I love Tessa Bailey’s dirty talking heroes. They’re all straight laced cops but put the woman they want in front of them. They morph in to cavemen with the filthiest mouths; and I mean that in the very best of ways. The last book in this series had an unexpected tenderness, so I was excited to see where Bailey would take the enemies to lovers trope in this book.
Though each book in the series can be read as a stand alone, readers were first introduced to Brent and Hayden in the previous book, Officer off Limits, as the best friends of the main characters, Daniel & Story. Hayden Winstead is delighted that her BFF has found the man of her dreams. She doesn’t even mind hanging out with Daniel’s cop buddies if only it didn’t include one idiotic immature man who has made it his life’s goal to aggravate her.
Brent Mason has worked damn hard to provide for everyone in his life, so when richie rich Hayden begins to show up at the bar with Story, he figures she deserves to be knocked down a peg or two. They bicker and snipe at each other to the point that no one else wants to be around when the two are in the same room. Yet, as all romance reader know, there is a very fine line between love and hate. Once that switch flips, their walls begin to come down and Hayden and Brent discover what’s really under the surface.
It’s no surprise that I liked Brent a great deal. Perhaps because I know my fair share of this very type of guy in my everyday life, I sympathized with Brent. Guys that come off as a total jokester or lazy bum in the confines of the bar, but at home are decent hard-working family men. I have never figured out if it’s a macho imperative driving them to put on an act or something else. The secret about these guys is that they are actually quite sensitive. Hayden makes, what she thinks is a flip remark, and doesn’t realize she’s scored a hit because Brent just plays it off. I just wanted to hug the big lug, and then maybe smack him upside the head.
Hayden, on the other hand, was a little harder to connect with. I liked that even though she did these good deeds through her charities, she didn’t flaunt it and she didn’t correct Brent when he razzed her about it. Aside from this, I was disappointed that Hayden was portrayed as a frigid poor little rich girl. When her family’s finances are in trouble, she doesn’t say boo about her mother’s ridiculous proposal. I get that it might happen in those circles, but the fact Hayden didn’t even tell her best friend took away any strength her character gained.
You would think with all the verbal sparring, the sex would be nuclear. I’m afraid that it missed the mark somewhere, for me. Hayden is the one with the control issues and Brent is a secure enough man to let her work them out on him. Normally, I love this role reversal, but Hayden just comes off as stiff and a little on the cold side. Brent carries on the tradition of the great dirty talking. However, all of his internal second guessing kept pulling me out of the story.
Unfortunately, this book wasn’t my favorite in the series. I have the feeling that I might be in the minority and that’s ok. As much as I wanted Brent and Hayden to be explosive, it was just a simmer for me. I still love this series and will happily read the next story (crossing fingers it’s Matt!).
*ARC provided by Entangled Publishing
Click to purchase: Amazon
Asking for Trouble
by Tessa Bailey
Release Date: November 25, 2013