Blog Tour + Release Day Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Make Me by Tessa Bailey! Read on to see my review and the entire first chapter of this fabulous book!

Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Make Me by Tessa Bailey
Series: Broke and Beautiful #3 (full reading order below)
Release Date: August 11th 2015
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In the final Broke and Beautiful novel from bestselling author Tessa Bailey, a blue collar construction worker and a quiet uptown girl are about to discover that the friendzone can sometimes be excellent foreplay.

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she’d stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family’s hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn’t helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby’s suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she’s ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

Buy Links:
Amazon • HarperCollins • B&N • iTunes • Google Play

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Tessa Bailey is one of those authors for me who never disappoints, and Make Me another excellent read from her. I absolutely ADORE the Broke and Beautiful series, one of the funniest, most charming series I’ve ever read. I fell in love with the fantastic cast of characters in Chase Me, and I’ve only grown to love them even more with each book. Make Me, the final book in the series, was an absolute delight to read. I wished this heartwarming, sexy-as-hell, and deeply romantic book never ended.

He was the steadfast presence in her life that she’d never had.

First, I have to talk about the build-up to Russell and Abby’s book. Tessa Bailey definitely knew what she was doing when she introduced these two in Chase Me. I couldn’t freaking wait for Russell and Abby to finally get together! These two were so great together in the other books that I had no doubt they’d be perfect in their own book. And I was right. The friendship Abby and Russell have is that beautiful, supportive kind of relationship that easily paved the way for something more. I was blown away by the sheer love between them, especially from Russell. Make Me was a wonderful friends-to-lovers book that I just couldn’t get enough of.

“You were put on this earth to make me crazy, Abby. You know that?”
“I’m not sorry about it,” she whispered. “Does that make me a bad person?”
“No. It makes you a woman.”

Russell is completely head-over-hells in love with Abby, his best girl friend. He’s been in love and lusting after her since the moment he saw her – and the need he has for her seems to grow every day. But their vast economic differences prevent him from starting something more, at least until he can make enough money to support the two of them. Russell has a bit of a hero-complex, always wanting to save the day and be the kind of guy Abby can always count on. I love Russell, and the way he cares for Abby had my heart swooning madly, but I did get frustrated at how stubborn he is at believing he wouldn’t be able to offer anything to Abby. I just wanted him and Abby to finally get together, because they are perfect together!

Abby comes from an upper-class, rich family, but lately she’s been working to the bone to keep her family’s company afloat. The only time she can relax is when she’s with Russell, one of her best friends. But one night, the attraction between them explodes and the passion between them burns hotter than ever. I loved that even though Abby is a virgin, she wasn’t naive at all and was in fact pretty confident with Russell. She may not know exactly what to do in bed with him and his dirty, wicked mouth, but she knows that she drives him insane and definitely uses that to her advantage.

“I was yours! We’ve belonged to each other since we met.” She gathered her towel closer. “Or did I imagine it?”
“No,” Russell grated, his voice shaking. “You didn’t imagine a damn thing. I’ve been living for you since you walked out onto the stoop.”

As much as Abby and Russell love each other, there are obstacles that prevent them from easing right into a relationship. Russell frustrated me to no end with the way he believed he wasn’t good enough for Abby, but we come to understand why he has this issue when we learn about his past. It takes a long time for Russell to come to terms with his past, so because of this, I didn’t quite love Russell and Abby’s book as much as I did Honey and Ben’s.

Still, if you’ve read Tessa Bailey’s books, you know you’re in for a treat with a hot, sexy, alpha-male, dirty mouthed hero. Russell was all that and more – he was so utterly sweet and caring and romantic too. I loved that in this Tessa Bailey book, we have a hero that starts off in love with the heroine already. The chemistry between Abby and Russell is one of the hottest I’ve ever read from Tessa – I loved it!

I’m so incredibly sad now that the Broke and Beautiful series is over. Make Me had the perfect ending to the series, even though I didn’t want to leave Abby and Russell, Ben and Honey, and Roxy and Louis. These six characters were so much fun to read, and I will more than likely reread their books. In my eyes, Tessa Bailey can do no wrong. I highly recommend this series – you’ll fall so hard for the characters and their hilarious, dirty ways.

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s chapter one of Make Me! ❤

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Chapter One

Day one hundred and forty-two of being friend-zoned. Send rations.

Russell Hart stifled a groan when Abby twisted on his lap to call out a drink order to the passing waiter, adding a smile that would no doubt earn her a martini on the house. Every time their six person “super group” hung out, which was starting to become a nightly affair, Russell advanced into a newer, more vicious circle of hell. Tonight, however, he was pretty sure he’d meet the devil himself.

They were at the Longshoreman, celebrating the Fourth of July, which presented more than one precious little clusterfuck. One, the holiday meant the bar was packed full of tipsy Manhattanites, creating a shortage of chairs, hence Abby parking herself right on top of his dick. Two, it put the usually conservative Abby in ass-hugging shorts and one of those tops that tied at the back of her neck. Six months ago, he would have called it a shirt, but his two best friends had fallen down the relationship rabbit hole, putting him in the vicinity of excessive chick talk. So, now it was a halter-top. What he wouldn’t give to erase that knowledge.

During their first round of drinks, he’d become a believer in breathing exercises. Until he’d noticed these tiny, blond curls at Abby’s nape, curls he’d never seen before. And some-fucking-how, those sun-kissed curls were what had nudged him from semi-erect to full-scale Washington monument status. The hair on the rest of her head was like a…a warm milk chocolate color, so where did those little curls come from? Those detrimental musings had lead to Russell questioning what else he didn’t know about Abby. What color was everything else? Did she have freckles? Where?

Russell would not be finding out – ever – and not just because he was sitting in the friend zone with his dick wedged against his stomach – not an easy maneuver – so she wouldn’t feel it. No, there was more to it. His friends, Ben and Louis, were well aware of those reasons, which accounted for the half-sympathetic, half-needling looks they were sending him from across the table, respective girlfriends perched on their laps. The jerks.

Abby was off-limits. Not because she was taken – thank Christ – or because someone had verbally forbidden him from pursuing her. That wasn’t it. Russell had taken a long time trying to find a suitable explanation for why he didn’t just get the girl alone one night and make his move. Explain to her that men like him weren’t suitable friends for wide-eyes debutantes and give her a demonstration of the alternative.

It went like this. Abby was like an expensive package that had been delivered to him by mistake. Someone at the post office had screwed the pooch and dropped off the shiniest, most beautiful creation on his Queens doorstep and driven away, laughing manically. Russell wasn’t falling for the trick, though. Someone would claim the package, eventually. They would chuckle over the obvious mistake and take Abby away from him, because really, he had no business being the one who’s lap she chose to sit on. No business, whatsoever.

But while he was in possession of the package – as much as he’d allow himself to be in possession, anyway – he would guard her with his life. He would make sure that when someone realized the cosmic error that had occurred – the one that had made him Abby’s friend and confidant – she would be sweet and undamaged, just as she’d been on arrival.

Unfortunately, the package didn’t seem content to let him stand guard from a distance. She innocently beckoned him back every time he managed to put an inch of space between them. Russell had lost count of the times Abby had fallen asleep on him while the super group watched a movie, drank margaritas on the girls’ building rooftop, driven home in cabs. She was entirely too comfortable around him, considering he saluted against his fly every time they were in the same room.

“Why so quiet, Russell?” Louis asked, his grin turning to a wince as his actress girlfriend, Roxy, elbowed him in the ribs. Yeah. Everyone at the damn table knew he had a major thing for the beautiful, unassuming number whiz on his lap. Everyone but Abby. And that’s how he planned to keep it.

“I know why,” Ben said, causing Russell’s stomach to catapult itself across the bar. Before he could change the subject, Ben pulled his student-turned-main squeeze closer and continued. “He doesn’t need to give us advice on girls anymore. His powers have been diminished.”

“We’ve slain the beast.”

Ben and Louis toasted their plastic beer cups without a single glance at one other. Why was he friends with these two again? Oh right. The power of beer had brought them together. Praise be to Heineken. Smug as they were, though, Russell knew humor was their way of showing support. If it wasn’t humor, it would be sympathy, aka dude kryptonite.

“What kind of advice did he give you about us?” Roxy wanted to know, shooting Louis and Ben stern glances.

“Uh-uh.” Russell shook his head. “I’m calling bro confidentiality on you both. That includes pillow talk and supersedes any and all forms of sexual coercion.”

Ben adjusted his glasses. “That reasoning, however, should lend some insight into what you ladies missed.”

Honey leaned across the table and patted Russell’s arm. “It all worked out in the end, big guy. Who knows? You might have had something to do with it after all.”

Russell opened his mouth to respond, but whatever he planned to say withered in its inception because Abby spun in his lap again, sending the world around him into slow motion. A left jab of her scent – which after careful consideration he’d termed white grape sunlight – caught him in the chin and he barely restrained the urge to shout oh, come on, at the top of his lungs. Her big hazel eyes were indignant on his behalf, mouth pursed in a way that shouldn’t have been sexy, but damn-well was. She’d snapped her spine straight, hip bumping his erection in the process.

Please, almighty God, just kill me now.

“Russell gives great advice,” Abby protested and Russell would have smiled if he wasn’t busy earning his master’s degree in boner-soothing meditation. She really had no idea her outrage only made her sweeter because it looked so unnatural on her. “Remember the man on the first floor of our building? The one who used to clear his throat loudly every time we walked by?” She waited for Honey and Roxy to nod. “Russell told me the next time it happened, I should just shout TROUBLE at his door. I did. And it hasn’t happened since.”

When Louis and Ben started laughing into their beers, Russell flipped them off behind Abby’s back. What his friends knew that Abby didn’t? As soon as she’d told him the problem, he’d paid a visit to their downstairs neighbor and explained that trouble would find him if he so much as breathed in Abby – or any of her roommates’ – direction again. Hence, the single word being so effective. Russell was trouble.

But as Abby turned a bright, encouraging smile on him, swelling his heart like an inflating balloon, he recognized that his brand of trouble had nothing on Abby’s. She didn’t even know how dangerous she was to his health. Because while Abby was the package that had been delivered by mistake, he’d gone and fallen for her, despite his attempts to simply be her friend.

And maybe it was his imagination, but the loss of her seemed to loom a little closer each day. Like any minute now, she would peer a little closer and realize he was in imposter. Loss was something with which Russell was familiar. Loss had cut him off at the knees at a young age, made him hyper aware of how fast it could happen. Whoosh. Chopped off at the knees. So he was already in damage control mode, hoping to limit the fallout when she inevitably headed for a younger version of Gordon Gekko. For now, it was all about keeping a comfortable gap between him and Abby.

She scooted back on his lap to make room for the waitress who had returned with a round of drinks, and Russell gritted his teeth.

Okay. Comfortable definitely wasn’t the right word.

***

I have friends. I have friends now and it’s glorious.

Six months ago, when Abby Sullivan had placed the ad on Craigslist, seeking two roommates to share her Chelsea apartment, her highest hope had been for noise. Maybe it sounded silly, but apart from the Ninth Avenue traffic trundling past and the occasional shouting match on the street, her life had been so quiet before Honey and Roxy showed up. She’d been hoping for hair dryers in the morning, dishes being tossed in the sink, singing in the shower. Anything but the void of sound she’d been living with, alone in the massive space.

Then, oh then, she’d gone and done something even more impulsive than placing an advertisement for massively discounted rent in cyberspace. She’d blurted upon meeting them for the first time that she didn’t need help paying the rent; she merely wanted friends. Unbelievably, it hadn’t felt like a mistake to reveal such a pitiful secret to a couple of strangers. There had been a feeling when all three of them first stood in the same room that it would work out, like a complicated math equation that would prove itself worth the work.

Now? She couldn’t imagine a day passing without them. The guys had been an unexpected bonus she hadn’t counted on. Especially Russell.

As they walked crosstown toward the Hudson River where they planned to watch the Fourth of July fireworks, Abby smiled up at Russell where he towered over her. She received a suspicious look in response. Suspicious! Ha! It made her want to laugh like a lunatic. All the way back to her furthest memory, she’d been reliable, gullible, sugar-filled Abby to everyone and their mother. Even Honey and Roxy, to a degree, handled her carefully around subjects that might offend her or hurt her feelings. She was too grateful for their presence to call them on it, though. Sometimes she opened her mouth, the words I’m not made of spun glass hovering right on the tip of her tongue, but she always swallowed them. They meant well. She knew that with her whole heart. Maybe someday, when she was positive they wouldn’t vanish at a rare show of temper—the way people always did when she bared a flaw—she’d tell them. Until she worked up the courage however, she would stay quiet, and appreciate her new best friends for the colorful positivity they’d brought into her life.

But Russell? She appreciated him even more for getting mad at her.

Such occurrences were her favorite part of the week. Russell stomping into the apartment, grumbling about her not checking the peep hole. Refusing to go out on a Saturday night until she changed into more comfortable shoes. Giving her that daunting frown when she revealed they’d had a leak in the bathroom for three weeks and hadn’t yet called the super to repair it. He’d had it fixed within the hour, but he hadn’t spoken to her the entire time.

It was awesome.

Because he kept coming back. Every time. No matter what—no matter what she said or did—he never washed his hands of her. Never got so fed up with her admittedly flighty behavior that he skipped a hang out. Or didn’t respond to a text. He was the steadfast presence in her life she’d never had.

No one spoke to Abby at her job. She’d been hired after graduating at the top of her Yale class and placed in a silent power position at a hedge fund. Her father’s hedge fund. So she could understand her co-workers’ reticence to invite her for happy hour. Or even give her a polite nod in the hallway. At first, she’d been prepared to try anyway. Force them to acknowledge her in some small way, even if it was just passing the stapler in the conference room. Then she remembered. When she forced her opinion on people, or had an outburst, they went away, and didn’t come back for a long time.

Her coworkers assumed she sat in her air-conditioned office all day playing Minecraft or buying dresses online. And why wouldn’t they? She’d done nothing to sway that notion. In reality, however, she worked hard. Showed up before the lights came on and stayed later than everyone else. Brought work home with her and often, didn’t get to sleep. She had no choice.

Stress tightened like a shoelace around Abby’s stomach, but she breathed through it. Tonight was for fun with her friends. Tomorrow morning would be soon enough to face her responsibilities.

“It’s the shoes, isn’t it?” Russell demanded, encompassing Abby, Roxy and Honey with a dark look. “This always happens in the eleventh hour. You girls started limping around and we just have to watch it.”

Ben sighed. “Here we go again.”

“No, really. I think I’ve finally figured it out.” Russell swiped impatient fingers over his shaved head. “You ever heard of sympathy pains? When my sister-in-law gave birth, my brother swore someone was firing a nail gun into his stomach. To this day, the guy has never been the same.” He pointed at Abby’s electric blue pumps. “Women wear these evil creations around to confuse us. Sure, they make a girl’s legs look good, but that’s the black magic, my friends. They want us to feel their pain and not understand why.”

Louis turned, walking backwards on the sidewalk so he could face them. “I have to admit, I’m with Russell on this one.” He smiled at Roxy’s outrage. “You could go barefoot and it wouldn’t make a difference to me.”

“I’ll round it out with a third agreement,” Ben chimed in. “I like Honey in her Chucks.”

That statement earned Ben a kiss from Honey and a groan from Russell. “I’m thrilled you assholes have found a way to use my amazing logic to earn points.”

Abby loved the familiar argument simply because it was familiar—a routine she had in common with others—but she had to admit her feet were throbbing. After a night of dancing, the crosstown walk was giving her blisters. She wore heels all day at the office, but they were sensible and low-heeled. Nothing like the stilettos she’d borrowed from Roxy. In fact, now that she’d acknowledged her tired feet, every part of her seemed to sag with exhaustion, as if she’d finally given her bones permission. “I can end this argument right here,” Abby interrupted with a weary, but determined smile. The group stopped to watch as she slipped off her shoes and placed her bare feet back onto the cool sidewalk with a hearty sigh. For some reason, everyone’s gazes swung to Russell who – God love him – was frowning at her like she’d just crashed his beloved truck.

“A new tactic, gentlemen. Take note.” Their four friends laughed at Russell’s ominous tone, but Abby stayed pinned under his scowl. Although now, his scowl had a hint of uncertainty behind it. “Put them back on, Abby. You’re going to step on something. Broken glass, or—”

Abby breezed past Russell. Honestly, he worried constantly for no reason. They were only a few blocks away from the river and the streets were well lit. What was the worst that could—

Her feet left the ground, her gasp cutting off as she was cradled against Russell’s big chest. His expression was hidden, thanks to the streetlights shining blindingly above his head, but Abby knew from experience, he would be annoyed. She couldn’t prevent the smile from spreading like wildfire across her face, feeling as if it reached as far as her chest. It seemed impossible, but somehow she’d earned a place among these people who cared about her. Friends. Good friends. The kind you can’t live without.

Especially Russell. Her favorite.

“You were put on this earth to make me crazy, Abby. You know that?”

“I’m not sorry about it,” she whispered. “Does that make me a bad person?”

“No. It makes you a woman.”

She muffled her laugh with the use of Russell’s shoulder. “Men make women crazy, too. It’s not a one-sided affair.”

He frowned down at her. “What would you know about it?”

That question coming from anyone else might have embarrassed Abby, but for all Russell’s bluster, he never judged her. Not for her lack of a love life, anyway. Shoes were another matter altogether. “I know things.”

Things, huh? Maybe Louis and Ben should spend more time at their own apartments.” His arms flexed as he hefted her higher, with minimal effort. “Do you actually like watching the fireworks or is this just a patriotic custom we’re upholding?”

“No, I love fireworks.” She tilted her head back and looked at the sky. “Everyone forgets over the course of the year how incredible fireworks are. You know? They forget until they’re standing beneath them again. You don’t like them?”

He stared ahead as he answered. “I like that you like them.”

Abby smiled, knowing Russell would have to be extra gruff for the remainder of the night to make up for that slip. And needing to torture him a little over it. “That’s how I feel when you make me watch the Yankees.” She laid a hand against his cheek. “It’s worth it just to see your adorable man eyes light up.”

His sigh was sharp, but she caught the corner of his mouth kicking up. “All this time, I thought you were enjoying it.”

“The blooper reel is my favorite.” Drowsiness settled more firmly over her and she stifled a yawn against his shoulder. “Also, I love when kids in the audience catch foul balls.”

“Crowd. It’s called a crowd.”

She hummed in her throat, eyelids beginning to weigh down. “I knew that. Just seeing if you were paying attention,” she murmured.

Russell chewed his bottom lip a moment, worry marring his features. “You’re so tired lately, Abby. Everything okay?”

“Totally fine,” she lied. “Just going to rest my eyes a minute.”

Positive he would wake her up when they reached the Hudson, she wound her arms around his neck and dozed off. It was the first time she’d slept in three days.

Reading Order: Broke and Beautiful series

Chase Me by Tessa Bailey Need Me by Tessa Bailey Make Me by Tessa Bailey

#1 ~ Chase Me: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Need Me: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Make Me: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

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Tessa BaileyNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

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Blog Tour + Early Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Need Me by Tessa Bailey

Need Me tour banner

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Need Me by Tessa Bailey! Read on to see my review and the entire first chapter of this fabulous book!

Need Me by Tessa Bailey

Need Me by Tessa Bailey
Series: Broke and Beautiful #2 (full reading order below)
Release Date: April 21st 2015
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When Honey Perribow traded in her cowboy boots for stilettos and left her small Kentucky town to attend Columbia University, she never expected to find a dirt-cheap apartment or two new best friends. No stranger to hard work, Honey’s sole focus is a medical degree…until she sees newly-minted Professor, Ben Dawson, and her concentration is hijacked. Honey is fascinated by her gorgeous, young English professor and vows to find a crack his tweed-wearing, glasses-clad exterior.

While at an off campus party, an accident lands Ben in a dark, locked closet with a sexy-sounding southern belle…and their chemistry is explosive. But when he discovers that the girl in his arms is the same beautiful student he can’t stop thinking about, he is stunned. Student-teacher relationships are strictly forbidden…yet no matter how hard he tries, Ben can’t stay away from Honey.

And when his attempts to fight their attraction nearly ruin the best thing that ever happened to him, Ben will do anything to prove how much he needs her.

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes • Barnes & Noble

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God, I L.O.V.E. Tessa Bailey. She seriously can do NO WRONG in my eyes. I’ve loved (or at the very least, enjoyed) every single one of her books. And Need Me is no different! The second I finished this book, I went back to reread my favorite parts of it, that’s how much I loved it. Need Me is now my second favorite book ever of Tessa’s!!! (Right below Risking It All, because I honestly don’t think anyone can do better than Bowen.) I had such high expectations for this book ever since reading Chase Me, the first book in the Broke and Beautiful series. To be honest, I really wanted Abby and Russell to be next, but boy am I glad we got Honey and Ben instead. I fell utterly in love with them and their love story. It’s forbidden and deliciously sexy, with plenty of dirty talk – how could I not love it!?

“Did you think of me when you put those good girl panties on this morning?” He coasted his hands up the tops of her spread legs, letting his thumbs drag up the sensitive insides of her thighs, taking her skirt higher as he went. “Did you think they’d make my dick hard if I got a peek at them?”

We first met Honey in Chase Me as one of Roxy’s roommates. I wasn’t really sure how to feel about her in that book, but I ended up absolutely adoring Honey in Need Me! She’s such a lovable, intelligent, confident, hilarious character. She left Kentucky to pursue a medical degree, so college is her main priority. But everything’s put on hold when she sees her hot, young English professor. She’s never felt the insane amount of lust for a man as she has for Professor Dawson, in his tweed jacket and nerdy glasses, so she has to do something about it.

“I’ve finally worked up the never. No more hiding under my hoodie in the back row. Professor Dawson is going down to Honey town.”
“How long have you been waiting to say that?”
“A while. How was my delivery?”
“Not too shabby.”

Ben Dawson has always been attracted to older women, so he shouldn’t be intrigued by one of his students, Honey Perribow, and her brilliant writing. He isn’t sure which one of his students is Honey but he vows not to find out who she is or what she looks like. He won’t be like his father, whose affair with a woman ruined his family. But when he ends up trapped in a closet with a gorgeous girl, all his pent up frustration – from Honey Perribow and the other gorgeous girl he saw in class (who may or may not have been Honey) – explodes. Even when he finds out that the beautiful girl and Honey Perribow are one and the same, the hot lust and scorching chemistry between them are still there. And try as he might to resist, Ben can’t help but fall into temptation. It might be wrong to have a relationship in the eyes of the university, but it’s so, so right when Ben and Honey are together.

Fuck, the way you come is so goddamn hot.”
“You’re not supposed to talk that way.” He ground his erection against her belly, eliciting a whimper from her lips. “You’re an English professor.”
“Yeah? … Well, your English professor isn’t supposed to fuck you, either, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen here.”

Holy moly, I loved Ben so hard. I loved the way he was so taken with Honey, how protective, possessive, and so in lust he was with her. And I’m so glad that the first he fell for was Honey’s mind and words. It’s forbidden for him to be with her, yes, but there’s no way he can stay away from her. He does do some dumb things to try to fight their chemistry, but once he realizes that Honey is IT for him, he’ll do whatever it takes to make her see how perfect they are for each other.

I loved this book so, sooo much. Along with the angst of the forbidden love, there was the perfect amount of humor that had me laughing and giggling so much. Honey and Ben are fantastic characters who totally stole my heart. And Jesus H. Christ, Ben’s dirty talking? It’s off. the. charts. If you love Tessa Bailey’s classic dirty-talking alpha heroes, you need to experience the wonder of this dirty-talking English professor. If you’re a fan of Tessa Bailey, read this book. If you’re a fan of forbidden romances, read this book. If you’re a fan of H.O.T. dirty talking with a delicious hero and a lovable heroine, READ. THIS. BOOK.

This whole series is fantastic, actually. The Broke and Beautiful series is more on the light-hearted side, but it’s got so much heart and character. I highly recommend reading it! And now that we have Ben and Honey’s story, I am unbelievably excited for Abby and Russell! I can’t wait to see what Tessa Bailey has in store for the last remaining couple – August can’t get here quick enough!

5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Now here’s chapter one of Need Me! ❤

excerpt button

When choosing the perfect panties for a seduction, one couldn’t be too selective. Careful consideration had to be given to the cut, the style, and, most importantly, the almighty color. Honey Perribow rifled through her underwear drawer from her position on the rug, picking up and discarding undies with the efficiency required of premed students the world over. Red silk was a little too on the nose. It didn’t give the guy any credit. Blue? Hinted at mood swings. Yellow with a strawberry pattern…what am I, five?

There was no help for her. She had to call in the big guns. “Roxy!”

Her roommate of one month propped a hip on the inside of Honey’s door a moment later, biting into a piece of toast. “Did you lose your indoor voice in that pile of underpants?”

“What color would you wear if you wanted to seduce your English teacher?”

The toast paused halfway to Roxy’s mouth. “Aw, shit. Today is the day?”

Honey took a deep breath and nodded. “I’ve finally worked up the nerve. No more hiding under my hoodie in the back row. Professor Dawson is going down to Honey town.”

“How long have you been waiting to say that?”

“A while. How was my delivery?”

“Not too shabby.” Roxy shoved the remainder of the toast in her mouth and plopped down onto the floor, cross-legged, eyeballing the mountain of panties. In the month since they’d become roommates in one of the oddest interview processes of all time, they’d formed a friendship that sometimes seemed as if they were feeling their way in the dark. Honey could still sense some hesitancy on Roxy’s part to open up completely, but Roxy’s new boyfriend, Louis, seemed to be unlocking a new part of her. Considering Roxy had hidden out in her room at the outset, commiserating over panties was a vast improvement. “All right. So, we know he’s studious. He teaches Intro to Literary Theory. How does he dress?”

Honey hid her swoon by turning and pressing her face into the rug. “He has this tweed jacket. It’s like a greenish-brown, which should be ugly, but it looks so dang amazing on him. If I got up close, I bet it would smell like honest-to-goodness man mixed up with old book leather. He keeps candy in the pockets, too. I can’t tell from the back of the room which kind of candy he always pops into his mouth, but if I had to guess, I’d say butterscotch. So the jacket might have a hint of butterscotch smell going on, too.”

“Are you telling me tweed inspired all that?”

“It’s crazy, right? I know it. I can hear myself.” Honey rolled back over and stared up at the ceiling. In the few weeks since she’d started courses at Columbia University, Professor Dawson had wiggled his way under her skin like a splinter from a yellow poplar tree. No one back home in Bloomfield, Kentucky, would ever have accused her of being shy. In fact, they would have laughed over the very suggestion. She’d won first prize two years in a row for mud wrestling a pig at the county fair, after all. Shyness and pig wrestling simply didn’t add up. But the day she’d walked into the lecture hall, a mixture of confidence and nerves, and seen Professor Dawson, quietly gorgeous, in his tweed jacket and black-rimmed glasses,, she’d slunk into the back row like a scolded basset hound.

Then. Then he’d spoken. Good Lord, she still remembered the shift of energy in the room. Each and every female student had leaned forward and propped their chin on their hands. Spellbound. There was no other word for it. His voice filled the room like sexy fog, rich and nuanced. It held a subtle hint of New England, not an all-out Boston accent, but occasionally he would drop an R in a way that made her shiver. It wasn’t just the sound of his voice, either. His passion about the subject material came across in every word, every endearing head scratch or thoughtful chin rub. She’d been more of a science girl in high school. Give her physics or chemistry any day of the week, but English had become her favorite subject with enough speed to inflict whiplash.

Since she’d been bitten by the shyness bug, talking to the object of her nightly fantasies directly hadn’t been an option. Yet. Oh, and there was that teensy little issue of college professors not being allowed to fraternize with students. But she’d cross that rickety bridge when she came to it.

All her life, she’d lived in a small town where the most exciting thing to happen was a fistfight between two grannies at the Dairy Queen. She’d purposely applied for universities with strong premed programs in New York City because she wanted, needed, excitement. Needed to take life by the short and curlies and tell it who was boss. She loved her parents and her hometown dearly, but she wanted more. Starting small wasn’t an option, either. She wanted to start with something so far outside her wheelhouse she needed binoculars to see it. This was her life, and it was time to live it.

Starting today, she would seduce Professor Dawson. Just the thought of it raised goose bumps all over her arms. From the back of the room, he looked like a movie star. Something she watched on a screen from a safe distance. What would he be like up close?

“If you rub your thighs together any harder,” Roxy broke into her thoughts, “this pile of panties is going to turn into a bonfire.”

“Sorry.” Honey pushed some unbrushed blond hair out of her face. “Let’s focus on the matter at hand.”

Abby, their third roommate, breezed into the room. “What are we focusing on?”

I was focusing. She was fantasizing about tweed.”

“Tweed is still in style, but elbow patches are out,” Abby stated offhandedly, taking a spot on the floor. Of the three of them, Abby was the one gainfully employed in a corporate gig downtown, which explained her tailored black pantsuit at eight in the morning while Honey and Roxy, an aspiring actress, were still in pajamas. “What’s with the panty mountain?”

“I’m beginning the seduction process this morning.”
Roxy rolled her eyes. “Try not to make it sound so sexy, Perribow.”

Honey threw a pair of plaid panties at Roxy. “I’m not you. I can’t just flash a little leg and leave a trail of man-drool in my path.”

“Have you tried?” Roxy asked, looking smug when Honey stumbled over a reply. “Look, you’re not going to flash him your panties in class. That’s not your style. Worry about the top layer first, drag him back to your cave later. Worry about the panties then.”

“I agree.” Abby nodded. “This is premature panty picking.”

“Of course I’m not going to flash him.” Honey shrugged. “I was thinking it might boost my confidence a little if I had something sexy underneath my jeans. Might give me an extra boost so I won’t chicken out.”

Abby gave her a warm, encouraging look. She fished through the pile with one manicured hand and picked out a silky, mint-green thong with lace detail. Still with the tags on. “Wear these. They’re unique and subtly brilliant, just like you. You won’t chicken out.”

“And you’re not wearing jeans,” Roxy added, standing and dragging Honey to her feet. “To my closet, Batgirl. Where you will behold the wonder of humankind’s finest invention.”

Honey shot a nervous look over her shoulder toward an amused Abby. The brunette practically skipped along behind them down the hallway. “What would that invention be?”

“The strapless maxi dress,” Roxy breathed.

Ben Dawson gathered up the papers he’d spent his lunch break grading and tucked them neatly into his leather satchel. A quick check of his wristwatch told him he had seven minutes until his next class started. Since it took exactly three minutes to walk to the lecture hall from the teacher’s break room, he should probably get moving. As far as arriving at class went, there was a sweet spot three minutes before class began that allowed him enough time to gather his thoughts and arrange his lesson plan on the podium, but didn’t leave enough time for the students to engage him in conversation.

It wasn’t that he didn’t like conversation. He just liked to keep his social life and his professional life completely separate. He called it his laundry theory. Talking to students about their weekend plans or the shitty coffee in the cafeteria was the equivalent of throwing a red sock in with a load of whites. It just wasn’t done.

He snapped his bag closed with a definitive click and took a deep breath before leaving the break room. Yes. Separation of his social and professional life was key. The minimal age difference between him and the college sophomores he taught sometimes gave them the false impression that they were his peers. Being a professor at the age of twenty-five made him seem accessible, when, in fact, he wasn’t. He came to class, he lectured, and he went home. If he wanted to grab a beer and talk baseball, he did it with his buddies, Louis and Russell. Not students. Never, ever, students.

Ben taught English because from the moment he’d cracked his first book, words had hummed in his blood. They were something he breathed and slept and lived for. If his students left with an impression of anything, he wanted it to be his lectures, the contents of the assigned reading. Their opinion of him as a person couldn’t be allowed to enter the mix, or it took away from their experience. Conversely, he didn’t form opinions of them. Ever.

Which is why he shouldn’t have read Honey Perribow’s latest essay seven times. Seven.

He didn’t know which of his students happened to be the insightful Ms. Perribow. They were just a sea of faces, none of which he focused on for more than a few seconds now and again. He wouldn’t find out, either. Didn’t want to know what she looked like, because it didn’t matter. It couldn’t matter.

His reading assignment of The Things They Carried and subsequent essay had been met with the usual moans and gripes. Honestly. The book was a work of art. But his students’ lack of enthusiasm for anything other than a rooftop kegger had carried over into their lackluster essays. Then he’d read Ms. Perribow’s paper and he’d actually spilled his coffee in his haste to turn the pages. Instead of listing the items men carried into war, as was done in the book, she’d written a clever modern spin about what college students carry to class. What they’d chosen to bring from home. What they kept in their book bags and dorm rooms. It was obvious from her nods to the book that she’d not only read it but enjoyed it, too. She’d made him laugh. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard the sound coming from his own mouth.

Ben banished that depressing thought as he entered the lecture hall, where students were flopping down into their seats, clicking pens, finishing up their oh-so-urgent text message conversations. He hooked a thumb into the strap of his bag and lifted it over his head, placing it carefully on the podium. Don’t look up. Don’t try and figure out which one she is. It’s irrelevant.

The problem was, he kind of felt like he knew her after reading the essay. Her voice had drawn him in and locked him up inside of it. More, he felt like she’d been talking directly to him. That simply wouldn’t do.

The big hand on his wristwatch landed on one o’clock. He made sure the edges of his lesson plan were perfectly lined up with the podium and looked up at the class to begin.

And stopped.

Front row. Who was that blonde in the front row? He might not pay any attention to what his students looked like, but Ben was certain he would have remembered her. Yes, he definitely would have remembered a petite little goddess with big golden eyes and shoulders made to be gripped. Oh fuck, where had that thought come from? Stop looking. Stop looking. But he couldn’t, because her lips parted just slightly, as if she was surprised to find him staring at her. Who wouldn’t stare at her? Okay, as long as he didn’t look any lower than her face—

He looked. There was no stopping his gaze from dipping down to her cleavage. Not enough to be classified as provocative, but enough to be sexy in an I-don’t-even-have-to-try kind of way. Thank God her legs were covered. He wished her legs weren’t covered. What was happening here?

“Lolita.”

When every head in the class came up, Ben realized he’d said the single, horrifying word out loud.

A male student wearing a Rangers hat spoke up. “Lolita?”

This wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be. His neck had grown so hot that he swore it was on fire. Kind of like the rest of him. Thank God he was standing behind the podium, because his dick was hard enough to give someone in the front row a black eye. What was wrong with him? He was acting like he’d never seen a beautiful girl before. This city was packed full of them, just walking around looking like they’d stepped out of a glossy magazine, but this one. Oh, this one. Something about her made him ache everywhere. Innocent looking with a hint of excitement in her eyes, like maybe he was making her just as hot. But that couldn’t be right, because he was wearing the ugliest thrift shop tweed jacket he’d been able to find just to make himself the opposite of hot. Unappealing. Unapproachable. Just their professor.

This—all of this, including his hard-on—had to be dealt with later, though, because his students were still looking at him like he’d sprouted a third eye. Think fast, Ben.

“I, uh…” He started to adjust his glasses, but he forced his hand to lay flat on the podium. “I’ve decided to give extra credit for a paper on Lolita. The book, not the movie. Although, if you ever want to watch the movie, I’d recommend the Kubrick version. Not the one with Jeremy Irons.” Oh my God. This is such a massive fail. “Um. Okay, so. Three-thousand-word minimum. Due this time next week. Let’s talk about The Things They Carried.”

“I’d rather talk about Lolita,” baseball cap said, earning a few laughs.

This is what happens. One crack in his armor and suddenly they’re making jokes in his joke-free environment. He tried not to look at the blonde in the front row and failed miserably. When he saw her frown over baseball hat’s comment, he found himself frowning at her. He didn’t like how good it felt to have her on his side. They weren’t on the same side. Teacher. Student. That’s it. That’s how it would stay.

Ben spent the next hour reading passages from the book and giving several different interpretations of what the author wanted the reader to glean about each fictional character based on the items they carried into war. Every once in a while, his gaze would stray to the blonde, and he’d find her watching him steadily from underneath her long eyelashes. Like clockwork, every ten minutes, she would switch the leg she had crossed. Right, left, right, left. Her toes were unpainted. He liked that. Stop looking. Stop.

At two o’clock on the nose, he dismissed the class with the promise to return their graded papers next time. As the students filed out of the class, he briefly wondered which one was Honey, but the blond Lolita captured his attention. She wasn’t leaving like the rest of them. Why wasn’t she leaving? He needed her to leave. His mouth went dry when he realized they were the only two people left in the room. They stared at each other, him behind the podium, her still seated. His cock strained harder and more insistently behind his fly the longer he kept his attention on her, but he couldn’t look away. He should say something, otherwise it would be weird. She’d know how much she affected him. But he didn’t. He could only stare back as she rose to her feet and sauntered toward him, her breasts swaying underneath the dress. No bra. Red. Alert. She’s not wearing a bra. I’m screwed.

She shook her long hair back over her shoulders and he groaned. He fucking groaned, right out loud. Amusement lit her eyes. Satisfaction. None of the pretense employed by females her age. Only confidence that her girl-next-door looks were hooking him like a half-witted sea bass. And they had. There was more, however. She looked at him as if they already knew each other on some level and this face-to-face meeting was long overdue. Which is exactly how he felt. Jesus. He’d never wanted to fuck a girl so badly in his entire life, and it was wrong on so many levels. So many. It broke every rule. The school’s rules. More importantly, his own rules. He knew too well what happened when a man gave in to temptation. Knew what the consequences could be. He’d seen it. He’d lived it.

Her tongue came out to wet her lips, and he watched it happen in slow motion. Felt the muscles in his abdomen tighten at the image of her mouth skating down, down, to deal with the turmoil in his pants. She stopped right at the front of the podium and traced a finger over his lesson plans. No one had ever touched his lesson plans before, and it felt intimate. Maybe more intimate than a kiss for someone like him. She opened her mouth to speak—

Ben.”

The familiar voice broke through his red haze of lust. His colleague, Peter, stood at the entrance, eyeing him strangely. Why? Oh, probably because he was sweating and staring at a student like he wanted to eat her for lunch. Eat her…fuck. What color panties was she wearing? He’d give anything to know.

“Hey, Ben,” Peter said with a little more oomph. “We’ve got that faculty meeting.”

The blonde, looking more than a little disappointed with their audience, gave him a small smile and walked away. Just like that. She’d aroused him out of his mind, made him question his strict rules, then walked away so casually she might be headed to a beach party. When she passed Peter in the doorway, the fellow teacher looked at her speculatively, and something ugly reared its head inside of Ben. Don’t look at her. Don’t you fucking look at her, he wanted to shout.

Jesus, man. Reel it back. Repeating those words on a loop, he gathered his things quickly and joined Peter at the door. At least he had his body under control now. The icing on this cake of a day would be explaining his peter to Peter.

“What was that about?” his often nosy colleague asked him. “That looked…bad.”

Ben scratched his chin. “No idea what you mean. It was nothing.”

“It didn’t look like nothing.” Peter bumped him with his shoulder, and Ben gave him a dark look. He found Peter irritating on a regular basis, but something about him discussing the blonde in any capacity was making him twice as unbearable. They were both new to the faculty, though, and taught the same course. They were required to share notes and compare lesson plans, which put them in one another’s company pretty frequently. “Listen, we have to be careful. We don’t have tenure yet. One wrong move—”

“Stop. I don’t know what you think you saw, but you need to drop it.”

Peter held up his hands. “Just looking out for you.”

Ben stayed silent the rest of the walk to the meeting. He thought of the blonde the entire way.

Reading Order: Broke and Beautiful series

Chase Me by Tessa Bailey Need Me by Tessa Bailey Make Me by Tessa Bailey

#1 ~ Chase Me: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Need Me: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Make Me: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

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Blog Tour + Early Review & Giveaway: Chase Me by Tessa Bailey

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Chase Me by Tessa Bailey!

Chase Me by Tessa Bailey

Chase Me by Tessa Bailey
Series: Broke and Beautiful #1 (full reading order below)
Release Date: March 17th 2015
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College drop-out, Roxy Cumberland, moved to New York with dreams of becoming an actress, but her dwindling bank account is quickly putting the kibosh on that fantasy. To make some quick cash, she signs up to perform singing telegrams. Her first customer is a gorgeous, cocky Manhattan trust-funder if she ever laid eyes on one. And what could be more humiliating than singing an ode to his junk, courtesy of his last one night stand? Maybe the fact that she’s dressed in a giant, pink bunny costume…

After a night out to celebrate winning his last case, lawyer Louis McNally II isn’t prepared for the pounding in his head or the rabbit serenading him from the front door. But the sassy wit and sexy voice of the girl behind the mask intrigues him, and one look at her stunning face—followed by a mind-blowing kiss against his doorjamb—leaves Louis wanting more.

Roxy doesn’t need a spoiled rich boy who’s had everything in life handed to him on a Tiffany platter. But there’s more to Louis than his sexy surface and he’s determined to make Roxy see it…even if it means chasing her all over NYC.

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes • Barnes & Noble

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Tessa Bailey is one of my FAVORITE authors ever – NO ONE can do dirty talking, alpha-male heroes like she can!!! So OF COURSE I was so excited to read Chase Me, the first book in her new Broke and Beautiful series. And yes, it’s another winner! Hilarious, witty, sexy, and so much fun, Chase Me is a book you won’t want to miss!

Chase Me is a new adult book, so it’s got a different feel than Tessa’s adult books. What stands out about this book? The. Humor. Oh my god, I was laughing so, so much while I was reading this. All of the characters are hilarious and endearing – I adored them all! The humor in this book made it so easy to like the characters and enjoy the story. I was practically giggling throughout the entire book. You honestly can’t read this book without a grin on your face.

Roxy, the heroine, is an aspiring actress, but she’s running low on money. She decides to make some quick cash by performing singing telegrams, and her first client is a hot, sexy lawyer named Louis.

Her sarcastic thought bubble burst over her head when the door swung open, revealing a guy. A hot-as-hell guy. A naked-except-for-unbuttoned-jeans guy. Being the shameless hussy she was, her gaze immediately dipped to his happy trail, although, on this guy, it really should have been called a rapture path. It started just beneath his belly button, which sat at the bottom of beautifully defined ab muscles. But they weren’t the kind of abs honed from hours in the gym. No, they were natural, I-do-sit-ups-when-I-damn-well-feel-like-it abs. Approachable abs. The kind you could either lick or snuggle up against, depending on your mood.

Ooooh, the second Louis showed up, I totally loved him and his approachable abs. He’s got that charming, easy-going personality that meshes perfectly well with his giant sex appeal. Louis and Roxy are instantly attracted to one another but even though they have the best kiss of their lives, their first meeting doesn’t exactly end with great first impressions. But neither of them can get the other out of their mind…

There had been one weak moment in the shower this morning when he’d considered trying to re-create the kiss with the back of his hand. It had been a damn close call.

Louis is determined to find Roxy again and make her give them a chance. Roxy is a lot less eager to form any kind of relationship with him – she doesn’t even like getting close to people in general. Despite Roxy being a closed-off person, I adored her character. She’s just so fun, relatable, and hilarious. Her determination to be an actress is admirable too. She tries to resist Louis, but when they’re together, they give off massive amounts of sexual tension… and when they finally come together, it’s EXPLOSIVE.

“I was going to use my mouth on you the first time. How dare you take that away from me. … How dare you drive me so out of my mind that I have to pound you against a fucking file cabinet.”

GAH. As hilarious as this book is, it’s also SMOKIN’ HOT (which is the perfect combination, if you ask me)! If you’re wondering whether there’ll be the usual Tessa Bailey heat in this book since it’s new adult, you don’t have to worry. You’ll be fanning whenever Roxy and Louis get together.

I loved the way Louis and Roxy’s relationship grew, though they do have some bumps along the way. I adored their witty banter, their hot chemistry, and their sweet moments. I honestly enjoyed their story so much. And what makes their story even better are the secondary characters! Roxy gains two new roommates, Honey and Abby, who manage to also worm their way into her heart. We meet Louis’s two best friends, Ben and Russell, who had me in stitches, I was laughing so hard. The next book in the series will be about Ben and Honey – their book CANNOT get here quick enough!

I adored Chase Me. This book is pure FUN. I highly recommend this funny, sexy, light-hearted novel.

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Broke and Beautiful series

Chase Me by Tessa Bailey Need Me by Tessa Bailey Make Me by Tessa Bailey

#1 ~ Chase Me: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Need Me: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Make Me: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

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Cover Reveal: Need Me by Tessa Bailey

I am soooo excited to share with you the cover of the second book in Tessa Bailey’s upcoming Broke and Beautiful series, Need Me!

Need Me by Tessa Bailey

Need Me by Tessa Bailey
Series: Broke and Beautiful #2 (full reading order below)
Release Date: April 21st 2015
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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey, comes the next fun and sexy novel in her Broke and Beautiful trilogy!

“How did this tweed-wearing English professor turn out to be my dirtiest hero ever? Cause he really is.”–Tessa Bailey

When Honey Perribow traded in her cowboy boots for stilettos and left her small Kentucky town to attend Columbia University, she never expected to find a dirt-cheap apartment or two new best friends. No stranger to hard work, Honey’s sole focus is a medical degree…until she sees newly-minted Professor, Ben Dawson, and her concentration is hijacked. Honey is fascinated by her gorgeous, young English professor and vows to find a crack his tweed-wearing, glasses-clad exterior.

While at an off campus party, an accident lands Ben in a dark, locked closet with a sexy-sounding southern belle…and their chemistry is explosive. But when he discovers that the girl in his arms is the same beautiful student he can’t stop thinking about, he is stunned. Student-teacher relationships are strictly forbidden…yet no matter how hard he tries, Ben can’t stay away from Honey.

And when his attempts to fight their attraction nearly ruin the best thing that ever happened to him, Ben will do anything to prove how much he needs her.

Preorder Links:
Amazon • iTunes • B&N • Google Play

Reading Order: Broke and Beautiful series

Chase Me by Tessa Bailey Need Me by Tessa Bailey

#1 ~ Chase Me: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (March 17, 2015)
#2 ~ Need Me: Ebook • Goodreads (April 21, 2015)
#3 ~ Make Me: Ebook • Goodreads (Aug. 11, 2015)

about the author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Tessa Bailey lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and young daughter. When she isn’t writing or reading romance, Tessa enjoys a good argument and thirty-minute recipes.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads