Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
My Copy: Sent
A woman who doesn’t have time for love…
A hot night full of hotel-destroying sex was all Kellie wanted from her client-turned-sex god. Between family and work, there isn’t room for love, just hot, sweaty lust. An arrangement for mutual gratification is exactly what Kellie wants, but every kiss, each mind-blowing orgasm twines her heart around a man she cannot have.
A man building a new life…
Quinton’s assumptions about the So Inked shop owner are turned on their head after one session under her tattoo machine. Kellie’s not the vandal he’s looking for, but she’s the woman he wants. In his bed, on the desk or under the stars, he’ll take her any way he can get her. But Quin has secrets and someone is out to destroy him. Someone who has their sights set on Kellie now.
The Harder He Falls is Bristol’s return to her “So Inked” series about four strong women who run their own tattoo parlor, take no shit from anyone and fall hard for the men who come into their lives. Book one, Under His Skin was a book I was on the fence about in some aspects but taken altogether was one I ultimately enjoyed. I liked the idea behind the series because I enjoy strong female leads and tattoo artists are generally portrayed as male so the differences drew me in.
I knew pretty early in this one that I was going to have problems. It took me several days just to get to the 25% mark because it just couldn’t hold my attention. I kept putting it down in favor of other things. It was lacking that draw, that magnet that makes me want to continue and find out more about the characters. I found the entire book to be incredibly slow. That could be because the characters of Kellie and Quin had so much going on. Kellie helps run the tattoo parlor, takes care of her elderly grandmother, has a “friend” who won’t leave her alone, is trying to support a recently disabled friend, has a missing coworker…the list just goes on and on. Quin also had a lot going on with being the owner of a new gym (that used to be owned by Kellie’s family), training MMA fighters, having a masked vandal attacking the gym, an ex business partner intent on luring away his fighters, a young daughter he’s trying to be a better father to, a house he’s working on in all his spare time to flip….ect ect. It was way to much. All the explaining for all the aforementioned problems created a rift between me and the book…it took on a lot of filler and therefore became boring. All the baggage seemed to take it’s toll on the characters as well because I never felt any heat between them. Sure there was sex, plenty of it..I’ll even go as far as to say inventive sex but it felt like they were just going through the motions. My heart never sped up and my brain never tried to read faster then my eyes would allow. I never became invested in them.
There was one other thing that had me seriously annoyed while reading this one. Quin’s incredibly repetitive use of his nickname for Kellie, “Doll”. It was included in every other sentence. I wager to bet it was used at least 100 times over the course of the book. He called her “doll” so many times my brain finally tried to omit it before it registered…”No Nikki, pay no attention to that word over there, it will just piss you off…Nikki, I said no…don’t look, don’t…damnit, yep you looked, you may groan, roll your eyes and sigh to try and offset the annoyance”…Repeat, repeat, repeat. I get it, he has a pet name for her please stop calling her that every 10 seconds.
I did enjoy the background information on Japanese/Asian tattoos and the significance behind them. It’s always interesting to find out what tattoos mean and why someone might select them based on what they have going on in their lives.
The ending was a bit of a twister so I do have to give some points because of the fact that I really didn’t see it coming. At the end of the day though, I have to be honest and say this one did not work for me. I wanted to like it and I really tried to overcome the obstacles but it just never lived up to the potential I thought it could have.
I give The Harder He Falls by Sidney Bristol 2.75 stars