Updated: Jan 22, 2021
Too Hot To Handle
by Tessa Bailey
Published by Forever
Book #1 in the Romancing the Clarkson's series
When rescue looks like a whole lot of trouble . . .
The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn't seen in years. When rescue shows up---six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle---Rita's pretty certain she's gone from the frying pan right into the fire . . .
Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he's about to be sorely tempted. There's something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn't just for tonight---he's forever.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Romance Feel Good
Too Hot To Handle is the first book in the Romancing the Clarkson's series, and is written by Tessa Bailey. This is actually my first read from her as well. The series is about the four Clarkson siblings, who have drifted apart throughout the years. Their mother, who passed away a year ago, left a journal, asking them to fulfill her final wish, which was for them to jump in the Atlantic Ocean on New Years Day, a moment that changed her own life. Too Hot to Handle focuses on Rita, the oldest daughter in the family, and professional chef, like her mother, and Jasper Ellis, small town bar/restaurant owner, and well known playboy.
The story itself is interesting and original. I am not a huge fan of love at first sight, or even lust at first sight, and this story has two people falling in love by the end of three days. That being said, I did like the story mostly. It flowed really well from chapter to chapter, between Rita and Jasper's POV's. I feel like if there was more time for the story to grow, and for the characters to get to know one another, it would have felt more believable, and less ... creepy. I hate using the word creepy. Don't get me wrong. Rita's and Jasper's chemistry is great on page. The sexual tension, and sexual intimacy they share is insane. Tessa Bailey can write some pretty impressive dirty talk. But because this all happened in three days ... that is A LOT of intensity to show towards a stranger. A LOT of trust to put into a stranger.
Rita's character is okay. I always saw the whole emo style as more of a teenage/college student thing, so it's weird to read about a professional adult looking that way. It was interesting that it was Rita who was so adamant to complete their mothers final wish, when in a way, she was the most damaged by her mother, although not intentionally. Her mother picking her to teach the art of cooking, being who she was, put a lot of pressure on her, that took the joy out of it. Jasper is an interesting character. I liked his backstory of being the town whore, until waking up after a bender, and hearing the women in the town talking about him as if he was nothing more than a walking sex toy, causing him to do a 180, and become celibate until he could find a woman who would take a chance and give him more than sex. Jasper fell hard though. Rita did as well, but she is definitely the realist of the two. He became intense right off the bat, and at times, if I was in her shoes, I would have been running for the hills, thinking I was going to end up chained in his basement. If I ignore that they were essentially strangers though, Jasper says some pretty romantic things ... and insanely dirty things. I mean ... wow. This is definitely a book for adults.
In the end, I enjoyed Too Hot Too Handle. The story is unique, and isn't just about the relationship between the couple, but the difficult relationships between siblings. Each character has very different personalities, which made each part of the book feel fresh. The romance itself is probably the most intense I have ever read, because of how fast it happened, and the things Rita and Jasper said and did with one another (like light choking ... like I said ... that's a lot of trust to have in a stranger). The sex was insane, the dirty talk was crazier. It's a fun read.