Note: This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.
Hardass is the second book in the contemporary romantic suspense Bad Bitch series penned by author Christina Saunders, who has also written under the pen name Celia Aaron. Book two is about the middle Granade brother, Washington, considered the best private defense lawyer in New Orleans, and was introduced to readers in the series starter, Bad Bitch, as the brother who’s had a nearly estranged relationship with his eldest brother, Lincoln. Here, he’s paired up with an associate of the law firm in which he’s one of two senior partners, Caroline Montreat. Though this second book can be read as a standalone, I suggest it be read after the first one because that provides the back story of why Wash and Lincoln have the kind of relationship that they do.
Caroline Montreat is nicknamed “class clown” at Palmer & Granade and she’s constantly reminded by one fellow associate her lack of an Ivy League pedigree, but she’s given the opportunity to prove her worth when she wins the chance to work with Washington Granade. Seeing just how good he is at his job is what inspired her to become a defense lawyer, a fact that she doesn’t want to tell him lest he think she was something of a stalker. It doesn’t hurt, though, that the man makes watching him on the job is easy, all thanks to his being gorgeous. As attracted as she is to him—and she’s beginning to realize that he’s rather attracted to her as well—she knows that he’s never been one to break his own rules and lusting after an associate would definitely be a rule breaker.
Washington Granade has rules for a reason and it’s earned him the reputation of being a hardass. He’s not going to apologize for it, however, because the rules keep him focused and disciplined as does everyone else. He’s noticed Caroline Montreat before but having her work side by side with him turns out to be a temptation, one that has him envisioning what it would be like to have her underneath him instead. The last thing he needs is to give in to his baser needs, but the more time he spends with Caroline, the more significant she becomes in his life. He seems to be breaking one rule after another because of her, but she’s worth the risk. However, the case they’re working on may prove to be a greater risk, one that could end with one or both of them dead.
Among the three books in the series, this second one is my favorite. The story is quick-paced and both the characters are equally likable, making it far easier to become engrossed in what’s happening between them and to become invested in the outcome. The fact that anything between a senior partner and an associate in the same firm is frowned upon gives this that additional element of taboo that makes it an even more enticing read. Throw in the mystery and suspense involved with the case that they’re handling and figuring out who’s really guilty and who isn’t is part of what made this fun and enjoyable. Aside from Wash and Caroline, special mention goes to Tyrell Lynch for being a standout supporting character. I’m giving Hardass five out of five stars. ♥
Release Date: 04 July 2016
Date Read: 05 July 2016
Learn more about Christina Saunders.