Hard as Nails
HelenKay Dimon
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Buy *Hard as Nails* by HelenKay Dimon online

Hard as Nails
HelenKay Dimon
320 pages
July 2008
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Hard as Nails is yet another of Dimon's single-author anthologies. This time, the three loosely connected stories feature two brothers and their business partner as heroes. Hard as Nails takes place in a house owned by the brother's rehab company, and inside its walls everyone seems to find love.

The first story, "This Old House," features Cole Caruthers, the company's architect, who is sent by his brother and business partner to rid the house of a squatter. Aubrey Matheson is the niece of the woman who sold the Caruthers brothers the house, and she's there because there's something very important hidden in the house that she needs to find before anyone else starts demolition on the house. Cole decides that he's not leaving until she does even if that means that he has to stick by her side.

"All About Adam," the second story, features Adam Caruthers and the woman who loved him and left him after a one-night stand eight months ago. The thing is, he's never been able to get her out of his mind; truth be told, he had to do quite a lot of manipulation to get her to walk back into his life or his conference room, as the case may be. Now that he's got her back in the same time zone as him, he's not letting go of her easily. Besides, no matter how much she may protest, she melts into his kisses just like last time - that's gotta mean something, right?

"Man At the Door" is the last story in this book. Ray Hammond is the foreman on the rehab job who has suddenly set his sights on the house's owner, Erin McHugh. He's been checking her out and decies that now is the time to make his move. The only problem is, Ray has the reputation of a bad boy, and Erin is rightfully hesitant. He talks about settling down, but how can Erin be sure? Furthermore, is Ray what Erin wants?

While I enjoyed the first two stories, I never really warmed to the last one. I really liked "This Old House" - it's funny, and the reason Cole and Aubrey are stuck together didn't strike me as overly contrived. Likewise, I liked that Adam and Becky had a previous history, and it was obvious that the spark between them was far from extinguished. But "Man at the Door, just didn't hold my interest. Maybe it was that by the time I got to this story, I was ready to move on from the trapped-in-the-house plot device. Maybe it was just that I didn't particularly care for either character. Perhaps I would have liked it more had Ray been more developed as a character by the time his story came around. As it is, he was almost more of a tertiary character in the previous stories rather than a secondary character the reader comes to know.

Overall, however, I liked Dimon's latest effort. It has all the elements I've come to expect from her work: realistic dialogue and steamy sex. Even if you're not a fan of construction and rehab, you'll like these men in hard hats!

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Jilian Vallade, 2008

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