Hard as a Rock (Gargoyles #3) by Christine Warren

 Her name is Wynn Powe. A woman of great instinct and inner resources—and insatiable beauty—Wynn has returned to Chicago to do what she does best: Locate Guardian statues. But the Order of Eternal Darkness has beat her to the punch, and the statue she’s come to investigate has been blown to smithereens. An elusive enemy is on her trail…and this time, she’s on her own. Until a mysterious package falls into Wynn’s hands—one that contains contain a chunk of old stone, along with instructions for the spell required to summon a new Guardian.HARD AS A ROCKEnter Knox. He’s a Guardian magically imbued with the skills and memories of his race…and drop-dead, expertly-chiseled good looks. Bound to Wynn as his Warden, Knox vows to learn the truth about the destroyed Guardian—and protect Wynn at all costs. But he never could have imagined the fierce attraction that has taken hold of him, body and soul. Is his desire for Wynn worth the risk of being destroyed by the Order? The only thing he knows for sure is that he won’t go down without a fight. Nor will he pass up a night of pure blind passion…

The search for more Guardians continues in Hard as a Rock and Wynn hits the ground running…literally. The book opens with Wynn in Chicago looking at the remnants of a destroyed guardian scattered about a shallow crater. Her shock and delayed reaction results in her being detected by a security guard, but when she realizes he’s not simply a security guard but also a minion of nocturnis the chase begins as she attempts to flee. Fortunately she is unable to evade him. Fortunately?!?!?! How pray tell is it a good thing that Wynn gets caught by the bad guy? Because when the guard threatens her life, a new Guardian is called forth to protect her. Can I just say that Knox certainly knows how to make an entrance?

Because Wynn is a witch from a long line of witches, she was well acquainted with the Wardens who served alongside the Guardians. While Wynn was happy for her brother Bran when he was recruited to join the Guild, she was also resentful of the Guild because she was not allowed to join. Her resentment was due to why they denied her entry. Not because she magic was weak because it wasn’t, it actually seems that she was more powerful than her brother. Nope, she was not allowed to join their ranks because she had the audacity to be born female. Because of this, she refused to accept Knox’s claim that they were mates. Despite her attraction to him and their explosive chemistry, she refused to get too involved with him when she knew that the Guild would replace her with another Guardian as soon as they were able to rebuild. And she knew that were that to happen, it would be devastating – worse still, it would destroy her if she had accepted Knox as her mate. On a purely intellectual level, I could see where she was coming from and I understood her need to protect her heart. But when faced with the reality that was Knox and the intensity of the connection between them, I don’t know how she kept pushing him away. My heart hurt for Knox when Wynn pushed him away one too many times and I worried that she would not be able to rectify the situation. Thankfully, a near death situation forces things to a head and Wynn is able to bridge the chasm her actions created. I kinda have to laugh – after the fact – at how well near-death experiences work as a karmic kick in the arse for Wynn.

I really enjoyed this installment in the Gargoyles series. Even though I still have not had the opportunity to go back and read book one, I had no issue with reading Hard as a Rock as a standalone because it is primarily Wynn and Knox’s story. Those following the series will see the continued battle between the nocturnis and the Guardians progress and will experience a HUGE shock when Wynn’s missing brother is found. I have to admit that despite my reading history in this genre, I was taken aback by how events unfolded as the nocturnis attempted to summon Uhlthor. The level of action kept me glued to my Kindle into the wee hours of the morning as I had to know how the battle in Chicago played out. And while there are some things that I wished had happened differently, I thoroughly enjoyed Hard as a Rock and am looking forward to the next book in the series.