Friday, July 29, 2016

[ARC Review]: "Worked Up"

Worked Up by Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen (August 1, 2016)
Series: Made in Jersey, 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it?

Where to Buy*:
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Reviews of Bailey's Previous Novels:

Too Hot to Handle (#1) -- TBQ

Raw Redemption (#4) -- TBQ

My Review:

Samantha is only in Hook to speak to her stepbrother (and owner of the town’s factory) about a deal they had in place . . . a deal that’s now probably void since she broke up with her fiancĂ©e.

As soon as Duke sees her, he can only think one thing: mine. Possessive much? Yes, yes he is. But it works because Duke is not a possessive alpha-hole. Nope, he’s a possessive, caring “pouty man bear” as Bailey calls him. Basically he’s a giant cuddly bear of a man that gives everything he has to take care of those he loves . . . and he wants to take care of Samantha, in every way possible, for the rest of their lives. He just needs to convince her that what they have may have started extremely fast, but it will last and there’s no risk of burnout (something she’s afraid of because of her mother and stepfather’s failed relationship years ago).

You should know going in that this is not only a short-ish book (less than 200 pages) but the relationship spans only a few days, really, before the HEA wraps it up. I must admit, insta-love books do not usually work for me, ever. I need to know that the couple has something more than just mad chemistry and a “Hey, we should be together” feeling going on. But for whatever reason, the quick run from meeting to HEA here just worked for me this time. I didn’t even realize until the end that it was set during such a short time frame. I was too focused on the sexy times, the fun lines, and Duke’s charming take-charge-by-taking-care attitude to even notice it.

I just had so much fun reading this one. Samantha has a thing for puns. All the puns. All the time. But it wasn’t annoying and added a little laugh to the book.

"Samantha, you take care of this guy, huh?" Lorraine patter him on the stomach. "Don't let him skip a meal, he turns into a bear."

An image of Duke's face on a bear's body sent a giggle sailing past her lips. "He becomes unbearable, you mean?" Silence. Don't try again.  Don't-- "Maybe he goes into Kodiak arrest?"

"I like her."

"Bring her back to us, big brother, or else."

Duke might come across as a bit over-the-top at times -- again, not alpha-hole, but just . . . intense about how much he wants Samantha, and intense in the bedroom dirty-talking, which I freakin’ loved, because REASONS – but he’s such a sweet (yet dirty) man and you can’t *not* swoon for him. Lucky Samantha, really.

"Duke." Her voice bounced along with her tits. "Duke. Take me somewhere."

"Has to be here," he growled into the crook of her neck. "I can't take my cock off you. Can't stop jacking myself on this hot pussy."

I swear I could fill half this review with quotes from the dirty scenes and let the quotes do the talking for me. Because DAMN. Though this is no surprise to anyone who has read even one Tessa Bailey novel. She does dirty well. So here’s just a taste:

"Never thought about a woman's clit so much in my life. Damn, sweetheart. I've been...needing to get to it. My dick hurts for one single woman. And there's a spot between her thighs that likes to be rubbed." His harsh groan vibrated the bed. "Couldn't sleep last night for thinking about your clit."

Samantha's fingers were going their best to shred the comforter, and hell if that didn't make his balls draw up even tighter. At this rate, he'd cross the finish line before she did, simply from watching, tasting, smelling her. "Your hands. Oh my God, I-I...your hands."

Judging her wet enough, Duke slipped his middle finger into her pussy. "What about them?"

"Ohhh." Her ass lifted off the bed, making Duke curse. "They're so rough. Like rocks. Or..."

Alarmed, Duke started to withdraw his finger, but it only made her moan. Loudly. Loud enough to be heard in the hallway, which he didn't mind a damn bit. "You like them rough."

"Yes." Her enthusiasm made it a requirement for Duke to rest his head on the mattress a moment, gathering himself.

Okay, okay, and one more:

His hold on the back of the chair was so tight his fingers ached with the effort. Allowing one hand to drop away, he let it ride on her bucking ass. "Faster. Please," he grunted. "When I'm all the way in and you give me that extra little press down...fuck, that's so good, sweetheart. If it doesn't hurt too much, grind down...grind. Yes."

Samantha whimpered, biting her lip as she followed his instructions. "Stop worrying about h-hurting f-feel amazing."

"That right?" Duke almost roared, turned on to an incredible degree. "So I don't have to worry about you pouting all day tomorrow because that big cock you're riding made your pussy hurt."

"No." She shuddered on top of him. "Maybe."

Besides the sexy (after sexy after sexy after . . . well, you get the point), I also have a lot of parts highlighted that made me laugh. Like this one:

She tested her limbs on the crisp linens and stopped abruptly. Oh. Back to back kickboxing classes couldn't have accomplished this level of soreness to her thighs. Nope. Only a merciless factory mechanic with enough bulk to create a Samantha outline in the mattress.

I actually read that part a few hours after I complained on Twitter about my thighs -- damn leg day followed by kickboxing day! -- and all I could think was “Some girls walk funny because of working out and some walk funny because of The Duke Workout”. Sadly, I did not have The Duke Workout, but man . . . I’d happily take Samantha’s place if she needed a break. Just sayin’… ;)

I’m going to leave you with this last quote that gave me the feels and then made me actually laugh out loud:

"On a scale from one to ten, how are you feeling about me?" He pounded his chest, dead center. "Right here. Right now. Don't think about it."

"Ten," she said. "Ten."

He looked away, a muscle working in his cheek for a moment. Then he strode forward, tugging something out of his back pocket -- a folded envelope -- and handed it over. "I wasn't banking on what's inside here, you understand me? I was banking on us figuring it out first." He nodded and began backing up. "But I need you to know, sweetheart. I can't go another second having you think I'd sign those papers. I wouldn't have. Not in a million years."


But Duke's wasn't there at all. Instead, in the blunt hand she'd guessed as his that afternoon on the Art Day sign, he'd written: Go fuck yourself.

Seriously, such a sweet, dirty, fun read. I’ve got nothing more to add to that. 

Oh, other than this picture, which I shared with Bailey on Twitter while reading. It’s not an exact look-a-like for Duke, but: A) It’s sexy and B) It fit in with a certain scene in which Duke picks Samantha up like that . . . and, tired of his “presumptuous” ways, she decides to get back at him. You’ll just have to read the book to find out HOW. :D

Another great read from Bailey, and I loved getting a blue collar hero like Duke. Since I haven’t read any of the previous novels (or novella) in this particular series, I would say you could read this as a standalone. I’m VERY excited that Samantha’s stepbrother is getting his story in December. M/M at that! I can’t wait to see how Bailey does an M/M romance. I’m sure it’ll be just as great as her other books. 

4 1/2 STARS! 

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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Tessa Bailey; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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You know how sometimes it's just the right book at the right time? Yeah, that's what Worked Up was for me. 'Course this is true of pretty much all of Bailey's books. I have a real weakness for her intense heroes.

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on August 25th for a chance to WIN an ecopy of your own!


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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