Title: Kiss Hard
Series: Hard Play #4
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: May 3rd, 2022
Source: NetGalley (ARC)
Kiss Hard - Review
I’ve been obsessed with Nalini Singh’s Archangel Raphael and his Guild hunter Elena, so much so that I’ve read the first three books in the Guild Hunter series several times. When I popped in on NetGalley and found Kiss Hard available to read – I had to get it!
This is my first time reading Nalini Singh in a contemporary setting – and I loved it!
Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh is the fourth book in the Hard Play series and can be read as a standalone. It’s a Contemporary Sports Romance following Catie River (the younger sister to Isa Rain from the first book) and Daniel Esera (from the Bishop/Esera family in the previous books in the series).
Catie and Danny have known each other since their childhood. They are frenemies – always ready to one-up another at family events or throwing snarky comments on each other’s posts on Social Media but they always have each other’s back.
The story begins when they are in the same club and Danny ends up getting roofied. Catie’s there, making sure he’s away from the media and helping him get to the hospital. That incident leads to the media forming the opinion that Catie and Danny were an item.
Their PRs believe that dating each other could be a good move for their brands, and they agree on having a fake relationship for six months. That, and the close proximity due to being snowed in for a couple of days led to this growing ‘awareness’ between each other.
The progress of their relationship is so smooth, so beautiful – I couldn’t stop reading it. Their banters, their brimming attraction, the way they open up to each other – you’ll be rooting for these beautiful human beings to get their HEA.
Catie River is a double-amputee, training for the Paralympics. Having been hurt by her parents early on, she relies on no one but herself – save for her sister, her sister’s husband and her best friend Laveni. The prologue starts with a glimpse of her childhood, and it was the perfect base to understand why Catie had walls all around her heart.
I loved Catie’s character and I love the way Nalini’s written her so thoughtfully.
Catie is strong, hard-working, and protective of everyone she calls family. She doesn’t trust people easily, but she trusts the Esera/Bishop family including Daniel.
Throughout the book, she works on her insecurities and trust issues. She develops from the girl who is afraid to love, to finally opening herself up to Daniel.
Daniel Esera is a rugby player. Youngest of the Esera/Bishop clan, he has always had the support of his family. He has a good relationship with his brothers and has always been there for them when they needed him.
Although Danny doesn’t show it, he has an internal conflict of his own. Rather than let his family know, he tries to hide it. He has always felt like he’s been getting things easy because of his family due to which he doesn’t want to disappoint them.
His character growth also revolved around him trying to figure out what he wanted to do other than being a hotshot rugby player. All he needed was more belief in his hard work. His development was done well too.
Together, Catie and Danny navigate through their growing feelings for each other and also deal with the emotional conflicts. Their relationship was just waiting to happen. I can just imagine all the banters they had in the previous three books.
Having had a strong bond from their childhood, they knew each other’s good and bad parts. Daniel has never made Catie feel weak or hurt her (like a real enemy would). She felt like she could always trust him. Whereas Daniel could open up to her about his struggles.
The banters, the playfulness and the chemistry between the two, I was so addicted to them. The steamy scenes were scorching. It was heartwarming to watch them fall for each other.
I loved the Esera/Bishop family dynamics. They are a close-knit family and are always there for each other. I am now planning to read the rest of their books soon!
Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh is a fake relationship, friends to lovers, slow burn, sports romance, that is so beautifully written – it will land on your favorites list.
Will I re-read this in the future? – YES.
Do I recommend this? – HECK YES. You do not want to miss out on this Romance book, trust me.
Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh Blurb:
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.
Find it on Goodreads:
About Nalini Singh:
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.