cover image The Harder You Fall

The Harder You Fall

Gena Showalter. HQN, $7.99 mass market (432p) ISBN 978-0-373-78892-7

Showalter’s formulaic third Original Heartbreakers contemporary (after The Hotter You Burn), set in small-town Oklahoma, curses its hero with an overbearing and unhealthy brand of masculinity. Jessie Kay’s sister and her best friend are preparing to marry Lincoln West’s two best friends. Jessie Kay is feeling a bit left behind in the romance department. Her relationship with Lincoln is adversarial and fraught, but in a trope as old as the genre, the two soon discover that their mutual loathing is actually a disguise for their mutual lust. They begin their slow dance toward the inevitable, engaging in plenty of heavy petting as they work to overcome Lincoln’s aversion to commitment and Jessie Kay’s newfound determination not to compromise on what she wants. Lincoln stalks Jessie Kay, confronts and spreads rumors about a man he thinks is competing for her affections, and pursues her aggressively even after she pushes him away. Fans of the series will find that this book follows the same road map as the first two books, and new readers may be put off by Lincoln’s unpleasant and distinctly unromantic behavior. [em](Dec.) [/em]