Rough Rhythm is the second story in the Made In Jersey series from Tessa Bailey. This is a standalone novella and features James and Lita. James and Lita meet one night at a bar. Lita was hungry and homeless, and James was looking for someone different in the endless Hollywood meat market. But when James let his desires get a bit out of control that night, he vowed to keep her at arms length and make up for how he had treated her. Lita has been trying since that night to show James that she wants all of him, but no matter what she does she can't seem to get through to him. When she finally takes things too far though, James exits her life and Lita decides to do whatever it takes to not only bring him back, but to also show him exactly what is between them.
I will admit that I had a bit of an issue with Lita here. I disliked her pretty much from go, and that was a bit hard to come back from. She was very young and I do understand that part of that played into her actions. But this girl was beyond reckless and her self-destructive behavior almost seemed to be a joke to her. She didn't care that she was hurting herself or others around her, and she actually thought that her childish and immature behavior would win James over, as if that would convince him to explore his darker side with her. James I liked, but it felt as though his character was just surface deep. He was constantly saying how his desires were too dark and that Lita should be afraid of him, but honestly I didn't really see it. Yes there were some moments of him restraining Lita and them acting out fantasies and situations of non-consensual sex, but honestly it wasn't what I had been expecting at all. Tessa Bailey knows how to give the reader heat and dirty talk, but I felt like this one didn't really deliver on the darker edge that was promised here.
Overall, this story had some good moments but it just didn't completely do it for me. I wanted more of James and his darker side, and less of Lita acting like a brat. I think a lot of my problem here was that this story just didn't draw me in like I had hoped and I was never fully invested in it. That could be a length issue, as there just weren't as many pages to really engage the reader since this was a novella instead of a full length novel. I still love Tessa Bailey, and there is definitely some heat and chemistry here. But I had been expecting this story to be on the darker side, and to me it wasn't much darker than Tessa's books typically are. I also didn't feel the same connection to the characters or between them that I typically do with Tessa's books and that is what really kept me from falling in love with James and Lita's story.
**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**