Release Reviews: Boiling Point: Tessa Bailey

Boiling Point (Crossing the Line #3)
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Release date: January 25, 2016

Falling for a con man is the most dangerous game of all…

Con artist Austin Shaw’s been in disguise so long he’s not sure where his fake identities end and he begins. Now that he’s been strong-armed into working for a specialized undercover unit working with the Chicago police—criminals with unique “skills”—the last thing he needs is to risk his iron control. Especially when it comes to a certain stunningly sexy hacker who tempts him with every look of disdain.

Polly Banks will never, ever trust a con man. On the trail of a ruthless crook who destroyed the only family she’s ever known, Polly is unnerved by the shadow who follows her every move. The one who makes her pulse pound and breath short with lust. Austin. He’s infuriating, enigmatic, and pure sex appeal, and she’s determined to resist him.

But an untrustworthy man of disguise can become anyone he wants…including a man that Polly must trust if she’s to escape their dangerous game alive.
Austin Shaw has it bad for Polly Banks. He's a mysterious con man and she's a prickly hacker assigned to a special team of ex-cons to help fight crime as punishment for past indiscretions. He's arrogant, sexy, charismatic, but all she can see is liar, con, and master of disguises. She's tough, feisty, realistic, and likes control. She's got her own hidden agenda and revenge plot brewing that could put her in danger and Austin feels the need to protect her even when she fights or ignores him. She feels like she lives by a somewhat honorable code even in her illegal dealings while she sees Austin as a wild card with limited morals who is untrustworthy.

They find themselves fighting their attraction to each other and for the upper hand. Polly has a deep need for control. Austin usually does too. But for some reason he can handle relinquishing control to her. He is willing to humble himself to her so she will accept his help and explore their attraction. 

They challenge each other, but also complement. They have the ability to quiet the other's demons and see under their masks. They are explosive, naughty, raw, and primal in taking what they need from each other. 

But when their convoluted pasts and current case become intertwined, it brings even more complications and doubt. Their present and pasts are swirling with secrets, lies, cons, and hidden agendas. The team will have to put aside their differences and work together to solve this one. But can they really trust each other? And can a con man ever really feel worthy of something real?

It was interesting to see Tessa create a different kind of hero...one that could submit while also maintaining a filthy mouth and alpha tendencies. And a strong female character not afraid to take control of him. But then was able to balance it out with power exchanges as needed. Their dynamic was fluid, intense, steamy, and dirty. And they both had needs that only the other could fulfill. The breaking down of walls and facades happened more and more as they explored each other. Sometimes the sex scenes were so intense that they were almost overwhelming in their need.

It took me a bit to warm up to Austin and Polly  and their strong antagonistic personalities and facades. But I liked seeing them broken down and vulnerabilities exposed.

We got to spend some time with the characters from previous books: Bowen and Sera, Connor and Erin, and Derek. A new character Henrik was also introduced who has an intriguing story that will be told in Raw Redemption. The team dynamic is still evolving with these strong personalities who often seem to only care about themselves or their significant others. They are a quirky, rough, and motley crew, but their skill sets often make it possible for them to solve cases that the standard police protocols just cannot seem to close.

ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

 Austin Shaw and Polly Banks have been circling each other since their hands were forced into working together, along with the other ex-cons in Derek Taylor’s special task force. Polly won’t trust a con man ever again, and Austin needs the solid control he wields in order to become his aliases

I really like Polly and Austin as individuals and as a couple. Polly is haunted by her fathers’ financial ruin and the devastating aftermath. Her need for vengeance drives a dangerous chase. Austin’s guilt brought him to Chicago as punishment. Playing into Derek’s plan fit his own need for penance and a way to stay in the city. The connection that forces them to face the wall of sexual tension building between them could destroy them both.

Together these two are as unexpected as they are a perfect match. As a prolific conman, Austin needs someone who sees him, not his disguise. Polly’s past manifests itself in her need for control. The dynamic between them could have been disastrous, but was written so well that Austin gives up control without losing his alpha strength, and Polly takes control while giving herself. I did end up skimming some of the sex scenes, but only because I wanted the meat of the story at that point.

As for the team, Boiling Point adds a new member, a fallen cop, to this loosely bound group of ex-cons. But it also has them beginning to rely on each other in new ways, breaking down the distrust and caginess, and making things look a little more like friendship in the end.

I really enjoyed Boiling Point from start to finish. As I began predicting where the story was heading, both with Polly’s quest for vengeance and Austin’s need to protect her, I couldn’t wait to see how things actually worked out, making it difficult to put the book down for longer than absolutely necessary. Henrik’s book has me intrigued -- between why he did what he did, and what it means for the other person involved, my curiosity is definitely peaked. 

ARC provided by the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review.

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Our 4 star reviews

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.

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.

Up in Smoke (Crossing the Line #2)
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Our 4 star reviews

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…


Raw Redemption
(Crossing the Line #4)
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Expected June 28, 2016
tessa bailey bio.jpg
Tessa Bailey
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 Brooklyn, New York with her husband of seven years and three-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.


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