Author: Lynda Aicher
Publisher: Loveswept (Random House)
Length: 233 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: Minor complaints aside, the story kept me engaged the entire time, and I was completely invested in these guys and their journey.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Expert whitewater-rafting guide Grady Kelley lives for that rush of adrenaline: at work, as the newest employee of a Portland-based outdoor-adventure sports company, and off the river, where liaisons with anonymous men keep him satisfied. Grady prefers no drama and no strings attached, but when tragedy strikes, fate leads him to Micah Swaine. He’s hot, masculine, distracting—and offers the kind of deeper connection Grady has sworn off, no matter how badly he craves it.
Working at a leather bar, Micah meets a lot of guys, but Grady’s different—and he seems to feel the same way. The trouble is, anything beyond casual sex is too risky for Micah. He’s got secrets he doesn’t know how to share, secrets that would make any relationship a battlefield. No man, even one as compassionate as Grady, would stick around for that kind of trouble. And yet, as physical desire melts the walls they’ve put up, Micah and Grady discover that trusting each other is the most exhilarating adventure of all.
Review: I’m gonna just dive right in to this thing, and give you guys a one-word reason to read this book.
I loved Micah. He was awesome from the fabulous scene where we meet him—Scene: hunky bartender from the local leather bar reading BDSM erotica to a coma patient. Amazing, right?!? Ha!—right on through to the epilogue. He’s strong, kind, patient, and sexy as hell. And, his story is fascinating. There were a couple of times where he allowed Grady to treat him like shit unfairly, and I wished he would have let him have it, but mostly he was pretty perfect.
Grady, on the other hand, had to grow on me. There were several things about him I sincerely liked, his loyalty to his cousin, for one—his concern for Finn definitely ran way deeper than guilt. I also loved how passionate he was about his job. And, I loved how vulnerable he sometimes let himself be when he was with Micah. Unfortunately, Grady didn’t always make a great impression. He could come off as extremely whiney. And, even though he had a rough backstory—the damage done to him by his father and then his former Dom, James, coupled with his guilt over the accident, I’m sure felt insurmountable to him—I have to admit that some of his self-flagellation and doubt got a little repetitive and long-winded at times.
So, yeah, Grady on his own was a tougher sell. But Grady and Micah together? The two of them together are reason number two to read this book. These guys were on FIRE. They were seriously intense together. And not just physically—though they were definitely extremely compatible in that regard—but emotionally as well. I loved how Grady just accepted Micah, even given his “disability.” In fact, they were both so kind and loving with each other, truly from the beginning. I adored those things about their pairing, but it also made it even more frustrating, given Grady’s easy acceptance of Micah, and the fact that he would have never regarded him as weak, that he couldn’t accept himself in the same way.
I found it hard to relate to the amount of shame and self-doubt Grady carried around with regard to his past, and his insistence that he was NOT a sub since my previous experience with BDSM relationships in books was that it was always made clear that the sub really has all the power. However, taking into context his previous abusive relationship and then bullying by his former co-workers, I guess it makes sense that those lines would have been blurred. Grady had a major complex regarding his needs, and though both Grady and Micah swore up and down that they “weren’t into BDSM,” both of their desires definitely suggested otherwise. I understand them not necessarily wanting the labels of Dom and sub, but their needs seemed to run a little deeper than just kink; especially the type of grounding that Grady craved so badly.
As far as the rest of the storyline, and all of the things going on in Grady’s and Micah’s worlds, I had some mixed feelings, though again, they were mostly positive. I mentioned admiring Grady’s devotion to Finn, whose coma and current status were a large part of the story; as a reader I became invested in his prognosis. Unfortunately, in the end, his storyline got rushed and his situation was reduced to a few sentences in the epilogue. Then there were the sex scenes, which, as I said, for the most part were so hot, but then maybe there could have been fewer of them. See? Mixed feelings. There were some things I really, really liked—and then a couple of things that didn’t work quite as well.
Minor complaints aside, the story kept me engaged the entire time, and I was completely invested in these guys and their journey. Overall, The Harder He Falls was good erotica and a solid read. And, I’m absolutely looking forward to the future books in this series! It looks like there are three books planned so far… Can’t wait to see what all of these Doms running Kick are gonna get up to!
You can buy The Harder He Falls here: