Monday, September 17, 2018

Sarah's Review: The Major's Welcome Home

The Major's Welcome Home by Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Tessa Bailey (July 15, 2018)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

When Kenna Sutton is tasked with driving home newly returned Beck “True Blue” Collier, she expects the strategic Army mastermind to be a pasty number cruncher. Never at a loss for words, Kenna is nonetheless rendered speechless by the gorgeous, hard-bodied and utterly inexperienced Army Major that lands in her passenger seat. Outraged by Beck’s lack of a welcome home after seven long years overseas, Kenna takes matters into her own hands, giving Beck something he’s only ever fantasized about in his bunk.

Beck has never shied away from a test of will and Kenna gives new meaning to the word challenge. One problem? Kenna’s father is the Lieutenant General presenting Beck with a Silver Star and Beck is determined to treat Kenna with the respect she deserves. Kenna has other ideas, however, tempting Beck’s resolve at every turn. But how long can one lonely, starving man hope to resist the woman he craves?

**The Major's Welcome Home originally appeared in the OFF BASE anthology under the title OFF BASE: BECK AND KENNA**

Where to Buy*:
Kindle -- KU Title
More Info:

Reviews for Bailey's books:

Sarah's Review:

While Tessa Bailey has a large catalog, I had not had the pleasure of reading any of her works until I chose The Major’s Welcome Home novella for this review. This novella was released as a stand alone in July of 2018, but in a slightly different form had been included previously in a romance anthology.

The story opens as Kenna Sutton is doing a favor for her father and picking up a Major who has landed on base without a ride. She expects a paper pusher but ends up with a smoking hot Beck Collier in her car. Kenna is surprised that no one is able to meet the Major as he arrives back in the States and gives Beck the welcome home that he has been dreaming about.

While Beck was on a special operations assignment overseas his high school sweetheart sends him a Dear John letter. With high standards and little opportunity, Major Collier returns home a virgin. Kenna, however, went through a wild phase, but knows what she likes, no-strings attached sex as far away from the military base where she lives and works as a civilian. 

The attraction between Beck and Kenna is instant and all-consuming. When they are together and alone, the world is right, but when friends and family are around they have to decide when to be strong and when to let go.

This book has so many of things that are Sarah catnip -- a heroine who is tough on the outside and soft once you get past her walls, with a sassy mouth to boot. One of my favorite lines shows her strength right from the start,

“I’d like to know if you’re spoken for, Kenna." 
"No. I don’t let men speak for me.”

I love a confident woman! As a reader, I want to be her best friend, and want her to find the love and sex she is looking for! This book’s hero is also a virgin -- one of my favorite romance tropes that we don’t see often enough! I strongly believe virginity is a social construct and nobody’s worth can be measure by who they have (or have not) slept with. But, when well written, a virginal hero let’s us peek into his psyche, see him wrestle with himself and society before sleeping with our heroine (bonus points if the heroine has more experience than the hero, like in this book!)

If The Major’s Welcome Home is a snapshot of Tessa Bailey’s work she is a great writer and this short story is a super steamy, quick, easy read. Bailey’s skill at developing characters and immersing her reader into her world are evident. Her dialogue is smart and snappy….and panty dropping hot.  Both our heroine and hero are accomplished dirty talkers!

With a surface read this is a fun, slightly naughty story that seems to be part of Bailey’s larger military universe. A solid 4 star read.

...but there are a couple of details in this story that make me pretty uncomfortable. Beck goes from inexperienced virgin to alpha expert lover in just one encounter, not realistic but in my escape romance world it’s acceptable. However, as he struggles with himself and his sexual desires there is a religious overtone that is frankly uncomfortable. It’s not the struggle with religion and sex, per se….I imagine most 26 year old virgins from Georgia have a good chance of having some struggle there, but it is the way it is handled, or rather not handled, that left me cold. My first clue into this issue was the way that Beck described Kenna’s body. He referenced her “sinner’s backside” and “sinner’s body” when fantasizing about her. A woman’s body can be described in many ways, but this connotation that a hot, sexy body (or any type of body, really) is a sinner’s body was troublesome. Then, we get a brief flashback to a high school aged Beck wrestling with his burgeoning dominant, kinky side. When he confides in his youth pastor (as a Southerner myself this feels like a real, but uncomfortable thing) he is told sex is soft and loving as a way to make babies, so he joins the Army with his high school sweetheart waiting at home and spends the next six years wrestling with sexual imagery that he doesn't know what to do with. These are very real topics and situations that could make for an interesting story, but were skimmed over in such a way to make them problematic. 

The other issue, that is related to this repressed sexual education, but not fully fleshed out thus resulting in a heavy “eek” factor is when Beck claimed “Daddy” status. During a hot round of sex, Beck proclaims,

“I’m your Daddy now, Kenna.”

Uhhhhh, what….Kenna already has issues with her father in the story, and while the sex is hot and rough, no BDSM boundaries have been negotiated. This “daddy” declaration, which happens a few more times in the story, feels off putting and doesn’t add anything to their dynamic. It came out of nowhere and didn’t add anything to the story.

These two things drop this story from the 4 start range to the 2 star range. I like my heroines experienced, confident, and sassy. I like my hero inexperienced with a strong moral center. This story would have been great if the issues of describing her body as a “sinner’s body” and the daddy dynamic had been left out. I will definitely give Tessa Bailey another read!


~ * ~ * ~

Source: Bought

~ * ~ * ~

Thanks for the review, Sarah! 


Until Next Time,

No comments :