Confession time. One of my very favorite romance tropes is the boss/secretary (employee) love story. I have a long history with Harlequin Presents titles revolving around office romances. Almost twenty years of reading romances and I still have not tired of this trope. When I heard Nalini Singh was coming out with a story revolving around an office romance, well my heart just leapt. It helps of course that this is a NALINI SINGH book. She is definite treat yourself material when it comes to my reading pleasures. And this book succeeds on every.single.level.
This is the love story of Charlotte and Baird and Gabriel Bishop, who Charlotte nicknames T-Rex because of his gruff temperament and big, strong rugby body. At the beginning of the book, Charlotte is afraid she is about to be fired by Gabriel at the company he has just taken over. Fortunately (or unfortunately maybe?) Gabriel has other plans. He wants to move Charlotte up the ranks and make her his personal assistant. He knows she is hiding an intelligent and demanding mind. Charlotte has a bad history with men and she does not believe she can make it work, working that closely with Gabriel. He of course believes that they can make it work, both at the office and in private. Gabriel wants Charlotte, badly. But he does not want to scare the “mouse” as he gently nicknames her, away from him permanently.
THIS ROMANCE IS LIKE THE BEST KIND OF CHOCOLATE YOU HAVE EVER TASTED. Sumptuous, sweet, melts on your taste buds and leaves you feeling blissful. This is the second book in Singh’s Rock Kiss book series but no worries friends. This book stands easily on its own. I still haven’t read the first book in the series (rock star romances don’t do much for me) and I jumped into this story head first and had no problem falling for it completely.
Gabriel and Charlotte fence back and forth quite a bit in terms of their desire for each other. Charlotte truly does not believe she can handle a relationship with him but the more they work together, the more comfortable she feels with him. He becomes both friend and object of desire. And, the more comfortable she feels with him, the more her wit shines through. Gabriel knew Charlotte was incredibly smart but he likes seeing her razor edge humor come out too.
There are so many fun scenes in this book, One of my very favorites was the big rugby scene where Gabriel brings Charlotte to his younger brother’s rugby game and she gets to spend time with his family. Charlotte is a big rugby fan and has no trouble getting into the high energy of the game. It was just plain fun seeing this on the surface straight-laced woman come undone with rugby scores. (I have no idea what rugby lingo is sadly!)
Nalini Singh is truly a treasure in the romance community. She swings between contemporary love stories and paranormal love stories with ease. Her talent at making me believe in a relationship, at falling in love with this committed couple transcends genre. My absolute favorite Singh hero is Judd from Caressed by Ice but I have to say, Gabriel is giving Judd a run for his money. (I will ALWAYS be Team Judd and Brenna though, no matter what!)
I hope you will give this fabulous romance a try. Don’t be dissuaded by the office romance trope. That archetype gets a complete makeover with Nalini Singh at its helm. Rock Hard is well worth your time and money.
ARC provided by publisher for review. Final copy purchased by me.