Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review ~ UP IN SMOKE by Tessa Bailey

Up in Smoke (Crossing the Line, #2)
by: Tessa Bailey
Series: Crossing the Line
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Source: Publisher ~ Entangled

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…

Tessa Bailey is one of my must-read authors.  And, having loved Risking it All I had fairly high expectations for Up in Smoke.

This is where my inner conflict starts because whilst I enjoyed it, I’m somewhat torn over Connor and Erin’s story.

As a seasoned reader of Tessa’s work, I know that when I pick up one of her books I’m going to be greeted with a man with a delightfully dirty mouth, a feisty lady driving him crazy and a substantial amount of mutual pleasure between said couple.  She has a formula and it generally works and whilst Connor and Erin brought all the above by the bucket load, I can’t help but feel this overshadowed what could have been a winning story.

"Kiss me.  Just...don't touch me, okay?"
"Jesus.  You've got the wrong guy for that sweetheart."

Erin wasn’t the character I was expecting.  With confidence, fight and fire (no pun intended even though the girl is a pyromaniac), she has a recognised psychological condition brought on by a traumatic life-event.  Yet it felt underplayed; I know this isn’t real-life, but the speed and ease at which she overcame her fears was just a little too unbelievable and the deeper issue was drowned out amongst all the foreplay and sex.  I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but it was simply too much and much of what I wanted to see from this story and this team of ex-cons seemed to dissipate amongst the passion.

"Look what you do to my body, Erin.  It only wants to please yours.  Tell me how I can do that.  Tell me how to make you better, because I'm just as lost as you are."

But there's no denying Connor and Erin were good together, I just struggled to become invested in them.  And it was lovely to see how past favourites were doing; Bowen made me smile, I still love Sera, you will never get a grumble out of me where Derek Tyler is concerned and I continue to very much like the dynamic of the group.  I just would've liked a little more focus on the action/undercover side of the storyline.

But, onwards and upwards as I am looking forward to Austin and Polly’s book.  An intriguing master-of-disguise and a hacker?  Should be interesting.

**Received a copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest unbiased review.**

Rating: 3

Purchase Up in Smoke from:

The Crossing the Line Series & Related Books:
(Click on the book cover for more information or to purchase from Amazon.)

Riskier Business ~ Review
Risking it All ~ Review

Places to find Tessa Bailey:

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