From New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey comes the first novel in her hot, new Romancing the Clarksons Series.
When Rita Clarkson’s Suburban takes its last breath on a New Mexico roadside, rescue roars up on a Harley in the form of smooth-talking honkey tonk owner, Jasper Ellis, a man as mysterious as he is charming. Rita’s cross-country journey to New York City–with her three estranged siblings in tow–is only beginning, but now that Jasper has found Rita, his plans do not include her leaving.
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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.
I found this to be an interesting concept for a plot, four siblings who haven't seen each other in years suddenly together on a cross-country road trip. There's a slight twist in that each of the siblings is dysfunctional in some way, causing friction between each other. There's so much friction between the Clarkson siblings it's uncomfortable, bordering on painful to see their attempts to interact with each other.
This story focuses on Rita's and Jasper's blossoming relationship; each of them is attempting to rebuild their lives into something more than successful than what they've been living; Rita is the only Clarkson who followed their mother's footsteps and became a chef, but I had a hard time accepting that she was able to compete on a televised cooking show contest when it appeared that she didn't have much confidence in herself. But that added to the belief that she feels like she's a failure at life. What I did like is that Jasper is the one with the stigma of man-whore and he hates it. He's taken the steps of running his own business with the hope that the residents of Hurley will start to look at him in a new light.
I liked the idea of the road trip as an attempt to overcome whatever obstacles and beliefs the Clarkson clan have toward each other and hopefully they will be able to become a cohesive family unit by the end of the series.
ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest review.
He dipped down until they were nose to nose, saw the rush of thought going on behind her eyes. It was pretty damn breathtaking up close. “Mind cluing me in as to what’s going on in there?”
“If—if—we need to stay overnight—”
“—then I might see you at the bar.” She wedged a hand between them and separated their bodies. “I’d rather see someone’s worst than their best. Saves time.”
Jasper heard the tow truck pulling into the garage parking lot and cursed. Not even remotely confident that his first attempt at polite conversation with an available woman had been successful, Jasper walked her backward until they were hidden behind a rusted pay phone. She’d broken away from his touch, so he was careful to respect that. He dropped his mouth to an inch above hers and said, low, “I didn’t get near enough time with you, Rita. If you don’t show up tonight, don’t be surprised if I come looking.” He laid his palms against the warm building, above her head, watched her gaze dip to his stomach. His lap. “And if I have to come looking, I’ll be twice as determined to get that kiss.”
Her head came up. “W-what kiss?”
Jasper lowered his mouth until their lips brushed. He listened to her breath accelerate, watched her wet her lips. “The one I want to give you right now.” He allowed himself to linger another few seconds, then, with the effort of ten oxen, Jasper stepped back. “Tonight, beautiful.”
On his way to his bike, Jasper tipped his hat at Rita’s gaping siblings.
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