I’ve only dipped my toes in the Nalini Singh waters (she has two massive paranormal romance series), so I wasn’t at all sure what I would be getting when I requested an arc of Love Hard from NetGalley. I also knew that I was dropping into the third book in a series, which is a spin off of another series, none of which I had read either. The prologue was fine, but the first couple of chapters worried me. I was afraid it would be a boring read. At some point, I don’t remember exactly when, it grabbed me and I had to put it down at 1 am so I could get some sleep. When I woke up 6 hours later I immediately started reading again. I had to force myself to stop in order to go get coffee.
Jacob Esera is a single father. As teens, he and his girlfriend, Callie, got pregnant, and while their daughter was still an infant, she died in a viral meningitis outbreak. Because he has a large supportive family, he was able to care for an infant, finish school and become a professional rugby player, like his older brother. At his brother’s wedding, he sees Juliet Nilisi, a former classmate and Callie’s best friend. They had an antagonistic relationship as teens and it seems like that’s going to continue, except for that pesky attraction.
This was a fast, enjoyable read. A couple of things make it stand out though. One is that Jake has been to therapy and while he carries grief from the death of his girlfriend, he doesn’t carry a torch for her. He and Juliet are able to address that ghost like compassionate adults. Both Jake and Juliet were forced to become adults early, and it’s lovely watching them lay down their burdens for each other. I can’t stress enough how nice it is to read about a man who has already gone to therapy and brings that knowledge with him into his new relationship.
Love Hard comes out on March 10th and is a lovely read. I am intrigued enough to want to read the earlier books, but I didn’t feel like I was missing vital information. I received this arc in exchange for an honest review.