Romancing the Clarksons Book Three
Recommend reading in order
This time, she’s calling the shots.
Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.
In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.
It appears Bailey is increasing the Tortured Hero factor in each subsequent book in the series, and with Too Hard to Forget, she hits a high point (though one is expecting the next book to be off the charts in this aspect). It’s not often that an author can put into the mix a devout religious man in a book and handle the religious aspect in a way in which it makes him more attractive and gives a rebellious spark to the romance, but with Coach Elliot Brooks we get not just that, but two different kinds of religion: Football and God.
One would think they had Peggy somewhat pegged (heh) from the prior books, but Bailey was holding out on us by waiting to release the chameleon that is this character until her own book. With alternating perspectives of past and present, the reader gets to experience their connection back when it started to now, where it’s severed and ugly. Fractured as it may be, there was no shortage of lust or unfinished business between the two. And when I tell you that the religious aspect of Elliot makes him more attractive, I am not kidding in the least. The way this man uses his religion is deliciously arousing.
Bailey knows how to make her men worthy of redemption, whether by action or emotion. I’ve yet to read a Tessa Bailey book that doesn’t evoke reactionary emotions such as sharp pains in the chest, deep dips of the stomach, or in some cases, tears. I search out books, like hers, that force me to respond in such a way, to feel and empathize with the hero and heroine, and to be an actual participant in their story. The heartbreak, lust, and emotional turmoil that the two harbored was palpable and painful. All of this to say that Elliot was at times a fumbling, naive man when it came to love, and watching him stumble like a newborn calf was endearing and sweet. As the older man, with so much on his plate, I wholeheartedly enjoyed seeing Elliot, the beloved Kingmaker of college football, have to fight his way back into the heart of the woman who got away on a playing field he had no playbook on.
Too Hard to Forget was another explosive story of second chances in the Romancing the Clarksons series. Peggy was a wild child spitfire that took hold of the pages and made them her battleground. It was sexy and raw and wild as any Bailey book, but it had such deep longing tied underneath it all; tied all together with the beauty of a love painfully lost. Well-written with only a skill that this author has, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them once the book opened. The Clarksons are each so vivid, their relationships with one another honest and disconnected, and I cannot say how much I adore each of them as we get them. I loved this book and I’m beyond ready to read the next.
Side note: And to all of those waiting on bated breath for more Belmont and Sage, you’ll be happy (happy being a very light word, maybe tortured is better?) to know that we get some more of them in this book. Hurry up September!
“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”
Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”
“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”
“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”
“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”
No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”
The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”
“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”
“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”
“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”
Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.
He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”
♦Q & A♦
When asked for her Top 5 Alpha Romance Heroes, this is what Tessa Bailey had to say:
Oooh. This is going to be a tough list! I’ll go with a mixture of classic faves and new ones to the party!
- Joshua from The Hating Game (by Sally Thorne). Oh yes. Still waters run deep with this man. It has been a while since I reread a book, but I read this one twice. He is holding so much inside, but he’s clearly protective and IN LOVE with the heroine. It’s just the most beautiful slow burn I’ve ever read.
- Reiner from Kulti (by Mariana Zapata). This author has this amazing ability to write heroines that are totally oblivious to the hero’s undying devotion and it turns out, that is my catnip. This German ex-soccer star coach will always have a spot in my soul.
- Maksimilian Sevastyan from The Master (by Kresley Cole). This is the second book in her Gamemaker’s Series. He’s a politician/Mafiya boss and basically decides to keep the heroine, no negotiation. It’s probably the hottest book I’ve ever read in my life. I had a temperature the entire time.
- Jules Cassidy from the Troubleshooters series (by Suzanne Brockmann). He’s a badass FBI agent and also the first gay character I’d ever read. I fell in love with him and it was amazing watching his rocky road to love with Robin. They’re still one of my all time favorite couples.
- Tate Sullivan from Never Sweeter (by Charlotte Stein). This is a romance between a college student and the boy who bullied her in high school. That’s a hard road to redemption, let alone making me fall in love with him. Such a beautiful, angsty book.
Too Hot to Handle: Kindle | Mass Market | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Google | My Review
Too Wild to Tame: Kindle | Mass Market | iBooks | B&N | BAM | Google | Indiebound | Kobo | My Review
Too Hard to Forget: Kindle | Mass Market | B&N | BAM | Google | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo
(Not Pictured) Too Close to Call (a 1001 Dark Nights novella): Kindle (13-JUN)
Too Beautiful to Break: Kindle | Mass Market (26-SEP)
♦ABOUT THE AUTHOR♦
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.
Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.