Book Review: Hard To Forget, by Bella Jewel (Alpha’s Heart, #3)

Photo of the cover of Hard To Forget, by Bella Jewel

Hard to Forget by Bella Jewel

Series: Alpha’s Heart, #3

Genre: Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis

Delaney, a professional bodyguard, has spent years trying to prove herself in a male dominated industry. Now she’s facing her greatest challenge yet.

Bad boy billionaire Jax Shields has made plenty of enemies on his climb to the top, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time has put his life at risk. Now he’s putting his life in the hands of Delaney and her team. He demands the best in everything, and he doesn’t think she has what it takes to protect him. He’s also made it clear he’d rather have her on her back then covering his. Will Delaney be able to prove herself to the most arrogant—and devastatingly handsome—man she’s ever met?

Hard To Forget is a full-length standalone romance with a HEA

My Review

       

An irresistible attraction. A passionate connection. A potentially fatal combination. If you like kick-ass heroines, alpha heroes and happy-ever-afters, this is the series for you. Bella Jewel delivers a solid, action-packed, suspenseful, steamy and satisfying read in ‘Hard To Forget,’ #3 in her Alpha’s Heart series.

Delaney is a strong woman, living a life she’s always dreamed of. She’s a bodyguard, tackling her new career with meaning, passion and determination. As a woman in a man’s world – and a relative newcomer to the elite Thorpe Security team – she has to work twice as hard to prove herself worthy of the “big” assignments, competing with her brawny male counterparts who taunt her at every opportunity. She has to appear confident and defiant – an act of sheer will, since underneath it all, she’s consumed with self-doubt and the fear of failure. It’s very relatable and a great set-up for the story that follows.

When Delaney finally qualifies for her first major protection assignment, her client, “Jax,” aka Jackson Shields, comes on like a misogynistic jerk. Knowing this is her one and maybe only chance to prove her critics wrong, she faces him head-on. The results are, among other things, hilarious. And obviously, she gets the job.

Delaney is bright, honest, and charmingly snarky. Her character is a great mixture of intensity, integrity, tenderness, humor, inner strength and resilience. She is consistently true to herself, to her company, her co-workers, and her assignment. With her career on the line and no one other than her boss in her corner, she has to learn to let go, be aware, trust her instincts, and act — regardless of the possible consequences. You want her to kick ass – and she does – sometimes for the best, and sometimes not.

Jax is a powerful man, a true alpha, who craves control and the freedom it brings. Unfortunately, his life has been turned inside out after an unfortunate encounter with the wrong people. He is in imminent danger, something he can’t predict or control. He’s vulnerable – something he hates. To admit that he needs protection from an unseen enemy is an affront to him; but to be forced to depend on a woman to ward off the bad guys is utterly unbearable. Unfortunately, like it or not, he has to accept Delaney, to learn to trust her, and he resents it with every fiber of his alpha self. If you enjoy stories with a love-hate angle and palpable erotic tension, the fiery relationship that follows will satisfy your every craving.

There is precious little time for Laney to falter – and no room for failure. Her attraction to Jax is irresistible – but could be deadly for them both. Distraction is dangerous – and as the thugs close in, Jax is not the only one in danger – everyone who protects him is a target. And let’s not forget that a romantic relationship with Jax could derail, if not end, her promising new career. Getting caught in a compromising situation with him is the last thing she can afford – but, as it turns out, it’s a risk she’s willing to take, and Jax makes it impossible for her to say no. I doubt if any woman could.

You can see it all coming, but you can’t stop it, so you might as well enjoy it. Once the action starts, it feels like an avalanche, playing with your mind as well as your emotions. The principal and supporting characters are believable and relatable – you can feel their tension, their anger, their desperation, and their fear. The situation is plausible – any one of us could find ourselves caught up in a random act that changes our lives. We weigh the risks and possible consequences of decisions every day – even if they aren’t as life-threatening as these. With a relatable premise; intense, erotic, potentially dangerous, forbidden romance; and a suspenseful build-up to an explosive finale, Hard To Forget is seriously entertaining and a lively escape that will keep you guessing along the way.

I found it a bit sluggish in the beginning, and I felt a bit let-down at the end, but all in all I recommend this series and this author for adventurous, alpha-loving readers who enjoy suspense without cliffhangers, and a guaranteed HEA. I’m looking forward to the next book in this intriguing series.

 

A photo quote from Hard To Forget, by Bella Jewel

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Book Review: Hard To Break, by Bella Jewel

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Title: Hard To Break

Author: Bella Jewel

Series: Alpha’s Heart (may be read as a standalone)

Release Date: October 13th

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance – Sports Romance (Auto Racing)

Synopsis

Quinn has spent her whole life working in her dad’s garage, leaving her more comfortable with a carburetor than a curling iron. Her world is turned upside down when her beloved garage is bought by none other than world famous, sexy as sin, custom car builder, Tazen Watts. He’s the one man she can’t stand…even though he makes her hotter than a high performance engine in top gear.

Tazen has no use for Quinn, at least not professionally, and he’s making sure she knows it. But there’s a spark between them that she’s finding hard to ignore. She’s determined to prove her talent is as impressive as her sassy mouth. When she finds out Tazen is hiding a secret that could bring down his career and everyone involved in it, she wonders: if falling for him is going to be worth the risk.

**Although part of a series, Hard To Break is a full-length standalone romance with a HEA**

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Review

4-stars_Fotor

 

This is the first book I’ve read by Bella Jewel, having received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I found her writing style to be crisp, clean, and descriptive, easy to read and easy to follow. I expected an enemies to frenemies to lovers storyline with conflict, a little suspense, and a happy ending – and Bella delivered it with snarky, funny dialogue that immediately engaged me in the story.

The primary conflict centers around the sale of the family garage – a business she ran in the absence of her alcoholic father, a place where she’d spent most of her life learning the trade – and a place that meant everything to her. Two major points of conflict emerge from this.

The first source of conflict is Quinn’s fiery relationship with Tazen — the buyer, celebrity custom car builder, a racer, and someone Quinn has always idolized – until he abruptly takes the garage away and sends her packing. Determined not to let him win, she defies him and, in the process, shows him that she belongs in his world: first as a frenemy – a necessary nuisance – then as a skilled mechanic; then as a trusted friend, and ultimately as a lover. Their intense and unstoppable attraction sets up some very well-written, steamy sexual encounters. They don’t try to hide their relationship – and there are hints of some bitterness on the part of the male members of the team – but nothing comes of that.

The other is the conflict between what she feels she must do to protect and support her father – overshadowed by the heartbreaking effect that his chronic, debilitating alcoholism has on her life – then what happens when she finally confronts him. Both of these primary conflicts drive the story forward and as fiction goes, although they are predictable they are also completely relatable.

A secondary conflict centers around an old flame of Tazen – a bitter, narcissistic racing diva named Sheyenne. She threatens to expose a secret that could ruin him if he doesn’t concede to her demands, and she’s quite the drama queen in the process. This part of the story could have been much more suspenseful and threatening. I found the resolution of their broken relationship a bit unsatisfying.

I appreciate the fact that Bella created a strong heroine in Quinn – one who has definite vulnerabilities but also great strengths. She has the confidence to go after what she wants, and she has technical skills that command respect in the male-dominated world of auto mechanics, construction and racing. She shares a passion for cars that captivates Tazen from the very beginning – the common bond that ultimately leads to their HEA. I liked Tazen, too. Some reviewers have described him as arrogant – but I saw him as a strong alpha, driven by a need to protect his business, his secrets, and ultimately, the woman he loves.

Hard to Break was a good read and a solid story, but I didn’t love it, for a couple of reasons. Although the main characters were well written, I felt they were underdeveloped to some extent. I couldn’t connect with them on a deeply emotional level; I could sympathize, I could even engage, but something was missing. Their The other drawback was that the conflicts detailed in the story had a lot of potential – but they didn’t grab me; I felt little if any suspense. Even the darkest aspects of the plot didn’t draw me into the story as much as I’d hoped. Consequently, I found the pace to be a bit slow, and the “heavy scenes” were less exciting and emotional than I expected.

I will definitely read more stories by Bella Jewel, because I like her storytelling style. I recommend this book for readers who want a light, easy read, love sports-related romance, appreciate some steamy sex, enjoy alpha males, and need a happy ever after.

Now Available! Hard To Fight, by Bella Jewel

Hard-to-Fight-Cover
Title: HARD TO FIGHT 
Author:  Bella Jewel
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary adult romance, Humor

 

Funny, sassy and sexy, with an anti-hero you won’t soon forget!” – New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Chantal Fernando

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.
**Hard To Fight is a full-length standalone romance with a HEA**

 

Excerpt

“I’m freaking out, Kady,” I whisper down the phone. “How the hell am I supposed to get…”“With your mind,” she says with amusement in her voice. “And your body.”

“Don’t you see? You’re looking at this all wrong. You’re expecting to be able to just go over and drag him in but you can’t do that. Whether you like it or not, you don’t have the physical power to bring a man his size in. So start thinking outside the box.”

She’s piqued my interest. “Go on. . . .”

She huffs as if my question is completely unwarranted. “Seduce him.”

I laugh nervously. “Kady, I met him and basically abused him for being a player. Then I told him girls like me never sleep with men like him, and now you’re asking me to approach him and try to make him believe I’m interested?”

I close my eyes. “Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”

“What are you going to do, then?” she challenges. “Waltz up to him and order him to come in? He’ll run before you get your damned gun from your purse.”

I laugh. “I know how to use my gun, thank you very much—I’m just not allowed to use it.”

“Seriously, Gracie,” she says, softer now. “Think about it. You seduce him, get him interested, then you set him up.”

She makes a really good point.

“He’s not just going to grow an attraction to me overnight.”

“What?” She giggles. “A man isn’t just going to fall at your feet? Gasp. But seriously, that man was undressing you with his eyes. I don’t think you’ll have a problem.”

I snort. “Shut up—he was not.”

“He was so, and you can do it. I know you can. Just drop the charm on him…”

It’s actually not a bad idea. It would be an easy way of getting Raide in without alerting him or having to wrestle him. I might be trained, but a man his size wouldn’t be easy to move. Being a bounty hunter isn’t always easy. We have to track down criminals and bring them in for their trials, things like that. It isn’t always a walk in the park, a good deal of them run or attempt to assault us, so we’re always on our feet.

“I’ll think about it, but it is a good plan.”

I hear her clap and squeal. “While you’re at it, get some of that fine ass for yourself.”

“I think that’s against the code. . . .”

“Not if it’s kept secret.” She’s grinning—I can hear it in her voice.

I laugh, flopping down onto my couch. “You’re a rebel, Kady…”

…I hang up and lean back against the soft cushions of the couch. Seduce Raide Knox, prove my team wrong, and get the chance to expand my career. It all sounds simple, but I have no doubt whatsoever that it won’t be. Raide is a hard man, and he’s going to think I’m a great big joke when I turn up, trying to seduce him. I can only hope he’s seducible.

Things are about to get interesting.

One-click on the cover to get your copy now – from Amazon.com! 

 

Pre-order Bella’s next novel, too! Coming in October…