Review: Hard to Fight by Bella Jewel (Alpha's Heart #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Grace has been a bounty hunter for five years, a job that's been her dream all her life, but she's usually given smaller cases, the ones that don't usually entail too much danger and provide some amount of amusement for her boss and co-workers. When she's finally given the opportunity to go after a bail jumper who's been accused of murdering his own sister, she accepts it immediately but then she quickly realizes that the guy she's after is the very same one who made her body react in ways it's never reacted before--Raide Knox. Bringing him in will be the most difficult thing she's ever done, but their mutual attraction may be the one ace up Grace's sleeve...that is, until both their hearts gets involved. When that happens, she'll have to decide what and who she's willing to fight for and how hard she's able to fight for it.

Hard to Fight is my very first Bella Jewel read and the first book in the author's new series, Alpha's Heart. The premise of the story had me immediately thinking this would be a dark romance, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a fair amount of humor and lightheartedness interspersed with the heavier theme of crime and punishment. Grace, whose last name I don't recall being mentioned in the book, is a bounty hunter ready and willing to tackle her very first big case and it comes in the very hot form of Raide Knox, a man who's been charged with the murder of his sister and the attempted murder of his sister's boyfriend. There's more than meets the eye with regards to Raide's case and the more Grace learns about the man she needs to bring in, the more she can't help but wonder if Raide's been wrongly accused.

Grace is one of those fictional heroines that you can't help but like and a lot of it has to do with her being her own person, refusing to be just like her mother and sisters but still finding support from her father and two best friends, Vance and Kady. She's actually good at her job but doesn't get the recognition she deserves at work because she's a woman, a fact that is soon remedied when her boss entrusts upon her the search and return of Raide. But, she's still a woman after all and interacting with Raide reminds her of her personal needs and wants. Raide is an alpha male through and through and his relationship with his late sister underlines his need to do anything and everything possible for her, even though she's already gone. He may be physically intimidating but he's got loyal and loving when it comes to those he cares for most.

This was a very enjoyable read and I liked where the story went and how the characters were portrayed. It didn't feel like it followed some set formula, allowing it to be original and a stand-out among potential new releases. There were a few supporting characters who caught my eye and I certainly wouldn't mind if they get their time in the spotlight somewhere down the line, though based on the blurbs for the two other books in the series, each book will be a standalone and appears to not be directly connected to one another. Of course, I could be wrong, but either way, this introduction to Bella Jewel's new series has me ready and raring to read her other books as well as whatever else she has in store for Alpha's Heart. With equal amounts of romance, levity, and suspense, Hard to Fight is a book worth checking out. Five stars! ♥

Release Date: 11 August 2015

Date Read: 08 August 2015

Learn more about Bella Jewel here.

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