This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
About The Book
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh brings you a sinfully playful contemporary romance between two sworn enemies turned partners in crime…
Daniel Esera is a young god on the rugby field, a sexy and charming man who’s got the world at his feet. There’s just one problem: his sudden potent attraction to his number one nemesis–Catie River. No. Just no. Not happening.
Catie River is on her way to Paralympic gold, and she’s not about to allow Danny “Hotshot” Esera to derail her plans. Too bad her body isn’t cooperating. Even worse? Her heart might be coming along for the ride. No. Nope. Never.
The pair are united in their desire to remain enemies… until a stranger’s reckless action threatens both their careers. Now, the only way out for Catie and Danny is to pretend to be in a relationship. How bad can it be? They’re adults in full control of their hormones and their hearts. There will be no kissing. No PDA. And definitely no falling in love.
Let the games begin.
Kiss Hard is the most recent release of the Play Hard series and this is Danny’s book of the Esera family. I had heard so many great things about this book so I was super eager to pick this one up. When I was browsing through my Hoopla catalog, I saw that this one was available, and I instantly grabbed at the chance to get this one and immediately started listening to this one. This is a mix of frenemies to lovers type of story. Both of our main characters have known each other for years, but have kinda hated and teased each other for many years but also have this weird friendship bond even though there is this level of playful animosity between them. We see how their mannerisms have to learn to change when a fake dating has to happen between them, but there is already this chemistry between them that they are both in denial of and it was quite intriguing to see them work through that and learn to let down their guards. And this set up made for a solid read.
Daniel Esera is a Rugby god on the field, he has the type of talent that makes him one of the best players in the world but when he suffers an injury he is learning to recover and adapt to his new set or circumstances and wonders what it will take to get back to his top form again And then enters our heroine Catie River, who is working toward the Paralympic gold as she wears foot prosthetics and has worked her butt off to be independent and embrace what technology gives her the opportunities for. She hasn’t had the type of family connection and support that Danny has had, with a gambling father and a mother that isn’t the most healed from it. When Danny and Catie are forced together in a charade of posing as lovers, something more happens between them and they both realize that there is something fundamental between them that is worth fighting for. But Catie has trust issues, and doesn’t know if she can open herself up enough to give her heart to Danny…but will Danny find a way to allow her to open up herself to a possibbiity of a future with him?
What I Loved
I really found some great elements to this story and I really wanted these two to find their journey towards their HEA. I really at times found myself entertained by their jbantering, it was so different than anything I have read from this author so I found it quite refreshing. There is also a good focus on consent and respect between the genders and I actually really liked the way that this was written. It might not work for every author but I felt that Singh really balanced it out so well within the story that made it work just right. I loved how respectful and gracious Danny is with Catie. He understands her and what she needs and I really admired how he swallowed his pride at times to allow her to work through her struggles on her own due to how independent she is. I did like Catie in some moments where she knew what she needed for herself but also respected others for their choices, she had a sense of integrity and acceptance of others that was quite endearing. The romance that developed between them was quite beautiful and I couldn’t wait to see how their feelings would grow. I was completely endeared by the small quiet poignant moments that grow between them and seeing them let go of the animosity and let each other into their hearts and see each other in a way that they haven’t before, There is a sense of fresh start to this story and it was quite interesting to see how they follow their own dreams while also carving a relationship that is worth fighting for.
What I Struggled With
The only element to the story that I really struggled with is the heroine. I felt like she could be too full of herself and at times too independent, I understood why she is the way that she is, but at the same time I didn’t like how she treated Danny at times. I wished she would have swallowed her pride just like he was willing to and give back as much as he gave to her. But eventually she grew on me. But the hero is who made the story ROCK for me.
The narration on this was EXCELLENT, it was handled just write for the tone of the story that it was. I felt like the narrator really handled the bantering between this pair just right and really portrayed the level of personality just right. And such a lovely voice that made me want to listen longer and longer.
I found Kiss Hard to be a feisty, unhinged romance that will deliver in laughs and levels of emotion and consent. Its a story of growth, chasing your dreams and embracing love that comes your way when you least expect it!
Title: Kiss Hard
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Hoopla Digital
Length: 8 Hours & 58 Mins
About the Narrators
Justine O. Keef’s sultry voice, keen characterizations, and spirit of discovery make her a top pick for narrating erotic prose. With an extensive background in live storytelling and as an author of short erotic fiction, Justine’s natural transition to narration is sure to please.
Storytelling Quality: 4
Story Itself: 4
Character Development: 3.5
Writing Style: 4
World Building 4
Feels + The Romantic Heart 3.5
Cover Art 5
Rating of the Book
Simmering cup of tea—soft warm touches and light intimacy
Warmin’ by the fire- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.
Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.
Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.
Cherish Hard-Pub 2017 #1 in the Series
Rebel Hard-Pub 2018 #2 in the Series
Love Hard-Pub 2020 #3 in the Series
Kiss Hard-Pub 2022 #4 in the Series
About The Author
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.
I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).
So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.