By Lauren Blakely
This is the sixth book in a series of standalone stories with interconnected characters.
Women often say a good man is hard to find. And a hard man is even better.
That's why I'm quite a catch-- good, hard, loaded, and wait for it...I'm ready to settle down too. But the woman I want to pitch my tent with lives clear across the country. Neither of us wants to get lost in those woods. All I have to do is resist her for the week she's in town.
I try. I swear I try. But yeah, that doesn't work out.
And after one fantastic night with my good friend Mia, I'm ready to give her years of nights under the stars. What's a few thousand miles when love's involved? But there's a hitch in my plans -- she just hired my adventure tour company. If there's one thing I'm committed to, it's running a squeaky clean business. Number one on my list of iron-clad rules?
Don't screw your customers.
But what's a guy to do when she's so hard to resist? How hard can it be to keep our hands off each other for a quick group tour down the hills and over the trails? I'm about to find out, and I have a feeling I'm going to need a new badge of honor because things are about to get very hard in the woods.
Patrick Milligan loves what he does. He has a successful outdoor adventure guide business with the help of his hiking cat Zeus. He even has a weekly spot on the local news stations outdoor segment. He is living his best life. And now he is ready to find someone to share it with.
Mia Summers has a successful business, Pure Beauty. She’s working to make the world a better smelling place with healthy bath products. She’s a hard-working go getter. Mia is also a free spirit that lives on the other side of the country in California.
Patrick has a major crush on Mia, his friend and neighbor’s little sister. He’ll have no problem keeping his distance since she lives on the other side of the country. That is until she hires his company for a corporate retreat. Now he has to stay away from her or he’ll be breaking his own rules in this friends to lovers rom-com.
Blakely is known for her super sweet, fun and easy reads. She’s become the master of the male point of view. You can always count on Blakely for characters you can fall in love with, but this story could also act as a cautionary tale.
Hard Wood is such a sweet story. When you read as much dark and twisty stories as I do it’s refreshing to fall in love with characters that are so sweet to one another. Even when the timing is right, or there are obstacles in their way Patrick and Mia are still amicable and respectful of each other.
As always Patrick and Mia are characters you can fall in love with. Patrick is very sure-footed. He know what he wants. Mia is driven and goal oriented. Sometimes scares men away. Don’t forget Zeus the hiking cat. A hiking cat is almost as cool as a dog.
The moral of the story is that sometimes you’ve got to take a chance to get what you want. Patrick is contemplative about his feelings for Mia. She lives on the other side of the country, she’s his friend’s little sister, she is very career oriented. In his support of Mia he forgot to ask for what he wanted. Mia’s very interested in Patrick but she’s afraid to repeat mistakes from her past and her fear has her paralyzed. Sometimes being too polite can leave you with nothing.
One thing that was a little awkward for me were the conversations with the cat. I think because they were called conversations then written in third person. It did help to provide additional story details that you wouldn’t get from just Patrick’s point of view. They were short and only peppered through the story, so it didn’t interrupt the story.
All of Blakely’s male point of view stories in the Big Rock series are wonderful. This one was the lightest and sweetest of all of them. This would be a great read at the end of a long hard week.
Aracely’s Book Review:
Lauren Blakely has been a one-click for me for a while now. I love the way she brings the male POV to life. Hard Wood is a fun, light and heartwarming read. What really drew me into this read was the connection that Mia and Patrick developed. I loved that they were friends first and got to know each other before anything else happens between them. The friendship was so carefree and easy that making the jump to a full-blown relationship wasn’t that hard to imagine, yet there were things holding both of them back from telling each other how they felt.
“Look, I’m going to be blunt. If I told you I had a hiking cat who rides shotgun in a backpack and can purr like he’s a jazz superstar, you’d have had no choice but to fall in love with me.”
After they give into the tension between them new problem arise and they have to figure out the best way to overcome them if they want to be together.
“I’d really like to touch her, just to reconnect. Her knee. Her shoulder. Her hair. I’m a starving man, and any morsel will do.”
There is so much in the world that gets in the way of what we want. Sometimes the best things to do is talk things out. We have to be brave enough to jump in head first and fight for what we want. We have to have enough courage to fight for it.
“But men and women aren't always ready to bare their soul. Instead we sidestep the hard stuff, we avoid tough conversations. That’s human nature - we can’t always solve every problem when it happens, even if we to. Sometimes we don’t yet have the tools, or the guts. We have to hike through the woods, march up the hills climb over rocks, before we come out on the other side.”
Life is what we make it. We want something, the only person truly standing in our way is ourselves. So eat the cake, do what makes you happy and fall in love with your best friend.
“Sometimes, you just have to say why the hell not? And go after the life you want to lead.”
If you are looking for a laugh out loud read that will have you thinking “ why the hell not” then pick up Hard Wood.
Why did we choose this book:
Hardwood is the sixth book in the Big Rock series. We love rom-com, we love Lauren Blakely. When we heard she had another male POV rom-com we opted in asap.
Who should read this book:
If you’re looking for a fun and sweet love story with steamy sex scenes, you should read this book.
About the Author:
A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she's sold more than 2 million books. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!