Hard Play, Book #4
By Nalini Singh
Author’s Website: https://nalinisingh.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi
When it comes to the parent lottery, Catie River struck out big time. Her mom is a business mogul that can’t be bothered with the day-to-day needs of a child. She feels all problems can be solved if you throw enough money at it though. That left Catie in the care of her father, Clive. Clive loved Catie, however he wasn’t someone that could be counted on. He was always off on his next adventure womanizing and gambling. He saw Catie wanting to know where he was when he disappeared as her being too clingy, even if she was just a kid worried sick about him. Growing up with Clive, Catie learned that she couldn’t trust people.
The only constant in Catie’s life, was her big sister, Isa. Isa was the parent that neither of Catie’s true parents could be. And, when Isa married Sailor, he became the only man Catie could trust. He was like a loving big brother to her. And his amazing family welcomed her as well.
Catie always considered Sailor’s youngest brother, Danny, her nemesis though. Even though the two worked really well together when they put their minds to it. They were both competitive so they always paired up to win the family races and were always happy to combine efforts for a good prank. As adults, the two have similar drives. Danny is a star rugby player, like his brothers, and Catie is a paralympic racer. Catie lost both of her legs in an accident when she was younger, but nobody in the Bishop-Esera family has ever treated her as less, including Danny.
Catie was out with friends, when she saw Danny looking out-of-sorts. He was stumbling around like he was drunk, but didn’t smell like alcohol. It appears he had been drugged. She enlisted some help and got him out of there before the media could get wind of it. However, the doctor didn’t want Danny left unattended for the next few days so Catie took him to her place. On top of that, they were getting a big snowstorm to boot. Now she’s stuck with her nemesis, but at least the boy can cook and enjoys baking when he’s stressed! They won’t starve!
However, the cover story Danny’s friend gave for the two leaving the club was that they were going off together to hook-up. Catie is horrified that people actually believe it! And, her agent is even wanting the two to do some joint ad campaigns … as a couple! Danny sees nothing wrong with it. And, it would actually improve his image since he’s never had a serious relationship. The two decide to enter into a fake relationship, with the plan to end it amicably in six months.
However, Danny decides he kind of likes being in a relationship with Catie, and wants to make it real. Catie doesn’t trust people, especially men, and doesn’t think it could work. Can Danny convince her to his way of thinking or is Catie destined to a life alone?
I really loved this story. Danny is my favorite of the brothers so it shouldn’t be that big a surprise. Although I tend to not like, how authors handle characters with disabilities so I was a bit wary of this book. However, I had nothing to fear. Singh handled Catie’s lack of legs beautifully and brought awareness to the situation as well.
I loved how caring and protective Danny was. Although I would have loved him, to have really gotten back at Ward.
The scene with Danny and his dog therapists was cute and funny too.
Danny really did seem to have to do the heavy lifting in the relationship though since Catie didn’t trust people due to her idiot father. So, I was happy when Catie finally started taking on some of that load. The bickering and posturing between these two never gets old either. I know that Catie felt that Danny was her nemesis, but they never seemed that way to me, frenemies seemed more like it.
“—we can explore until we get a little lost.”
“You want to get lost on purpose?” Catie took a fortifying gulp of coffee. “Come on then, let us go horrify ourselves.”
We got to see how well the Bishop-Esera family worked as a unit, again. But I never hate seeing that.
This was definitely my favorite book of the series, and now I’m just sad that the run is over. I hope Singh finds a way to make another intersecting series to this one because I’m not ready for it all to end.