Release Blitz: Wound Tight: Tessa Bailey

Wound Tight (Made in Jersey #4)
Tessa Bailey
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M/M Contemporary Romance

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Expected December 5, 2016

A sexy new M/M romance from New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey

When CEO Renner Bastion walks into a room, everyone keeps their distance. Well, everyone but the sarcastic, tattooed, Boston-bred security guard whose presence has kept Renner in New Jersey longer than intended. As if the unwanted attraction isn’t unsettling enough, Renner finds out his protector isn’t as unavailable as originally thought.

Milo Bautista just came out to his wealthy, ultra-confident boss, a man he secretly respects and admires…in more ways than he’ll admit. Worldly, experienced Renner would never look in his direction, let alone share some of that confidence he wears like a cloak, so Milo has set his sights on someone else to be his first.

Until Renner offers him private lessons in seduction...

Graphics from Author's Facebook page
Okay...a Tessa Bailey dirty-talking alpha + another hot, outspoken hero! Win Win! How can I resist?

We have seen a bit of  Renner Bastion and the plant's security guard, Milo Bautista, in Worked Up. Renner is the arrogant, rich, unliked, owner of the plant from the city. He is intelligent, controlling, bossy, and calculating. He appears emotionless and guarded. He is gay, but does not do relationships. He has a need to continually prove himself and work encompasses his life. The only soft spot we have seen from him is the one that cares for his sister, Samantha.

Milo takes his job as security seriously and that also means guarding the boss. The boss he secretly has been watching for more reasons than just security. He has been questioning his own sexuality especially since becoming attracted to another man he has met. Milo is charismatic, sarcastic, outspoken, quick-witted, and does not always listen to the boss' authority...or at least is not afraid to talk back. He has no problem being Renner's unwanted protector and PITA.

Milo also wants the more mature and experienced Renner to help him become more confident in his sexuality so he can pursue something with the man he has a crush on. In turn, Milo wants to help the stressed-out Renner relax. They rile each other up, but begin to appreciate and understand each other. Even the most detached man cannot seem to remain unaffected by Milo's presence. They begin to grow closer, succumb to passion, and find themselves getting in deeper. Despite their major differences, they seem to balance each other. They become more protective and possessive, and develop unexpected feelings. But they both have fears and insecurities that creep in and work against what they really need deep down.

Renner has up walls he built a long time ago for a reason. And there is still the matter of the man that Milo initially wanted to impress. Milo is learning to believe in himself, but he is still figuring things out. He needs Renner to not only claim him, but also to truly be vulnerable enough to let him in. Due to their issues, they both question motives and feelings. Renner especially has to figure out his priorities and needs as he has always only made room in his life for work. His past has marked him and made him wary. Milo is becoming more confident, but is still anxious and insecure. They will both have to be willing to take a chance if there is a chance of something more.

They push and challenge each other on a daily basis. There is tension, angst, and both are stubborn. And when it gets down to the hard stuff, sometimes their insecurities and fears cause them to resist, back away, or make mistakes. Hesitation can cause damage and clarity may come too late.

Are these two strong-willed men willing to take a big risk and try to find a way to make it work?

Tessa Bailey succeeded in bringing us her characteristic alpha, dirty-talking hero, but also gave us another strong male who could alternately push back or submit when needed. I loved getting their dual points of view and felt that they had different voices. Milo and Renner were so damn hot together! Raw, passionate, intense, and a perfect combination of needs. This was steamy, sweet, emotional, passionate, and a lot of fun. I loved their sarcastic banter and pushing each other's boundaries. I liked that they were inherently different, but could find common ground. There was intense want and need just flowing off the pages and their periods of pain and happiness were heartfelt. But they definitely had some issues to work through in order to figure out what they could and could not live without.

I enjoyed getting more with Renner's sister, Samantha and her burly husband Duke (Worked Up) and Vaughn and River (Thrown Down). They added humor and a sense of the community of Hook, NJ. I liked seeing Renner beginning to try to fit in more instead of being the elusive outsider. I am glad Tessa wrote a M/M story and it worked great within this series. These guys were so opposite, but fit so well. I got more and more attached to them as their layers were peeled back.

It was a great way to close out this series. I hope Tessa explores more in the M/M genre though because she does such a  great job with dynamic, sexy, outspoken males with possessive streaks and deep emotions...and two are better than one.

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

Wound Tight is the first M/M novel from the well-established M/F author, Tessa Bailey. As such, it’s also my first exposure to her work. So in spite of this being the fourth full-length novel of the series, I was reading it as a standalone. While it took a while for me to get into this story, it was a hot and intense read that I couldn’t put down once I did.

Milo Bautista left Boston after an old friend hooked him up with a security job at a factory in Hook, New Jersey. In the time he’s been there, he’s developed more than just a healthy respect for the company’s owner, Renner Bastion. The man may be cold and unliked by most at the plant, but he exudes a successful confidence and worldliness that Milo finds admirable and irresistible. Having recently realized that he craves intimacy with a man, Milo’s complete inexperience results in his regard for Renner extending to how comfortable the boss is with his own homosexuality. All of these are qualities Milo wishes to possess himself, and he hopes that focusing on the man will help him learn. And the more Milo is around Renner, the more he’s attracted to him, but there’s no way someone as wealthy and powerful as Renner would ever look twice at the lowly security guard tasked with protecting him and the factory. So when Milo comes out to Renner and proposes a deal for Renner to help Milo become more confident with his sexuality in order to ask out his crush back in Boston on a date, they’re both in for more than they expected.

Normally I tend to appreciate the plot of a book more than the main characters, but the two main characters in Wound Tight formed my favorite part this time. The story alternates between their points of view, allowing the reader to develop a quick understanding of both these men. Renner is intelligent, driven, commanding, and shrewd, all in an effort to prove—mostly to himself—that he is capable of running his business successfully, in spite of being gay. This, along with a past heartbreak, results in his being totally committed to work to the point of causing himself a medical condition. He doesn’t have time, nor does he have the desire for relationships, neither the friendly kind nor the intimate. While Milo shares the same drive to do his job well—the job of providing personal protection to Renner is one he takes upon himself—he is friendly, outgoing, and well liked. 

When it comes to dealing with Renner, though, Milo is also outspoken and unafraid of the consequences talking back to the boss might have. This behavior results in their interactions having an interesting layer of intensity that makes the spark that develops between the two men all the more volatile. This is definitely a slow-burn story due to the multiple conflicts within each character. No matter how much Renner wants Milo, he refrains from going after him because doing so would break every rule he has regarding relationships. Besides, Milo has his sights on another man back in Boston. This keeps Milo in check as well, but even as he begins to realize his growing need for Renner, he can’t believe there’s any way the feelings could be reciprocal. Cue tension building until neither man can control himself. While the heat between the two leaps off the page, it’s the realization that what they need from the other matches so well with what they offer that makes the dramatic final chapters click so perfectly. 

I mentioned that it took longer for me to get into this story than it usually does, and I believe there are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, I read this as a standalone, which considering there are three full novels and a novella before this in the series, the author had the daunting task of making sure a reader like me understood enough about the backstory without making a full retelling to bore return readers. Unfortunately, I felt at times like I was missing pieces here and there, and this kept the story from feeling as self-contained as I would have liked. As a result, the set-up wasn’t as smooth as I wanted; I felt like I had been shoved into the story somewhat instead of smoothly introduced to it. This might have also been part of the reason that the first half of the story felt a little forced to me, as if the author was trying to force the characters to behave a certain way. Perhaps if I had known the backstory a little more, I would have understood their motivations better.

Regardless, once the story hit its stride about 40% in, there was no putting it down. Plenty of heat, intensity, and dirty talk (that leans a little toward domineering), all of which I’m told are hallmarks for this author. And it led to one of the better, more realistic final dramatic sequences I’ve read lately, complete with a satisfactory and heartfelt denouement that made the story much better than it looked at the start.

Wound Tight, as a whole, marks a successful first foray for Tessa Bailey’s into the M/M subgenre of romance. I hope she makes another effort, ideally with a solely M/M series, so that I can see whether or not my struggle with the first part of this one was a fluke caused by circumstances. Either way, though, I have no problem saying I look forward to it.

The author generously provided me a complimentary copy of Wound Tightin exchange for this fair and honest review.
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Jasmine Taveras is the reason Sarge Purcell grabbed his six-string and bailed the hell out of New Jersey four years ago. She's the fuel for every song he's ever written—each one laced with bitter, hard-edged, hungry lust. Now, with his hugely successful band on temporary hiatus, Sarge is determined to prove to Jasmine that this “kid” turned into every inch the man she's always needed...
Men are slim pickings for a single factory girl in Hook, New Jersey…until tall, broad-shouldered hotness walks—or rather storms—into Jasmine's life. Sarge's return shouldn't affect her this way. He's her best friend's much younger kid brother, and the kind of rough, gritty, sexiness Jasmine has no right to taste for herself. Even if he lets her.
But lust is a blinding, insatiable force. And when it crashes, it will take both Sarge and Jasmine down with it...  

Rough Rhythm (Made in Jersey #1.5)
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Available in 1001 Dark Nights on 

God help the woman I take home tonight. 

Band manager James Brandon never expected to find the elusive satisfaction he’d been chasing, let alone stumble upon it in some sleezy Hollywood meat market. Yet the girl’s quiet pride spoke to him from across the bar, louder than a shout. Troubled, hungry and homeless, she’d placed her trust in him. But after losing the grip on his dark desires that one fateful night, James has spent the last four years atoning for letting her down.

This time I’ll finally crack him. 

Rock band drummer Lita Regina has had enough of James’s guilt. She wants the explosive man she met that night in Hollywood. The man who held nothing back and took no prisoners—save Lita. And she’ll stop at nothing to revive him. Even if it means throwing herself into peril at every turn, just to get a reaction from her stoic manager. But when Lita takes her quest one step too far, James disappears from her life, thinking his absence will keep her safe.

Now it’s up to Lita to bring James back…and ignite an inferno of passion in the process.

Reader Advisory: ROUGH RHYTHM contains fantasies of nonconsensual sex, acted upon by consenting characters. Readers with sensitivity to portrayals of nonconsensual sex should be advised. 

Thrown Down (Made in Jersey #2)
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He has one last chance to deserve the girl of his dreams...

Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set on her...and River is in danger of drowning a second time.

No one believed Hook's resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he'll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he's worth their love in the process--even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.

But even as River's body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time... 

WORKED UP - cover
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Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it? 
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 Long Island, New York with her husband of nine 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.

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