Review Post : Risking it All by Tessa Bailey (4.5 Stars)

Posted January 28, 2015 by Nix in review / 0 Comments

Risking it All by Tessa Bailey
Series: Crossing the Line #1
Published by Macmillan on 2015-01-27
Genres: Erotic Romance
Pages: 400
Format: eBook

NYPD detective Seraphia Newsom will avenge her brother’s death at any cost. Even if it means insinuating herself into a rough, Brooklyn street gang and going so far undercover, she’s not sure she’ll be able to get out. Every minute she spends in their midst means the clock ticking down on her life, especially when she overhears something that could get her killed.

Bowen Driscol is the heir to a crime enterprise. He never asked for the job, but with his father behind bars, he has no choice but to step in and keep the operation running. But when the NYPD blackmails him with a piece of damning information in exchange for aiding an undercover cop, he finds himself on the other side of the law for the first time in his life.

Bowen knows the danger Sera is in, and keeping her safe trumps saving his own ass. The problem? She can’t know he’s on her side. And there's the matter of the seriously inconvenient heat sparking between them that's incinerating his resistance. But Sera only sees Bowen's past, and men like him are the reason her brother is dead. If they're to get out alive, he'll have to risk exposing the man beneath, and hope to hell he doesn't blow the whole operation in the process.

FTC : I bought this with my own money.

I am a rabid fan of Tessa Bailey’s work and this new series is making me very happy. If you like dirty talking heroes, are a sucker for the I-wanna-be-good-but-I’m-really-a-bad-boy hero and like your romance a little more gritty, this may be a series for you. Oh, and I don’t think you actually need to read the previous series (the prequel could be a good plan though) but it may help (and they are fab!).

This has a very different feel to the earlier books from Tessa Bailey. It feels so much more than an erotic story, with lots of layers building to make a truly gritty, sexy story. The sex is still a heavy part of the book (and thank God for that!) but there was a whole lot more!

Bowen was always going to be an interesting hero (yes, I say hero because, in the romance plot, he definitely acts like a hero). A crime boss used to the violence required of him in his role, he doesn’t look like a traditional hero. As soon as the pages start to turn it becomes clear he is redeemable. He doesn’t want his role, even going so far as to see himself as tainted and wrong. You could say that his behaviour becomes quite self-destructive at points (I cringed at the cigarette scene)…. then he meets Sera. After this, he becomes a more typical Bailey hero. He is possessive in a slightly obsessive way, seems to be unable to talk to his heroine for any length of time without telling her how horny he is and he’s all kinds of Alpha. He has a charm about him that I think the rest of the heroes have been lacking (to no detriment; they were just bossy), which is ever so amusing because he is probably the baddest out of all of them. I loved him but I know I forgave him his sins far too easily.

Sera was a determined, spunky heroine who went undercover to find her brother’s killer and ended up sleeping with the enemy. I liked her and her fierceness. She didn’t want to end up sleeping with Bowen but she was up against some ridiculously hot dirty talk and the seduction technique of a seasoned player…she wasn’t going to be able to resist that! The only thing I struggled with was her was her constant second guessing of his character. Did he do this? Did he do that? It was exhausting.  If she honestly thought him capable of half the stuff she questioned him on, maybe she shouldn’t have been sleeping with him. It was the only thing that annoyed me about an otherwise solid character.

I said previously that this wasn’t like Tessa Bailey’s other books and is truly isn’t. The pace is slower, the side plots more fleshed out and the whole tone is much more gritty. The sex is just as dirty, the chemistry is just as combustible and the relationship is just as well developed … it’s just not the only focus of the book. Anti-hero characters can be too arse-holish for me to adore but the way Bowen’s story is written made this work for me; I never believed that he was anything other than Sera’s hero.

This is one for dirty-talk fans everywhere … there really is no one who writes it quite like Tessa 🙂


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