Monday, March 16, 2015

Excerpt and Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Meet Gabriel (sexy rugby player turned CEO) & Charlotte in this fantastic addition to the Rock Kiss Series! You are going to LOVE this book!



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.

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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 cafĂ©, 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:

★★★★★ stars

Move over Fox and David. Gabriel's book has just become my favorite of this series! I never expected Gabriel and Charlotte to have such painful and horrific pasts. This book entranced me from the first page to the last. I couldn't put it down and read it late into the night.  It made me laugh, made me cry, and made me fan myself from all the heat the two of them gave off!

The story might at first glance seem cliched. We have an alpha hero who is very protective of our very shy heroine, who'd rather hide than be noticed.  However, Gabriel "T-Rex"  Bishop is no cliche.  He's willing to wait on Charlotte "Charlie/Mouse" and he does it patiently, well as much as someone whose wanted someone for a very long time now.  I loved how he went at Charlie's pace.  Even when Charlie was raring to go, Gabriel made sure she was ready and then some.  The two of them together were spectacular.  I knew that from the very brief snippets seen in Rock Addiction.  It helped that Charlie and Molly are best friends, so Molly was able to provide Charlie with support this time around.

Knowing how shy and scared Charlie was of attracting attention to herself, I was a little worried she wouldn't be able to handle Gabe and the attention that came along with it. Instead Charlie showed a hidden fire, that I was very glad to see.  As incidents from her past were revealed, it became clear why she'd adopted the persona she had.  Let me tell you, finding out both broke my heart and made me furious.  I had this dull ache in my chest as everything became clear.  Charlie might be nicknamed "Mouse" but she had the heart of a lion.  She had to in order to live and thrive again.

I love how the central focus of the book was Gabe and Charlie and the way the two of them were resolving past hurts and moving forward.  I loved seeing them interact daily in a professional capacity before slowly moving things into a personal one.  Sometimes these relationships can border on creepy or even venture into the sexual harassment territory, but this book never crossed that line once. Instead, I think it dealt with an office romance very tastefully. I also loved the tone of the book.  It could've very easily been angsty and dark, but instead focused on being positive and being in the moment.

Nalini Singh has done an outstanding job at showcasing two characters whose traumas of the past have left indelible marks on them, but they've found a way to be stronger and better through the love they have for one another. T-Rex and Mouse have stolen my heart! I keep saying each book of the series is my new favorite and I'm expecting that trend to continue.  I can't wait for Abe and Noah's books!  

*Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.  Thank you to TRSOR Promotions for the graphics.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*

rock hard teaser 3.jpgThe Rock Kiss Series
rock kiss.png
Rock Addiction (Book One) Rock Kiss Series

Rock Courtship (bk 1.5) A Rock Kiss Novel:

Author Information
nalini.jpgNEW 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 gorgeous ex-rugby player). 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, while Angels’ 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.

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