Welcome to the blog tour for Rough Rhythm by Tessa Bailey! I'm excited to be sharing my thoughts on book 1.5 of the Made in Jersey. If you haven't read anything by this author, get on that!
Rough Rhythm by Tessa Bailey
Book 1.5 of the Made in Jersey series
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC sent for review purposes
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
God help the woman I take home tonight.
Band manager James Brandon never expected to find the elusive satisfaction he’d been chasing, let alone stumble upon it in some sleezy Hollywood meat market. Yet the girl’s quiet pride spoke to him from across the bar, louder than a shout. Troubled, hungry and homeless, she’d placed her trust in him. But after losing the grip on his dark desires that one fateful night, James has spent the last four years atoning for letting her down.
This time I’ll finally crack him.
Rock band drummer Lita Regina has had enough of James’s guilt. She wants the explosive man she met that night in Hollywood. The man who held nothing back and took no prisoners—save Lita. And she’ll stop at nothing to revive him. Even if it means throwing herself into peril at every turn, just to get a reaction from her stoic manager. But when Lita takes her quest one step too far, James disappears from her life, thinking his absence will keep her safe.
Now it’s up to Lita to bring James back…and ignite an inferno of passion in the process.
Reader Advisory: ROUGH RHYTHM contains fantasies of nonconsensual sex, acted upon by consenting characters. Readers with sensitivity to portrayals of nonconsensual sex should be advised.
What I Liked:
I really liked this novella! I was hesitant to read it because of the "Reader Advisory" from the summary, but I adore Tessa Bailey's books. Her Brazen novels are some of my favorites, and I knew that I couldn't pass up on Rough Rhythm. James and Lita were secondary characters in Crashed Out, and I loved reading about them front row and center!
James is Lita's band manager, and he's been doing a good job of taking care of her and keeping her out of trouble (as best as he can - she looks for trouble). What he refuses to do is a repeat of what happened the night they might. He feels guilty for letting his dark desires rule him that night. But all Lita wants is to crack his hard exterior and go back to that night. What happens when Lita tempts him too far, and the pair collide like never before?
Lita puts herself into troublesome situations so that she can get James' attention, and ruffle his feathers. Terrible reasons, but that man has not given any impression of sexual attraction towards her since that night. Lita is bold and industrious, and doesn't mind throwing herself at James. She goes after what she wants, and what she finds isn't what she expects. James not only wants her... but he wants her in wicked, dark ways.
I like James. He seems hard and cold on the outside, but he's an inferno on the inside. He's been trying to evade Lita's attentions for years, because he feels guilty for what he did with her the night they met. But years later, Lita wants to give it another go, and this time, James holds nothing back. I liked seeing James unleash himself, despite being afraid of scaring Lita. James has to let go of his fears and move forward, something that the author writes really well, even in this short space.
The story was short but very dense and satisfying! It felt like a very complete story, which was well done by the author.
The steamy scenes are steamy! I was worried about reading this one because I didn't think I could handle "rape fantasies" in romance novels. But the author wrote the scenes well, and they really weren't bad at all. It's more than obvious that both characters give consensus, and I honestly think the author barely scratches the surface in terms of the fantasies. It could have been much "scarier"!
Overall, I'm very happy with this novella. The author did the pair justice, and really capture the dynamic of their relationship, especially with their volatile personalities and somewhat aggressive (and super steamy) romance. I'm excited to read the next book in the series!
What I Did Not Like:
So if you're not comfortable with rape fantasies (in terms of romance), maybe avoid this one. I personally thought I would be really uncomfortable and possibly react really badly, but the book was totally fine for me!
Would I Recommend It:
If you're a Tessa Bailey fan, this novella will not disappoint. It's super steamy and the author does not skimp on the character development, too. The story felt very full and complete. If you like steamy adult romance stories, this one is fairly short and possibly for you!
4 stars. A great addition to the Made in Jersey series! I can't wait to read Thrown Down.
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!
About the Author:
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
“Oh, goddamn you.” Lita plucked the card from his fingers and hurled it back into the hallway with a muffled scream. “Four years leads to this, huh? You’re just going to dump me in this fucking…”—she waved her hands to encompass the hotel—“…rock star purgatory and bail? If you’re doing this to teach me a lesson, I will never forgive you, James.”
“I’m not.” He cleared the cobwebs from his throat. “That’s not what this is.”
Without looking at Lita, he knew she’d be chewing her bottom lip, leaving teeth marks that would take until nighttime to fade. “I guess we really meant a lot to you if it’s this easy. No notice. Just…peace out, suckers.”
James swallowed the urge to shake her. “I think you know this is the furthest thing from easy.”
“No. I don’t know anything,” she shouted, before several silent beats passed. “Except that you’re a coward. You can’t even look me in the eye.”
He surged forward, pushing her back against the doorjamb. Going to break. Too much. I shouldn’t have come up here. He’d made the mistake of looking down into green eyes swimming with moisture, calling her bluff. “Does the thought of you hurting yourself to get my attention make me a coward? Yes? So be it, Lita.” His fingernails dug into the flesh of his palms. “If something happened to you, I wouldn’t make it to the next sunrise.”
Lita’s body deflated, head falling back. “You can’t say something like that and leave,” she said, lips hardly moving. “It’s cruel.”
“I’m a cruel man.”
“No.” Lita moved into the elegant room, booted feet dragging. A miniature hurricane in a gilded cage. He’d chosen the room himself, another sign of his madness, his need to control her surroundings. Have knowledge of everything she touched. His neck grew hot when she turned, sliding a gaze down his front.
Turning and leaving was imperative at that moment, but he couldn’t resist hearing what she would say next. Delaying the good-bye.
“Remember what you called me the first night we met?” She sat down on the edge of the bed. “Before you leave, call me that one more time.”