As 2021 comes to a close, I’m revisiting my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and the final book in one of the best sports romance series I’ve read definitely earns a spot on the list! I’ve read and loved every book in the Play Hard series by K. Bromberg, and each one has its own vibe. While each book will read as a standalone, there are characters who tie everything together, including the villainesque antihero who finds redemption in Hard to Love. There’s just something about a bad boy who melts when he finds the right woman that steals my heart every time, so reading Hard to Love was such a fulfilling read for me. And it certainly didn’t hurt that these two had amazing chemistry! It’s a bittersweet conclusion to a series that I’ve loved, and I’m absolutely looking forward to more from Bromberg in 2022!
Read on for my original review, details on the series, and plenty of quotes to give you a feel for the vibe!
Crackling chemistry from the very first interaction – this couple is absolutely combustible, and watching their cat and mouse game from the sidelines was totally engrossing. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this antihero redeemed romance; Finn has been the “villain” throughout this series of interconnected standalones, and his history is somewhat problematic. But it was incredibly easy to fall for him in this. Bromberg is an expert at writing complex characters and unique relationships, with this being another prime example. These two have crazy chemistry, and their combative, lust-filled interactions had me completely hooked. It’s a slow emotional burn, leading with the heat before simmering into a heavier, nuanced read.
The story follows Finn, the sports agent that we met in previous books in the Play Hard series (NOT required reading). Let’s just say that he’s got some damage from his past, and his fight or flight instincts always kick in whenever women want more than sex from him – with flight always winning out. When Finn meets Stevie, she is grieving the loss of her father and acting out in self-destructive ways. There’s something about Stevie that draws Finn to her, but his fight or flight instincts have him running scared – and his new role as her “babysitter” doesn’t help matters. They’re stuck together for the foreseeable future, so Finn is forced to dig deeper with Stevie than he ever has before. Getting to know a woman that he’s incredibly attracted to might just be Finn’s greatest fear.
I loved the super lusty, enemies to lovers dynamic in this. These two are drawn together by their sizzling chemistry, but neither one is in the right headspace for more. They’re both afraid of an emotional connection, and the conflict that ensues had me absolutely glued to the page. I just devoured this. Bromberg excels at writing steamy scenes that bleed intimacy and reveal SO MUCH about the characters, and these two communicate with their bodies in such interesting ways. I actually liked Finn quite a bit; going into this, he was a villain who cheated in past relationships, and I wasn’t sure that I was going to like him. That was not an issue. Yes, he was a little harsh at times, but it was easy to understand what was going on inside his head, and the story is that much stronger for it. Finn and Stevie’s personalities are what make this such a dynamic, addictive read. My only real complaints are minor ones: there needed to be a longer conversation about Finn’s (past, in another relationship) cheating to resolve that storyline, and Stevie’s obvious daddy issues made elements of this age gap romance slightly cringey. Neither of those things were significant problems for me. This makes an excellent addition to what has been an outstanding series, and I’m sad to see it go.
New York Times bestselling author, K. Bromberg, is back with a heartfelt, enemies to lovers romance and a hero who redeems himself to steal your heart . . .
He was the one-night stand that didn’t exactly go as planned. Now he’s standing before me as if he’s never seen me naked, telling my manager he’ll take the job. Reluctantly.
Sports agent extraordinaire. Handsome as hell. The man who just signed on to control my every move.
Sure, I’m to blame for my recent bad press, but when your whole life has been so regimented, isn’t it normal to want to live it up a little?
But when the partying stops and the grief I’m running from has nowhere else to hide, reality sets in. Turns out, Finn’s the only person I have left to help pick up the pieces. The only person to call.
Staying with him is a temporary thing. But when our fighting turns into laughter and our friendship turns into something more, will I fight for a man who swears he’s hard to love? Or is it wiser to walk away? To follow the plan?
* * *
Offering to help with a client is a way to repay a long overdue IOU to my mentor. Little did I know she was the woman who left my hotel room at four in the morning.
Top-seeded US tennis player. Good girl gone bad. The woman currently about to throw her career away. And now my problem.
The compensation to “babysit” her is great, but she isn’t worth my trouble.
But when her world falls apart and she has no one else to turn to, I try to be a good guy by gathering her up and hiding her from the media’s eye.
Now she’s in my house, in my space, and even though I’m enjoying the side benefits of this unexpected arrangement, surely she’s better to leave when the time comes and follow her destiny. Because I’m not the man she needs. Not the man she could love. Right?
Start the series today!
Are you ready to fall for the Kincade sisters and then men who love them in K. Bromberg’s sexy, contemporary, sports romance series? These books can all be read as standalones, but you’ll enjoy reading them as a series!
Hard to Handle
Read the review here
Hard to Hold
Read the review here
Hard to Score
Read the review here
Hard to Lose
Read the review here
Hard to Love
About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary romance novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines and damaged heroes who we love to hate but can’t help to love.
A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow and her mind scattered in too many different directions.
Since publishing her first book on a whim in 2013, Kristy has sold over one and a half million copies of her books across eighteen different countries and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over thirty times. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by the streaming platform, Passionflix, with the first movie (Driven) out now.
With her imagination always in overdrive, she is currently scheming, plotting, and swooning over her latest hero. You can find out more about him or chat with Kristy on any of her social media accounts. The easiest way to stay up to date on new releases and upcoming novels is to sign up for her newsletter (http://bit.ly/254MWtI) or follow her on Bookbub (http://smarturl.it/KBrombergBB)
Connect with Kristy
Facebook Group: http://smarturl.it/DrivenFB
Text Kbromberg to 77948 to stay up to date on all things Driven movies and new releases
More of the Best of 2021!
Top 20 of 2021: The Complete List – here
Best of 2021: Top Picks by Trope can be found here!
Best of 2021: My 10 Favorite Romance Series can be found here!
Best of 2021: My Favorite Covers can be found here!
Every 5-Star Romance Novel I Read in 2021 can be found here!
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