Tag Archives: Officer Off Limits

Tessa Bailey Gives Readers Exactly What They Asked For in Her Latest Line of Duty Novel, Asking for Trouble

25 Nov
Asking for Trouble (Line of Duty #4 - Hayden and Brent) by Tessa Bailey (Entangled Brazen, November 25, 2013)

Asking for Trouble (Line of Duty #4 – Hayden and Brent) by Tessa Bailey (Entangled Brazen, November 25, 2013)

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?

“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.”

Bailey, Tessa (2013-11-25). Asking for Trouble (A Line of Duty Novel) (Entangled Brazen) (Kindle Locations 1560-1565). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.
 

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:

“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.

Bailey, Tessa (2013-11-25). Asking for Trouble (A Line of Duty Novel) (Entangled Brazen) (Kindle Locations 1920-1922). Entangled Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.

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. 😉

Happy reading!

Sunday Reflections: Upcoming Books, Fun Stuff and Deals You Might Have Missed, Week of July 28th

28 Jul

Upcoming Books

The latest book in the steampunk series The Ether Chronicles by Zoe Archer and Nico Rosso is due out on August 6th and Skies of Gold is already getting great reviews from ARC readers. At only $1.99 for over 350 pages, steampunk readers need to be asking themselves why they haven’t pre-ordered this one already.

Jaci Burton, the author of the wonderful Play-by-Play series, now has the next book on her roster available for pre-order. Hope Flames will be the first book in her new Hope series, with a pairing between a damaged veterinarian and a K-9 cop. With a release date of September 3rd, I’ve already got this one both pre-ordered and in my calendar. Love the German Shepherd on the cover!

lethal pursuit copyKaylea Cross now has the third book in her wonderful Bagram Special Ops series available for pre-order and Lethal Pursuit looks to be another hot pairing from this military suspense maven. Coming out on September 16th, Cross is not only talented but affordable, so I’ve already ordered my copy, considering it $3.03 well spent.

 

Fun Stuff

Quirk Books has put together a pretend collection of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavors based on popular books, and it’s hilarious. You’ll find yourself wishing you could settle down with the latest release and a pint of “Berry Potter and the Container of Secrets.”

Amanda at Vampire Book Club has put together a short list of her favorite urban fantasy and paranormal beach reads that’s worth checking out if you’re wondering what goes with sunblock and your big towel this summer.

Fabulous writer Cynthia Eden is knuckling down to write a holiday themed novella and is polling her readers as to whether they want a romantic suspense story or a paranormal one. Vote on her Facebook fan page with your preference!

Romance novels are feminist works. Not sure? Listen to the podcast at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books where Sarah Wendell interviews two sociologists, Dr. Joanna Gregson and Dr. Jen Lois embarking on a research project focusing on the interactions of romance readers and writers.

One of the best parts about reading category romance is how totally ludicrous it often is. A good writer will help you suspend that disbelief, at least enough for you to immerse yourself in the the dirty goodness that is category, but occasionally you stumble across a “whaa???” novel. For a laugh out loud parsing of the missable Enemies at the Altar, take a gander at guest blogger and Ph.D. candidate Jodi from Book Thingo’s hilarious analysis. Make sure you pee first.

Did you know that Amazon sells refurbished Kindles of all types? I shouldn’t be surprised (I got my Macbook through Apple’s refurbished site and it’s wonderful and a great deal), but this is a great way for someone to afford that Paperwhite or Fire they’ve been eyeing for a while.

Great Deals

Writers and publishers are not giving up on these amazing bundles of books for a pittance (so you know they are helping sales). Loving the CEO is a great collection of five novels by different authors, all with the theme of breaking down the barriers of a business tycoon and finding love. Over 1000 pages for only $.99 and you get a romance trope in several flavors. Yum.

The always brilliant Tessa Bailey is offering the third book in her Line of Duty series, Officer Off Limits, for only $.99! You do not need to have read the other books to appreciate every word of this one, so trot over and buy this author who I cannot get enough of.

Harlequin is offering a motherload of great deals on a ton of their ebooks with participating retailers, with authors like Maureen Child, Cindy Spencer Pape, and Michelle Willingham having free or heavily discounted titles available. All of their various lines are represented, so go to their Facebook page to drool over the titles and see if there’s anything there that floats your boat. I made a note of the ones I wanted and then hustled over to Amazon to “buy” them at zero dollars. I love books like that!

Another great romance trope is the “bodyguard” idea (even that sounds sexy) and there’s now a bundle of five books covering this corner of romantic suspense. Once again, $.99 is a great deal even if you just end up enjoying one or two of them, so if you are like me and enjoy the idea of an oh-so-hot guy whose job is to…um…guard your body, you might want to check this out.

If you read this blog, you are more than aware of my love for sports books, so an ebook that contains the first book in three different trilogies is a terrific way for me to sample some new authors of the genre. V. K. Sykes, Juliana Stone and Jennifer Lyons offer both male and female (!) sports protagonists in their ebook bundle Play Hard to fulfill my need for a little healthy competition. And yes, it’s only $.99 for 550 pages.

Have a super week reading!

Hot New Author Tessa Bailey Wows With Her Line of Duty Series

12 Jun

Protecting What’s His (Line of Duty #1 – Derek and Ginger) by Tessa Bailey (Entangled Publishing, February 2013)

I love being a voracious reader but the hobby comes with a hidden cost, namely that you end up reading some horrible books in between the good ones. With this week filled with more than my fair share of two star books (which to me means that they are written in English, mostly grammatically correct and had promise, albeit that went unfulfilled), it was a relief to read the latest installment of Tessa Bailey’s Line of Duty series. Her books are four star all the way (rich characters, strong plot and conflict, hot sex scenes, and deftly written) and I realized I couldn’t keep her to myself any longer.

I stumbled across the first in her series, Protecting What’s His, about a month ago and was blown away by her writing, so much so that I immediately purchased the second book in the series, His Risk to Take. Wow. Gobbling that one up had me pre-ordering the third in the series, Officer Off Limits, which just came out on June 10th. The third book clinched it – Tessa Bailey has moved into my “will buy anything she writes” category!

In Protecting What’s His, we meet exhausted Chicago cop Derek Tyler, who has recently lost a good friend in the field. Exhausted and guilt ridden, he finds himself annoyed at two young women who appear to be moving in next door. He goes to tell them to pipe down already when he gets a good look. One is just a teenage girl with a unique sense of style, but the other…WOW. The body is a 10 and the face an 11 but what strikes him most of all is the fire in her eye when she tells him off for yelling at new neighbors, and in a sexy Southern accent no less.

Ginger Peet feels the heat between her and her annoying but sexy neighbor, but nothing can come of it. She pegs him as a cop long before he tells her his occupation and that alone means he’s off limits. After all, Ginger has stolen $50,000 cash from her n’er-do-well mother in order for Ginger and her teenage sister to start over in a big city and leave the violence and sordidness of their childhood behind. The last thing Ginger wants is to become like her mother, falling into bed with any guy who expresses an interest only to watch them disappear afterward. Not going to happen – even if she does have hot make out sessions with Officer Tall, Dark, and Yowza.

What struck me when I read Protecting What’s His was Bailey’s strong voice, which stands out in a field saturated with mediocre points of view. Ginger and Derek are both damaged, flawed characters, yet are drawn so empathetically that you immediately fall in love with both of them. I liked the idea of the female protagonist being from very humble beginnings and her sexual experience, combined with Derek’s need for utter dominance in the bedroom, made for a surprisingly hot combination. Ginger is inexperienced yet extremely smart and it gives her a vulnerability while never having her venture into naive territory. Derek’s possessiveness and dominance are just an extension of his personality and (thankfully) don’t go into the BDSM territory that is becoming so common it’s practically a trope in erotic romance (and P.S. publishing industry, I’m tired of it). Rich secondary characters like Ginger’s sister and a pervasive sense of humor (the Dolly Parton mannequin?) make this book a winner in every respect.

His Risk to Take (Line of Duty #2 – Troy and Ruby) by Tessa Bailey (Entangled Publishing, May 2013)

In Bailey’s second book, His Risk to Take, we see one of Derek’s coworkers, Troy Bennett, who has also been torn apart by the death of his partner, so much so that he decides to leave the Windy City for a position in the NYPD. He’s working on busting some organized crime players which is demanding work, all the while congratulating himself that he’s not attached to anyone. Troy never wants to feel that sense of loss again, so better to cultivate the lone wolf lifestyle.

Or at least that’s what he thinks until a stunning woman walks into the pub where Troy and his buddies are having a drink and all bets are off. Watching her successfully hustle a bunch of arrogant guys just makes him want to know more about her and it’s clear that she feels the heat between them as well. Now he just has to figure out how to get her home and into his bed.

Ruby Elliott personifies the lone wolf, so she has no expectations of Troy beyond her reckless decision to have a one night stand with him…and that one night just keeps going. She was taught to hustle pool from an obscenely early age and is used to danger, but Troy’s relentless pursuit is breaking down barriers she can’t afford to lower. When she finds out that there’s a connection between his investigation and some old friends of hers, she can’t help him without betraying the code she’s been raised with.

Troy and Ruby are fabulous characters and the vivid Brooklyn landscape well drawn by Bailey, who lives in the borough. I loved that Ruby’s real love was making custom pool cues; she hustled to survive but clearly had an artist’s heart for the love of her craft. Troy’s pursuit of her toward the end of the book, when Ruby doesn’t think she’s going to give him another chance, was so bittersweet and heartwarming, you can’t help but chant, “Let him, Ruby!”

Officer Off Limits (Line of Duty #3 – Daniel and Story) by Tessa Bailey (Entangled Publishing, June 10, 2013)

Staying in NYC for the third book in the series, Officer Off Limits, Bailey focuses on Daniel Chase, a hostage negotiator taught by one of the best. His mentor, Jack Brooks, is lying in a hospital bed at the moment and Daniel realizes that he’s next in line in terms of experience. Going out to flirt with the nurse on duty, he spies an image that makes his heart stop – a gorgeous creature in a short skirt and tank top with curves to die for attempting to make a choice from a vending machine. He’s astonished and secretly delighted when she playfully shoots him down; he loves a challenge and getting this beauty into bed will be a great one. The rug is ripped out from under his feet however when she turns into Jack’s hospital room…because this is his estranged daughter from California, Story, someone who Jack makes clear is completely off limits.

Story has no desire to be another notch in this playboy’s belt and the truth is it was a relief to be called to her father’s bedside. Story’s fiancee had just broken off their engagement a mere two weeks before the wedding was to take place and this kindergarten teacher feels that some wound-licking is what the doctor ordered. That her best friend happens to be a highbrow socialite living in Manhattan makes the two weeks of staying in her dad’s apartment while visiting him in the hospital that much sweeter. Daniel proves more compelling than she could ever imagine, but how she can be experiencing real feelings for someone when she just broke up with man she supposedly loved enough to marry?

Officer Off Limits is a fantastic third book in this series. Daniel is someone who has drowned the demons of his rough childhood in both his work as a hostage negotiator and in women, but seeing how special Story is makes him want to be worthy of her. She brings out a nobility he didn’t know he had, while demonstrating to him how meaningless the sex he’s been having up to this point has been. Watching Daniel wrestle with his feelings for Story, while also watching her realize that she means more to him than just a fling, is funny and poignant, with the sex scenes out of this world hot (in the car at the end of the Mets game? OMG!!).

Tessa Bailey doesn’t have a lot on her bio page on her website, but it’s clear that she is a talent in the world of romance. That she emerged from the Entangled Publishing house is unsurprising considering their editors have a nose for finding outstanding writers. Kudos to both the author and publisher for putting out these books rapid fire within the space of a few months – it’s certainly clinched my loyalty. With hints dropped regarding sparks between Daniel’s cop friends and Story’s best friend, I for one look forward to the next book in the series!

[October 2013: check out the follow up novella to Protecting What’s His in the Lovers Unmasked anthology for more Derek and Ginger!]

[November 2013: Asking for Trouble is the latest amazing addition to this series – check out the review and see if you don’t agree.]

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