Thursday, June 25, 2015

BLOG TOUR: REVIEW, EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY - "Up in Smoke" by Tessa Bailey

Up in Smoke

by Tessa Bailey
Crossing the Line #2

Never start a fire you can't control...

Connor Bannon is supposed to be dead. Dishonorably discharged from the Navy SEALs, he's spent the last two years working as a street enforcer in Brooklyn for his cousin's crime ring. Through a twist of fate, he's now in Chicago, working undercover to bust criminals. But when a cute little arsonist joins the team-all combat boots, tiny jean shorts, and hot-pink hair-Connor's notorious iron control slips.

Erin "she's getting away" O'Dea knows two things. She hates authority. And... Nope, that's it. When she's forced to operate on the "right" side of the law, her fear of being confined and controlled blazes to the surface. The last thing she expects is a control freak like Connor to soothe her when she needs it most. Worse, something behind the sexy ex-soldier's eyes ignites a dangerous inferno of desire. One that invites Erin to play with fire. And one that could get them both killed...


There is something utterly attractive about this book.  Yes, it has Tessa Bailey’s signature dirty talk, which by the way, is pretty darn creative.  But it is more than that, this book appeals to me at multiple levels.  I’m a sucker for “team” stories and this one is a doozy.  The Chicago PD has a new crime fighting team and it’s made up of criminals.  What better way to catch a crook than to employ one?  It’s also a love story between two “misfits” – a girl who likes to play with fire and a guy with severe anger management issues.  It is erotica’s version of the Dirty Dozen, so expect it to be a little over the top.  And it is appealingly so. 

It has been a while since I’ve read a Tessa Bailey book.  I knew she could turn a phrase and I enjoyed reading descriptions like:  “He looked like a man who could survive on his own in the wilderness with nothing but string and a windbreaker.  Capable.  Made of steel.”  The banter between Conner and Erin is snappy and sexy with passages that make you want to smile and dirty talk that makes you want to clench.

What really strikes me is the tenderness between Connor and Erin.  Erin is very troubled and has special needs that not anyone can meet, but Connor discovers that despite what it might cost him, he is ready to give her what she needs.  For Erin, this mostly self-centered girl discovers that as their relationship progresses she feels profound sadness that she might not be able to give Connor what he needs.  It is breaks my heart.  Soon they discover they are each other’s yin and yang: 

She was a signal of peace he need only think about, and the rapids inside him became a still pond.  She turned his constant craving for control into something positive, because she’d given him the power to be in control of himself.

For two very cynical and life-hardened characters, they find the softer side with each other:

You don’t have to hope anymore, Erin,” he whispered at her lips. “Hope implies you might not get what you want….If I’m what you want, hope is futile, because I couldn’t belong to you any more completely than I already do. 

Yup, that’s tender.


If you are not a fan of Tessa Bailey, you will be after reading this book.

As if her thoughts had made him appear, Connor strode into the courthouse. Her pulse started beating double time, her stomach muscles tightening. Good Lord, the man was a fucking panty dropper. She’d only been away from him for a few hours and it felt like years since she’d experienced his presence. In jeans and a fitted gray T-shirt that molded to his muscles like her hands itched to do, he personified confidence and authority. Hot, rugged male. His gaze connected with hers immediately and darkened. She thought back to that morning when he’d dressed in the early morning light, his abs flexing as he pulled the shirt over his head. His erection barely contained by his boxers. She’d never been one to beg for anything, but she’d been seconds from offering him her mouth. Pleading for the privilege of sucking him off.

Conner shook his head at her with a sexy half smile on his face, as if he could read her thoughts across the room. He stopped at the metal detector and walked through after the security guard beckoned him forward. When the woman grabbed her wand and instructed him to raise his hands in the air, something ugly reared its head deep inside her. The detector hadn’t even beeped. There was no reason for the personal service. When the woman smiled at Connor and ran a hand down her ponytail, Erin propelled herself forward, boots echoing on the polished marble.

Erin hissed as she drew even with the guard. “If you’re done feeling up my boyfriend, I’d love a turn. We were in a rush this morning.”

The guard dropped the wand, letting it dangle near her thigh. “Did you just hiss at me?”
Erin hissed again.

“Okay.” Connor stepped between them, winking down at her. “We should go. Don’t want to keep the clerk waiting.”

Appreciation spread in her belly like honey. He hadn’t chided her for her behavior or apologized to the woman on her behalf. Instead he’d given the impression they were on their way to get married, appeasing her jealousy in one fell swoop. “That’s right.” She sauntered toward the elevator. “There’s vows to be exchanged. Rings to put on fingers. Shit like that.”

She glanced behind her to find Connor staring at her ass as she walked, so she put a little swing in her hips and savored his groan. Damn. She’d definitely never had this much fun at a courthouse.

A moment later, she and Connor stepped into an empty elevator. She hit the button for the top floor even though the clerk was on the first, and leaned back against the wall, looking up at him through her eyelashes. “How was your morning, baby? Was it worth leaving me in bed, all hot and bothered for you?”

“Fuck no, it wasn’t.” He crooked a big finger at her. “Climb on up here.”

Thank you for your interest in my books! I'm Tessa and I live in the crazy, loud, overcrowded borough of Brooklyn, New York. I love it here. This city is a constant source of inspiration, which is why I've decided to set my most recent books in the Line of Duty Series here. 

I moved to New York when I was eighteen, the day after I graduated high school. Threw my suitcase in the back of a Chevrolet Cavalier and drove across the country to find my adventure. I'm still finding it, little by little.Thank you for being a part of it. 

Find Tessa: Website |  Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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