Tessa Bailey is one of the most reliable writers of contemporary romance that I know of. When you get a TB book, you are going to get a good story, a strong alpha male hero with a dirty mouth, a strong heroine and probably some good humor too. This story about Rita and Jasper does not disappoint. It will deliver all of what you TB fans love.
Rita his having a hilariously rough year when the book kicks off. Her Mother died, there was a mishap with a knife that became the stuff of legends (hint: a souffle was involved...) and a fire burned down her Mother's restaurant along with Rita's livelihood. It doesn't sound like it would be funny but the way Bailey presents it comes across more as a comedy of errors than a serious streak of really sucky luck. In addition to the knife/youtube/reality TV incident (it's a long story), Rita has a pretty distant relationship with her three siblings who are each going to be the subject of a book in this series. It is against that backdrop that Rita decides to take a roadtrip with the three siblings that leads to her meeting Jasper.
Of course because Rita's luck is what it is, her car breaks down during her ill fated sibling road trip. As it turns out, things are turning around for the better because Jasper comes to Rita's rescue during a forced detour. Jasper is precisely what you are looking for in a "Bailey man." Jasper is hot, bossy, sexy and of course he has a dirty mouth. Ohhhweee! The thing that you might not be expecting to get with Jasper but I think you will love, is that underneath all of his "Bailey characteristics" Jasper is actually really sweet. It's an interesting twist because Jasper is or was a serious badboy who ran through women like socks. When we meet him though, he is reformed and has regrets about his past. That was really different and I loved it. I was rooting for Jasper and for his relationship with Rita that sometimes went left because of Jasper's terrible reputation.
Rita and Jasper are great together. The chemistry is intense from the time they meet. Rita is so focused on the future that she has a hard time seeing what is going on with Jasper in the present and that could be a little irritating. But, it added layers to the story and gave the plot some good twists. Similar to Rita, Jasper struggles to overcome his issues and see that Rita is exactly what he has been looking for. I appreciated the fact that Bailey built a good amount of conflict into the story but resolved it in a mature manner before it took over the plot and became excessive angst.
Too Hot to Handle is another Tessa Bailey hit. It is fun and sexy. I'm looking forward to reading about the other siblings and I think you will be too!
**ARC provided by Publisher**