I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Kiss Hard (Hard Play, #4) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #4
Published by Tka Distribution on May 3, 2022
FINAL DECISION: Absolutely lovely story. Lacks high drama but instead is about two people navigating a new relationship with one another. I adored Daniel and Catie and am amazed that Singh was able to develop a completely different type of relationship in the Esera family. Highly recommend.
THE STORY: Daniel, the youngest of the Esera clan, is — of course — amazing at rugby and is ready to make his own name apart from his brothers. Catie River has been around the Esera family for years (she is the sister of Ina from CHERISH HARD). Through their teenage years and continuing to today, Daniel and Catie have a “frenemies” relationship. When Daniel’s profession and reputation are threatened, Catie agrees to a temporary fake relationship to distract the public. The time the two begin to spend with one another, however, begins to bring forth emotions for one another neither expected to deal with for one another.
OPINION: I loved this book which somewhat surprised me because I had expected more plot in the story. Instead, this is really a character book with two people who thought they knew one another really well discovering love for one another.
Daniel is simply adorable. He is so caring of Catie that I am not surprised that she falls for him. He understands her limits and her independence and yet is supportive. His problems felt realistic and something that the youngest child in a family of overachievers has to confront. Singh walks a careful line between making Daniel strong and yet at the same time making him vulnerable and uncertain. I loved him and was not surprised that Catie could not resist him.
Catie had incredible depth and complexity in her character. I thought that Singh handled the issues involving Catie being a paralympic athlete and what being a double amputee means for a young woman involved in a romance and sexual relationship. I thought that every moment here was done with sensitivity and yet Catie is never a “victim”. She has agency and her physical condition is only one part of her.
Daniel and Catie were sweet and yet really, really hot together. I especially appreciated that the two talked through and worked through their difficulties. There wasn’t a lot of drama between them because they talked things out, were mature about their needs and desires and just acted like thinking adults.
I finished this book feeling very satisfied and with complete faith that these two are perfect for one another. I simply was amazed that Singh was able to navigate this story without the normal drama one might expect from a contemporary romance.
WORTH MENTIONING: There are some small updates for readers of the series about the other couples who make appearances.
CONNECTED BOOKS: KISS HARD is the fourth book in the Hard Play series. The romance here is self-contained and thus it can be read as a standalone. The series, however, deals with the Bishop family and thus other characters and couples from the series make appearances here.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.