And what do readers ask for? For Tessa Bailey to live up to the other three amazing novels (and one follow-up novella) in this incredible series, and – being Tessa Bailey – she delivers in spades!
While you certainly do not need to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this one, it does lend a certain depth of understanding since the other characters make appearances.
Former pool hustler Ruby and her detective boyfriend Troy from His Risk to Take, socialize with my favorite couple (and it’s a tough choice, let me tell you) Story and the oh-so-debauched explosives expert and reformed ladies man, Daniel (from Officer Off Limits). Readers of that book remember Story’s best friend and socialite Hayden Winstead, not just because she let Story borrow her youth size Mets jersey for a very scandalous picture, but because Hayden was so clearly unhappy with the pressures of her life. We also saw that Hayden had quite an antagonistic relationship with Daniel’s best friend and fellow explosives expert, Brent Mason, who regularly traded barbs with Hayden, needling her about her rich lifestyle.
At the start of Asking for Trouble, Hayden and Brent are suffering one another’s presence at their regular bar where they hang out with Story and Daniel as well as plenty of other cops (future heroes perhaps?). Hayden is irritated that Brent loves to focus on her money, only seeing her as a vapid socialite and Brent seems content to let Hayden believe he is just a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal full of nothing but bad jokes and sexual innuendo. When he pushes her a little too far with his usual sexual humor, she decides to call him on his bluff and tantalize him. Neither of them back down and before they know it, Brent is back at Hayden’s townhouse in a rather compromising position.
And so it begins. The two of them recognize an incredible chemistry exists between them and pray that a few full body hits will get it out of their system, but the best laid plans, etc. Brent goes to a snooty dinner to help piss off Hayden’s mother and ends up charming her father and all the guests (well, all but the one who wants Hayden). In one of the most tender scenes I’ve ever read, Brent rushes to help Hayden when she tells him the bus she’s on broke down on the highway, only to discover her in shorts and a t-shirt escorting a bunch of Hayden-adoring kids on a Fresh Air Fund outing. Brent doesn’t just help fix the bus, he walks Hayden through fixing it (boosting her with his legs so he can subtly ogle her butt, naturally) and makes her look like a hero to the kids she’s helping. I’m going to admit that I choked up.
Amidst all this growing understanding – Brent beginning to realize that there is a fiery, sexually insatiable, tender-hearted woman behind that cool exterior and Hayden waking up to the idea that behind Brent’s shield of humor lies a knight who works multiple jobs to help the family he adores – there is hot, Tessa Bailey sex, i.e., the best kind. Need a sample?
Bailey, Tessa (2013-11-25). Asking for Trouble (A Line of Duty Novel) (Entangled Brazen) (Kindle Locations 1560-1565). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.
“I have a few more bad words for you. Would you like to hear them?”
“Yes.” The whispered word broke free before she could suppress it. Brent rewarded her by slowly grinding his hips into her, growling against her neck as she panted.
He brushed her hair aside with one hand and scraped his teeth down the side of her neck. “You made this fucking sound, Hayden. The first time you spread your legs to take my cock. I hear it everywhere I go. This goddamn… moan? Sob? I don’t know. All I know is if I don’t fuck that sound out of you again soon, I’m going to completely lose my mind.”
Awesome, right? Thank God it’s 20 degrees outside so I can crack the window to cool off. As delightful was the realization to both Hayden and Brent that the biting sarcasm they’d traded all these months actually hid a very similar sense of humor – the playful, pun-laden kind – and they weren’t above using it when they were naked. I loved how Brent got his nickname of Florence (not telling, you’ll have to read the book) and certainly the ongoing Beaches movie references were hilarious. Case in point:
Bailey, Tessa (2013-11-25). Asking for Trouble (A Line of Duty Novel) (Entangled Brazen) (Kindle Locations 1920-1922). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.
“So… Beaches, huh?” Brent cleared his throat. “What is that, some kind of chick flick?” Of course, he’d seen Beaches. Bette Midler was a national treasure. He’d keep that to himself though, in the interest of her not questioning his masculinity.
In other words, Tessa Bailey’s Asking for Trouble has exactly what die-hard fans have come to expect. I don’t know why I’m still so overtaken by a faint sense of astonishment whenever I read her books. I know she’s going to give me hot sex, strong emotions and heroes and heroines I would spend the holidays with, yet I think deep down I worry she’s too good to be true, and I’m going to read a book that has me finally gesturing at some paragraph saying, “Ah, ha! You see, Tessa Bailey is clearly human! Look at how she mixed metaphors.” or some similar writing gaffe…but she never does. I’ll just have to live with her perfection and enjoy reading (and re-reading) her books. It’s hard to be me. 😉