ISBN: 9780425219720 2
Publisher: Berkley Books
Hard to Handle is the third book in Lori Foster’s latest series about SBC fighters. The two main characters in this book are Harley Handleman, a SBC extreme fighter and Anastasia (Stasia) Bradley, a Life Coach and Harley’s landlord. Harley rents a cottage from Stasia every winter but this winter he is recovering from an injury sustained when saving Dakota’s life (from Simon Says). He wants to fight a title fight, but various things have gotten in the way of that happening over the past few years. Harley stops at Stasia’s house on his way home from spending the night in another woman’s bed and for whatever reason, he suddenly sees her in a new light and decides he is attracted to her. Luckily, Stasia is aware of what a legendary womanizer Harley is and sends him on his way!
After an attempt is made on Stasia’s life, Harley attempts to keep her safe. This is where the story starts to fall apart for me. He keeps her safe until the next day and then sends her to stay in a hotel until her vehicle has been fixed. Seems odd that although someone has tried to kill her, Harley thinks that she’ll be find after a few days – like the killer will lose interest. I feel that the killer/stalker story-line is completely unrealistic. Neither Harley or Stasia seem to take the situation seriously and even when the stalker is caught the whole situation is sort of brushed under the rug. Bizarre!
The character of Barber re-occurs in this story. I liked him from Simon Says, but in this book he seems to be seen as somewhat of a slut, wanting to sleep with anyone who crosses his path. Jasmine is the love interest that appears for him in the guise of wanting to audition for the position of lead singer in his band. She seems to be strong enough to stand up to him and I think a good match for him. I would prefer that Barber and Jasmine be the main characters of this book rather than Harley and Stasia.
I have read many reviews that rave about this book and I have trouble agreeing with the glowing reports. Jayne Ann Krentz claims: “Intense, edgy, and hot. Lori Foster delivers everything you’re looking for in a romance.” Booklist states: “Doesn’t hesitate to turn up the heat.” about Hard to Handle. I guess I’m looking forward to book number 4 in the series! RT Book Review doesn’t agree with me and gives Hard to Handle 4 stars and says the following: “With many familiar faces and a delightful secondary romance, Foster’s latest is a wonderful, heartwarming story with plenty of action, a suspenseful mystery and a glimpse into the sport of fighting.”