Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh | Release Day Review + Excerpt

Publisher: self-pubbed
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Source of my copy: TRSoR/author
Series: Hard Play #1
Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

Nalini Singh is one of my all-time favorite authors. Her books are auto-buys for me. She can publish her grocery list and I'll most likely buy it. I've been with her throughout the 17 books long (and counting) Psy-Changeling series, since the Guild Hunter series, and I was with her all the way when she wrote her first contemporary romance series called Rock Kiss featuring sexy rockstars. And now we have Cherish Hard, the first book in her brand-new contemporary series, and yep, here I am.

First thing I have to mention is Nalini Singh's writing style. She has a very distinct way of writing, certain turns of phrase, a unique way of describing something, and you know right away you're reading a Nalini Singh novel. I adore her writing style, which makes me enjoy the overall story all the more.

Cherish Hard is a spin-off of the second book in the Rock Kiss series, Rock Hard. In Rock Hard we met my book husband Gabriel Bishop, and his family. Gabriel has three younger brothers, and they will be the focus of the Hard Play series. We start with Sailor Bishop. When we met him in Rock Hard he was already happily married to Ísa and they have the most adorable daughter. Cherish Hard takes us way back to before they got married, to the night Bishop first sets his eyes on Miss Ísa Rain. To the worst night of her life.

Ísa was publicly dumped by her douchebag boyfriend in front of all their classmates at a party. Bishop, who was a couple of years younger than her and was at the same party, had been checking out Ísa and noticed her abrupt departure. He goes after her but didn't catch up to her. Fast forward years later, and they reconnect once more at the parking lot where Isa works with a passionate kiss between two strangers and the story takes off from there.

I really enjoyed Ísa and Sailor's characters. They were well fleshed out, and I like them as individual characters and as a couple. I especially liked Ísa character because at first meeting she comes off as soft and inexperienced, a wide-eyed innocent (really, this is typical of Nalini's heroines), but then, the more you get to know her you see the steel beneath the seemingly soft exterior. Ísa may be inexperienced when it comes to sex and love, but she's no pushover. She does care a lot about her siblings, which her mom, a formidable businesswoman, had no problem exploiting to get Ísa to do what she wants. As for Sailor, he had a goal and a vision for his landscaping business and he's going to work his hardest to get there, which involved pitching his business proposition to, who turned out to be, Ísa's mom. Forced by Ísa's mom to work in her company, Ísa and Sailor found themselves in very close quarters and having to work together.

Watching Ísa and Sailor's romance develop was wonderful. I especially liked the later half of the book when they had to spend more time together and their romance finally gets going after some false starts. Of course, things get very steamy between these two.

Cherish Hard is a fantastic start to this new series. I am so excited to read about Sailor's other brothers. When I first met them in Rock Hard I had hoped that Bishop's rugby-playing brothers will get their own books and here we are! Thanks Nalini! It was great getting more insight into Bishop and Sailor's family because their love for each other and their camaraderie was one of my favorite things from Cherish Hard. Nalini Singh really does family and showing the love between the members really well and you, as a reader, just want to be part of this family unit too. 

Cherish Hard was a win for me. If you haven't had a chance to check out Nalini's contemporary romances yet, I think Cherish Hard is a good place to start.

Cherish Hard is NOW LIVE
Meet Sailor & Isa TODAY!


Being a devil woman, she reminded herself. Having fun for a change. Not being a grandma at twenty-eight years of age.

Still, she couldn’t stop second-guessing herself as Sailor led her out of the house through a side entrance that opened out into a small, manicured garden. “I’ll have to take off my heels,” she whispered when she saw the pebbled path snaking through the garden.

“Want a piggyback ride?” A playful grin. “I promise not to molest your thighs.”

Goose bumps broke out over Ísa’s skin, her nipples tight. Reckless as she was feeling tonight, she might just have taken him up on his offer if she hadn’t been worried her damn dress would split in two. “Maybe when we’re naked,” she said instead, Devil Ísa in full flower.

Groaning, he doubled over as if she’d punched him.

Her lips twitching despite the melting sexual heat liquefying her bones, she leaned down to slip off her heels.

Sailor waited, his hand firm around hers, until she was done. Taking the heels from her, he carried them in his other hand as Ísa padded beside him on the grass that lay on this side of the pebbled path. The path ended at a weathered wooden gate, which, when opened, put them at the top of a narrow walkway that led down onto a beach Ísa couldn’t yet see but could hear.

Her heart crashed in time with the waves as they made their way down to the beach while the mansion behind them pulsed with light and music. But she didn’t turn and run away, she didn’t stop and talk herself out of it, she didn’t attempt to be a sensible adult. She followed a gorgeous, blue-eyed man down a dirt pathway to an effectively private beach.

The sand that had been tracked onto the path was gritty under her feet, the air coming off the sea cool but not cold.

“The water’s going to be icy, isn’t it?” she whispered to his broad back.

“Don’t worry, spitfire. I’ll keep you warm,” was the deep-voiced response. “Stop here.” Jumping down to the beach, he reached up to grab her by the waist, swinging her down as if she were a featherweight.

Something fluffy and mushy came to life inside Ísa. “Here?”

Shaking his head, he said, “Raj told me there’s like a little cove area—not a proper cove, but caused by— There.”

Ísa saw it at once. A huge tree had fallen into the water at some point and smashed up against some rocks where it appeared to be stuck. Between the jutting rocks on either side and the fallen trunk was a naturally created pool. The water within it was pretty calm, and it looked as if they could get to it by clambering over some rocks that didn’t appear too sharp or slippery.

Of course, she’d be walking over those rocks naked.

Ísa looked up at the moon. Imagined it shining on the stark white of her body. Gulped. “Will you close your eyes while I go in the water?” Even Devil Ísa wasn’t up for blinding him with her glow-in-the-dark form.

A glance back. “What’re you going to bribe me with?”

Ísa scowled. “Not pushing you into the water right now.” It was a toothless threat given his muscles and her lack of them.

Rubbing his jaw, he said, “Three tongue kisses. That’s my price, and I’m not budging.”

Ísa wanted to pounce on him all over again. “Two,” she countered.

“Nuh-uh. Three. Or I’m keeping both eyes wide open.” Leaning in, he pressed his nose to hers. “I really want to keep my eyes wide open.”

And Ísa really wanted to kiss him and run her hands all over that sculpted chest. “Three,” she whispered.
Copyright © 2017 by Nalini Singh

About the Author
Nalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

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