Review: Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning

Format read: ebook purchased from Amazon
Formats available: Paperback, ebook
Genre: Contemporary romance, Erotic Romance
Series: Sinners on Tour #2
Length: 436 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date Released: April 5, 2011
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

An ultimatum can break your heart…

Every night lead singer, Sed Lionheart whips thousands of women into a frenzy with his voice alone. But the stage is the only place Sed feels any passion since he lost Jessica…

If you’re not willing to break all the rules…

It shattered her heart, but law student Jessica broke off her engagement to Sed, determined to be successful on her own terms. But no other man can ever hold a candle to Sed…

Then a chance meeting and tortuously close quarters lead to uncontrollable flares of passion and rediscovery of their unique penchant for public encounters. Now, in addition to the risk of mutual heartbreak every time they get together, they’re in danger of truly scandalous public exposure…and sin.

Rock Hard is the second book in Olivia Cunning’s Sinners on Tour series. I really enjoyed the first book, Backstage Pass (see review here), because it was both a love story and it gave me kind of a backstage pass into the lives of a rock band.

Backstage Pass was terrific. That story worked for me because I felt for the two characters in the love story, Brian and Myrna. It was a very steamy sex into love story, but still definitely a love story.

Also a great introduction to all the members of the Sinners.

Rock Hard is supposed to be the story of the next member of the band, Sedric Lionheart, and the woman he lost his heart to, Jessica. It’s supposed to be a second chance story where Sed finds Jessica again.

The problem for me was that Sed acts like an ass through much of the book, and Jessica acts like a doormat. Then they have make-up sex or angry sex and start the cycle all over again.

What they don’t do is communicate, except when Trey has his own serious issues. Trey’s problems were much more sympathetically handled than anything going on between Sed and Jessica.

Sed wants to take care of Jessica, which might be a laudable goal, but he does it by telling her what he’s going to do for her, then getting angry and verbally abusive when she doesn’t agree. Jessica, in turn, yells and runs away, or yells and forgives him. Or yells and pulls some passive-aggressive crap.

Their behavior towards each other comes off as co-dependence a lot of the time. And Jessica needs to be slapped seriously upside the head for not insisting on safe sex. I don’t normally need to have my reality mixed into my fantasy this way, but Sed was so incredibly promiscuous during the years that they were apart, there’s no way he doesn’t need to be tested. Possibly for months. Just as an object lesson. Condoms tear.

The other thing I couldn’t believe was how often they had sex in public places, because they kept getting caught, over and over. Then Sed would say something unfortunate, stupid, or both to a reporter and Jessica would get angry, again. They both needed to take way more responsibility for their joint behavior than either of them was willing to do until the very end.

Escape Rating C-: I’m only going this high because I did enjoy the parts of the story that focussed on the other characters. Trey’s side-story, which probably sets up his book later, was very well done.

I was also happy to check in with Brian and Myrna, although I was surprised that Myrna did not see what was going on with Trey. She’s the psychologist, after all.

And Rock Hard was definitely a page-turner. Sed and Jessica’s relationship was a train-wreck through most of the book, and I couldn’t turn my eyes away. Just like watching a wreck.

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