I am a huge fan of Tessa Bailey's and I have had her on auto-buy since I first discovered her. She always has the best dirty-talking alpha heroes and I cannot get enough of them. I will admit though that I struggled a bit with Up In Smoke. I knew a little about Connor, having met him previously in her books, and I wasn't too sure what to make of him. While I did like some things about him, this story wasn't exactly what I had been expecting.
Given little to no option, Connor Bannon and Erin O'Dea end up on the same team working undercover in Chicago in order to avoid being locked up. Their team is a modern day mod-squad, with each team member having some kind of specialty and being forced to work together when they prefer to work alone. Connor is a former Navy SEAL and Erin is an arsonist, and the sparks between them are instant. But where Connor needs control in his relationships, Erin is unable to give when it comes to relationships. She doesn't let anyone close, and she always has her escape planned. But when they continue to grow closer while working together, they realize that the connection between them is worth taking a chance on.
Connor is everything I have come to expect from a Tessa Bailey hero. He is sexy and alpha, and super possessive of his woman. He would do absolutely anything to protect her, and he is an amazing dirty-talker. However with all that being said, he didn't really feel any different than her other heroes to me. There was nothing that really stood out about him, and it just seemed as though he was pretty much a mix of her other heroes, and I was hoping for a bit more about him to be unique. Erin was easy to like from the start, and I loved her personality. Like Tessa's other heroines she is feisty and fun, and is able to dish it out as well as take it. I loved seeing her witty remarks, and how she didn't easily give in to others. While I did feel like Connor and Erin had chemistry, (and how could they not with them being written by Tessa?) I also felt like everything was super rushed with them. This was definitely a case of insta-everything, and unfortunately that just didn't work for me.
I thought that this one started off very interesting, and there was a lot of potential here with Erin's issues. That was something I had never seen Tessa deal with before, and I really think that was something that could have made this one a great story. To me though, things turned around far too quickly to be believable when it came to how fast Erin was able to overcome those issues. I felt like even though she was attracted to Connor and wanted things to be different that it would have taken longer for her to come around. The instant changes for these two along with the issues I had with Connor left me wanting more and being a little disappointed with this one. Don't get me wrong it still packed the heat and steam that I have come to know and expect from Tessa, but I felt the story suffered a little bit here and it wasn't my favorite of hers. I did like the team though, and I loved the feel of that group as a whole. There is such an interesting dynamic with all these criminals turned undercover teammates , and I liked them a lot. I will definitely read more from Tessa Bailey in the future, even though this one wasn't my favorite. There is no one who writes a better dirty-talking alpha than her, and I think this one was just a miss for me personally.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**