Two years ago, Sed gave Jessica an ultimatum and she broke his heart by leaving without a backwards glance. Since then, he’s tried to forget her by screwing any woman who will have him. But deep down, Sed still loves Jessica. Seeing her working in a strip club, with all those men gawking at her, sends Sed into a jealous rage. Jessica belongs to him…Publisher: Sourcebooks, April 2011
Heartbroken, Jessica made her choice and ended their engagement. Jessica still hates Sed and knows one mere woman will never satisfy his over-inflated ego or insatiable sexual appetite. So when Sed shows up at the strip club where she’s working for the summer, and yanks her off the stage, she’s furious. She doesn’t need Sed. Never did, never will.
But she does want him. And who wouldn’t? The man is delicious—sexy, virile, and amazing in bed.
Thanks to Sed’s posturing, Jessica finds herself jobless, homeless, and desperate. She has no choice but to take a summer job that has her trapped on Sinners’ tour bus with the impossibly sexy jerk for two entire months. And, curse it all, the passion between them is hotter than ever!
Genre: Erotic Contemporary Romance
Single Title/Series: ROCK HARD is Book Two in the Sinners on Tour Series. While it can possibly be read as a stand alone, the couple from Book One, BACKSTAGE PASS, makes a heavy appearance plus, there's not a lot of page time dedicated to catching the reader up on the band members. This reviewer would encourage new series readers to start at the beginning.
Cover Thoughts: There's nothing amazing about the cover. However, props must be given to the fact that it adequately conveys the nature of the erotic content beneath it.
Origin: I received an Advanced Review Copy from Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.
Two years ago, Jessica Chase was on the ultimate high. Engaged to Sedric Lionheart, the not-yet-famous lead singer of the hard rock band Sinners, and recently accepted to law school, Jessica was in a state of bliss. That is until Sed forbade her to go to law school and achieve her dreams. Instead, he expected her to marry him, tour with him, and be his beck-n-call girl. Well, Jessica may have wanted Sed but she didn't need him and proved it when she walked out the door without a backward glance.
Fast forward to the present. Sinners is now a global phenomenon. Meanwhile, Jessica is struggling to pay for college by reluctantly stripping at a Las Vegas night club for summer break while also facing academic probation. Just when her life couldn't be in anymore turmoil, Sed has to walk into her night club, on her shift, and witness her bare ass gyrating on a pole. Needless to say, the incident doesn't go over well and Jessica soon finds herself jobless, homeless and potentially unable to pay her tuition for the fall semester. It's about time she exacted her revenge and ruin the life of the man that's effectively ruined hers for the second time.
Sed Lionheart has never gotten over Jessica or the fact that she's the only woman to have ever dumped him. Sure he's physically gotten over her for not a single night has gone by without a lady or two...or three, warming his bed but for two years, he's always imagined Jessica upon their countless faces. Now she's back in his life - hating him - but Sed will take Jessica anyway he can have her. Better to have an angry Jessica than no Jessica at all. Plus, it's sweet heaven when she can't deny that the passion between them is still a raging inferno and that no amount of water could every hope to dose out the flames. But when Jessica makes it clear to Sed that she's just using his body, he can't help but admit to himself that it hurts to know that he can't find someone who could just love him for him; not for just his body or his fame, but for him. And the fact is that Sed still loves Jessica and he's determined to make her love him once again too.
Embodying the killer female combo of being both beautiful and intelligent, Jessica chafes against not only unwanted male attention but the hurtful female hatred that comes repeatedly her way. And given all the attention, Jessica isn't totally oblivious of her own sex appeal, but the last thing she wants or needs is a man. All she wants is to finish law school and accomplish her dream of helping people by being a good lawyer. But because of Jess's hot looks and big boobs, getting people to take her seriously has never been easy and it only makes her fight harder to prove herself and maintain her control over her dreams.
Having never gotten over Sed herself, Jessica's resistance where he's concerned flies out the window the moment his lips touch hers. But in her mind, Sed hasn't changed. He's still trying to control her by taking away her choices when it comes to money and their relationship. The only time Jessica can withstand Sed's bossiness is in the bedroom but that doesn't make her any less wary of his larger-than-life need to dominate. Jessica wants to be his equal but that goal seems pointless and therefore she instead strives to deny her heart from the love that threatens to overtake her sanity.
Lead singer of Sinners and long regarded as the beauty of the group, Sed is a man driven to take care of those he considers his. A born leader, the need to "fix" things is an aching force inside Sed that constantly propels him into action. With his band mates, Sed's drive has not only propelled them to stardom, but it has also served to make them each better musicians in one way or another. However, the good side effects end there. Sed's caring need has a tendency to mutate into a steamrolling effect as he a crushes the choices others all in an attempt to do what he feels is the best for them. Case in point: Jessica. Sed's need to take care of her only served to drive a wedge between them.
When Jessica returns to Sed's life, it takes a long while for him to realize that he and his need to "fix" things have caused more harm than good. All he wants is to take care of her. But as Sed learns that he's stifling Jessica instead of giving her the support she needs without inadvertently being a dictator, he tries to "fix" things again, this time in the attempt to give her room to accomplish her dreams but he only manages to make matters worse once again. Fact is, Sed is who is and he'll never curtail the drive completely. It's who is at his core but he'll have to learn to compromise for he's fallen in love with the one woman that he can never hope to control.
My Final Thoughts:
Another steaming hot addition to the Sinners On Tour Series, ROCK HARD delivers sex, rock stars, and the high's and low's of fame to the fullest with never a dull moment to be had. Featuring a spitfire of a heroine and a hero that's all lazy, bad boy charm, this read could never be classified as boring but tantalizingly HAWT! Seriously, hardly a chapter goes by without some sort of public sex scene popping up and making your toes curl. Needless to say, ROCK HARD is rockin' satisfaction on the sex front. And I can't say that the charm ends there but I did encounter a few aspects of the read that left me wanting.
Unfortunately, I felt that all of Sed's and Jessica's troubles could have been cleared up with a single conversation. This isn't necessarily a bad thing for ROCK HARD. For one, the book is 90% sex and to have any emotional issues too in depth could have left a lot of open holes at the end due to simple lack of page time. But still, I would have liked to have seen less repeated angst over the same old issue. Better put, Sed and Jessica felt more immature than anything when it came to Sed's need to be a guiding caregiver and Jess's need to make her own decisions. What was nice, however, is that both Sed and Jessica are cut from the same cloth. They're both caregivers in their own way which made them extremely compatible together.
In addition, and in an effort not to spoil things, I must point out one debilitating fact: I wanted Sed to go after Jessica. It all boils down to the fact that Sed never went after Jessica two years ago and now, when he has this serendipitous moment where the universe has deemed him worthy of a second chance, he ups and pulls an intentional repeat all for the sake of what he feels is for Jessica's own good. It was as if he didn't learn anything, as if he made no character evolution from beginning to end, and more fatally, as if he still didn't know Jessica. A pretty deflating moment for me to say the least and where I once, up until that point, was going to rate the book 4.5 stars, I couldn't. I was and still am too upset with the fact that Jessica had to come back to Sed instead of the other way around. Jessica deserved more.
But enough of the bad. The good news is, I genuinely like this author and you better believe I'll be in line for book three. And while I may have rated BACKSTAGE PASS and ROCK HARD the same, the latter is definitely my favorite of the two. The love Olivia Cunning has for music and men is palpable. The woman is also a genius at writing sex. Cunning pushes boundaries but never once does she push sex into the raunchy category. In other words, it was never too dirty to read or enjoy. I also felt that she did a better job at making each Sinners bandmate accessible and readily identifiable. I had trouble remembering who was who in BACKSTAGE PASS but in ROCK HARD, Cunning gives each man more stage time which was very much appreciated by this reader and reviewer.
ROCK HARD is everything its title implies for its one rockin' good time. If you like it fast and sexy with a double does of public fornication, look no farther than this purple-clad roller coaster of a read. Enjoy!
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