Author: Tessa Bailey
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 25, 2017
This time, she’s calling the shots.
Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.
In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.
“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”
Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”
“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”
“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”
“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”
No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”
The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”
“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”
“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”
“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”
Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.
He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”
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I have now grabbed my cup of coffee and can finally bask in the pleasure that this book has given me. Even though I had my doubts in the beginning. The previous books of the series didn’t invoke this feeling of wariness in me with both the hero and the start off of the story. It was excitement on its own to be this cautious towards Elliott and what he presented for Peggy. But I guess it’s the mark of a good author when she can grab you and make you come back for more in the hopes of, well, that the story will finally end up where you wish it would.
Those who’re familiar with the series will know the general tone of these books and I’m sure they’re coming back for the rest exactly for that reason, but those who’ve never read this series should definitely give it a try. The books revolve around siblings of four who, after the death of their mother, take the road trip of their lives to grant their mother’s dying wish. They drop down the hole of love one by one along the way until I don’t know what’ll happen. But it’s a sweet, sexy and emotional ride for me too until then.
There’s a certain intensity to these stories that I only find in a number of my romance reads. An intensity that makes me feel like I’m intruding upon something very special and intimate, and that maybe, even as a reader of the book, I should not interrupt, instead quietly leave the couple be. All this, and a great amount of envy for the kind of deep, sexy, intense emotional involvement the hero and heroine have with each other. It is rare to read this kind of story, and when I come across it I want and tend to be soaked in it.
Elliott and Peggy, I like to think, were a bit different than the previous couples. Elliott sure surprised me. While I like it when heroes tend to be on the scary-until-the-right-woman-comes-along side, Elliott was a bit more challenging. His nature alone was the wall that stood between him and Peggy and the obstacle they had to overcome. His past mistake, and again his own nature, had defined the woman Peggy has become, but only because she allowed it. I liked the transformation they both had, and loved the strength and courage they found in both themselves and each other to take that final step to forever.
I’m adding four spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge. Now, about the final book, not to be a pressuring crazy lady, but I’m expecting thunderstorms and lightning. I’m expecting to be buried under piles and piles of emotion, to be overwhelmed by a story like I was never before. Why? Because the remaining couple have one of the most magically strange emotional connections I’ve ever read before. Yes, their book should be explosive in terms of romance and emotion and if there’s one person who can make that happen, it’s Tessa Bailey.
In accordance with the tone and the beginning of all the stories of the series, here are top 5 things on Tessa Bailey’s bucket list:
Is it weird that I haven’t put much thought into this? I should totally have a bucket list! I’m slacking. Okay, off the top of my head, here are the five things I would love to do before kicking the bucket.
- Perform on a stage. I’m not a talented singer, dancer or actor, so I have no earthly idea what I would do on said stage! But I think everyone has that fantasy where they sing their lungs out in front of a sold out audience. I better start taking lessons now!
- Take trapeze classes. There was a trapeze school on the West Side Highway in New York City. I used to drive by it every day and vow to join. I think it would be really freeing to jump off a platform and fly through the air, maybe even let go and trust someone to catch you. Someday!
- Vacation to Bali. I’d like to stay in one of those little huts at the end of a dock, completely surrounded by water. I’m saying this now, but I think doing it will actually freak me out. I like solid ground, lots of people and noise. But I’m going to try, dammit.
- Die my hair platinum blonde. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now, but I keep getting freaked out about the maintenance. My hairdresser, who knows I hate actual process of getting my hair done, doesn’t think it’s a good idea. I’ll show him!
- Take my daughter to the Eifel Tower. Before I was ever a mom, I told myself I would take my child traveling to see sights all over the world. She’s only five now, but when she gets older, it’s a plan!
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
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