Title: The Harder He Falls (Kick, #1)
Author: Lynda Aicher
Publisher: Loveswept, Random House Publishing
Expected Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Page Count: 224
Rating: 2.5 Stars
RITA Award finalist Lynda Aicher fires up a thrilling series featuring rugged men who play hard for a living. When it comes to one another’s hearts, they never back down—because behind closed doors, the games they play are very different.
Expert whitewater-rafting guide Grady Kelley lives for that rush of adrenaline: at work, as the newest employee of a Portland-based outdoor-adventure sports company, and off the river, where liaisons with anonymous men keep him satisfied. Grady prefers no drama and no strings attached, but when tragedy strikes, fate leads him to Micah Swaine. He’s hot, masculine, distracting—and offers the kind of deeper connection Grady has sworn off, no matter how badly he craves it.
Working at a leather bar, Micah meets a lot of guys, but Grady’s different—and he seems to feel the same way. The trouble is, anything beyond casual sex is too risky for Micah. He’s got secrets he doesn’t know how to share, secrets that would make any relationship a battlefield. No man, even one as compassionate as Grady, would stick around for that kind of trouble. And yet, as physical desire melts the walls they’ve put up, Micah and Grady discover that trusting each other is the most exhilarating adventure of all.
The Harder He Falls is intended for mature audiences. This ebook includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
♦ Personal Thought ♦
It took time for me to get somewhat comfortable reading this because of the much-too-soon clash of bodies in a save room. Too soon for lil’ ol me, anyway. After that sort of beginning, I should’ve been prepared for the next sex scene after another. I guess I just got numb in the end.
The lead character’s hot and cold attitudes (more on Grady, though at first Micah acted likewise) grated on me. Plus – being a skeptic by nature – I found it hard to believe instant attraction in a contemporary setting, especially when I thought the compatibility’s wanting.
So why the heck was I doing trudging on reading this; other than being plain stubborn as usual? The issues. I mean, men with issues, disability, could almost always stir my curiosity. Grady and Micah had that in spades; personal demon to fight. And I hoped with each pages there’d be more connection between them than just sexual.
What – or who – worked for me a lot in this story was Micah. A bartender in a leather club, his damaged brain severely limited his capacity. He could get lost in his own apartment in a literal sense of the word. But he long ago accepted his condition and made the most of it. He even volunteered to read for coma patients in nearby hospital, which was how he met Grady: while reading for Finn, Grady’s cousin.
Grady had two issues: the guilty feeling after the accident that resulted in casualties and the insecurity of being a weak submissive in his previous relationship. I did sympathized with him on both accounts, given his past. The further the story went though, I felt that he acted like a confused teenager. In fact, I’m surprised Grady could be a successful whitewater river guide, he’s so mercurial and self-centered! Even after knowing Micah’s condition, he ended up treating him callously!
Another bummer was on the Kick team themselves. Stories that I’ve read (or watched) of servicemen brethren so far was how tight their solidarity was to one of their own and their family. Granted, Grady was no Marines or any military vet, but his cousin Finn was. It felt… weird that none of Finn’s partner didn’t reach out to Grady while he floundered. At least there was none on the page that I’m aware of until the meeting and the (quite predictable) decisions. After that, Kick’s way of watching out seemed rather conveniently shown.
This book being the first of Kick series which no doubt would featured the partners from Adrenaline Kick Adventures (and most likely the leather bar), I’d be taking a wait and see approach for the next books. I wasn’t too impressed with them here. Furthermore, BDSM is not my favorite genre in romance. At least here we got for Micah. He saved the book for me!
ARC is kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the exchange of a fair and honest review.