"Hard to Get," Alyssa Brooks

Pros: Some great bits of ‘reality’ you don’t see in other erotic romances; fun main characters; interesting family issues; explosive chemistry and bedroom scenes
Cons: Too kinky for some; some purple prose
Rating: 4 out of 5

Review copy courtesy of Penguin Group.
Visit Alyssa Brooks’s website.

 

Note: I try to keep my reviews of erotic romance toned down in terms of their own content, so I don’t have to worry about my friends’ kids stumbling across something they shouldn’t or the like. It would be a little tough to keep this one as tame as usual, so while I’ll do my best, it’s time for you to move along if you’re a kid or easily embarrassed by sexual topics.

 

Lizzie Cross hates men. At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself. She does everything she can to scare them away, and she’s certain her collection of ‘toys’ brings her far more pleasure than any man could anyway. Then she throws a bachelorette party for her sister, and finds herself face-to-face with the man who left her so hurt and hard-hearted: Ty Black. Only now Ty’s all grown up, sexy as hell… and a cowboy stripper!

Ty’s working his way through college, determined to fix up his life. Only he’s never given up his dream of seeing his Elizabeth again. He just never expected to see her this way—or rather, for her to see him this way! He’ll risk everything—his job, his classwork—to get their relationship off the ground again. The problem is, she can’t bring herself to open up to him and trust him, at least not enough. There are too many old issues between them, and holding her back: their mutual history, and both of their problems with their parents.

Finally they both set off to make peace with the past. The ride is going to be exciting as all hell, but it could also destroy the fragile relationship they’re developing. Not to mention ruin what’s left of Ty’s job, classwork, and finances.

 

I’ll get my small negatives out of the way first to be done with them. Yes, some of the prose gets a bit purple here and there (“Their gaze locked, their souls united”). Luckily this is an occasional thing, not a constant one. I also found the constant worries over Ty’s class and job, and his absolute stubbornness about risking it all just for one more date, one more chance, one more… to be kind of frustrating rather than romantic. But really, that’s pretty much it. Some folks won’t be interested in a book that’s so heavily on the erotic side of erotic romance, rather adventurous in terms of its sexual content, and not shy to play with the sex toys—but that’s a matter of personal taste (avoid it if you don’t like those things; go for it if you do).

Other than those small details, I really enjoyed Alyssa Brooks’s Hard to Get. The situations are imaginative. The characters have chemistry and a whole lot of heat between them. The emotional blocks standing between them feel real and not artificially stretched out to prolong the story. In fact, I got at least as wrapped up in the scenes that occur when they go home again as I did in their romance.

There are a few things I particularly appreciated about this tale that I don’t see very often. For once, it wasn’t a woman being swept off of her feet by a fabulously wealthy man—sure, I enjoy that fantasy as well as everyone now and then, but it gets old. It’s nice now and then to see a successful woman wooed by someone who’s had some tough times. I love Lizzie’s character; she’s strong and quirky without being ridiculous. Some of it is defense mechanisms, but she doesn’t magically turn into someone’s bland idea of ‘normal’ at the resolution of the story.

I particularly loved the fact that part of the difficulty in their relationship is Lizzie’s initial inability to have a climax with an actual man. Again, it might be fun to fantasize now and then about multiple screaming orgasms that happen at the slightest touch of your soul-mate, but that too gets old and rather ridiculous.

All in all, Hard to Get is quirky, inventive, imaginative, and a whole lot of fun. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s worth picking up if it sounds like yours!

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