Too Hot to Handle
Author: Tessa Bailey
In case you already read my review of the second title in the Romancing the Clarksons series, here’s the first! If not, there’s a link below 😉
There’s nothing like instant attraction/chemistry to get a story rolling. There’s a lot of good ways to write the instalove trope, and then there’s some stories that make me roll my eyes so many times I worry they’ll get stuck in my head. Tessa Bailey does a great job handling the premise in Too Hot to Handle. Here’s the thing. Instalove does happen. It’s a magical thing, to be honest. The gut-deep knowledge you’ve just met your other half. Realizing, as you get to know them better, you’re complimentary in all the right places, and the same in others.
What happens in Too Hot to Handle is… more than instalove, in my opinion.
With two inherently damaged (and that’s a serious understatement) main characters that both seem to have zero self-esteem, Rita and Jasper come from different worlds. There’s this magical thread that seemed to twist around them, kinda like Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth. I almost felt like they were struggling with the ‘version of truths’ they’d previously believed.
If you’ve been following along for a bit, you guys know I don’t usually go for the spoilery stuff. I need to connect with the books I read. My personal theme for Too Hot to Handle was perception.
Rita, a spit-fire chef who learned at the elbow of her recently deceased mom, hasn’t ever felt worthy. With some personal failures under her belt, it’s time for her to reassess, and the road trip with her sibs seems like a perfect place for that to happen. Now, this was the hard part for me to connect with. I’m really close to my sister. She sets me straight when my perception is skewed. I know not everyone is as fortunate to have that kind of a relationship with their siblings, and I always feel badly for people who are estranged from their family. I felt super bad for Rita. I totally get how Rita felt like a failure, though. That hit pretty close, so I was able to keep a decent connection with Rita throughout the story.
Jasper was a victim of perception. And he wanted to change it. When we were young, we all did a lot of stupid stuff. Frankly, I’m SO glad there wasn’t social media during the ‘80s… I was honestly able to connect with Jasper’s plight, though. I live in a small community. Many of the people I grew up with and went to school with still live here. Our kids have gone to school together. I see these people at kid activities. They don’t know me. Not the real me. They know what they expect from me—and that’s the quiet band geek who read all the time and only had stuff to say during English class when I thought the teacher was wrong. And I could prove it. They expect me to never share my writing because it’s always been very personal. My friends from college expect me to be the same person I was, it seems, as well. We all change and grow as people, and it should be expected. It shouldn’t be a surprise within our communities when we step outside the expected box. There shouldn’t be ‘always’ or ‘never’ people associate with our behaviors and activities. Jasper struggled to free himself from those boxes people had placed him in. The way he related to Rita felt like he was scrambling up the side of the box trying to find purchase—or waiting for her to toss him a rope.
The dangerous thing about perception, in my opinion, is that it can keep us from obtaining our goals or even taking a risk to experience our passions. Ms. Bailey exemplified this well with her characterization of both Rita and Jasper.
Overall, I really enjoyed beginning my journey with the Clarksons. You can find my review of the second title in the series, Too Wild to Tame in the links below. Looking forward to Penny’s story, due out in the spring… which is entirely too long of a wait.
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.
Release Date: November 29, 2016 (paperback); May 17, 2016 (ebook)
Series: Romancing the Clarksons #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (336 pages), e-book
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds
Reviews in the Series:
Too Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey (Romancing the Clarksons #2)