Rock and a Hard Place by Andrea BramhallRock and a Hard Place by Andrea Bramhall is a lesbian romance that takes us all the way to the mountains of Patagonia.

Jayden Harris is one of the best mountain climbers in the world, but she’s finished with mountains after experiencing tragedy on Mount Everest. And while life in England a year later might suck it’s all she can handle, working in a call centre and visiting her mum in a nursing home, watching as Alzheimer’s disease takes over.

Rhian Phillips is bored with her marketing job in London, but things start looking up for her when the firm is contracted to produce a rock climbing reality TV show in Patagonia. Rhian leaps at the chance to manage the project, finally getting to work on something that taps into her passion for climbing and travel.

All goes well with the project until the 11th hour, when an accident means Jayden has to step in as the show’s host and as a guide for the competitors. It’s not the best start to a friendship for Rhian and Jayden, and things get even more complicated when circumstances arise that require them to pretend to be in a relationship. Everyone thinks their relationship is real—what do they do when their feelings start being real too?

The Characters

Jayden and Rhian were a joy to read about because they’re both such lovely, good people. When they first meet, Jayden is still grieving after her experience at Everest and Rhian has her own family related issues. It’s easy to see why they’re drawn to each other, though, especially as Jayden warms up to the project. The chemistry between them is more sweet than crackling, and I loved the slow burn to their relationship.

There’s also a large cast of characters in the book, between their families and all of the people involved in the TV show. I liked everyone except the characters I was meant to hate, and I did a really good job of hating those ones! The cast rounded things out nicely, adding to the drama of reality TV making and helping us see Jayden and Rhian more fully.

The Writing Style

The writing really worked for me in this one. I’ve never been climbing or ever had any interest in trying it (on an indoor wall even, let alone a mountain), but I found the climbing scenes riveting. The romance is also paced perfectly, and it kept me hooked until the end.

The Pros

Everything was great! The characters won me over, the premise was interesting and worked well, the writing was engaging, and I loved watching Rhian and Jayden fall for each other.

The Cons

I didn’t have any.

The Conclusion

If you’re a big fan of contemporary romances, and especially fake relationship romances, you won’t want to miss out on Rock and a Hard Place.

Excerpt from Rock and a Hard Place by Andrea Bramhall

Whatever [Rhian] had to live with was so worth it as they cleared the forest path and got their first clear glimpse of Laguna de los Tres and the Piedras Blancas Glacier, with Cerro Fitz Roy and Guillaumet directly behind them. The pristine white of the glacier lay in perfect counterpoint to the dark gritstone of the mountains and the ice blue waters of the lake.

“Bloody hell.”

“Gorgeous, isn’t it?”

Rhian nodded mutely as she stood still, staring at the beauty that was nature’s own work.

“In a way, it’s a shame so few people get to see the world like this,” Jayden continued. “But in another way, if they did, they’d probably ruin it.”

Rhian snorted a quick laugh, still unable to tear her eyes from the view. “So cynical, Ms Harris.”

Jayden shrugged. “I like to think of myself as a realist.”

“Hm. I still say cynic.”

“Well, you’re the boss. I guess you can say what you want.”

Rhian turned and caught the twisted smile on Jayden’s lips. Are you teasing me or letting slip your problem with me? Both? She decided to take a punt in the hopes of diffusing any animosity that still lingered. “I wish. I’ve never been the boss, and you know it. Fen was, and now you. And back home, Rachel calls the shots. All I am is a glorified secretary and bean counter.” She laughed. She didn’t care what her job was right now. She was in one of the most stunning places she’d ever seen, and she was getting paid to be there—to hike out and climb a mountain and cross a glacier. Life just didn’t get any better than that.

“Oh, you’re more than that, Miss Phillips. And I’m pretty sure you’re well aware of it.” She strode off down the slight hill towards the lake. “Come on, we don’t have time for standing around doing nothing.”

Rhian laughed. “See? I told you. You’re the boss.”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9783955339029
  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing

Andrea Bramhall Online

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