Romancing the Clarksons Book #3.5; Standalone
All-American wide receiver Kyler Tate’s life is about to change. A fairytale college career skyrocketed him to the NFL draft. Adoration and opportunity are thrown in his direction wherever he goes, thanks to being chosen in the first round by the Los Angeles Rage.
None of the accolades mean anything, though, without his high school sweetheart, Bree Justice, by his side. Four years ago, she walked away from Kyler, choosing a quiet life over the flash and notoriety his career would someday bring.
Now he’s back in their Indiana hometown, refusing to leave for Los Angeles without her. Demanding she give their life together a shot. Her heart never stopped bleeding for the love of her life, but Bree’s decision was final. Too bad their wild attraction has only been amplified by their separation, and Kyler won’t quit until Bree is wearing his ring.
Too Close to Call is a novella, but it read like an entire story and then some. Bailey always excels at capturing that connection between characters, but here she’s a master at doing it in a short span of pages. And for a story about a second-chance romance, it felt as if I had been with them before they ever needed any sort of second chance.
I became invested in their story from Kyler’s first words. The words from a man who knew what he lost and what he needed to be content with his life; it wasn’t fame or fortune, but the unconditional love he once knew. And the emotional pull of Bree was too hard to ignore. Her vibrancy and vivid personality brought me into her and I’m not sure if another character has pulled me in quite like she did. Through all of the stomach-dipping swoons and tingles of hotness (aplenty), I was suddenly overcome with these soul-deep sobs; for her and her sacrifices and her selflessness. Quite simply, I fell for them both with no hesitation simply because of how real they were.
With alluring characters and a real beauty of a love story, Too Close to Call was utterly fantastic in giving me everything I needed, not just in a story, but in their story. It may be a novella, and while I always want more of a Bailey story, it was perfect in its entirety. Bailey is a hell of a writer, always exploring different facets to relationships and the people in them, but that has never been more apparent than it is here in her Romancing the Clarksons series. This is a must-read story and series.
“Bree.” Her blood snapped with electricity at the sound of her name, said in that low drawl. Kyler stepped to the forefront of the crowd. The green eyes that still graced her dreams zeroed in, raking over her like they couldn’t help it.
Heaven above, four years looked incredible on him. Extra inches had been added everywhere. His height. The athletic breadth of his shoulders. The corded biceps that tested the stitching of his T-shirt sleeves. Even his thighs, which were wrapped up in faded denim, were exploding with muscle; thighs she’d spent a good portion of her youth perched on since Kyler never allowed her to sit anywhere but his lap, no matter where they were or whether it was appropriate. “Hello.”
“Hello,” she whispered. “You’re in town.”
His slow nod was so familiar a ripple moved through her. “Here for the week. Can I get you that coffee?”
“No.” She flushed over her own abruptness. “I meant to say, I can’t stay. I’m going to be late for an appointment.”
“Fine. I’ll walk you out.”
His expression dared her to say no. Challenged her. And for the first time since Kyler left, sexual awareness danced in her middle, sending a swift tremble down the length of her legs. Because her body hadn’t forgotten what often lay on the other side of those challenges. “Fine,” she breathed. “Suit yourself.”
For all his sexual energy, Kyler was a gentleman, straight down to the soles of his feet. So Bree wasn’t one bit surprised when his long gait ate up the distance between them. He reached over her head to push open the glass door, sending his scent crashing into her senses, the combination so familiar, Bree’s nipples tightened until she winced. Grassy fields and Nautica Blue aftershave.
Their gazes clashed, but Bree couldn’t decide if he’d worn the scent on purpose. His steady eyes gave nothing away. Before hers could betray her curiosity, Bree turned and passed through the door Kyler held open. And hell if it wasn’t the longest walk in history, his presence behind her looming larger than a mountain. Every eyeball in the diner was sure to be on them and the attention made Bree twitchy, her fingers yanking on the strings of her hoodie.
She needed to get this reunion over with as soon as possible. Being around Kyler would only make her wonder what might have been. That kind of thinking was pointless. Destructive.
Back in high school, the writing had been on the wall when it came to Kyler. Everyone knew he’d been destined for greatness. That he would shake off Bloomfield and put his name in the history books. She’d been selfish to stay with him for so long, absorbing his love and attention, all the while knowing she’d wave good-bye to him someday. The decision was a painful one, but it had been made and now she would stick to it.
♦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.