Review: Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey

Reviewed by Sara

In Runaway Girl, the follow-up to Tessa Bailey’s Getaway Girl, Naomi Clemons has an epiphany just before she’s about to walk down the aisle. She realizes she’s nothing more than a pretty face. She’s never done anything with her life, and if she goes through with her wedding she’ll be committing to a boring, passionless lifetime as a trophy wife and party hostess to a man who can’t even remember what she likes to drink. So, she hits the road, committed to living her life to the fullest only to discover that she lacks the skills to support herself on her adventure. It’s at a Florida truck stop, while a stranger helps her maneuver a bathroom stall in her wedding dress that she applies for the only job she has any training in, a pageant coach. Which is how she meets Jason Bristow.

Jason Bristow is out of his depth; a career Marine and owner of his own diving company. He’s comfortable taking orders and risking it all for a mission or teaching people to scuba dive. Helping his grieving sister enter and excel in in a beauty pageant is not in his wheelhouse. Apparently, neither is dealing with Southern belles with sad eyes, a wicked sense of humor and a spine of steel. When Naomi Clemons shows up to apply for the position of his sister Birdie’s pageant coach, Jason can’t help but think of a couple of other positions Naomi could also take part in. What starts as simple physical attraction soon turns to one of mutual assistance and respect and Jason finds himself not just in lust, but in love with the both brave and vulnerable Naomi.

Naomi will have to work harder than she ever has before to help Birdie, win Jason, overcome the suffocating pressure from her parents, and most importantly, become a woman she can be proud of. Jason on the other hand will have to decide if a life of routine in the service is more important than a relationship with his surviving sister and Naomi, a woman who is much more than she appears.

I really enjoyed Runaway Girl. It was incredibly sexy, but also very thoughtful. Jason and Naomi are incandescent together, and, feeling like their relationship is limited time-wise, take every opportunity to enjoy the attraction between them. They’re also good about seeing to each other’s non-physical needs. Jason struggles with PTSD, grief, and feelings of failure, and Naomi is consistently there for him with her kind heart and wacky sense of humor. Naomi, on the other hand, is dealing with issues of self-esteem, familial pressures and a real fear that she has nothing to offer people other than a pretty face. Jason is able to help Naomi see her potential and enjoy adventure all while building her up. It was great to see these characters grow as people and to not have their growth take a back seat to their sexual attraction. I felt the sexual heat of Runaway Girl and the personal growth of the characters were really well balanced.

I also really enjoyed the character of Birdie. Jason younger sister is a sarcastic, slightly emo, young woman who is trying to find her place. Her twin sister died unexpectedly, her parents couldn’t cope with the living embodiment of their late daughter, so Jason, her much older brother she barely knows has returned home to care for her. Tessa Bailey does a great job writing Birdie and really nails the the writing of a teenager. Birdie never feels like a plot device, but is multidimensional and adds an element of humor and youthfulness to what could have been a very emotionally heavy novel.

All in all I loved Runaway Girl. If you like sexy books that don’t skimp on plot and character development, this may be the book for you. Check it out!

Rating: A+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Runaway Girl
by Tessa Bailey
Release Date: September 24, 2018

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