Title: Rock Hard (Hard, Hot’n Sweaty Book 1)
Author: Vona Logan
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: 58 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: An accident while rock climbing and a strangely erotic rescue lead to a steamy reunion in this surprisingly well-rounded novella.
Blurb: Successful gym owner Aidan Walker has everything to live for, but finds himself preparing to die. Professional rock climber Matt Raine shows up, defies the hand of fate, and changes everything… Is Aidan lost or has he been found?
Dynamic and successful businessman Aidan Walker is hanging on for dear life, but knows it’s a matter of minutes before death will claim him. He despairs at leaving his sick sister behind and not fulfilling his dreams.
Professional gay rock climber Matt Raine shows up in a magnificent display of heroics. In those agonizing minutes of terror, Matt awakens something in Aiden that he would’ve never thought possible — the attraction to another man. During the days following his ordeal Aidan can’t stop thinking about Matt. He resolves to give Matt space to train for the world championship, until Matt pays him a naughty surprise visit.
Can Aidan accept Matt in his life or is the price just too high?
The story begins with Aidan hanging by his fingertips from the edge of a cliff. He knows his death is imminent and his mind is going through everything he has left unfinished, the loved ones he will be leaving behind and the mistakes he made which led him to his current predicament. I got right into his head and connected with his emotions and his fears in just a few pages. It’s a brilliant beginning for a book that’s only 58 pages long. Right as Aidan is about to lose his grip, Matt drops down out of nowhere to rescue Aidan. Matt tries to keep Aidan conscious and engaged by flirting with him even though Aidan keeps proclaiming his heterosexuality. I thought the entire situation was odd. They’re still hanging off the face of a cliff, Aidan is bleeding and about ready to pass out, but somehow they both manage to get aroused and Aidan begins questioning his sexuality. The whole idea of flirting, sexual arousal and self-discovery while hurt and barely conscious was strange for me, it pulled me out of the story and I lost the connection I had going with Aidan.
Anyway, they get rescued and Aidan is rushed to the hospital while Matt is left behind to gather up his climbing gear and head home. They go their separate ways but neither can forget about the other. I’m not a fan of insta-love and I’m very happy to say that this was a case of insta-lust, or maybe insta-connection, but definitely not insta-love. That helped me to ease back into the story and reconnect with the characters as they each searched for the other. Once Aidan and Matt met up again I could feel the chemistry I had missed during the rescue.
I think the book could have been better if it had been a bit longer. Just 5 or 10 more pages might have allowed a chance to better develop Matt’s character and make the rescue and instant infatuation more believable. Still, it’s very good for such a short story. Matt and Aidan were great, I enjoyed the chemistry between them and there were even a couple obstacles to overcome before they could be together. Other than flirting and sexual revelations during the rescue, I would have to say that the book worked for me and I liked it.