Series: Hard Play #1
Published by TKA Distribution on November 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh kicks off her new Hard Play contemporary romance series with a sizzling story that’ll leave you smiling…
Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.
Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.
And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.
As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.
I loved this book. I was in the mood for exactly this; a light, angst-free read (well, listen), and that’s exactly what I got. Sailor first encountered Isa at a college party, though they didn’t actually meet that night. When they meet each other again seven years later neither of them recognizes the other, but the attraction is instant and undeniable.
I really liked both of these characters. They’re both so determined to make their own way in the world without cashing in on any family connections or getting any help. In Isa’s case, even though her family is extremely wealthy, she won’t touch the money she has from the stocks of their company, insisting on living on the money she makes as a teacher. There’s a VP position waiting for her at the company her family owns (it’s a sort of Hobby Lobby place called the Crafty Corner), but she has no interest in it. Until her mother blackmails her into taking the position during her summer break.
Sailor is trying to get his landscaping business off the ground. For a 23-year-old, he’s extremely ambitious and determined. He knows exactly how much work it’s going to take to be successful, and he’s prepared to work his ass off to make it happen. Meeting someone like Isa right now was not in the cards, but now that he has there’s no way he’ll let her go. He knows that Isa was left behind and shunted aside by everyone in her life for her entire childhood and she refuses to let it happen any more. She’s determined that when she finds a partner, he’ll pick her first every time. That’s not going to be so easy for Sailor while he’s working as hard as he is to build a business.
My favorite part of this book is that there was no grovel. There was no need for it since there was no big fight, no breakup, no dramatic scene. Just two grown adults coming around on their own to realize that relationships are work, and if you want them to last, you both have to give up some things, ignore some things, and accept some things you never thought you would. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like a good grovel, but how often do they actually happen? Sometimes it’s nice to read a book that’s the tiniest bit closer to reality.
Isa’s best friend Nayna was delightful. I really hope she gets a book in this series. While this one won’t end up as a favorite for 2018, it was a solid start to a new series, and I’m really looking forward to moving on.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I’ve been wanting to pick this series up. How was the narration? Was it a good listen?
The narration on this was… it was decent. My biggest issue was the accent of the main characters. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what Isa’s accent was supposed to be. I even slowed it down and listened to it at regular speed. The book takes place in New Zealand, and Isa has lived there since she was about 5. Before that she was in…Norway? Finland? Something Scandinavian. And yet the accent sounded Irish. And the rest of the characters didn’t have clearly NZ accents, either, they were all sort of a mishmash. The actual tone of her voice was good for all of the characters, and the accent issue wasn’t enough for me to stop listening or anything, but it was noticeable.
I don’t usually mention too much about the narration in my reviews because I tend to listen to my audiobooks on 1.5x speed and I don’t think it’s fair to the narrator to judge them based on that.