Hard to Fight (Alpha’s Heart #1) by Bella Jewel
Released August 11, 2015
St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Reviewed by Sheena
Grace is a bounty hunter who wants to be taken seriously, but her boss refuses to believe that a woman can bring down a dangerous criminal. She finally gets a chance to prove herself when she’s given the case of a lifetime: capture Raide Knox and bring him to justice.
Raide is a dangerous fugitive on the run…and the sexiest man Grace has ever met. Catching Raide won’t be easy. He’s not the kind of man to go down without a fight. Raide is more intense and frustrating than any man she’s ever had to deal with, and the instantaneous attraction that sparks between them is undeniable. One thing is for sure…it’s going to be a case they will never forget.
Favorite Quote: Then he’s gone. Poof, just like that. Cool exit, but he’s still a bastard.
This is a maaaann’s world….but it would be nothing…nothingggg….. without a woman or a girllll… Hard to Fight is Book one in Bella Jewel’s new Alpha’s Heart thematic series, where the heroines step out into center stage in unexpected traditionally “male roles.” On the surface I was intrigued. I am not a huge fan of ball busting harpies, but I am always game for a girl power, nobody puts baby in the corner, alpha-heroic heroine. Grace is a bounty hunter and right away I braced myself for plenty of knee to groin and emasculation tough-girl humor. Growing up the black sheep of a family, her bounty hunter dad doting on her was not enough to shield her from the vicious barbs and ill-treatment she suffered at the hands of her mother and two decidedly ultra-girly sisters. Her turbulent familial ties were a solid subplot that surprisingly outshone the romance. The scenes with Grace vs her mother and sisters were gripping and I always turned the page wanting more. Needing more. There is a pretty pivotal scene with her father that had a more profound impact on me than the HEA. Most of what I enjoyed about this novel had little to do with the couple and everything to do with her family. Which in an erotic romance novel is a little unsettling.
Grace is a bounty hunter with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. She is extremely sensitive to sexism in the work place but did not do enough to distance herself from perpetuating her own form of hypocrisy.
If I were a man, he’d have no concern for me. He wouldn’t question my ability, and he wouldn’t as me to be careful. He’d just slap me on the back and wish me luck. I long for a reaction like that.
“I’ve had the same training as you…I can do this.”
I study his face for a moment and decide to just let it go.
And let it go she should because only five minutes prior she hatched a plan to use her womanly sexuality as a tool in her bounty hunting arsenal to take down her biggest assignment yet. During her chase and planned take down, I was distracted by her hypocritical point of view. If you don’t want the man to think of you as a lowly woman on the job, you forfeit the pass to use your sex appeal. Especially when you steadfastly admit that you can not be successful against a male target without whipping out your boobs and ripping off your panties. Not that panties are anything but a distant memory when faced with the likes of fugitive, Raide Knox.
Jewel is a must-read author of mine and one of the things I know I can count on is how utterly desirable she writes her heroes. Damn but Raide was desirable. Raw, rough and rugged. Grace has two months to hook him as he assaults all of her sense, earning every X in his XXX rating. I have fundamental idealistic differences with Grace so I did not really find myself as drawn to her, but they had enough chemistry to keep me reading. Raide and Grace were not a bad match, in fact they each met one another’s match, and when the realization hit, it was a kick to see the switch flip and the characters rise to the occasion.
“If you’ll excuse me, handsome,” I say, stepping around him. “I have a gun to buy.”
I hurry to the door, but when I reach it, I turn and stare at him. He’s watching me with a lusty expression on his face. Ah yes. Raide Knox doesn’t like women who flaunt themselves in front of him. No, Raide Knox likes them wild and badass, but more than that he likes a challenge. I think I finally caught his attention.
As a couple, they had a nice balance of humor and lusty attraction. He amusingly rebuffs her overt, luring flirtations at first, but their insta – love was soon clouded by the bed of lies their relationship jump started from. This was very distracting because I knew they were supposed to be so into one another that when deceptions were unveiled, I was supposed to be gutted along with them and my heart was probably supposed to be breaking watching them try to pick up the pieces, but I could only muster half- hearted “ehhh” feelings toward their implosion and subsequent rebuilding. Aside from my detached awareness of their “love,” Grace made several rookie mistakes and her partners had to give her basic bounty hunting information, the most obvious being why she kept trying to devise these elaborate take downs, when all she had to really do was call him in when she had a lock on his location- and this was before I could dismiss her blunders as “oh well the gal’s in love.”
There is a predictable twist, though, I didn’t mind its predictability in the least. Jewel is a good enough writer that there was enough magic that I enjoyed the ride, even though I knew all the signs. This novel stands alone with a very neatly sewn up HEA, complete with a super cute epilogue that made me grin from ear to ear. I have actually had the pleasure of reading book 2, Hard to Break and was pleased as punch that Jewel seems to have hit her famous stride and deliver a great romantic , sexy tale. Hard to Fight was just okay for me, I am still apt to recommend it if you are a fan of these intense erotic melodramas. If that’s your kink, I do not think you will be disappointed.