Stacey is Sassy received a complimentary copy of this story. The copy provided was not the final version and may be subject to edits and changes
Published by Forever on May 17, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
The first book in a brand new contemporary romance series from New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey!
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.
Too Hot To Handle
By – Tessa Bailey
Finding the right path.
It’s Mother’s Day here in Australia and I managed to squeeze in a little reading in before hubby’s alarm went off to get the boys up to come in for the celebrations. For a romantic Mum like me, it was the perfect start to the day finishing off Too Hot To Handle. This little gem is WHY I am a romance reader. Some might complain that it was insta love and crazy for a couple to feel so deeply after three days of knowing each other. I say it was magic and sweet and I believe that gut instinct can set you on a path that can bring you to happiness. See, to me it’s a path and a pathway can go on and on and on. So the insta-love might be really insta-lust, but who’s to say that it can’t one day be love. Shouldn’t we all take a gamble if it feels right, doesn’t put you in danger and you have loved ones who will back you, care for you and save you if things go wrong. Too Hot To Handle is the start of a pathway for Rita and Jasper and geez it looks promising to be a yellow brick road to happiness.
Rita’s life has caught fire and is crumbling before her eyes. On national TV, the cooking show she was on sees her bow out of the competition when her perfect soufflé sags into ruin. What happens straight after is the start of her world falling to pieces. Rita returns home and goes straight back to work at Wayfare…until it burns down. Wayfare is a famous restaurant that was started by Rita’s Mum Miriam. Miriam had her own TV show back in the day and started the restaurant after the show finished. Rita was supposed to be Miriam’s protégé and when Miriam passed, Rita tried to live up to her mother’s expectations. Rita finds an old journal written by her mother. Inside are instructions for her kids to come together and travel to New York for New Year’s Day and jump into the icy water of the Atlantic. It’s a crazy idea to get all four of the Clarkson’s together and not have them kill each other. They don’t really hate each other, they just struggle to communicate. They decide to attempt it but within two days of the car trip, their vehicle breaks down…in the desert…in the middle of nowhere.
Jasper is on the way to Grandma’s house when he comes across 4 cranky bears. Not really. He was on the way to his Grandmother’s house for lunch when he sees a vehicle off to the side of the road and four people all standing around looking very unhappy. He doesn’t know why, but one of them makes his stomach flutter and his heart rate quicken. Once he determines they’re not lunatics escaped from the asylum, he takes the one who makes his heartbeat quicken back to town to get the mechanic. With a little sweet talking, he manages to find out her name is Rita and why she and her two brothers and one sister were there. The more he gets to know Rita, the more he likes her. Jasper knows they are only stopping through until the car gets fixed, but for some reason he thinks he needs a little more time with Rita…so he makes it happen.
Jasper has lived in Hurley all his life and has a reputation. Unfortunately, he’s grown out of that reputation, but the women of his town think he should go back to his old ways to service their needs. Even after two years of celibacy and limited drinking, the people in town still seems to have a very low opinion of him. When he meets Rita, he thinks she is his chance to have a life again and starts his campaign to woo her into staying.
Rita has a plan…sort of. She wants to get to New York and start again by going back to college and doing something besides cooking. With those plans in place, she couldn’t entertain the idea of staying in Hurley for a guy she has known for a couple of days. She is really attracted to Jasper and is shocked that he seems to want her too. Rita hasn’t had a lot of “experience” while Jasper has had plenty. The two of them together, brush against each other, set off sparks, repel, then get drawn back again and again. Once the magnetic connection fixes into place…IT IS HOT!!!
Oh my lordy, Tessa Bailey writes HOT!! I mean its past –reading in a room full of people and blushing – hot, it’s more like – excuse me while I step out of the room to deal with this scene – HOT. I’m blushing, my heart is pounding, and I’m IMAGINING THESE SCENES PLAYING OUT. There were at least two scenes that had me pushing my kindle to the side to take a deep breath, walk it off, jump into a cold shower AND have a stiff drink.
Too Hot To Handle was a very enjoyable read. The storyline was captivating, the heat between Rita and Jasper jumped off the pages and the family dynamics were believable. I recommend this to romance readers who don’t mind a little insta and enjoy a steamy read. Too Hot To Handle is not an epic read, but it is essential to this readers happiness. I got my fill of fairytale romance with love shot straight through the heart and a dirty talking hero who knows what his woman wants and delivers…boy does he deliver.