Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book Review: 'Hard' by S.R. Jones

British author SR Jones writes contemporary romance author and her alter ego Skye Jones writes paranormal romance as Skye Jones. As she has stated, ‘The one thing my books in both genres have in common are heroes who are that little bit damaged but oh-so-redeemable! I love to write about that moment when lust and love meet head on. When something becomes more than purely physical.’

SR is also a painter of scenery that appears early in her books like a proscenium arch for the action of her story. For example, she starts HARD – RAW HEROES with ‘Luka -It’s so hot. Not even the tiniest breeze stirs the arid air as we patrol through the dust-filled alleys of the small Afghan village. A group of men loiter against the wall a few yards down from us. Something about their body language puts me on high alert. The group of young girls playing don’t notice. They are too absorbed in their game. Their bright dresses flutter around them like butterfly wings as they dance. They are shards of colour in the beige landscape. I heft my gun higher onto my right shoulder. The tension in the air grows until I don’t know if it’s the malice pouring off the men choking me, or the roaring heat. The men do not move away at our approach. I gear myself for the inevitable stop and search because these look shady. In front of me, one of our group stiffens. I clock the movement and sense the same change in the air he does. We’re accompanying a small team of Navy engineers, who will be defusing bombs and IEDs around here. Four men from the army infantry are with us. They will be part of the rebuilding group getting the village back to life. We want them to get eyes on the ground and see how the land lies. It’s meant to be a normal patrol, but it feels all wrong. Corporal Richmond is a young recruit leading us. He’s sweeping his gaze back and forth, on constant alert. Every now and again, the high-pitched call of our radios reverberates in the quiet around us. The sound jars in its monotony. To my right, a heavy boot enters my line of vision, and I know Ethan, my friend and colleague, has flanked me. The engineers are bunching together, pulling in closer, a sign they feel the same change in the air we do. A woman appears in a dark doorway, looks at us, and her eyes widen. Her gaze flicks between us, the local men lounging against the wall, and the girls playing. Time slows as she starts to shout at the girls, who still dance unaware, kicking up dust with their heels.’

And that is just a Prologue to tempt the reader into the story which the synopsis outlines well - ‘ I’m nobody’s hero. I’m not even a good guy. All I do is work, eat, train and sleep. Repeat. The only thing I care about is protecting those who matter to me. Other than that, I’m numb, walking through the world like a ghost. And guess what? That’s the way I like it. Then she comes along…She’s the last thing I need--and the only thing I want. She's full of righteous indignation at the world—and at everything I stand for. Getting her is going to be hard work. But I relish this challenge. Tearing down her walls and breaking her apart, I’ll make her mine and take control. It’s what I do. But when danger threatens to take her from me, I will unleash the killer I’ve tried so hard to tame.’

Raw, naughty, and a fast fascinating read. Chick Lit +! Grady Harp, February 18

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.