Hard Play, Book #1
By Nalini Singh
Author’s Website: http://www.nalinisingh.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
*Beware of Spoilers*
Ísa Rain is the daughter of two successful business moguls. Her parents were successful in business, but not so much in relationships. They divorced and both have married several times since. The two were so focused on their own business ventures as Ísa was growing up that they didn’t have time for her, and left the staff to take care of her. Now that Ísa is all grown up, she makes her siblings (from her parents other marriages) a priority, to make sure they never have to feel the way she did growing up. And, her mother uses Ísa’s love for her siblings to get what she wants, which is how Ísa finds herself as temporary Vice President at her mother’s company for the summer.
Sailor Bishop may have the perfect family now, but it wasn’t always that way. When Sailor was five years old, his biological father ran out on his mom, brother, and him, cleaning out the family’s bank accounts as he went. It left his mother struggling to feed her kids and keep a roof over their heads since she had nothing to pay her bills with. They were even evicted from the only home they had ever known shortly after their abandonment. She struggled as a single mom until she met her husband and the only man Sailor will ever refer to as his dad. He is the man that Sailor strives to be. His parents have also added two more boys to their brood since their marriage, brothers that Sailor loves with all his heart.
Sailor is focused on his landscaping business. He has a plan on how to grow his company and he’s determined to do it all on his own, not wanting to be like the man that sired him that only took from people. He’s managed to convince Jacqueline Rain, owner of Crafty Corners, to contract him to do the landscaping for their new organic fast food restaurants she’s opening. He just never expected her daughter, the sexy redhead that’s haunted his fantasies for the last seven years, to be in charge of the project. Now he has to work closely with Ísa, something he doesn’t mind in the least.
Once Ísa finally lets her guard down she quickly falls in love with her sexy gardener, even though she knows he will end up breaking her heart.
“Cupping his face, Ísa kissed him with wild affection. “Thank you for caring.”
He rolled his eyes. “That’s like thanking me for breathing.” She was his; of course he’d care for her and those who were important to her.”
Sailor is focused on his business, which means, in the end, that Ísa will be his last priority. Her biggest fear in the world is to relive her childhood and be pushed aside for more important things like she was as a kid. But, when Sailor smiles at her, all her fears melt away, for a little while anyway.
“A relationship between us would never work,” Ísa blurted out, terrified of how fast she was falling for this gorgeous, driven man. The way he’d been with Catie, it was exactly how she’d imagined the man of her dreams would be with her baby sister. Comfortable, affectionate, amazing.
Catie was already half in love with him.
Just like Ísa.
“Why not?” he asked with a black scowl. “Are you still hung up on the age thing?”
“You’re twenty-three. I’m ready to settle down, have a child, build a life with someone.”
Tipping up her chin, he pressed his nose to hers. “Yeah? And who’s this perfect man you’re going to dump me for?” It was a growl of sound.
Ísa scowled back at him. “I haven’t met him yet.”
“So you’re dumping me for an imaginary man?”
“You’re deliberately misunderstanding.” She glared. “How am I supposed to find him when I’m with you?”
A shrug. “I don’t care. I’m not going to cooperate in your dump-Sailor-for-an-imaginary-man scheme.”
“You’re infuriating.” Fisting her hands in his hair, she kissed him, releasing all her fear, all her need, all her worry.
His hands powerful and warm at her hips, he pulled her up against the hard length of his body and met her tongue lash for lash.
Heart pounding when it was over, she broke the kiss–and he said, “Want to hear my suggestion?”
“No.” She folded her arms and drew her eyebrows together.
“Too bad.” A kiss on the nose again, the affectionate act smashing her walls to tiny fragments. “I say we don’t run, we don’t hide. We try. No laughter in his expression now, only a passionate tenderness. “I’m no poet, Ísa. I can’t give you fancy words. But I know what we have is special. It’s worth a fight.”
Sailor is on cloud nine. He knows that Ísa is the girl for him. Things are also going according to plan on the business front until he’s unable to get the loan he needs. He can still get his company to where he wants it to be, but it will mean a lot of extra work, and less time with Ísa. Can the two of them make a relationship work, when to reach Sailor’s dreams, Isla will have to face her biggest nightmare?
First off, let me say one thing … I. LOVE. SAILOR. I want to run off with him and have his fictional babies. I love what a good person he is, his moral ethics, how much he loves his family (and Ísa). I also really adore his teasing to his brothers, Ísa, Isa’s siblings, and how he even pokes fun at himself! He is the kind of guy you would want to be friends with in real life.
“Hands off.” Sailor pointed a finger at his troublemaking brother. “I may not be able to take you down in a fair fight, but I can spike your beer with laxatives.”
Ísa is a really good person too. Knowing her struggles with her parents, she goes above and beyond to be the emotional stability her siblings need when she knows their parents are incapable of such things. She truly is the glue that keeps them together and the oil that keeps their family machine running.
I also truly loved Ísa’s best friend, Nayna, complete with her own relationship struggles. I really hope that she and Raj end up with their own book, even though the series is supposed to be centered around Sailor and his brothers.
“Tell me you got back at him.”
“Are you kidding? I smiled like the perfect Indian princess, asked him one sugar or two and put in seven. You should’ve seen his face when he had to choke it down or risk insulting my entire family.” Total evil satisfaction in her tone.”
This series intersects with Singh’s Rock Kiss series. Rock Hard is about Sailor’s brother, Gabriel, and is the second book of both series. I always thought that one seemed out of place in the Rock Kiss franchise considering that neither Gabriel nor his love interest had anything to do with the rock stars in the series. So, being a part of this series, makes much more sense to me.
As you can tell by my lengthy review, I really enjoyed this book. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out so I can get lost in this world once again and probably fall in love with another fictional hunk!
“After blowing out the candle in one puff once the song was over, she took a careful bite. He waited for her to spit it back out, but she actually swallowed, then took a second bite. “Try it,” she said around the mouthful. “It’s pretty good.”
Sailor figured she was pulling his leg, but it was her birthday after all. He took a bite. And felt his eyes widen. “I’m a culinary genius.” Actually, the cake was chewy and dense, but there was no salt instead of sugar, which, in his book made this a win.
But even better was seeing Ísa smile with open happiness.”
And considering how Ísa always expected the relationship to fail, and Sailor always has to convince her to just try … I feel this song is perfect for this book. Meant to Be by Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia line.