Previously released as an eBook in May 2016, the first book in Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series is now available in print for the first time!
Too Hot To Handle
Romancing the Clarksons #1
Releasing November 29th 2016
Grand Central Publishing | Forever Imprint
Mass Market: $5.99 USD
eBook: $2.99 USD
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.
I read Too Hot To Handle as an E-ARC back in the spring and loved it, as I have all of Tessa Bailey’s books, but since the print edition is coming out on November 29th, I decided to reread the book and write up another review for it. Luckily I received a brand new print copy of this book in the mail on Black Friday, inside a new subscription box service I signed up to receive this month, and let me just say, the cover on this book is in even more stunning in person. Absolutely gorgeous, in fact.
Like most of Tessa Bailey’s books, the first book in the Romancing the Clarkson series is a sexy, sinful scorcher, but it’s also a sweet, funny, and heartwarming tale about a dysfunction family that desperately needs to find their way back to one another.
Rita Clarkson is a a strong, independent woman who has no idea what she truly wants, or if she’s even capable of achieving the dreams she’s always had for herself. But this trip to honor her mother’s last wish is the chance to figure out not only who she is but also who are siblings are, and how they can find their way back to being a real family again.
Jasper Ellis is a dirty-talking bad boy who is struggling to turn over a new leaf and build a legacy he can be proud of instead of ashamed to carry. And from the moment he meets Rita, he’s equal parts attracted to her and determined not to fall back on the reputation he’s doing his damnedest to shed. But even though he’s trying to turn over a new leaf, he’s also intent to do whatever it takes to keep Rita around as long as he can. Even if it means playing a little dirty under the surface.
I really loved Too Hot To Handle, both the first time I read it and again on my reread for this review. Not only was it a seriously hot romance read, but it also contained some truly great family moments, too. The introduction to the Clarkson clan was both fun and intriguing because they’re so messed up on their own that they can’t quite figure out how to relate to each other. But between the trouble with the Suburban and the awesome chemistry building between Jasper and Rita, their dysfunctional family proves that underneath all the drama that comes with them, there is a genuine love and respect for each that refuses to be denied. Which makes what’s happening between Jasper and Rita even more important, to all of them.
If you’re looking for an excellent contemporary romance read that is already proving itself to be a dynamite series, pick up a copy of Too Hot To Handle by Tessa Bailey. It’s not only a beautiful, hot, sexy, love story, but also a seriously entertaining family drama, too. And it gives us our first glimpse of Aaron, Peggy, and Belmont, each one more intriguing than the next. Though, I have to say, Belmont intrigues me the most out of all of them. I so cannot wait until we get his book.
5 “MUST READ” Stars
by Tessa Bailey
When I cast TOO HOT TO HANDLE in my head (and on my Pinterest boards o’course!) I used a more introverted version of Emilia Clarke as Rita Clarkson. All the shiny effervesce and beauty of a brunette Emilia, with more dark makeup and clothing. This is the picture I sent to my editor when casting for the cover, because I think it captures Rita’s personality: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/508132770433476759/
As for Jasper, he is described in the book as a young, revamped Matthew McConaughey and I think his personality totally matches that of a young carefree (non naked bongo playing) version of the actor. I promise he doesn’t say “alright, alright, alright,” but he does have that cool guy, ladies love me spirit. Scott Porter from Hart of Dixie would be my choice to play Jasper in a film J https://www.pinterest.com/pin/508132770433788636/
From TOO HOT TO HANDLE by Tessa Bailey:
“So.” He plunked his beer down on the bar. “Where were you four headed in that big, rusty Suburban before Hurley reeled you in?”
She looked pensive as her shit-stomping boots started to sway back and forth, bumping the wooden rungs of the stool. “We need to be in Coney Island by New Year’s Day. So we can jump into the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Why—what?” He dropped onto the stool beside her, his drink forgotten on the bar. “That’s pretty high on the list of things I didn’t expect.”
“Oh, I know the feeling.” A beat passed. “It was our mother’s last wish.”
She nodded, brushing her hair back in a jerky motion, as if she were uncomfortable having someone’s undivided attention. He’d never had cause to use the word preposterous before, but that was the only way he could describe her lack of confidence. Despite the inappropriate name, the Liquor Hole was his life’s work, and, at the moment, it was nothing more than an unworthy backdrop for Rita. And, God, he was staring at her hands like an aggressive palm reader. “Most mothers want to avoid having their children turn into floating ice sculptures. What was her reason?”
“Good question.” A hint of sadness winked in her eyes, and Jasper wished he’d let the subject drop. This was what happened when he avoided talking about sex. He stumbled right into deceased parents. And yet he wasn’t sorry. Not even a little bit. He wanted to know everything. “I think…she meant it as some sort of symbolic bonding experiment. But I don’t know. We’re kind of unbondable.”
“Got the feeling I interrupted a near-melee this afternoon.”
“Aaron called my soufflé decent.” A strand of dark hair caught on her lips when she shook her head. It took one hundred percent of his impulse control not to tug it away, but she beat him to it, anyhow. “It sounds silly now.”
“Nah.” Jasper couldn’t help leaning in to get a whiff of cooking spices. “He would have had it coming just for dressing like a preacher on a weekday.”
Another one of those quiet, smoky laughs. “I guess there’s a fine line between politician and preacher.”
“Politician?” Jasper shivered, then recalled the threat Rita’s brother had leveled at his head back on the highway. “Still, I can’t help but like him for wanting you safe from a stranger. He can’t be all that bad if he worries about you.”
“Worried might be an exaggeration,” Rita said.
When her golden-brown gaze lit on his mouth, Jasper realized he’d moved into her personal space without any conscious thought. One of her knees brushed the denim covering his hip and, God help him, if the bar were empty he would’ve been between her split thighs before she could call for Jesus. For someone who hadn’t felt more than a passing appreciation for the opposite sex in years, his libido was sure trying to play catch-up tonight.
“What are you thinking about?”
Lie. He had to lie. I want to strip you down and fuck you on this seat, but I’m trying my hand at being a gentleman, was not an acceptable line. It was too aggressive when she seemed spooked merely from his close proximity. But she was leaving, leaving his town tomorrow, and the slow-game option had been ambitious for Jasper when he knew nothing about it. So he’d tell the truth while leaving out the oh-so-dirty reality in his pants. “I was thinking it would have been a goddamn shame if you’d broken down one town over.” His voice was gravel, so he cleared it. “More than a shame. I’m kind of finding it hard to think about, if you want to know the truth.”
For long moments, he couldn’t hear a single sound in the loud bar. No music, no crunching ice or raucous laughter. And, somehow, he knew she couldn’t hear the noise, either. It was there in the perplexity of her expression. He expected her to call bullshit or make a joke, but she didn’t. She shocked him instead.
“I’ll think I’ll take that kiss now.”
ROMANCING THE CLARKSONS
Too Hot To Handle, #1
Too Wild To Tame, #2
Too Hard To Forget, #3
For Ten (10) mass market copies of
TOO HOT TO HANDLE by Tessa Bailey
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.