Review: Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookdisturbinghispeace
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Academy, #3
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Greer Burns
Heroine: Danika Silva
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 24, 2018
Started On: December 18, 2018
Finished On: December 19, 2018

Disturbing His Peace by Tessa Bailey is the final book in The Academy series. From the moment Lieutenant Greer Burns entered the scene in the first book, I was a goner. He is the kind of character that I love to fall in love with. The broody and controlled heroes who when they unravel, do so so spectacularly that you cannot help but lose a chunk of yourself to them. Needless to say, I was impatient for Greer’s story (as I believe most readers would have been), and to finally read it and reaffirm the faith I have in Tessa Bailey’s ability to create stupendous stories that makes you laugh, turns you on so much, and delivers such emotionally grappling reads, is why I love her books so damn much.

Lieutenant Greer Burns is a man who is defined by his job. A hard-ass to the recruits, a man who is as by the book as they come, for whom the law exists only in black and white, and one would think that Greer to be so straitlaced that he would be boring. He is the farthest thing from that however, and it comes to light when the cracks appear on his demeanor with each encounter that takes place between him and recruit Danika Silva. There are tantalizing bits and pieces indicative of how Greer’s feelings are when it comes to Danika throughout the other books, something he tries his best to hide from.

Danika herself, even though she is drawn to all the intensity that is Greer, denies her feelings because she does not have a very favorable opinion of him. But all of that changes when she turns to Greer for help and discovers that there is more to Greer than that gruff and seemingly uncaring exterior of his. Help from Greer however comes at a price, which means that Danika is “forced” to spend more time with Greer, which of course leads to very interesting encounters between the two.

It should be no surprise that Disturbing His Peace turned out to be my favourite from the series. Greer is intense; no two ways about it. He is known as lieutenant hard- ass for a reason. He takes his job all too seriously believing that putting oneself out there makes one more vulnerable. After all, his childhood and abandonment issues has taught him that and more. The secret he harbors inside of his heart is one that he keeps even from his brother. And even though his brother found his happiness, Greer is certain that he himself is meant to spend his days by his lonesome self without subjecting himself to heartache and pain along the way, which is certain to come the minute he gives his heart to another. He lives by a strict code of ethics and rules, and nothing has deterred him from his chosen path until Danika shows up in his life.

Danika changes everything. She tests the limits of his self control unlike any other. Her opinion of him matters more than it should and for the very first time Greer finds himself in uncharted waters, navigating through the unknown for a woman who stops his very breathe. As much as Greer might tell himself that he does not need anyone, the course his life had been taking of late tells its own tale. Danika’s presence is one that takes away the unease and makes him content, if that were an emotion he was familiar with.

That takes me to the more serious matters such as how fantastically hot and out of the charts hot Greer is. Did I mention that he is hot? Yes, he is. There were moments that I had to remind myself to breathe because I kept forgetting how to, all because Greer was that intense. There is something about a controlled hero that lets loose. Every sexual encounter between Greer and Danika, from the shower scene to the round in the patrol car was insanely hot. And of course, Greer does dirty talking so very well that it is hard not to swoon during certain heated moments.

Danika was the kind of woman Greer needed. Definitely. She is snarky, has a big heart, and doesn’t know when taking on too much responsibility for her family becomes unhealthy. It is the way Greer looks out for her in the midst of everything that happens that lets the reader know that it is just much more than scorching hot sex that is between the two. The cuddle scene that happens on the couch, especially when there is so much tangible sexual tension between the two thick enough to slash through with a knife; that was cute and wholesome in a way that just made me fall that much more in love with Greer and Danika.

Definitely recommended. Fans of Tessa Bailey certainly would not be disappointed.

Final Verdict: Greer is sheer perfection presented to readers; a tightly controlled hot mess unraveling in a way that makes your insides heat up and your heart melt! Tessa Bailey’s magic knows no bounds.

Favorite Quotes

I allow my mouth to brush those curls at her ears, the sensation dropping my voice to a scrape of sound. “I’m talking about fucking you, baby. You know I am.” My tongue must have a mind of its own, because it licks along the rim of her ear, my memory collecting the whimper she makes and locking it away in a safe. “Tucked back in the showers, your legs open for my thrusts, blood running down my back from where your nails are digging in. Bet that would warm you right the hell up.”

Resolving to walk slowly toward the pizza place, I open the door—
“Oh my God,” I gasp, my walloping heart sending me back a step. “What . . .”
Greer is standing in the hallway, watching me with shadows in his eyes.
Rain drips off the folded edges of his NYPD beanie and fingertips. He’s so still I almost think my imagination is putting
him there, but then he speaks in a clipped tone.
“Cancel it.”
My . . . date? Oh yeah. He’s talking about my date, and there’s no denying the indignation that fires to life inside of me.
I don’t care if I’m attracted to this man. He doesn’t just get to show up and order me around. On a Saturday night, no less.
We’re not in the academy gym right now—we’re on the threshold of my house.
Then why am I so excited?

“Yes or no. Do you want to be convinced?” Finally, just a hint of his lips brush mine, and the answering, down-low clench
is so intense, I almost hit the deck. “Understand this. I’m going to do it my way, Danika. And I’m only figuring out what
this way is now—with you—because I think you love it. Need it.” A single blunt finger lifts and traces my right hip, moving
up my rib cage and detouring toward my breasts, raking over each hard nipple slowly. “Think you’d love some rough goddamn
convincing, wouldn’t you, baby? Yes or no?”
This new need he stirred to life isn’t my secret. He’s known. “Yes.”

“Move your knees apart,” I growl, pushing my middle finger inside her, pumping it a few times, as she follows the order. Then
a few more times, because I can’t believe the tightness waiting for me. “This has been mine for months, hasn’t it?”
Her choked cry, the tilt of her hips, is the only answer I need.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t know, baby, or I wouldn’t have been able to help myself. All those times you showed up early would
have been spent in my office, riding my cock.”

Something about my question upsets him. His eyebrows draw together, his grip tightening anew on my wrist. “Get back in your
goddamn seat.”
“No.” Whew. I must be out of my mind. Anyone with working brain cells can see he’s about to get tough with me. Reject me.
Hurt my feelings out of necessity. But something tells me I’ll never get another chance to see under his exterior if I don’t
rip it down right now. So before he can open his mouth and deliver whatever lie he’s thinking, I kiss him.
And we go up in flames.

I decide to stop exploring it when she flicks her hips back, grinds back down. Does it again. Does it again. Until my fucking
thighs and hands are shaking, my mouth open and growling at her neck. Every ounce of my focus goes into hunting a condom down
in my pocket and covering myself, before reaching down between our bodies and guiding my cock to her heat. “Wet girl. Nice
wet girl.”
She arches her back and spreads her legs, allowing me to slip myself inside her inch by inch . . . and as she sinks down,
I barely recognize the sensation because nothing that came before her compares. Made for me. I’m made just for her. All of
the above.
“Oh God,” we both moan at the same time.

On my shoulder, she shakes her head no. “Greer, oh, I’m going to—” She breaks off on a closed mouth scream, her thighs trembling
around my hand. “Greer.”
I think I can hold it together long enough to give her another orgasm, but as soon as her pussy cinches around my dick like
a belt, I know resisting the rush of pleasure is a pipe dream. “Goddammit, baby. Ripping it right out of me, aren’t you?”
There’s a scraping feeling deep in my belly, then I’m shouting into her hair as the most phenomenal relief grips me. I’m coming
inside her. Finally. Finally. It hurts, but it’s happening . . . and then it doesn’t hurt anymore, because the worst of the
lust is leaving me, shooting up the stalk of my flesh. “You’re killing me. Don’t stop. Move. Move. Don’t stop.”
My body continues to ram up, up into her snug, clenching cunt until my fucking vision goes black. Mine. The word echoes in my head, but my teeth snap down on my lower lip to keep from saying it out loud.

I slide between Greer and the coffee table, intending to park myself beside him on the couch, but he snags me by the waist
and draws me down on his lap. There are a few charged seconds where neither one of us moves, but the pace of our breathing
goes haywire. I struggle not to moan when he plants his open mouth against my ear and hums, the vibration going straight through
me. “I figured we could find out what all this cuddle talk is about.”
“Is there a lot of talk?” I wheeze the question, and I don’t even blame myself. Who could think straight with the hot muscular
flex of his thighs under their butt?

I lay my head down on his shoulder and take a deep inhale of his skin. No-nonsense soap, sweat, spearmint gum. It doesn’t
feel like our first time cuddling in terms of how our bodies curve together. But the beating of his heart against my shoulder,
the steady rise and fall of his bare chest, is so new. Up close, I can see all the individual hairs on his chest, the dark
whorls of them that grow concentrated at his belly button and vanish below my hip. His erection is tucked between the cheeks
of my ass, but he seems determined to pet every inch of me, and I’m totally content to let him. He’s so warm.
A yawn catches me off guard, but I shake myself to keep my eyelids from drooping. “What’s your verdict on cuddling?”
His sigh shifts my hair around. “I think I’m fucked.”

“Get that tiny fucking thong off,” I growl, even though there’s no way I can wait that long. No, as soon as I drag my dick
out of her mouth, I’m yanking those panties sideways and thrusting into her soaked pussy. She screams in my ear, her nails
sinking like razors into my back. My heart stutters at the possibility that I hurt her with my aggression, but I’m reassured
when her knees dig into my sides. Like a rider spurring on a horse. Only I’m the one riding her. And I do it hard. “When you
got into a cab and rattled off my address in your little, pink shirt dress, you knew this is what you were going to get, didn’t
you? A hard cock between your thighs. Didn’t you, baby?”
“Yes. Oh my God. Yes.”

Stop moving,” I rasp, my stomach tightening. “I’m too goddamn close.”
“It’s okay,” she whimpers, definitely pulling me deep again and grinding her hips up, her heels finding a home at the small
of my back. “I never miss my pill. Please.”
Relief blinds me like two headlights, along with the impulse to fuck her until the pain is gone. “I’m clean.”
“Me, too.” She sobs, those nails burying in the flesh of my ass. “Greer.”
“Hold on to me.”
In the end, I can’t tell who is holding on to whom. Our bodies are flush, sweaty and racing to the finish. I bury my face
in the crook of her neck with a guttural groan, my hips pump hard, fast, almost angrily. I’ve never moved in such perfect
rhythm with anyone. Not even myself. I’m better with her. We’re better together.

His low growl makes me shudder. “My girl.” That open palm zings against my backside. “Mine.” The next strike is harder, and
he massages the spot afterward, his touch gentle, and the contradiction is so perfectly Greer, I hear myself asking for more.
More Greer. “Show me some pussy,” he rasps. “Before you go strutting what belongs to me around, give your man a nice look.”
Lord. Oh Lord. My vision is a blur now, but my muscles are still functioning for the most part. Keeping my cheek pressed to
the table, I loosen my back and angle my hips. And that most sensitive part of me gets the next slap. Whap. I’m so shocked,
I release a cut-off scream that gets louder when his huge erection rams home inside of me. Pleasure explodes in my middle.
My orgasm is an earthquake, sending cracks down the center of my foundation. Beneath me, the table vibrates, thanks to my
juddering body.

“I’m fucking yours, you know that?” He drops hot, panting kisses beneath my ear. “I just want to be yours, Danika.”
“You are.” I clench my teeth and sail over the edge again. “Greer.”
“God, baby. Fuck.”
I’m hurtling so fast and hard into pleasure, I’m barely aware of his mouth leaving my neck, but when I hear him shout a broken
curse, when I feel heat inside me and that final, rough thrust, something primal comes alive inside me. Something I think
Greer woke up.
Damn right I satisfy my man.
I love it. I love me with him. Us together.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookdisorderlyconduct.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Academy, #1
Publisher: Avon
Hero: Charlie Burns
Heroine: Ever Carmichael
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 29, 2017
Started On: July 28, 2018
Finished On: August 27, 2018

Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey is the first novel in The Academy trilogy. Released in August of 2017, the story is told in the first person, in the viewpoints of the hero Charlie Burns and heroine Ever Carmichael. Charlie and Ever cross paths with each other at a bar, where instant lust is what happens. However, before things head to the point of no return, Ever states that she wants nothing serious, which suits Charlie just fine, because he doesn’t want any entanglements that could deter him from the future that he is working hard to achieve for himself.

However, with sex as explosive as it happens between Charlie and Ever, it is difficult for emotions to not get involved, even when both of them believe that love is not for them. Ever’s dream lies in making it in the culinary world while Charlie’s ambition is to become a cop, then a lieutenant like his older brother Greer, and move onto become a bureau chief like his father. It is family legacy that Charlie wants to be part of, and a woman doesn’t factor into his long-term plans.

Ever’s aversion to commitment stems from her childhood, where her mother had drummed into her the woes of letting a man take over a woman’s life. The one-month rule is what her mother taught her in order to avoid messy emotional entanglements. However, when her mother changes her tune and tells Ever that she wants her to be happy, Ever decides its time to end things with Charlie in order to find herself someone who will want long-term. But then things do not go exactly according to to plan and its not long before the lines between friendship and love becomes blurred.

Ever was sweet. But I think her fault lay in not understanding that she was wading into the dating scene for all the wrong reasons. Sure, Charlie deserved the anger for trying to sabotage her efforts, but just like Ever had the best of misguided intentions at heart, so did Charlie when it came to winning her affections.

Both Charlie and Ever had issues. Ever, owing to a mother who had taught her to steer clear of heartache and vulnerability by avoiding commitment, and Charlie by a father who had brought up his sons letting them believe that they were the one at fault for his wife walking out the door and never coming back. I loved the letters that Charlie sent to Ever to win back her affections. The letters were phenomenal.

While Tessa Bailey’s trademark scorching sex scenes were very much a part of this story, I believe that the fact it was written in first person detracted a little from the enjoyment factor. That being said, I am so looking forward to reading Greer’s story. The only reason I am trudging through the second book in the series is because I do not want to miss out on any tidbit that might involve Greer, all because I love me a grumpy hero.

Recommended for fans of smutty reads and fans of Tessa Bailey. There are few authors who can do smut better than Tessa!

Final Verdict: Tessa Bailey writes an emotionally evocative debut welcoming readers to the Academy series. Charlie & Ever will continue to steal bits & pieces of your heart throughout.

Favorite Quotes

“Charlie.” He’s inside me. Thick and solid. “Oh my God. Big man.”
Confident hands grip my knees and drag them wide, levering me down even farther. “Move, Ever. I’m sick. I’m sick from needing this. Needing you,” Charlie rasps against the side of my neck, baring his teeth and pressing close. “Move up and down on it. All over it. Make me better.”

My climax is even fiercer this time around. I turn my head, whimpering and moaning against Charlie’s stubbled jaw, my legs stiffening, pressing me back against his lap, taking him so deep—so deep—that he follows me onto the other side. My name is growled over and over into my hair, his fingers still stroking between my legs as heat blooms where our bodies join, signaling his release. For a brief period of time, there is nothing else. A gilded space with no sound or responsibility. An experience singular to Charlie. To us.
His laugh is as rich as the chocolate we’re cleaning up. “Come on, Ever. I know you don’t like gifts, but let me do something for you.”

A fluttering occurs in the general direction of my chest. Oh. Ohhh no. This is bad. I’m not going to pretend I haven’t gotten a little attached to Charlie. He makes me feel safe. We have fun, with the little time we allot ourselves. His lop-sided smiles are the highlight of my day. But now he’s starting to feel guilty about leaving after sex. Have I projected my sort of attached-ness and he’s just responding out of decency? Legend has it, that’s how the decline starts. Decency. Then decency turns to responsibility. Also known as The Mistress Kiss of Death.
This is why the one-month rule exists. Leave them before they leave you.

I’m breathing like a bull as I tunnel my tongue into the tops of her slick folds. Right at the top, where the center of the storm lives. Eyes closed in euphoria, I slide the tip of my tongue down through her lips, like I’m making a credit card transaction. One that definitely got approved—’cause, damn, she goes wild. So fucking wild. I’m not talking screams or begging. No, this unicorn of a woman climbs me. She throws both of her thighs over my shoulders, giving me all her weight, which I gladly accept, using the wall to keep her leveraged. Then she does a little scooting shimmy to bring herself right up against my mouth, turning my cock into a goddamn crowbar.

“No one moves like us, Ever. No one talks to each other without words like us. Don’t you know that?” He grits his teeth, thrusts his hips and . . . sweet Christ, he’s inside me to the hilt. My other leg shoots up and clenches around his hips, giving him my full weight, and it doesn’t faze him at all. He’s too busy moaning with his head thrown back, the tendons of his neck stark and sexy and male. “I’ve been dying for you. Dying. You don’t know what it’s been like.”
“Yes, I do.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Too Beautiful to Break by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-booktoobeautifultobreak
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Romancing the Clarksons, #4
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Belmont Clarkson
Heroine: Sage Alexander
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 26, 2017
Started On: June 08, 2018
Finished On: June 09, 2018

We have all come across the expression that sometimes, two people in love, they can act as if they are a universe unto themselves. In the fourth and final book of the Romancing the Clarksons series, Tessa Bailey explores that concept with the favorite couple of dare I say, most readers of the series since its debut novel.

Too Beautiful to Break is the story of the eldest sibling of the four, Belmont Clarkson, who literally takes your breath away from the very first moment you lay eyes on him. It is just like Sage Alexendar, the heroine describes him in the book, “Belmont was attractive. Yes. That much was made obvious by the way women got a certain look in their eyes as he passed. He evoked a chemical reaction that started in your stomach, as if he’d tucked his coarse index finger into your belly button and twisted. His height might have made him rangy, if it weren’t for all the muscle, honed from hours working on his salvage boat. His skin had an all-weather texture, bashed with salt water and sunshine, but his inner glow kept it from dulling in the slightest. Dark hair skirmished around his face and collar, no style to speak of, but thick and inviting and gorgeous in its disarray. The first time she’d set eyes on Belmont, she’d thought of far-off places. Grassy moors and mist and trench coats. Things she’d never witnessed, but read about in books. He was the only one of his kind.“, and I don’t think I can do more justice to Belmont’s character than that.

Belmont and Sage’s connection is one that manifests through every word, phrase, and sentence that describes them together in the entire series. Too Beautiful to Break just sets this fact in stone and Tessa Bailey brings to life how two people that are entirely drawn to one another like Belmont and Sage can disappear into a world of their own making. It is like Belmont tells Sage, they are two halves of one whole and I cannot agree more.

While for onlookers and even for us readers who have been following their “relationship” closely since the series began, it feels as if Belmont is the person who needs Sage to keep him grounded. When in reality Sage too, desires and wants that visceral connection between the two and uses it as her lifeline when things get too tough.

Sage is someone who comes from a broken home, with two dysfunctional parents whose entire world only consists of the two of them. Sage had grown up being a witness to the destructive dependency cycle that is her parents. It is the same sort of dependency she identifies with Belmont, a connection which she swears that she is severing for his own good as well, because the past that she had run from had come calling and Belmont has no place in any of it.

Sage comes from a small mining town, where the town’s entire population depends on the income generated from the mines. The fact that Sage had also taken the easy way out and run from a life that continued to bring her down, a life where she had been excluded from the family experience that should rightfully exist in a household that has two parents who are as love in with each other as Sage’s parents are; run Sage had, and run as far as she could.

It comes as a shock to Belmont when their parting brings to light the fact that it was not only him that had yearned for more when it comes to Sage and him. Sage lets him know in no uncertain terms that it is not okay for Belmont to take up such a large chunk of her life and not see her as a woman. Oh boy, does that seem to set Belmont off to finally act on his impulses that had been right about driving him nuts with his burgeoning desire for Sage, and enjoy it, I so did.

Belmont is the kind of man whose quite demeanor hides a wealth of passion inside of him. Belmont has trauma from childhood, the truth behind which he hasn’t shared with anyone, even his mother. Miriam, in the opening lines of the book, talks about how Belmont had grown up right in front of her eyes, become too solemn and forgot how to be a child, because he had carried the heavy burden of the sorrow his mother had carried in her heart for his father whom Belmont has never met.

Sage is adamant that she does not follow in the same path as that of her parents, whose toxic dependency cycle on one another prevents them from actually living and making a life together. So Sage pushes back, and Belmont who has been in love with Sage since forever, doesn’t hesitate to do everything in his power to prove to Sage that when it comes to her, he would move mountains because there is a fundamental truth that will never change – he is hers and she is his.

I found the trope that Tessa explored in Belmont and Sage’s story to be really interesting. I have come across various relationships where two people are just wrong for each other, even if they claim to love each other with everything they have. However, to witness two people who actually flourish, want, and need the other’s toxicity to make their love stronger is a novel concept in the way Tessa explored it in this novel.

I understood Sage and her need to get away from HER dependence on Belmont and vice versa. But that does not mean it doesn’t hurt Belmont, which hurts Sage as well. But what Sage did was important for the longevity and sustainability of their love for each other. You can love someone till your soul aches from it, but to make it stick and work so that you have that love with you for your lifetime takes hard work, commitment, and willpower to not lose essential pieces yourself in the love you have for the other. That I believe is a vital message for anyone and everyone, and I loved how Tessa explored it all with great sensitivity without painting anyone as the “villain” for it being so.

I loved and adored Belmont. I mean, who wouldn’t? He is the kind of strong and silent hero that romance novels often bring to life and we all swoon over. But I believe Belmont is in a league of his own in the understated manner in which he exudes an aura that refuses to be denied. When Belmont is in the room, you HAVE to sit up and take notice even though he has eyes for no woman but Sage. Yes, he is that kind of hero. His vulnerability at the core, and the fact that he was a virgin who had waited to discover the wonders of sex and lovemaking with the woman he loves was somehow fitting when it came to Belmont.

Loved the ending. I believe it delivered exactly the kind of peace and harmony between the Clarkson siblings that Tessa wanted to when she first started out with the series.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: In Too Beautiful to Break, Bailey delivers the kind of love that is all consuming in its ferocity, gentleness, and ability to give. There is a beauty to Belmont’s character, supplemented by Sage’s that is hard not to fall for.

Favorite Quotes

“You are a woman, Sage. You’re the only woman,” Belmont breathed in a rush as he reached Sage, hauling her off the ground with both arms and up against his body—
And then their lips touched for the first time.
Something parted in Belmont’s mind, like clouds after a storm, and so much light shined through, it would have blinded him. Would have, if his eyes had the ability to remain open against the onslaught of euphoria. Need, too. There was always the need, but with his mouth finally pressing against Sage’s, desire grew huge and demanding. Going against every rule he’d given himself, Belmont tilted his hips and let her feel it.

“I stole it out of your suitcase. I broke a commandment and everything.”
“Why?” He breathed into her hair, sinking heat like an anchor in her belly. The shirt came off, her arms dropped to her sides, and she was left in nothing but a bra from the waist up. Inches from Belmont. “Why, sweetest girl?”
A light steam had begun curling in the air like beckoning fingers. Maybe this is a dream. It felt like one of the fevered fantasies she woke from on occasion, sweat slicking her breasts and neck. “Because I like the way you smell and it hadn’t been washed.”
His exhale was gravelly. “Sage.”

His soaped-up palms coasted over her rib cage and down, raking over her hips and moving inward to her belly. When his fingertips grazed the waistband of her underwear, Sage gasped and pushed her bottom back up against his groin. Belmont gritted her name, his vision doubling before swooping back together. “I’ve never been with a woman like this, Sage.” The truth was out, mixing with the shower mist, before he could stop it. “Never touched a woman beneath her underwear. Or her breasts. Never been inside.” He couldn’t swallow, so a choked sound broke loose. “I don’t really have a way to explain how much it’s you. Out of a million women, it would always have been you. My body…the part you feel between my legs…has never ached for anyone else.”
“I—I’ve never been with anyone, either.”

She pushed up with her backside, elevating his groin, inviting him to grind forward, so he did. He did it hard. And firebursts blinked in front of his eyes, the promise of satisfaction riding low and painful in his gut. But nothing compared to the flood of need that almost sank him when she spoke again. “I’ve touched myself, Belmont.” Even in the muted candlelight coming from the bedroom, he saw the pink flush steal up her neck and cheeks. He loved that display of Sageness so much, he licked it. He licked the increasing wealth of pink, up and down, left to right, until she started to whimper. “I know what I like.”
“Show me.”

Put your head back on my shoulder,” he ground out. “I can’t see your eyes.”
Danger. She shouldn’t. Being face to face with Belmont brought too much gravity. It would suck her back in, turn her back into someone she couldn’t be. But the gathering of release put a hole in her defenses. This was the man she’d clung to for dozens of hours, quietly begging for more. For all. So she didn’t just put her head on his shoulder, she threw it, using a foot on his knee as leverage to cinch higher. “There. There,” she choked out, peering up into his shadowed face. Shadowed, save his eyes, which practically glowed like blue coal as they raced over her face. “I’m right here.”
“I missed you.” A tremor moved through his huge body. “Don’t keep me banished.”

Sage’s flesh clamped around the thick presence of Belmont’s finger and she broke. She broke right down the middle, her legs jerking, the private, untested muscles low in her stomach convulsing until she screamed. It was like waking up in the bottom of a pool and marveling at the feeling of being encapsulated in cool, fresh heaven, but still scrambling for the air that waited at the top. So much relief. Almost too much to stand. “Oh my God. Belmont. Please don’t let go of me yet.”

Taking a deep breath for the courage to stop after one, Sage grabbed Belmont by the lapels of his jacket, drew him close, and molded their lips together.
He made this sound—mmmhh—and followed it with a groan so long and deep, she got lost in the never-ending vibration of it. His salty ocean eternity scent clashed with the forest, his texture, the heat of his body, exploding her senses. She’d barely processed that her feet had left the landing before they were dangling in midair, Belmont’s forearm slung beneath her bottom, the opposite arm wrapped around her back. So tight, like he’d never expected to hold her again.

Her teeth grazed his tongue and that shock sent searing pressure climbing up his cock. With a strangled shout, he twisted a hand in the hem of Sage’s dress and held it high, at the notch of her throat, watching in awe and disbelief as white ropes tugged from his body, striping Sage’s smooth, slight curves.
“Jesus, Jesus…Sage…I’m all over your belly.” He pushed the words out through clenched teeth. “Look how gorgeous you are.”
His climax seemed to go on forever and Sage’s reaction only made it more potent, more unbelievable. Watching him go over the edge seemed to elevate her to another plane, as well. She was sobbing by the time he finished, her hazel eyes glassy and unfocused.

She watched through a fevered fog as he wiped the sheen from his mouth, side to side, then ripped the material down the middle with the use of his teeth. “We’re two halves of a whole, you and I, Sage. I know there are things we need to work on. Me, mostly. I need work. But I know your heart, sweetest girl. You wouldn’t have given yourself over to me like that if you didn’t believe. In me. In us.” He tucked one half of the handkerchief into her panties, then dragged them up her leg, gently arranging them back in place. “So no more trading places for secrets. Anything you want to know about me, you ask and I’ll tell you. I’ll tear myself down the middle and let you see it all.”

Sage dug her fingernails into the meat of Belmont’s shoulders, loving his satisfied grunt. “You’re so hot,” she murmured against his mouth. “You’re so huge and hot and you don’t even realize it. Some mornings, when you follow me to get coffee and you’ve got the car keys in your hand…you look like the master of the world. And I’ve wanted you to…”
“What?” he prompted hoarsely. “Tell me.”
She pressed herself down, taking another two inches of his erection, stopping just at the point of pain, his strangled groan splitting the air. “I’ve wanted you…to want to…fuck me.”

“Just a little?” she whispered, barely aware of what she was going to ask, until the question was out. “Just a little. I want to remember you taking it.” My virginity. “I want to remember exactly how it felt when—”
“When I push all the way in, Sage?” His hand turned to a fist on her backside, the opposite one making the pew groan within its grip. “I’m only halfway in right now and you’re already trying to close your thighs on me.” His gaze danced over every bit of her face. “Do you really know what you’re asking for?”
“Yes.” Her fingertips skated up his chest and neck, tangling in his hair. “Belmont, please.”

“Oh. Oh, there. Right there.” Her back arched all on its own. “The way you’re sliding on me.”
His sudden focus zapped like an electrical surge, his scrutiny fell over her like a blanket. “I’m not moving. I’ll stay right here.”
“Please.”
“You don’t have to say please to me, sweetest girl.” Belmont’s hair was draping down on either side of his face again, so she could only see the way he bore down on that bottom lip with white teeth, only catch the occasional glimpses of hot blue eyes, but her hands were too busy clinging to his thrusting bottom to tuck the strands behind his ears. “You have no idea, Sage. No idea what it’s doing to me…knowing I can make you feel good this way. Look at you. Do you want me to fuck you harder now?”
“Y-yes. Keep going.”

“Belmont.” Her beautiful eyes held him captive, her thighs gliding up and down his hips in a seductive tempo. “Give me sons. Give me daughters. That’s how it was always supposed to be. From the very first minute.”
Belmont could barely stand the beauty those words unleashed inside him. It was an exhilarating rush through an endless field, Sage at his side. And there wasn’t a single barrier in their way. “I love you so much,” he managed, his hips beginning to flex…and then pump. “Marry me, have our children, never want for anything. Say yes to me, Sage.”
“Yes, yes, yes.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Too Hard to Forget by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-booktoohardtoforget.jpg
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Romancing the Clarksons, #3
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Elliot Brooks
Heroine: Peggy Clarkson
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 25, 2017
Started On: June 03, 2018
Finished On: June 08, 2018

Too Hard to Forget, the third book in the Romancing the Clarksons series by the impressively talented Tessa Bailey was a delightful read in so many ways. Too Hard to Forget tells the story of the youngest Clarkson Peggy, and how she makes use of the opportunity of the road trip the Clarkson siblings take to make a pit stop which she believes in all probability would allow her finally move on and forget the one man who has ruined her for all others.

Peggy, like her mother Miriam writes at the beginning of the novel, is a character with a million facets to her that you can never truly understand even if you spend a lifetime trying to. Its not that she is difficult as a person, no, the farthest thing from that. Peggy is made of a breed that allows you to see the wonderful bits to her as you watch, wait, and learn from her life.

Peggy might seem like the air-headed and most naive of the bunch, but Peggy’s heart is one that is pure gold. When you think you have finally figured her out, she manages to surprise you yet again.

Peggy turns up at her old university to face her demons head on, believing that she would be able to exorcise the man known as Elliot Brooks from her heart, body, and soul once and for all, and leave him wanting more while at it.

Elliot Brooks, head coach of the Bearcats, and known as the Ki,ngmaker is a man who is devoutly Catholic, continually paying penance for the part of his life that fills him with regret and loathing. Elliot is a man who was raised in a Catholic household as an only child, and has no particularly happy family memories to show him that life could be more than repenting for sins perceived and otherwise.

Elliot’s focus has always been on winning and baseball, and his life had held no room for a wife with whom he had had no particular affection, except for the child that had been born of their perfectly serviceable marriage. It is the death of Elliot’s wife that hits him the hardest, the guilt for all that he had not done, all that he had failed to do, and above all, his fiery attraction to a woman most unsuited for him, that makes him break all the rules.

Even as Elliot gives in, he keeps pieces and chunks of himself from Peggy, until at long last, he drives her out of his life, seemingly forever. Three years later, Peggy is back, more beautiful than ever, and to Elliot, she still represents everything that is sinful, every reason why the Church itself exists as an establishment for sinners to pay their penance and to remind themselves of what is more important in life. It is however a fight that Elliot loses every single time Peggy is within arms distance, a fight he loses to his innermost self which wars against his desire to completely possess Peggy one minute and walk away the next. All because he does not believe that he deserves the kind of light that Peggy has always shed in his life.

Too Hard to Forget is a novel that amazed me at every turn and made me sigh and swoon in equal doses. There is not a single aspect of the story that I would change, and it was undoubtedly precious from start to finish. Peggy’s character wasn’t one that I had warmed up to in the previous books all that much until her own story began in this installment. And once it did, I couldn’t get enough of her. That in its entirety is a rarity because it is usually the hero or the hero and heroine together that I can’t get enough of in most novels. But in this instance, once I fell in love with Peggy’s character, I did so for life, just like Elliot did and was fool enough not to recognize and accept it for what it was.

Peggy’s heart like I mentioned, is one that doesn’t allow her to usually see the bad in people. Perhaps that is where most would call her naive. But then again, the world needs more human beings like Peggy, who would be willing to go out on a limb for those that majority would usually not bother with. Perhaps that is in a way one reason why Peggy follows Elliot into the locker room and the rest, as they say is history.

While Peggy does believe she would find a way to move on from Elliot, it doesn’t really work out the way she had planned or thought it would. In the end, Peggy faces some hard truths about her own self and her need for Elliot’s brand of “love”, making her realize that she is worthy of more than the destructive kind of passion and love that exists between them. But of course, Elliot is not ready to give up without a fight, the fight for the love of his life, a woman he has wronged in so many ways as he has wronged himself by denying the happiness that could have rightfully being his, if only he had had the courage to move past his fears and preconceived notions of what life should be about.

Tessa Bailey’s mark is stamped all over the book, in spades. Dirty talk good enough to drench all your panties, sex scenes hot enough to singe and make you want and want more, and a hero who has control stamped all over his DNA, and loses it so spectacularly for the woman who owns his heart.

I would recommend this for everyone and anyone who loves an obstinate hero and a heroine who you would root for with every fiber of your existence. Yes, it is that kind of book.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Emotionally nuanced to perfection, Too Hard to Forget is wonderfully smutty, edgy, and made ALL of me clamor for more. This just might be in the run for my favorite Tessa Bailey yet; and that is saying a lot!

Favorite Quotes

“Shut your mouth.” His forehead ground against hers. “Shut your beautiful, ripe, little mouth.”
Desire thickening in her blood like oil, Peggy removed one of the hands he’d fisted on the locker, lowering it to the space between her legs. His nostrils flared, hot exhales bathing her face, eyelids slamming to a close. But she didn’t let his massive presence intimidate her. One by one, she smoothed open his curled fingers, then cupped Elliott’s hand at the juncture of her thighs, encouraging him with a roll of her hips to mold the flesh beneath the built-in panties of her cheerleading skirt.
“It’s okay to need this.”
“No.” His denial was a near-roar. “It’s not.”

With a jagged breath, Elliott grabbed up Peggy’s other leg, drawing it high around his waist as she guided his arousal toward her core. He entered her with a biting slam against the locker door, releasing the vilest of epithets into her ear. “Jesus Christ. This is what sin feels like,” he rasped. “Wrong and right, at the same time. Life and death. Blond, long-legged, and tight.”

The head of his rigid cock pressed against his belt buckle, straining painfully inside his pants. “That’s not how it works,” he rasped. “Prayer isn’t an excuse to sin.”
Peggy’s knee moved up and down the side of his thigh, and just knowing her legs were apart, her pussy out in the open, blasted another hole in his resolve. “No one will know. Touch them. Be as rough as you want,” she breathed. “I remember what you like. How you like to get mad at my body. Frustrated at it for making you want something natural.”
“Nothing natural about what we did.” His touch moved down, stopping a mere inch from her breast, fingers flexing. “You made me behave like a beast. Some of the ways I took you…some of the places…”
She groaned and it broke him. Knowing the memories had caused such a harsh sound of longing brought his clutching hand to her breast, where it kneaded the taut mound once before racing under her shirt. Lust railroaded him, and he was out of his mind with need to feel her bare skin. “Yes, Elliott. More.”

With a possessive snarl, Elliott pressed her to the wall with the use of his mouth, increasing the power of his suck until she cried out, twisting his hair with frantic fingers. She tugged him away with a cracked sob and then her lips were so close. So damn close. The most tempting of fruit. And he descended on their parted perfection like the Apocalypse was upon them.
“How do you do this to me?” he groaned against her mouth. “I can’t even get my dick hard unless I think of you. I bet you love knowing that.” The ensuing kiss was brutal, his tongue driving deep and claiming. “Bet you love knowing that sliver of stomach you showed me today in the car made it necessary to jerk off in my office with the door locked.”

She held her breath and waited once inside. Only a couple seconds passed until he blew through her doorway—sexual and intimidating—kicking the door shut, lifting her off the ground to attack her mouth. Peggy moaned into the kiss, her thoughts going fuzzy when Elliott’s tongue slipped past her lips, his free hand stroking down the side of her face, smoothing her hair in an affectionate gesture that made the last three lonely days worth every second. God. God. His huge presence combined with the passion of the kiss to rock the atmosphere. Thunder boomed outside, but she swore it was happening in her chest, between her legs. The smell of him and rain and…chocolate…was amazing.
“Shit,” Elliott rasped, pulling back. Rubbing a thumb against her lower lip, he dropped a kiss on her forehead, then reached into his jacket to remove a small, crushed bakery box. “This didn’t go according to plan,” he grumbled. “Nothing with you does.”
“What’s in there?”
“A cupcake. For your birthday.” He cleared his throat. “Happy birthday.”

Holy shit. Peggy shoved at Elliott’s shoulders, putting his back up against the bench, his expression rife with lust and anticipation as she applied the latex, sucking in a breath when she felt him pulsing against her fingertips. Using the bench’s wooden back for balance in her left hand, she moved higher on his lap, guiding his erection home with her right. “Oh God, oh God,” both of them groaned in a seemingly endless loop, as she sank down—
With only half his erection inside her, Peggy started to shake, the orgasm she’d spent so long chasing, busting through the dam of her middle and drowning her, dragging her under the churning relief. She felt Elliott’s hands in her hair, his powerful grip steadying her, mouth blocking her scream with a kiss. The kind of kiss you gave someone you might die without. Fast, slow, heads turning, bodies twisting. A full body kiss. “More. Elliott. More.

Peggy contracted her most intimate muscles around Elliott’s girth, listened as rusted epithets married in his throat, felt his fingers dig into the flesh of her backside. “These inches of yours,” she breathed up against his ear, licking the lobe, catching it between her teeth. “They’re the only ones that know the right spot to hit…the only ones that can make me scream. Or feel a damn thing. Please.”
Her back landed on the bench, the wood’s coldness reaching through the back of her jacket to wrap around her spine. But the rest of her…oh God, the rest was so fucking hot, she knew the word fever would forever hold new meaning. Elliott descended on her with the power of a pack of wolves, caged inside one man.
“Get your knees up. Get them up,” he snarled. Without waiting for her to comply with his command, he reached back and pulled her knees even with her hips, just out to the side. And that first drive with Elliott’s full weight on top of her was so glorious, it might have topped the orgasms he’d already given her. The positivity that she was being dominated, that she was prey and couldn’t escape his pinning heaviness, the thick evidence that he was man…it caused starburst to erupt behind her eyes, in her belly, all along her nerve endings.

As if sensing her resolve, Elliott set out to crush it, his mouth stamping down on her possessively, his tongue sweeping into her mouth and letting her taste his frustration. “Touch me,” he urged against her lips. “Skin on skin.”
She shook her head, trying to distract him with more kissing, but he pulled away, those eyes drilling into her, his lower body grinding in rhythmic devastation, sending her so close to the point of no return, she lost her ability to think straight.
“Damn you, Peggy,” Elliott growled, pressing his face into her shoulder. “I need your hands and eyes. I missed them most of all.” Their hearts slammed into each other between them, in perfect time with his rolling hips. But only hers was fracturing, splitting right down the middle, little pieces falling away as he continued. “No one ever touched me like you did. I’ve needed it, baby. I’ve been dead without it. Dead inside. Please.”

You’re making my chest hurt.”
She dropped the fork onto the plate with a clatter. “What?”
Elliott’s gaze cut away, clearly having surprised himself. “The way you’re sitting there…the sun making your skin glow.” He sat up straighter in an abrupt movement that dipped that mattress. “Looking at you makes me want to forget everything else and never stop. Every time I’m with you, I come closer to giving in. Setting aside my responsibilities so I can spend more time looking and listening to each and every damn word out of your mouth. Every time.”
Heart running circles around her rib cage, Peggy set the plate of food aside and threw herself at Elliott, laying across him horizontally, her lower half still twisted in the sheet. “You don’t have to set anything aside, you can just shift them a little.” She smiled into his chest hair. “I’m short. I’ll fit.”

Peggy turned, giving the coach her back, watching him over her shoulder, raising both arms in the air and clapping her hands together. Once. “We are the Bearcats and we want to win.” With a hip roll, she turned, sliding into the V of his thighs, smiling as he sucked in a winded breath. “We did it once before and we can do it again,” she continued, holding his knees for balance as she dipped down low and rose slowly, slowly, bumping her hips sharply to one side, and then the other, until Elliott finally gave in, reaching into his sweatpants, his hand moving in vigorous strokes. “Please don’t make us mad. ’Cause we’ll get nasty and mean,” she whispered against his mouth, before licking at the parted seam. “And we just might decide to roll over your team.”

Her back landed on the kitchen table a split second later, Elliott grunting above her as he shoved down his sweatpants, ripped off her underwear, and rammed home with a shout. “Christ. Christ, what you do to me. It’s the devil’s work.” He mounted her body, dropping his face into the crook of her neck. “When a man loses control of one part of his life, all others follow. All others.”
“And I’m the catalyst?” Peggy whispered, her voice shaking. “Guess you better punish me for it.”
When his hips gave that first rude pump, she felt it up in her throat, choking her and setting her free, all at once.

Elliott wasn’t having it. He slipped his left hand up and down her thigh, moving a little higher with each stroke. “Did you have to change your panties when you came upstairs, baby?” He tucked his thumb just beneath the material of her underwear, dragging it in an arc, stopping just a few inches from her pussy. “When you put on the new ones, I bet you gave your clit a little rub. Just once around with your middle finger. Maybe twice. But you stopped because you felt bad about fingering yourself in someone else’s house, sun out and everything. Did I get that right?”
“Yes,” she breathed, tilting her head to the side, giving Elliott an opening to scrape his teeth up the side of her neck. “How did you know that?”
“I know, because even though you were damp and horny in someone else’s kitchen, you’re a good girl deep down.” He sensed her withdraw at that, just a touch. But he wasn’t finished. “And I know because when your pussy gets wet, that real, aching, slick type of wet, you want to hold out for my cock. Don’t you?

“Yes,” she wailed as Elliott did just that. Tended to her like they had only one minute until the Apocalypse. His stiff tongue raked over her clit, lapping at it, while his middle finger slipped through moisture into her entrance. “Yes
“You don’t need to tell me yes when you’re this wet,” he groaned, stabbing his tongue as far inside her as it could go and drawing it out slowly, until his stubble met her sensitized flesh and scraped, before repeating the move several quick, mind-spinning times, all while his thumb strummed over her clit. “Keyed up in my passenger seat, wiggling around like I was already tongue deep in this soaked pussy of yours. Were you remembering how much I love licking it?”
Elliott pushed two fingers inside Peggy and her hips jerked off the bureau, her bare ass slapping back down into the surface as she cried out, “Oh God. Yes, I remember.”

“My favorite part was afterward. After you’d come enough to be fucking delirious…” A prolonged suck of her swollen nub that had her legs shaking, one knee bashing off the wall. “Then I’d slide you toward me or flip you over, whatever you were begging for, and your cunt would be so shiny for me. Ready for a pounding from my cock. Gorgeous.”
“Ohhh.” Her fingers plowed into his hair and gripped tight. “Do that again. Don’t stop. I need to. I need to—” Her pleas ended with a scream when Elliott pushed his fingers deep, jiggling them rapidly, while his mouth applied the sweetest amount of suction to her clit and sensation exploded below her waist. “Elliott. Jesus Christ.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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ARC Review: Too Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-booktoowildtotame
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Romancing the Clarksons, #2
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Aaron Clarkson
Heroine: Grace Pendleton
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 06, 2016
Started On: August 31, 2016
Finished On: September 09, 2016

The second installment of Romancing the Clarksons by Tessa Bailey brings us the story of Aaron Clarkson, the driven and ambitious in the family, the one who wants to make a name for himself within the elite political circles. Aaron has to work doubly hard because of the bungling up he had done in the recent past, and this time around nothing was going to stand in his way. Not even the unexpectedly fierce desire he feels for Grace Pendleton, more complication than he currently has the time for.

Grace is a woman who has lived under the shadow of her father’s political career basically her entire life. Hiding in the shadows is what is required of her, and she does a good job of it, that is until Aaron draws her out of the shadows and makes her come alive for the first time in a long while. The scars she carries in her soul runs deep, however, that does not stop her from seeing Aaron for who he can be.

Aaron is a deeply conflicted character as well. There is of course the family dynamics and his complex relationship with his brother Belmont (whose story I am waiting ever so impatiently to read, which I believe is the case for most readers of this series), and there is the ambition that has brought Aaron to this point, something that he simply cannot turn away from. But Grace tests his resolve more than anyone he has ever met, and it was wonderful seeing both of them come together so explosively and tenderly when all was said and done.

I did not really expect to enjoy Aaron’s story as much as I did. In fact, I was pouting with the knowledge that most likely, fans of the series would have to wait for Belmont’s story for a long while. Aaron was in my opinion a paltry substitute for what I wanted. But I was so very wrong as Aaron proved to be a mighty fine hero on his own, giving me something to think about a time or two and of course I loved the way everything turned out in the end. Grace’s backstory was one that was painful to read, something that made me wonder how if ever, would you heal from something of that sort.

Recommended for fans of the series and those who love steamy contemporary romances. I loved the sex scenes in Too Wild to Tame. So wonderfully well done.

Final Verdict: Wonderful storytelling from start to finish. Loved Grace and Aaron!

Favorite Quotes

With a thready apology, Grace shot forward and up, locking her mouth with Aaron’s, memorizing the way his stiffness melted in one big deluge. The way he gave a rough exhale through his nose. That gruff sound that drummed from his throat, a split second before his lips opened, tongue teasing in to taste hers. Just some. The most perfect, slick greeting. The two of them hung there, mouths open, lips wet and fitted together, breath racing, kitchen clamoring behind them.

“I wanted to hold your hand in the woods, too. But this is better. Better. I’m going to…”
“Christ. Do it. Go on, Grace. Fill up my palm with the best you’ve got.” Aaron ducked his head to suck a trail up the side of Grace’s neck, unable to resist a bite beneath her earlobe. Another one. “Girls who get so wet from kissing shouldn’t leave the house without underwear, should they? No. And they definitely shouldn’t leave the house with someone like me. I don’t hold hands. I shouldn’t be allowed within ten feet of you.” He spoke the words angrily into her neck. “This is what I do. I return you home with a dirty secret.”

Aaron’s tether broke. Recapturing Grace’s mouth with an obscene amount of tongue, he backed them toward the bed, satisfaction rippling in his middle when she went down beneath him, her legs falling open in welcome. He draped his body over Grace’s slighter one, eager grunts leaving his mouth as he positioned himself over her pussy and bore down with his erection. Their groans were pain-filled, reaching every corner of the cabin, breaking off when Aaron got back to kissing that addictive mouth, yanking the oversized sweater up, up to her belly, so he could rock against her sex with only his pants and her tights as obstructions.
“Aaron.”
“You were warned,” he reminded her with a strangled shout, delivered into the space above her head. “Three times, Grace. That’s three times more than I’d give anyone else.”

Aaron reached up, fisting the back of Grace’s hair and guiding her down to his mouth, the ensuing kiss voracious, her grinding glides up and down his cock turning into something else. The head of his cock squeezed, followed by his full, aching length…and then he rammed into the back of her pussy. “No…” Aaron growled through the inescapable euphoria of being joined with Grace, nothing between them, but somehow responsibility found a way to grip him around the neck, his words forceful but slurred. “Need a condom. Can’t have y’like this.”
Didn’t matter that he was clean. This…Jesus, this was one privilege no amount of atoning for his past, present, and future could earn. No matter how fucking terrible it would feel to pull out of warm, safe…home. The home he could never live in, but would dream about for the rest of his pathetic life.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | eBookMall

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ARC Review: Too Hot to Handle by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-booktoohottohandle
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Romancing the Clarksons, #1
Publisher: Forever
Hero: Jasper Ellis
Heroine: Rita Clarkson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: May 17, 2016
Started On: May 06, 2016
Finished On: May 08, 2016

28 year old Rita Clarkson manages to get her siblings Aaron, Belmont and Peggy to agree to go on a road trip on the quest to fulfill the dying wish of their recently deceased mother Miriam, who had been a well renowned chef, a legacy that Rita had managed to burn down to the ground.

Though the siblings had never been close, everyone agrees to go along and that is how they end up with their car broken down in the town of Hurley in New Mexico. To their rescue rides the most handsome man that Rita might have ever laid her eyes on, 33 year old Jasper Ellis, who from the very beginning makes her heart go pitter-patter.

Labeled as the town tramp, Jasper has good reason to not want to go physical the minute he lays eyes on Rita. While Jasper has no qualms about letting Rita know that he is attracted to her and wants to know her in every possible way there is, Rita is the type of woman who does not believe in happily ever afters and does not think much of the concept of dating.

However, Rita is forced to revise her initial assumptions and beliefs when it comes to dating and Jasper, as she finds out what lies beneath the gorgeous surface; a heart and soul seeking redemption and acceptance as he is, not just as the town’s good time guy but as someone worth much more.

The romance between Jasper and Rita takes place amidst the developing stories of the siblings. Belmont who has the whole silent, stoic thing going for him while Aaron is the one with the political ambitions and Peggy the youngest who at first comes off as the airheaded variety of character but as you read along you realize that she is one of the most astute characters in the story.

Rita has her own past from which she is trying to flee, but the walls seem to close in on her the more she tries to do so. In Jasper she finds a man who is willing to help her through it all, even when she does not realize that she needs the help that Jasper is willing to offer.

Jasper’s reluctance to take things up a notch in the physical aspect when it comes to Rita is something he does consciously, exerting effort to do so. Not because he wants to play hard to get or because he is not attracted to Rita. It is in fact because of his vivid attraction to Rita on all levels that he wants the opportunity to take it slow, for it to be different, and I for one liked it.

I loved the emotional wallop this book carried with it. Unlike most of Tessa’s recent novels I’ve read, this one is not just about dirty talking heroes pinning their heroines on every flat surface they can find. Of course there is that too! But there is so much more than just hot sex in this story. In one sense, I’m glad that Jasper kept backing off from the heat because if otherwise the story would’ve lacked the substance it managed to deliver. 

The cast of characters that Tessa has crafted for this series is one I can’t get enough of. Belmont of course has already become my favorite while Penny’s story is one that I’m hankering to read, even now. While Belmont already comes off as the deep one, the connection that he shares with Sage is one that would intrigue any reader. Penny has become as fascinating in one way because beneath the surfaces of all that gaiety lies a heart that bleeds, and I for one am dying to know why. 

I liked how Tessa was patient enough to let Jasper and especially Rita work their way towards one another. Both deeply flawed in ways that makes each of them unable to trust their own selves to do right by their lives. Jasper with good reason of course, but failing to see how far along he has come until Rita manages to show it to him. For Rita, the hurt had been more raw and recent, which had needed someone patient and with foresight like Jasper to heal her gaping wounds. 

A road trip to fulfill a mother’s dying wish that turned the world into the Clarksons’ oyster. This series has so much potential that I for one cannot wait for more!

Final Verdict: Beautifully plotted, all the way. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

He’d be a rougher ride than a bull.
He might as well have whispered that promise out loud because it surrounded him like an aura. Men like Jasper were supposed to be reserved for naughty Internet memes, but here he was. Her own private, moving GIF, only he didn’t loop back to the beginning after three seconds. No, he just kept coming, like he might never stop kissing her once he started. Like he might do a shit ton more than just kiss with that mouth.

“Jasper, I shouldn’t have—”
“That is why you came, isn’t it?” Talking dirty to a woman was just like riding a bike. Jasper rubbed a hand over his stubbled jaw and gave Rita a deliberate, head-to-toe once-over, watching her thighs flex under his notice. His cock gloried in the sight, hardening in his briefs. Right, beautiful. I’ll fit myself between them with enough force to show you who’s taking the lead. “You’re an up-against-the-wall kind of girl, aren’t you?”
“All girls are up-against-the-wall girls,” she whispered

It took her fingers stroking down his forearm to cover the hand cradling her pussy for him to regain awareness of the intimate touch. Oh, and he remembered with a goddamn vengeance. She put pressure on his hand, moaning into his mouth with the universal language for More, keep going. With their tongues tangling together, lips slanting for frantic tastes, he had no choice. He yanked down her panties and slid his middle finger between her wet folds—so wet he tore his mouth away so he could curse.
“God. I would mouth-fuck this little sweetheart for days.”

“Do it,” she moaned, propping her bent legs higher on his hips, using them as leverage to lift off the swing. “I need you. Hard like before.”
“Hard like before, yes. But this time you’ll look me in the eye while I’m ringing your bell. You understand me?” Jasper pressed her back down into the swing, bearing down with his lower body, grinding her into the wood until she whimpered. “And at some point tonight, I’m going to make love to you. The kind of sex that takes an hour of slow rocking and pumping. The kind where we wrap our fingers together, then twine them around the headboard. And I whisper things in your ear I can’t say in the light. Promise me.”

“God, Rita. I can feel that little lace edge of your thong rubbing up and down my cock.” He gave her a full minute of nonstop bucking, stopping only when her pussy locked up, a telltale sign she was near the edge. She wailed and dug her nails into his shoulders when he paused, but she settled when he started a slow bump and grind. “Yeah, beautiful. Fucking is that much sweeter when you’ve driven a man to the point where he wants to jack off in his own kitchen, isn’t it?” He dropped his forehead onto her shoulder and groaned. “I’m not finishing you down here. You’re going to leave your scent in my bed, you understand me?”
“Yes,” she moaned, curling around Jasper as he advanced toward the stairs, still impaled on his dick.

“Jasper,” she whispered, sounding out of breath. “I don’t—”
“Please, just don’t act surprised. I won’t be able to stand it.” His mouth fell to hers, kissing, kissing, like a man mouthing a furious prayer. “You can’t be surprised when the last few days have given me life. Act upset or happy or storm out. But I can’t handle surprised, like maybe you didn’t even consider me for a second.”
“I’ve considered you,” she sobbed. “Of course I have. Just stop talking like that for a second, stop stealing my breath when I’m trying to catch it.”
“No.” He pressed their foreheads together. “I don’t want you to catch it. I want it to stay lost and I want to be the man who steals it. All day, every day. Forever. Stay with me right here.”

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Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Format: E-bookMakeMe
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: New Adult Romance
Series: Broke and Beautiful, #3
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Hero: Russell Hart
Heroine: Abby Sullivan
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: August 11, 2015
Started On: October 18, 2015
Finished On: October 21, 2015

Anyone who loves Tessa Bailey’s books knows what one can do for you. How it can mess you up in ways you never thought possible. Which is why I started reading the Broke and Beautiful series even though I am not much of a fan of the New Adult genre; though if Tessa writes them, I am definitely reading them. Though I missed out on the first book in the series (perhaps I will get around to reading it one of these days – a girl can always hope), I became an avid fan of the series from the moment Ben (the hero from the second book in the series), walked into MY life. Yes, my life. Note the possessive edge!

One cannot read either of the books in the Broke and Beautiful series without being invested in all of the characters. Thus, my heart was clamoring for the story of Russell, oh the big bad Russell, from the moment I laid my eyes on him. The man is a walking talking temptation unto womenkind if ever there was one. Well, of course after MY Ben of course! Abby and Russell’s friendship is one reason why Russell keeps his hands off of his precious Abby. Another being his past – a past that has screwed him up enough to believe that he would never measure up to someone like Abby.

Abby’s past wasn’t a walk in the park on a breezy Sunday morning either. A genius at numbers, something she inherited from her father, Abby’s life defines the word loneliness, until she finds a friendship of the kind she never thought possible with Honey and Roxy, and of course the three gorgeous men that relationship had brought into her life, one of them being Russell, the friend that she can always count on. Abby’s perspective of Russell as the friend she never had takes a dive when a set of events makes her take notice of the man he is – the man who sets her senses reeling, panties wet, and sets an ache tumbling through her that cannot be denied.

Russell is a man who can take torture, and I mean torture of the kind a lesser man would crumble from. But his heart doesn’t allow him to take that step, until of course there is no way that he CANNOT give into the passion between him and Abby. And then comes the heartache. Sigh! While I wanted to give Russell a bit of a good shaking until the chips in his head aligned just right so that he could see what preciousness that he was throwing away by playing noble, I wasn’t too happy with Abby for not realizing that for a man like Russell, the friend who would lay down his life for her – there must have been something that would cause him to behave as such.

But worry not ladies. If anything, Tessa Bailey knows how to write a mean ending and of course makes you pant your way to the finish line! And I mean literally pant your way through it because with all that heat? You won’t have a choice!

Recommended for fans of the series and fans of Tessa Bailey. Though not my favorite, Make Me still delivered a good read!

Final Verdict: Hot dayum!!

Favorite Quotes

Abby didn’t realize she’d closed her eyes until Russell’s heavy tread forced them open, and she saw him standing in her doorway.
Shirtless. Damp. Jeans sitting low on his hips.
A red-hot fist formed beneath her belly button. For Russell? She tried to shoot into a sitting position so fast, the back of her head bashed against the headboard, which really didn’t help her confusion. Not a bit. She wasn’t supposed to notice Russell in that way, right? But when a water droplet rolled down the center of his abdomen and vanished into the waistband of his jeans, she noticed. And she noticed good.

When the orgasm crested over her, Abby’s heels dug into the mattress to push herself back into the welcoming strength of his body, bearing down on his pleasure-giving hand at the same time. And God, even with the wicked climax turning her inside out, she wanted to feel his erection against her backside. Wanted to tempt him to do something about relieving the hunger she sensed in him. Already, his movements were growing uneven, staggered, his breathing ragged at the back of her neck.
“Yes,” he grated. “That’s how I make you come. Hard as fuck when you’re in my bed. That’s the way I do it.”

Long seconds of Abby’s studying his face had passed, as if she could discern what was taking place in his head when even he didn’t have a fucking clue. Those eyes were obscured a moment by her eyelashes, and Russell could feel that gaze move over his erect cock where it tented his jeans, then shoot back up. Hexpected surprise, maybe more confusion. Instead, he got relief and excitement. No. Not that. He couldn’t handle that.
Her sweet, ripe tits rose and fell on a shudder. “I’m sorry I used the situation to my advantage, Russell. It was wrong of m—”
He kissed Abby. Abby. He . . . kissed Abby.

“Abby, attraction is a weak-ass term for what’s going on here. It doesn’t begin to describe what I’d like to do to you.”
“Wh-which is?”
He placed his mouth against her ear, the truth coming out on a rush of breath. “I’d like to bang your little virgin brains out.”

“Come on, I’ll walk you to the train.”
Sti cazza. In another, more appropriate term, screw this. With a silent prayer for courage, Abby found the hem of her sundress and peeled the garment over her head, letting it fall to the floor. “I’m not ready to leave yet.”
[…]
Doubts fell from her consciousness like a cup of overturned paper clips when Russell stalked forward, prowling across the room and shifting the air around her. This impulsive disrobing had started as an act of rebellion, but now a furnace blast hit her head to toe. The raindrops pelted the window in time with her jumping pulse. The fierceness in his eyes told her to expect being pinned against the wall again, but it never happened. Instead, he fell to his knees in front of her, gripped her bottom . . .
And buried his face between her thighs.

Abby buried her fingernails into his ass, her thighs beginning to tremble around him. “I’m going to . . . oh my God, don’t stop. I’m . . .”
Russell dropped his head forward and closed his eyes, putting all his focus into staying right where the fuck he was, not deviating from what was pushing her toward a climax. Just a little longer. Just a little—
“Russell.”
Holy shit. His eyes flew open in time to witness Abby’s tits shaking between them, her teeth buried into her bottom lip as she arched on the chair. Her heels had a firm hold at the small of his back as she rode it out, her pussy squeezing him in tiny spasms that he would crave like air for the rest of his time on earth.

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