Review & Excerpt: Too Hot to Handle (Romancing the Clarksons #1) by Tessa Bailey

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 From New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey comes the first novel in her hot, new Romancing the Clarksons Series.

When Rita Clarkson’s Suburban takes its last breath on a New Mexico roadside, rescue roars up on a Harley in the form of smooth-talking honkey tonk owner, Jasper Ellis, a man as mysterious as he is charming. Rita’s cross-country journey to New York City–with her three estranged siblings in tow–is only beginning, but now that Jasper has found Rita, his plans do not include her leaving.


When rescue looks like a whole lot of trouble . . .

The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn’t seen in years. When rescue shows up—six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle—Rita’s pretty certain she’s gone from the frying pan right into the fire . . .

Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he’s about to be sorely tempted. There’s something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn’t just for tonight—he’s forever.

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He dipped down until they were nose to nose, saw the rush of thought going on behind her eyes. It was pretty damn breathtaking up close. “Mind cluing me in as to what’s going on in there?”

“If—if—we need to stay overnight—”

“You will.”

“—then I might see you at the bar.” She wedged a hand between them and separated their bodies. “I’d rather see someone’s worst than their best. Saves time.”

Jasper heard the tow truck pulling into the garage parking lot and cursed. Not even remotely confident that his first attempt at polite conversation with an available woman had been successful, Jasper walked her backward until they were hidden behind a rusted pay phone. She’d broken away from his touch, so he was careful to respect that. He dropped his mouth to an inch above hers and said, low, “I didn’t get near enough time with you, Rita. If you don’t show up tonight, don’t be surprised if I come looking.” He laid his palms against the warm building, above her head, watched her gaze dip to his stomach. His lap. “And if I have to come looking, I’ll be twice as determined to get that kiss.”

Her head came up. “W-what kiss?”

Jasper lowered his mouth until their lips brushed. He listened to her breath accelerate, watched her wet her lips. “The one I want to give you right now.” He allowed himself to linger another few seconds, then, with the effort of ten oxen, Jasper stepped back. “Tonight, beautiful.”

On his way to his bike, Jasper tipped his hat at Rita’s gaping siblings.

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*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Rita, and her siblings aren’t the most conventional family. The four of them couldn’t be more opposites, though that doesn’t mean they don’t care about each other. After their mother died, and Rita accidentally burned down their legacy, they decide to fulfill their mother’s last wish a.k.a. road trip to New York for some skinny dipping (don’t ask).

But what is a road trip without a few bumps along the way. Stranded what feels like the middle of nowhere, rescue comes in the form of reformed bad boy Jasper Ellis. The connection is instant, but Rita isn’t here to stay, and siblings kind of cramp your style.

Jasper was not expecting Rita, and he’s not ready to let her go that easily. With a bit of help from the locals, Jasper is set out to convince Rita to give him a real chance. I do have to admit that he has a certain charm about him, that makes him pretty irresistible. Not to mention the mouth on this guy, so hot.

While maybe not the most original story line, and plot, I did enjoy the characters a lot. Mostly the dynamic between the siblings I found the most interesting, so I’m very looking forward to each getting their own story. As for Rita, and Jasper, you really do have to ask yourself if you can handle all that hotness?

3 stars



Tessa Bailey - headshotAbout Tessa Bailey:

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving 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 of eight years and four-year-old 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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  • Becky Takach Wise

    Thank you for the chance.