own brand of support allowing her to heal but never wavering in making his intentions clear in regards to her.
Gabe and Charlotte were great characters to get to know and I appreciated the opportunity to get to know them both as individuals and as a couple. I enjoyed their subtle yet flirty banter, their frustration-laced bickering and their candid quiet moments. Nalini Singh didn’t waste a moment establishing and developing their connection throughout. Be it a business related interaction or a quiet diner or coffee break at the office, their every interaction was spiked with their mutual attraction. Their attraction for one another was an ever-present thing, but for me it was those quiet moments and stolen touches and looks that kept me riveted to their story.
Of course, aside from the romance there was also the added drama of Charlotte’s ex returning to claim her. I think the author did a great job of bringing this element to the page without overwhelming the reader or taking the focus from the developing romance. I liked how the author went about its resolution since it highlighted not only how deeply connected Gabe and Charlotte had become but also how far she had come from the withdrawn, insecure woman she was at the beginning.
Another element I enjoyed were the secondary characters. This story runs parallel to the first one (Rock Addiction) so Molly, Charlotte’s best friend and the heroine in the first book, makes an appearance and is a great supportive presence in Charlotte’s life. Gabe’s family is also introduced which I enjoyed a lot.
Keep in mind that although this is the second book in the Rock Kisses series it can be read as a stand alone. Personally, I will be going back to continue reading Rock Addition and picking up the novella Rock Courtship. It’s not necessary but now I’m curious to see how it all plays out.
All in all, a fantastic romantic yet steamy read that left me wanting my very own T-Rex.
*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.
Charlotte arrived at work at seven thirty the next morning to find Gabriel Bishop’s office door open, but no carnivorous predator inside. A fresh suit was hanging on the back of his door, however, which meant he’d been in already.
Deciding to catch up on e-mails that had come in overnight from international suppliers as well as stores involved in a stock take, she was typing a reply when a sweaty Gabriel arrived fifteen minutes later. He was dressed in black running shorts and a faded University of Auckland T-shirt that was currently sticking to his body.
She’d known he was in shape, but now she realized none of it was an illusion created by his well-cut suits. Okay, she’d already known that, but seeing his muscled body in the flesh was a whole different ball game. He was built like a tank, hard and powerful.
Each of his thighs was thicker than both of hers put together, his biceps toned, his shoulders appearing even wider than usual. Everything about him was big. Civilized clothing didn’t make him look better, she realized—it toned down his intense masculinity. Out of his suits, with the ink on the upper part of his left arm exposed, as well as that on his opposing thigh and…
Her skin hot and lower body clenching, she just nodded in response to his “Good morning.”
Disappearing into his office, he returned with his suit pants and a fresh shirt slung over his arm, along with a sports bag. “Push the meeting with Sales to nine, will you, Ms. Baird? I need to talk to HR about something before then.”
“Yes, sir,” Charlotte said almost soundlessly, but he was already gone, heading toward the employee shower one floor down.
The thigh tattoo went all the way around, the design intricate.
Heart rate a rapid stutter, Charlotte got up after he disappeared and decided to go grab him a coffee. He’d bought her one yesterday after all. She was just being nice. “Oh, shut up, Charlotte,” she muttered once she was in the elevator, and slumped her face into an upraised hand.
The truth was she was running away. Only for a few minutes, but that’s what this was: strategic retreat. Gabriel Bishop was overwhelming. Once, before she’d ever met him and under the influence of cocktails, she’d told Molly she wanted to rip off his shirt and sink her teeth into his pecs.
That desire hadn’t waned even now that she knew he was a T-Rex. Of course, the desire was all strictly in her imagination. The idea of actually handling him in real life? So impossible as to be laughable. Charlie-mouse was not about to play with a predator who could eat her alive and not even notice the bones. The good news was that she could admire him in relative safety—there was no chance in hell he’d ever notice her as a woman.
Getting the coffee from a nearby café, she took it back upstairs. He was in his office when she entered, the striped dark gray of his tie hanging around his neck and his damp hair roughly combed. The scent of clean, fresh soap over warm skin permeated the office. Shooting her a smile that turned him from gorgeous to flat-out devastating, he flipped up the collar of his white shirt to get the tie in place. “Thank you, Ms. Baird.”
Nodding, Charlotte escaped, though she really wanted to stay. She’d never realized how erotic it was to watch a man dress until this precise moment. And she shouldn’t be having these thoughts about her boss—especially since she couldn’t keep from quivering like a rabbit in his presence. Sometimes she just annoyed herself.
“Get to work,” she muttered and knuckled down.
Gabriel was fine for the first hour, but then he began barking orders even a six-armed woman with a split personality would have had trouble handling.
Finally, pushed to the edge, Charlotte snapped. “I’m going as fast as I can!” she yelled when he asked her for something a minute after he’d asked her to complete another task.
He scowled and held out a file. “This is a priority.”
Grabbing it from his hand, she said, “Fine,” and slapped it down on her desk.
It was over an hour later that he disappeared for ten minutes. When he returned, it was to put a small bakery box on her desk. “I think you need something to sweeten your mood today, Ms. Baird.”
What she needed was for the T-Rex who was her boss to stop snarling and growling, she thought as he returned to his office. Not opening the box until her curiosity had almost killed her, she found it held a slice of decadent chocolate cake with a white-chocolate ganache topped with curls of both white and milk chocolate. “I cannot be bribed with cake,” she muttered, eating a bite nonetheless.
Full two-chapter excerpt available on Nalini’s Website: http://nalinisingh.com/rockhard.php
Rock Kiss series
About the Author
NEW YORK TIMES AND USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series Nalini Singh usually writes about hot shapeshifters and dangerous angels. This time around, she decided to write about hot and wickedly tempting rock stars – and one sinfully sexy rugby god turned brilliant CEO. If you’re seeing a theme here, you’re not wrong.
Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing. If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, whileAngels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. Also, don’t forget to swing by the site to check out the special behind-the-scenes page for the Rock Kiss series, complete with photos of many of the locations used in the books.