Blog Tour and Giveaway: Up In Smoke: Tessa Bailey

Up in Smoke
Tessa Bailey
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Expected June 23, 2015

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…

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.”

Chicago PD Captain, Derek Tyler, has put together a crime fighting team of ex cons. They all have their skills, talents, and reasons for taking the job.
This installment introduces the team, but focuses on Connor Bannon and Erin O'Dea. Connor is an ex Navy Seal and previous street enforcer in his cousin's underground crime ring. He likes control, facts, and has anger issues.
Erin is wild card and is an escape artist and pyromaniac. She seems feisty and tough, but underneath is fearful, anxious, and broken. She has some serious issues with people touching her or being trapped in any way.
Connor and Erin instantly challenge each other but also seem to be able to both understand each other and have a calming influence. Both are usually detached. Her touch both excites and soothes him while she can't stand to be touched or confined. He likes control and order and she is chaos. He is dominant and she does not like being subdued. He has bursts of anger while she likes to play with fire. Their connection is strong, their attraction for each other is intense, but their personal needs seem to be in total conflict to the other's at times. These two were so damaged, making things tentative and requiring baby steps, but at the same time some parts of their new relationship formed quickly.

It was definite insta-lust, inata-protectiveness, and insta-attachment. It was like they met and just became completely immersed in each other's lives and issues. The tension came more from her personal issues that he needed and wanted to help her with. And also him needing to deal with his own over-protectiveness, control and anger issues. It all came to down to developing trust and a sense of security. Sometimes her issues were a little hard to wrap my head around and it may have affected my enjoyment of the story. And some things seemed to be resolved a bit quickly.
This is about two people trying to help heal the damaged parts of each other while giving hope and a sense of empowerment to conquer demons, trust, and move on. It gave us a new cast of quirky characters like Austin, the master of disguises, and Polly, the hacker, while also bringing back old friends like Derek and Ginger (Protecting What's His) and Bowen and Sera (Risking it All). This is a new group of ex con/cop crime fighters who use their particular talents for a purpose. I enjoyed seeing the team come together and start to gel. They had to start figuring out how to work together in order to complete their first assignment. The next book up is Disguised in Danger and I am looking forward to more with Austin and Polly.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Connor Bannon moved to Chicago when the chance to help his mother was offered, even though it meant changing sides. Formerly the muscle behind his cousin’s crime ring, he is now set to work undercover busting crime.

Erin O’Dell hates confinement of any kind. Her fears run deep and strong. I loved the description of Erin as “vulnerable yet regal at the same time.” So many of the scenes that build her character leave her showing strength and weakness at the same time. That combination made her all the more interesting to read, and more attractive to Connor, as well.

These two had a lot of issues to work through as individuals in order to make it as a couple. A claustrophobic arsonist who couldn’t stand to be touched and a controlling alpha male with anger management don’t sound like they would have many things in common. It seems they would be too opposite to work, but I loved watching each struggle with personal demons in order to be there for the other.

Much of Connor’s story was already familiar, as he played a role in Bowen and Sera’s story, but Erin’s back story was as intriguing as it was horrific. Her past plays a big role in this story, in addition to the corruption case Derek has assigned to the team, and the balance between all the storylines was perfect.

We’ve already met half the cast of less than perfect characters Derek has assembled to clean up corruption in Chicago. In addition to Connor, Bowen Driscoll and Serephina Newsome, from Risking It All, are back and of course Derek himself from Protecting What’s His. But the addition of Polly, Aaron, and Erin to the mix only expands the number of unique personalities and potential firestorms. Each character has their own criminal specialty and their own reasons for working with the police instead of against them.

I loved the tease at the end into the mind of Aaron -- the mysterious chameleon of the group has secrets. The tension between him and Polly makes me wonder what history they may already have.
This was a good, solid, entertaining read. While there were times when some of the issues seemed a little strong for reality, it worked for the characters, the story, and to give a little break from reality.  
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

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One more game. And this time, there are no rules…

After a life of pool hustling and living on the wrong side of the law, Ruby Elliott is living on the straight and narrow with sexy-as-all-hell NYPD detective, Troy Bennett. Now the only trouble Ruby has with the law is the naughty kind, pinned against the wall by Troy's strict and spectacularly hard body. Obeying his every command. Both of them losing themselves in a lust that borders on obsession...

But then her father returns with an offer she can’t refuse: one last hustle in exchange for information. Information she’d die to have. As the pieces and the players of the game reveal themselves, Troy feels the fine edges of his control slipping—control he can’t channel without hurting Ruby. The stakes are high, and the risk higher. Because losing this final game could cost more than Ruby’s heart…it might cost her life.

Risking It all  (Crossing the Line #1)
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NYPD detective Seraphina Newsom will avenge her brother’s death at any cost. Even if it means insinuating herself into a rough, Brooklyn street gang and going so far undercover, she’s not sure she’ll be able to get out. Every minute she spends in their midst means the clock ticking down on her life, especially when she overhears something that could get her killed.
Bowen Driscol is the heir to a crime enterprise. He never asked for the job, but with his father behind bars, he has no choice but to step in and keep the operation running. But when the NYPD blackmails him with a piece of damning information in exchange for aiding an undercover cop, he finds himself on the other side of the law for the first time in his life.

Bowen knows the danger Sera is in, and keeping her safe trumps saving his own ass. The problem? She can’t know he’s on her side. And there's the matter of the seriously inconvenient heat sparking between them that's incinerating his resistance. But Sera only sees Bowen's past, and men like him are the reason her brother is dead. If they're to get out alive, he'll have to risk exposing the man beneath, and hope to hell he doesn't blow the whole operation in the process. 

Boiling Point (Crossing the Line #3)
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Expected January 26, 2016
tessa bailey bio.jpg
Tessa Bailey

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.

Signed copies of Risking it All & Up in Smoke
$100 Amazon Gift Card (2 Winners)
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