Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Hard as a Rock

Hard as a Rock (Gargoyles #3)

by Christine Warren


 Bestselling author Christine Warren returns to a mesmerizing
world in which the laws of attraction are never written in stone—and love knows no bounds…
Her name is Wynn Powe. A woman of great instinct and inner resources—and insatiable beauty—Wynn has returned to Chicago to do what she does best: Locate Guardian statues. But the Order of Eternal Darkness has beat her to the punch, and the statue she’s come to investigate has been blown to smithereens. An elusive enemy is on her trail…and this time, she’s on her own. Until a mysterious package falls into Wynn’s hands—one that contains contain a chunk of old stone, along with instructions for the spell required to summon a new Guardian.
Enter Knox. He’s a Guardian magically imbued with the skills and memories of his race…and drop-dead, expertly-chiseled good looks. Bound to Wynn as his Warden, Knox vows to learn the truth about the destroyed Guardian—and protect Wynn at all costs. But he never could have imagined the fierce attraction that has taken hold of him, body and soul. Is his desire for Wynn worth the risk of being destroyed by the Order? The only thing he knows for sure is that he won’t go down without a fight. Nor will he pass up a night of pure blind passion...
Themes: gargoyles, magick, paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating:
 Ok let’s be honest there just aren’t that many series out there that revolve around a group of gargoyles out to save the world from demons.  Christine Warren’s newest series all about the misadventures of a group of sexy Guardians, who shift into gargoyles for their stasis, and the women that are their mates, is almost as fabulous as her Others series, though I might be biased since I’m more of a werewolf fan. But the really great part of any story is the way that an author manages to humanize her superheroes and show us that love is the one underlying theme in any relationship.  I have followed this series since book one hit the review shelves and with each one I find myself finding something new to like, and of course, there is a new HOT Guardian to fall in lust with in each book. If you haven’t read the previous novels, I have to say you will be a little bit lost, while there is sufficient information to keep you from losing interest, having the full background is the only way to really understand and appreciate these novels as they are SO tightly linked.  I am looking forward to seeing whose book will be next, though I have a small idea.  Full of laughter, sadness, sensuality and sweetness Warren’s writing and her characters always have something special to keep you coming back for more. 
This story picks up right where book two ended, with Wynn traveling to a middle of nowhere mansion in the Chicago suburbs looking for the Guardian that her friend Ella has traced.  This guardian is the next one needed to fight the big bad that has begun to invade our world, but she immediately finds that her luck has run out.  Just as she has given up all hope of surviving her little trip, a huge and intimidating beast shows up to come to her rescue.  Knox has been summoned, though no one can explain how and he appears just in time to save Wynn.  Filled with the knowledge of the ages, passed to all Guardians upon their creation, Knox knows that he needs to keep Wynn safe, even if he doesn’t quite understand her attraction or the emotions she brings out in him. Together they begin to unravel the dangerous plot around them, on the hunt for the newest disciple of the demons and his plot, as well as Wynn’s missing Warden brother.  But as they get deeper and deeper into their investigations, the passion between them becomes too much to resist and they fall into each other’s arms… and ultimately hearts.  When the battle begins for the safety of the world and the chance to defeat evil, will Knox’s love for Wynn keep him from fulfilling his duty, or can they each find a path to fulfill their destiny but still be able to be together?
Even though Knox springs into full life from nothingness, he is by no means a shallow individual, and the man has no understanding of naivet√©.  His bravery, selflessness, and defense of those around him are tempered with intelligence, passion, and wit, especially when dealing with Wynn and her insecurities.  He is a fabulous character, even when he’s being a smartass, and it is obvious he was made just for Wynn.  While he battles the dangers around them, he fights a second war with Wynn to get her to give their relationship a chance.  His mate is a stubborn woman, but she'll soon learn his head truly is hard as a rock (yes, pun intended).  Wynn on the other hand was a bit annoying at times.  Honestly, her lifelong dream—becoming a personal warden to a Guardian—comes true through sheer luck and she is determined to resist the change every step of the way, even knowing it hurts Knox.  She’s more than willing to be with him and take him into her body, when things get more intense and emotions become invested, she pulls back again and again.  In the end, I was surprised she finally found a way to bend and accept the flow that fate has pushed her into.  She also has some seriously sad moments to deal with and thankfully, she learns to lean on Knox when she falls apart so he can give her a strong foundation to fall back on. 
Overall, Hard as a Rock was a surprisingly intense and interesting novel that while focusing on the relationship between the H/h, also carries a big portion of the overall plot against the demons and the Order. The detail that goes into something as intricate as this series, with so many moving subplots and characters across so many settings, shows the true skill of the author, especially being able to work in some sexy and passionate scenes as well as a life-long love.  Knox was one of those characters that was just given the best lines, making you laugh, think, and groan, all in the very best ways, while still being able to kick ass and protect those around him.  Wynn had her ups and downs for me; in the beginning, her resistance to accepting Knox and their mating was growl-inducing, but as we learned more about her insecurities, it was nice to see Knox have to slowly overcome her prejudices so she could accept them.  The passion between them, even when they haven’t fully accepted their mating, is palpable and intense even when they are only thinking about each other, but when the love is accepted and shared—phew, the heat becomes exponentially higher.  I am looking forward to seeing whose book is next, since in all previous books, we at least got a small hint, and though I have a small idea who it could be, there are no guarantees.  But no matter who is next I know it will be someone awesome and I cannot wait to get to read it.  If you’re looking for a dark and sensual story, with some moments of lightness, Warren’s Guardian series is going to be right up your alley, as long as you have an open mind about what truly makes a person a Hero.

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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