How many feisty heroines does it take to change a lightbulb?

How many feisty heroines does it take to change a lightbulb?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Author Spotlight: Tessa Bailey


Tessa Bailey’s Website

Line of Duty Series

  1. Protecting What’s His, plus companion novella Protecting What’s Theirs
  2. His Risk to Take
  3. Officer Off Limits
  4. Asking for Trouble
  5. Staking His Claim

Unfixable (starring Willa from Protecting What’s His)

Baiting the Maid of Honor (part of the multi-author Wedding Dare series)


It’s hot over here at the Professor’s, and not just because of the summer temperatures. A couple of weeks ago, inspired by Mandi’s review over at Smexy Books and the web ads I’d been seeing everywhere, I picked up Baiting the Maid of Honor by Tessa Bailey. And then I picked up another book of hers. And another. And another. Suffice it to say that I, hardly a fast reader, went through her entire backlist in about a week. I’m still fanning myself.

So in the interest of any readers of hot contemporary romance who haven’t read any of Ms. Bailey’s books yet, I thought I’d do a different type of review post. First, though, keep in mind that Tessa Bailey’s heroes are:

  • total alphas
  • usually have a military/police background
  • super dirty talkers
  • fond of some of the kinkier varieties of sexytimes: you’ll be treated to some bondage, a bit of spanking, and lots of dominance in the bedroom (and the alley, and the countertop, and the pool table…)

The Line of Duty series is where Bailey has written most of her books. These take place between Chicago and New York City, and the heroes are all in the police force, with some also having military pasts. They’re used to being obeyed and thinking quickly and calmly through explosive situations (one is actually an explosives expert, another a hostage negotiator). So when each one in turn runs into a feisty gal, what could possibly go wrong?

Enter Bailey’s heroines: pool hustlers, runaways, schoolteachers, socialites… They come from all walks of life, but have many things in common. For one, they’re not going to let a domineering man push them around… unless they want him to. One of the things I enjoyed about the heroines in these novels was the fact that they really enjoyed their sexual encounters, even when these took them way out of their comfort zones. There were scenes that could have felt awkward, or even coerced, until we realize that the heroine is very much into the activity, trusts her man to see to her pleasure, and knows that she’s ultimately in control of the experience.

There’s also a sense of community, both friendship and family-based, that helps solidify the characters’ personalities. Most of the Line of Duty books feature the same circle of friends, as one after another of the tough cops falls for his lady. The women, too, have supportive, and often hilarious friendships. There’s a scene between two of the heroines, in Officer Off Limits that takes place in a bar during karaoke night and had my laughing so hard even my cat looked worried. Few books do this for me. The men, too, are shown in their wider circles of family and friends, so that even though these are not very long novels there’s a very definite sense of place and community established.

And then, of course, there’s the sex, which as I mentioned above is hot, hot, hot. Most of these (except Unfixable) are part of Entangled’s Brazen line, which according to its submission guidelines, requires at least 5 explicit sex scenes per manuscript. They’re also on the lookout for dirty talkers, for you aspiring (or veteran) authors out there.

So for the most part, I had a great week of reading. The only exceptions were the novella Protecting What’s Theirs and the new adult novel Unfixable. The former is a sequel to Derek and Ginger’s story in Protecting What’s His, and has the couple dealing with a potentially relationship-ending pair of conflicts. I must admit that I’m not terribly fond of sequels, although I do like to see former couples appear in later books of a series. I was happy with the ending of Protecting What’s His, and didn’t see the need for a follow-up. Also, I felt that Derek and Ginger did some things in the sequel that were really out of character for them.

As for Unfixable, the fact that it’s a new adult title means it comes with a set of quirks that I’m also not too much into: first-person narrative, lots of angst, and characters younger than I normally enjoy reading about. However, I did like Willa’s story. She and Ginger have a great relationship in Protecting What’s His, and I found her first-person voice to be sharp, funny, and insightful. And Shane, though also of the alpha variety, is not afraid to let his own vulnerabilities show. The biggest problem I had with Unfixable was its unexplainably poor editing. There were errors that should have been caught during the proofreading/editing process, including sentences that had been changed at some point but still contained fragments of their earlier versions. This might not bother some readers, but perhaps because I proofread and edit for a living, it drove me bonkers and generally interrupted the flow of the story. But again, I found the story very engrossing and read it in no time.

So there you go. A week’s worth of reading well spent with Tessa Bailey, whose name is now one of the few on my auto-buy list for romance authors.


  1. Though I find myself less and less interesting in the sexy times contemporary romance, not because I haven't read any, au contraire, but just as a reader following my onagainoffagain whims, I loved reading about your enthusiastic response to these novels ... and I have added the author and first of series title in my Little Black Book of Romance to Look For ...

    1. See my reply below. I hit the wrong publish option, but that one was meant for you.

  2. I think you'd enjoy the dialogue in these, especially Officer Off Limits and Asking For Trouble. They reminded me, in an oblique way, of the things I liked about Faro's Daughter.