Updated: Jan 22
Too Wild to Tame
by Tessa Bailey
Published by Forever
Book #2 in the Romancing the Clarkson's series
Sometimes you just can't resist playing with fire...
By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country's most powerful senator, he'll have to keep his eye on the prize. That's easier said than done when he meets the senator's daughter, who's wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.
Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron's presence reminds her of a past she'd rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it's the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it's because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle...
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Romance Feel Good
Too Wild To Tame by Tessa Bailey is the second book in the Romancing the Clarkson's series, and continues the epic road trip to fulfill their mother's dying wish for her children to jump in the Atlantic Ocean on New Year's Day, in the same place she did. This book picks up shortly after Rita disembarks to start her new life with Jasper, and centers around Aaron, the recently fired politician who plans to worm his way back into politics by getting hired on with the next presidential candidate, Senator Pendleton, and Grace, the Senator's youngest daughter, who is kept away from the limelight due to a tragedy in her past.
I really liked this book, a bit more than the first one. Which is weird. While the story as a whole is unique, the love at first sight thing is the same as the last book. Despite that, I really enjoyed it, and had it finished in a day. There was a lot more depth added to these characters, and the story flowed well between the different plots: Grace and Aaron, Aaron coming to terms with himself, The Clarkson siblings, and the Clarkson's relationship with their mother.
We learn so much more in this book. We learn how his mother and father's personalities shaped him, and while his father encouraged Aaron to focus only on himself, it didn't change the fact that he does in fact, have a heart. His mother's journal entry doesn't deny the fact that Aaron is arrogant. He gets that from her. Her saying that after Belmont's accident, and everyone starting to drift apart bothered him so much, because he couldn't fix it, being the reason he only started caring about himself released something in him. Grace is a very interesting character. In all honestly, I have trouble picturing Grace and Aaron together. Grace is just so ... wild. Wild hair, modern day Robin Hood ... it's hard to picture the guy who wears suits during a road trip falling for her. Their romance was fast, just like Rita and Jasper's, but for some reason, works here. As soon as Aaron let go of the persona his father spoon fed him, and opened himself up to love, it became believable that this wild and fierce loving woman would win him over. There was romance ... actually romance. Their first date, dancing in the woods, was sweet. But this is Tessa Bailey, and I am quickly learning that along with the romance, comes a big ol' dollop of dirty talk and sex. Sweet, but ultimately hot.
Too Wild To Tame ended perfectly. Aaron gets his happy ending by finally embracing emotion, and leaving a profession that no longer satisfied him. Grace gets her happy ending with Aaron, and getting closure on her past. Also, props to Tessa Bailey for writing a romance where the male character with a rather lucrative job, leaves it to follow the love of his life around the world to do good ... which I can imagine, won't lead to the most comfortable living conditions. He does a whole 180, and seems happier for it. It resolves a bit of the tension between Belmont and Aaron (although I suspect we won't get the full details until Belmont's story), and sets up Peggy's story, as she is next, and plans on giving her ex, who ruined her for all others, hell. It will be a deviation in this series, as this will be the first couple that has history.
Top 3 Favorite Moments
1. When Aaron cut up his tie to make ribbons for her hair after her mother had the hair stylist take them out, and he tied them in himself.
2. Peggy, Sage, and Grace getting chased by the turkey
3. Grace seducing Aaron in the tent.
4. (bonus) Their first date (before the goodbye)
Where to Buy:
Aaron: "You're free to go back, you know. I don't remember issuing an invitation."
Old Man: sniff, sniff, sniff
Aaron: "What is that? Morse code?"
Grace: "You're dog doesn't seem to like you very much."
Aaron: "Yeah, thanks for noticing. The feeling is mutual."
Aaron: "What am I waiting for?"
Aaron: "My name is Aaron. And I never beg."
Grace: "My name is Grace. And I know better than to ever say never."
Grace: "I didn't realize you were here with family."
Aaron: "It's a long story full of dysfunctional people and uncomfortable crying. I won't bore you with it."
Peggy: "Maybe that's just your conscience talking."
Aaron: "I never claimed to have one."
Peggy: "Yeah? The lack is showing."
Aaron: "You're supposed to be smiling and talking about bears and asking me existential question. I don't like it when you don't."
Grace: "I'm not a virgin. I went to art school."
Aaron: "Did I ask if you were a virgin?"
Grace: "No. I volunteered the information."
Aaron: "What else are you volunteering for? Don't answer that. I don't want to know."
Grace: "Are you sure?"
Grace: "I'm not crazy. You know that when you look at me, don't you?"
Aaron: "I see a thousand things when I look at you. I don't know if I'm landing on the right one."
Grace: "It's so much better when you say your thoughts out loud. Keep doing that, okay?"
Aaron: "I don't like surprises, Grace."
Grace: "That's a shame. People say I'm full of them."
Grace: "Moments, Aaron. This is one of them. Come live in it with me."
Great. He'd lost his mind. Maybe he fit right in with the Clarksons after all.
Aaron: "You realize, if your father is elected president, you won't be able to sleep in abandoned cabins without a CIA security detail parked outside."
Grace: "Yes. I also know I'm going to give them hell."
Grace: "You don't really want to scare me, do you, Aaron?"
Aaron: "No, I don't. I don't want to scare you."
Grace: "I know. I just know."
Aaron lays a wet kiss on the inside of her thigh, at the stocking's edge.
Aaron: "Keep your naked flesh beneath this skirt tonight, or so help me God, I will be down this mountain like a fucking bat out of hell. Are you hearing me?"
He kissed the opposite thigh, tracing her stocking with a stiff tongue, setting off such a lustful squeeze between Grace's legs, she grabbed hold of his hair, holding him in place.
Grace: "Why? W-why would you do that?"
Approaching footsteps had both of them heaving sighs of frustration, Aaron straightening, wiping the back of his wrist over his open mouth, those blazing eyes still riveted on the spot between Grace's thighs.
Aaron: "Why? Because you've made yourself my responsibility. If you get in trouble or show up tomorrow hung over, I shoulder the blame."
Before Aaron could annoy her straight out of anything resembling a good mood, Grace lunged forward on the seat, stamping her lips over Aaron's. Satisfaction thrilled in her middle when his hand tangled in her hair and he groaned, trying to deepen the kiss - but she pulled back before complying became a temptation. She whispers against his lips
Grace: "Shut the fuck up. When you met me, I was setting up a robbery. No one tells me what to do. I'm a little thrown off right now, because I hurt someone I like. And now he's hurting me back by staying away, even now, when I realize that's not what I want. I never really did. And we're in this place with a lot of hard memories for me. But I'm a warrior and you don't tell me what to do. "
She snagged his lip with her teeth before letting go.
Grace: "You might have buried my ribbon cutter underneath a glare, but I know he's still in there. So just shut the fuck up about responsibility and blame, Aaron Clarkson. We're in this together, whether you like it or not. Excuse me, please."
Finally, he stepped back, pointing his index finger at Grace.
Aaron: "I meant what I said."
Grace: "So did I."
Peggy reaches back for a high five.
Peggy: "Atta girl."
Peggy: "It's horrible, trying to make him see me again. See himself again. So I'm going to seduce him tonight and go from there."
Peggy spit her wine out onto the ground.
Peggy: "Holy shit. Sage, we both need to take a page out of her playbook."
Peggy: "Whose life could you possibly make hell?"
Grace: "Ask Aaron. I think I'm making his life hell."
Peggy: "It's following us. What the fuck even is it?"
Sage: "I'm not turning around to find out."
Grace: "Get your car keys out. Get them out, so we can just dive in."
Peggy: "Good call, Jason Bourne."
Peggy shoved a hand in her pocket, but yanked it back out on a squeal when the animal picked u the pace enough to nip at the back of her show.
Peggy: "Oh, shit! No way. No way I'm dying in this field and letting my brothers say, ' I told her so' at my funeral."
Sage: "Belmont's never even kissed me."
Grace: "It's ... you guys, it's a turkey."
Peggy: "Turkey or wolverine, it's still chasing us. Should I just stop?"
Grace: "No way. They're hungry because the corn is running out. Those things won't stop until they peck your eyes out."
Peggy: "If Rita was here, she'd be the first victim. My sister can't run for shit. Dammit, I miss her. If only because her flat feet could save my life. This is so fucked up. I should have married a tax accountant and joined the PTA."
Belmont: "I was glad to see your face that day at the top of the well. I was glad. But I knew I couldn't be the person you looked up to anymore."
Aaron: "Peggy went shopping for winter clothes. She thinks she's funny. I feel like some wannabe instagram fitness model."
Grace: "Wannabe? No, you'd be the real deal."
Aaron: "If you spend the night underneath me, you'll wear your satisfaction like a billboard, baby. Someone asks you about it, you'll blush like a schoolgirl, remembering all the bad things you gave me permission to do in the dark. They'll know I had you. They'll know you got on your back for me and gave me that pussy like a birthday present."
Aaron: "It's not safe for you here. Go sleep in the cabin."
Grace: "No. I'm sleeping here. You can try to scare me off as much as you want, but I'm not budging. I know where I'm safe. I know where I'll sleep the best. And I know you'll sleep best with me here, too."
Grace: "I just need you inside me one time and I'll leave you alone. No one will ever know."
Aaron: "I'll know. I'll never stop knowing."
Grace: "It's just a moment, like in the field. Give me a moment."
Aaron: "I need you to say more things right now, baby. You're so goddamn, out of this world gorgeous, my mind went blank."
Grace: "Tell me you would have come to the cabin and led me here. It's the truth, isn't is? You would have come and gotten me. Right?"
Aaron: "Yes. Yes, and if you'd gone home, I would have driven there and knocked on your fucking door again. Banged you against the entry wall in your nightgown. No one is going to make you off-limits to me, goddammit."
Grace: "No one can do that. No one can make me off-limits."
Aaron: "I would protect you from a bear. You're safe from bears."
Aaron: "What does he want you to think about?"
Grace: "You were very rude to him, Aaron."
Aaron: "That wasn't an answer."
Grace: "He asked me on a date. I said no. So he asked me to think about it."
Aaron: "Well, you've thought about it. The answer is hell no."
She got in his face.
Grace: "I know it's hell no."
Grace: "Because I only want to go on dates with you. God you are such a ... douchebag."
Aaron: "Dates are at night, right? Does that mean ... are you definitely on the fence now about having only one night with me?"
Grace: "I was never, ever on the fence. I just didn't know how else you'd let me sleep beside you."
Grace: "I would like to go on a date with you. I want to run my hands all over your back and into your hair, just because. I want you to sit me on your lap to talk about bears. And your dog. You know, Old Man likes you best, that's why he's ignoring you. He's basically made for you. I would tell you things like that. You could tell me things back. That's a date, right?"
Aaron: "No Grace, That would be our date. No one would ever duplicate it."
Aaron: There I was, thinking Grace was making one of her moments and she's just having a laugh at my expense."
Grace: "Oh, laughing makes the best moments. That was a ten."
Aaron: "I guess I'm a selfish bastard in every way, except when it comes to fucking you. I won't be selfish with your body."
Aaron: "Come on, show me what selfish feels like coming from a saint."
Grace: "I'm not a saint."
Aaron: "They broke every rating scale when they made you, Grace."
Grace: "I think about you almost every minute of the day. I want that to be okay."
Aaron: "You're not alone."
Grace: "Now, get back to work. You have a date tonight."
I'm in love. I'm in love with you, Grace, I'm ...
Aaron: "Fucking right I have a date. You think I could forget?"
Grace: "If you don't dance, what do you call this?"
Aaron: "An illusion. We're not actually dancing right now. You're imagining the whole thing."
Grace: "I see. I have been told I let my imagination run away with me. So ... what are we actually doing?"
Aaron: "You're the one with the imagination. I'd rather you decide."
Grace: "Maybe we're really playing hide and seek with those kids. But they can't find us, because we climbed to the top of the highest tree."
Aaron: "And now we're stuck. We can't ever come down."
Grace: "See, you have an imagination, too."
Aaron: "We would't have to come down. I'd build you a tower up in the sky. We'd let your hair grow until I could use the ribbons to climb down and get supplies. Like ice cream and toothpaste."
Grace: "And dog food for Old Man."
Aaron: "I'm making a mental note to put a doggie door on this sky tower."
Grace: "Perfect. After that, all we'd need is time."
Grace: "And you can't finish our date, either?"
Aaron: "No. I can't. This was a bad idea. Every second I stand here with you, I'm making it harder to walk away. You're - God, look at you. You're brighter than the fucking lights and I have to drive away. More than that, I should be happy about it. This campaign job was the only thing I cared about until now."
Grace: "I've ruined you."
Aaron: "No. Never. But there's no way of being sure that I wouldn't ruin you. And, Jesus, as much as I'm dying to take you somewhere and taste you all over, to hold you through the night ... I'll feel twice as fucked up over leaving. I'm leaving, Grace. And maybe it's a good thing we won't have the chance to find out how you and I would have played out."
Grace: "Do you believe that?"
Aaron: "No. Fuck no, I don't believe that."
Grace: "You think I'll fall apart any more or less tomorrow if it's on the heels of us sleeping together? Well, I won't. I'll probably miss you the same amount, no matter what. A lot. I'm going to miss you a lot."
Aaron: "Grace ... I didn't even know I was capable of missing anything until I found out I was leaving you. I haven't even packed yet and I'm ... panicked. I think. I don't know what missing someone is supposed to feel like. Sharp? Huge? It's a Grace ache. It won't stop."
Aaron: "I don't know why, but ... I'm so fucking worried that when I think of you, I'll think of you huddled on the closet floor after I said those horrible things. But that shouldn't be. Not after I've watched you dance in the snow and ... moan underneath me. I think maybe I want to stay fucked up over this. I think that's why I won't think of you and be happy. The pain will mean you were real."
Grace: "That's wither the best or worst thing you could say to me. When I think of you, you'll be climbing up to our tower in the sky, ice cream in hand. That's the real you."
Aaron: "That guy is going to vanish when you're not around to see him."
Grace: "No. He was there before I came along. He'll be there after."
Aaron: "Might as well have your name tattooed on my cock because you own it, you fucking own it. Sent to ruin me, weren't you? Ruin me and then get taken away. I'm going to die without you. I'm going to die."
She opened her mouth to say something, but Aaron slid a palm beneath her face and covered it. Regret lanced his chest, even as the relentless yearning to release, release, release stole his last remainder of sanity. Or he thought it had. Until Grace's hand covered his, holding on tight with understanding. And that's when everything - except for stealing every second of pleasure from Grace - slid away into an abyss.
Aaron: "I might be leaving, but I'm yours. Wherever I am, I'll be yours, baby, hippie, Grace. My Grace. Your Aaron."
Aaron: "Where's Bel? Where's my fucking brother, huh? Where is he?"
Belmont: "Here. Need something?"
Aaron: "Yeah. Hit me. Knock me out."
Aaron: "Do it. I've never asked you for a goddamn thing in my life. Have I? I'll never ask for anything else. Just stop me from thinking of her. I can't do it when I'm awake. End it, please, just fucking end it."
Aaron lunged forward, delivering a two-handed shove to his brother's chest. Belmont's arms uncrossed, irritation coloring his expression as he rebounded off the van, but he didn't give Aaron the knockout he desperately needed.
Belmont: "She'll still be there when you wake up."
Aaron: "I'll deal with it then. Just not now."
Another brutal shove, harder this time. Another.
Aaron: "Do it. Knock me out. I'm begging. Is that what you want -"
Belmont hugs him.
Belmont: "What do you want?"
Peggy: "What's stopping you?"
Aaron: "Me. I've seen and done too many shitty things to be good like her. Good for her."
Peggy: "Maybe you've seen and done enough shitty things to know you never want to do them again."
Aaron: "Jesus, Bel. You couldn't just knock me out?"
Belmont: "Next time."
Aaron: "I remember every mark on your body. Everything you've ever said to me. The way your lips moved saying it. Everything about you is written in stone -" Written in stone somewhere I didn't think existed. In me. On me. All over me. You wrote yourself there."
Aaron: "That's it, Grace. That's all I know anymore. You're in there and you're never coming out. And I don't have a plan, baby. There's no plan, except Grace. So I'm begging here. I'm begging you to let me be a part of your plan. Could you do that? You want to go where help is needed and brighten the whole damn world like you've brightened mine? I'm coming, too. If you'll let me, I'll stand beside you and watch you fucking shine. Will you. Will you let me?"
Grace: "Yes. Yes. Oh my God, yes."
Aaron: "I love you. I love you, Grace. I'm sorry. I love you. I'm sorry."
Grace: "I love you, too."
Peggy: "You did good, bro. Real good. I'm so stupid happy for you, I could spit."
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