As 2022 comes to a close, I’m celebrating my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and one of my top picks is the playboy tamed romance, Hook, Line, and Sinker. I’ll admit to being very hesitant to dive into this romance initially. Friends to lovers romances where the hero is a manhoe are not favorites of mine, but this was done SO well that I loved every minute of it. Bailey deftly handled our hero’s history, and the result was the ultimate swoonfest. Plus, the sexual tension was on fire! It’s a great addition to an excellent series, and easily one of my favorites of the year.
You’ll find my original review and some quotes from the book below!
Yeah, I might’ve swooned over this book – and this beautifully broken hero – in a big way. I devoured it in one sitting, and I was hooked the whole way through. I really, really LOVED it. We met this couple in It Happened One Summer, the first stellar book in this interconnected series, and I’ve been impatiently waiting for their love story ever since. I’ll admit to being a little worried about this playboy of a hero, but I shouldn’t have been – he’s the best part. It’s angstier and more emotional than I anticipated, with a focus on self-worth, expectations, reputations, and doubt. Fox is more broken than anyone knew, and he’s got to piece himself back together if he’s got any hope of a future with his girl. I loved the intimacy, the level of trust and determination, and this slow burn to SIZZLE romance had the kind of sexual tension that heats up the pages.
The story follows Fox, a fisherman whose playboy reputation has followed him around since high school. He’s always been the good time guy, the man who leaves before his heart is involved – and no one expects anything different from him. Fox met Hannah last summer, and she sparked something inside of him that he doesn’t know how to handle. When Hannah left town, she kept in touch in Fox, and they’ve developed a text-based friendship in the months since. So when she returns to town and moves in with Fox temporarily, it puts their friendship to the test. Things between them don’t feel purely platonic, but Fox is confident that he can’t be the man Hannah deserves… even if he wants to be.
Will this read as a standalone? I guess so, but I don’t recommend it. We met both Hannah and Fox in It Happened One Summer, and the foundation of their relationship was developed there. When Hook, Line and Sinker begins, they’ve been friends for months and are already teetering on the edge of more. I actually really loved that element of the story – Fox has been quietly working on himself for months, and he’s already started to change and grow. He might not believe himself worthy of Hannah, but he’s proving that he can be the man she deserves. I’m not always the biggest fan of reformed playboys (especially in a friends to lovers scenario), but this was executed in such a great way. Yeah, the focus of the book is Fox’s past and his doubts about the future, but his actions showcase all of the ways he’s worthy. I adored him, even if I kinda wanted to shake him sometimes. Together, these two have some serious chemistry, and their love story was so immensely compelling – I might’ve even liked it more than the first book, and that set a very high bar. This had my heart in my throat the whole way through, and I couldn’t help swooning.
In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man…
King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time—in bed and out—and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his… personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.
Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye… yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.
Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and… and… man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?
Start the series today!
Jeeves’ Top 20 of 2021 selection
Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who’s cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong.
As seen on E!Online, PopSugar, CNN, EliteDaily, Vulture, Buzzfeed, Bustle, the Nerd Daily, PARADE, LA Magazine, Country Living, USA Today, and more!
Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.
Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.
Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.
Read the review here
About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey can solve all problems except for her own, so she focuses those efforts on stubborn, fictional blue collar men and loyal, lovable heroines. She lives on Long Island avoiding the sun and social interactions, then wonders why no one has called. Dubbed the “Michelangelo of dirty talk,” by Entertainment Weekly, Tessa writes with spice, spirit, swoon and a guaranteed happily ever after. Catch her on TikTok at @authortessabailey or check out tessabailey.com for a complete list of books.
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