Title: Rebel Hard
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Sport
Dates read: 11th – 14th February 2021
Publisher: Nalini Singh
5th sentence, 74th page: No point trying to make a decision about the rest of our lives based on two short meetings.
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh continues her Hard Play series with a sweet, sexy romance featuring big, fat, OTT weddings, a meddling grandma, and a too-serious hero who needs to be unbuttoned.
Nayna Sharma agreed to an arranged marriage in the hope it would heal the fractures in her beloved family… only to realize too late that a traditional marriage is her personal nightmare. Panicked, she throws caution to the winds, puts on the tiniest dress she can find, and ends up in the arms of a tall, rough-edged hunk of a man who has abs of steel – and who she manages to mortally insult between one kiss and the next.
Abandoned as a child, then adopted into a loving family, Raj Sen believes in tradition, in continuity. Some might call him stiff and old-fashioned, but he knows what he wants – and it’s a life defined by rules… yet he can’t stop thinking about he infuriating and sexy woman who kissed him in the moonlight then disappeared. When his parents spring an introduction on him, the last woman he expects is her. Beautiful. Maddening. A rule breaker in the making.
He’s all wrong for her. She’s all wrong for him. And love is about to make rebels of them both.
I’ve been hanging to read Nayna and Raj’s story since they first made their appearance in Cherish Hard. They are such a fun and intriguing couple. Partner their wonderful meet-cute with the restrictions and cultural clashes that they both feel. It was most definitely a beautiful, wonderful and intriguing story. Alright, I knew that they’d end up together… but the journey to get there was seriously intense.
My favourite thing about this contemporary romance is that it deals with a culture I know nothing about. Singh’s ability to look at how these two cultures work side by side was brilliant and impossible to put down. I loved how she was able to make you think of New Zealand and how people from other cultures fit into this wonderful world. There was something wonderful about having a different culture fit into a genre that I am currently completely obsessed with.
I can’t imagine being in a situation where all I want is to please my family. To find a way to make them happy, even if it is at my own expense. And the fact that Nayna sacrifices so much for her family is just beautiful. And seriously tragic. Particularly when you realise that the older sister who has kind of put her in this situation suffers pretty much no consequences for her actions. Raj is the perfect person to partner with such a tragic story – he acknowledges and sees what she is going through and decides to try and protect her, no matter what others are then going to think of him.
This is a beautiful romance. Yet, aside from the cultural issues and the different challenges Nayna and Raj face, it is the flirting that I love the most. Those awkward, funny moments, the moments where Raj is sending topless photos. The moments when work mates are giving each other a good ribbing. The multiple parts of the story that have you grinning in appreciation and leave you with a gigantic smile on your face.