Author: Tessa Bailey
Publication Date: 25 April, 2017
Publisher: Forever Books
Series: Romancing the Clarkson's, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and Up
Rating: 5 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~
The third book in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey's Romancing the Clarksons series about four siblings on a cross-country road trip, perfect for fans of Gena Showalter and Julie James!
This time, she's calling the shots.
Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he's been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy's determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she'll finally be able to move on.
In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.
What you have to know to begin with is that Tessa Bailey always hits it out of the park for me. She is a go to author, a one click, an OMG a new book is coming how am I going to wait patiently, I'll just 'stalk' her everyday waiting for any little piece she might drop type of author. I know that when I pick up a book of hers I will walk away totally satisfied but sometimes, sometimes she leaves me completely wordless because the book was pure perfection and that was Too Hard to Forget for me.
The minute I finished this book I hit Twitter to announce that this book holds it's own against the one Tessa Bailey book I hold all the others up against, Duke's book from Made in Jersey, Worked Up (click to read my review). Duke is the standard for me now, he's practically a Goliath so facing him is a daunting task but one that Elliot goes toe to toe with. While Duke is a big teddy bear of a man who holds his emotions close to his great big barrel chest and is afraid to let love in, Coach Elliot Brooks is truly flawed. He's not a hero who just doesn't know how to let himself be loved, he's a hero who has created an entire world around his belief that he is undesirable unless he's on a football field. He takes Catholic guilt to a whole new level and honestly I am never going to look at my rosary the same way again.
Sidetone: Good Night Tessa, I am going to have to go to confession just for using my rosary from now on and 10 Our Father's and 7 Hail Mary's is not going to be enough, haha!
You almost don't want to like Coach Brooks but true to a Tessa Bailey book you will end up falling in love with him, his flaws only make him more relatable in the end, more deserving of the love he finds, and more devoted when he gives it in return.
Peggy, this lady. I am going to be straight up honest, (as one should do) I did not think I was going to like this book because I did not think I was going to like Peggy. Tessa's build up to Peggy's story gives us a glimpse of a spoiled girl with commitment issues and a whole lot of audaciousness and, dare I use the term, cockiness. All the siblings on this road trip have their issues, but hers always rubbed me a bit of the wrong way and I am going to be even more honest when I say at the start of this book I still didn't think I was going to like it or her. She does to portray I suppose what we have come to see as a typical heroine. She comes across as brash, seemingly self absorbed, risky and risqué, and flippant. The thing is she is so much more that then woman we think we know. Her story is deeper and more emotional than any one realizes. Her secrets will bring you to tears and her fight for her heart and the heart she knows is hers to care for will have you falling just as in love with her as you will with Coach. Both of these characters are so deeply flawed that you want to jump in the book and try to fix them yourself.
This story is as beautiful as it is devastating at times. It is full of broken pieces being glued back together with love and hope. It's a book about commitment on so many levels, commitment to faith, ethics, values, love, hope, trust, family, friends, self. This is a book that will have you rooting for the couple from, eh, maybe to exactly at the beginning but not much later, to the end. All the couples in Tessa's books deserve happiness and I am so glad that she gives it to them, but this couple have earned that happiness and they earned it through pain and tears. They earned it by completely laying themselves open to each other and finding that having just a little faith that you deserve something beautiful opens a whole new world. I could go on and on about this book and this couple, but I will leave it with this: You know when you go into a Tessa Bailey book you are going to get ALL the steamy moments. She's going to give you a romance that is going to knock you off your feet but she gives us so much more. Every book she surprises me because every book has a story with in a story to tell. Her characters face emotional obstacles that tear at your heart. I think I say this in every review of one of her books; go for the romance but stay for the heart and soul. These books are deeper than you would expect and that just makes them all the more satisfying.
Final note, Belmont. Crap, Belmont and Sage. I do not know how I am going to make it through their story in one piece. Belmont is going to tear you up in this book so I can only imagine what he is going to do to us when he finally gets his own. I am already so in love with him and Sage and I know they are going to break me before making me smile. I feel a little twisted that I can't wait for it.
~ HAPPY READING ~
“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”
Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”
“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”
“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”
“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”
No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”
The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”
“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”
“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”
“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”
Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.
He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”
(10 copies of Too Hard to Forget)
THE ROMANCING THE CLARKSONS SERIES
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.
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