Author: Tessa Bailey
Publication Date: 6 September, 2016
Series: Romancing the Clarksons, book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and Up
Rating: 4 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
By day, Aaron Clarkson suits up, shakes hands, and acts the perfect gentleman. But at night, behind bedroom doors, the tie comes off and the real Aaron comes out to play. Mixing business with pleasure got him fired, so Aaron knows that if he wants to work for the country's most powerful senator, he'll have to keep his eye on the prize. That's easier said than done when he meets the senator's daughter, who's wild, gorgeous, and 100 percent trouble.
Grace Pendleton is the black sheep of her conservative family. Yet while Aaron's presence reminds her of a past she'd rather forget, something in his eyes keeps drawing her in. Maybe it's the way his voice turns her molten. Or maybe it's because deep down inside, the ultra-smooth, polished Aaron Clarkson might be more than even Grace can handle…
One Clarkson has been left behind with the love of her life, the three remaining Clarkson's and one 'guest' have hit the road working their way to New York still on a mission to finish what Rita started or more precisely the deceased Clarkson matriarch started. On the way to completing their journey to New York for a New Year celebration, the three remaining Clarkson's plus one make a stop in Iowa where Aaron is on a mission to reclaim his career, which is in a complete mess after he made the wrong decision and slept with his bosses wife.
I knew that I was going to fall for Aaron, even after his crappy, jerk-ish, playboy start. I knew that Aaron was hiding himself behind attitude and cockiness. But what I didn't expect to find is how deep his emotional pain went, how much of a little boy he still kind of is, how much his heart aches for love and acceptance. I didn't expect to find that the one who is truly 'wild' in this book isn't Grace, who I ADORED, but Aaron. In fact I finished reading Too Wild To Tame went to bed (at like 2 am of course, because you can't put it down) and woke up with a start when I realized that Aaron IS wild. I was so taken aback by this sleepy revelation that I, looking like the book nerd I am, shyly shared it with Tessa...this is what I told her:
I know it sounds crazy and convoluted but it really isn't, it was just a bit stunning to me to find that wild and free Grace has this way that makes her wild beautiful, makes her open, but Aaron, his is so controlled and quiet that you almost don't realize he has it in him. His Wildness is this subtle thing that is so powerful when he lets it loose that he essentially fears it but by controlling it he's turned himself into someone he really isn't and it becomes Grace's job to teach him how to be wild again...how to live.
Grace, I loved Grace. She's that sliver of freedom that we all carry inside our hearts but that we control because society doesn't know how to understand it. She reminded me of a wood sprite and I just want to allow myself to be her for a day. To let go of the fear we and society place on us, to tie ribbons in my hair, (her reasoning for this is so beautiful and heartfelt), to take a moment to dance in the rain, run barefoot through a field, to simply live because living is a beautiful gift that we take for granted. She is the type of character that can give you hope when you are feeling down, the kind of character you want to emulate because their joy seeps from the pages. Even in the face of heartache and sadness Grace finds the joy and shares it with those who are willing to accept it. Aaron thankfully was.
All the interactions between the characters in this book seemed to simply be, more this time around. I don't know if it was Grace pulling out everyone's Wild so we saw sides we didn't see in Too Hot to Handle. We see the strained relationship between brothers, we see how much pain is on both sides and the years of hurt it's caused but we also see acceptance, understanding, love and growth. The relationship between Belmont and Sage (the 'guest' rider) is so complex in this book. I mean it has been since before Sage even showed up, but in this one we really see the two interact. It's intriguing, it's confusing, it's heartfelt, and yet it's also a bit painful to watch. It's us sitting on the sidelines watching two people breaking each other's heart in the most loving of ways and praying that they come out the other end whole. I think there book is going to be a gut wrencher. We also get a better glimpse at Peggy, this vivacious girl who is broken deep inside, her book is going to be something to behold and thankfully it is next! Rita's book Too Hot To Handle is about REDEMPTION. Aaron's book, Too Wild to Tame, is about LOVE and redemption. Belmont's book, Too Bonded to Break, I think is going to be about FAITH, love, and redemption, but Peggy's book, Too Hard to Forget, Peggy's book I don't have down yet (besides it will obviously include faith, love, and redemption as each book has built on the last) and I am pretty excited about that.
I love this series because not only are we getting Tessa Bailey's signature romance, dirty talkers, and strong women, but we're also getting her deep insight into human behaviors. Her thoughtful discourse on love and relationship. Her look into grief, pain, and healing. Too Wild to Tame is a book full of struggles, internal and external ones. The struggle to allow yourself to be open to love, to give it freely, and to accept it. It is a touching book that in the end will leave a smile on your heart and when a book can leave you with a feeling then it is the best kind of book.
~ HAPPY READING ~
The security guard at the rear entrance came into view, his familiar hawk eyes zeroing in on Grace. Then Aaron. Exasperation moved over the guard’s features before he hid it by adjusting his earpiece. Activity swarmed on the front side of the building, the media, the shouted questions, the general scrape and hum of movement audible, even where they walked along the backside of the school.
Knowing once they were inside, she wouldn’t see Aaron again, Grace smiled up at him, noticing he didn’t look quite as confident as he had a moment before. “It was nice meeting you,” she whispered. “Thanks for not ratting me out.”
“I…” He smoothed a hand down the front of his ruby-colored tie. “I won’t see you…around again?”
Grace’s hands itched with the urge to burrow into her hair, latch on to the braids she’d completed this morning while waiting for Aaron to show. “Probably not. Why would you?”
Why was he frowning at her? She couldn’t ask him why, since they were within earshot of the guard and the walk had ended way too soon. With a final memorization of his furrowed brow, she transferred her focus. “Hey, Marcus.”
“Grace.” Marcus dipped his chin at Aaron. “Who’s this?”
Her neck grew stiff. “This is my handler for today. He’s new.”
Marcus split a look between her and Aaron, before consulting his clipboard. “No one ran a change in staff by me.”
Grace could feel Aaron’s sharp scrutiny and ignored it, attempting to breeze past Marcus with a casual smile. “I understand. I’ll just go grab my dad, so he can clear it up—”
“No. That’s okay.” As predicted, a harried Marcus blocked her path. “Your father is busy. Just…” He gave Aaron another once-over, lowering his voice to a conspiratorial whisper between men, as if Grace couldn’t hear every word. “You know the approved areas? Be sure to keep her within them.”
“Yes.” She was impressed when Aaron gave a brisk nod. “Will do.”
Aaron took her elbow and moved them into the back hallway, past the kitchen, where the local Boy Scouts were rushing to mix pancakes and pour them on the oversized, industrial griddle. Once they turned a corner and Marcus was no longer in view, Grace reluctantly tugged her elbow out of Aaron’s grip, rubbing the spot to keep the warmth alive awhile longer. “This is where we part ways.”
Aaron’s way too handsome face was the picture of bafflement. “Who are you, hippie?” The low, intense vibration of his voice made her shiver. “Why do you need a handler?”
She reached back and curled her fingers around the metal staircase handle. The one she knew was there—and where it led—thanks to last night’s expedition. Her intent was to slip away without answering, but after ignoring so many compulsions that morning already, she couldn’t deny the final one.
With a thready apology, Grace shot forward and up, locking her mouth with Aaron’s, memorizing the way his stiffness melted in one big deluge. The way he gave a rough exhale through his nose. That gruff sound that drummed from his throat, a split second before his lips opened, tongue teasing in to taste hers. Just some. The most perfect, slick greeting. The two of them hung there, mouths open, lips wet and fitted together, breath racing, kitchen clamoring behind them.
Two ends of a silk rope pulled taut beneath her belly button, a tempting lick of his tongue clenching muscles she’d never acquainted herself with, nor could she point them out on a diagram. Whoa Nelly. And with her heart slamming against her ribs like a wrecking ball, Grace cut out that snippet of time—so shimmering and unmarred—tucked it into her pocket, and stole down the staircase, wondering how long the memory of Aaron’s kiss would stay with her. Praying the answer was forever.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.