Review: Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey


Title:  Protecting What’s His

Author:  Tessa Bailey


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


She’s running from the law, and the law wants her bad.

The opportunity was just too damn delicious for Ginger Peet to pass up. The purse full of money she finds—$50,000 to be exact—could give her and her teen sister the new start they need. So she grabs the cash, her gothy sibling, and their life-sized statue of Dolly Parton, and blows outta Nashville in a cloud of dust. Chicago, here we come…

Turns out, Chicago has some pretty hot cops. Hot, intense, naughty-lookin’ cops like Derek Tyler, who looks like he could eat a girl up and leave her begging for more. And more. Tempting as he is, getting involved with the sexy homicide lieutenant next door poses a teensy problem for a gal who’s on the lam. But one thing is certain—Derek’s onto her, and he wants more than just a taste.

And as far as he’s concerned, possession is nine-tenths of the law.


I enjoyed Protecting What’s His because protagonist Ginger was more rough around the edges that most series romance heroines.  She and her younger sister Willa have had to depend on each other and protect each other their whole lives.  Their mother, Valerie, will never be Mother of the Year, and they are both fortunate that they did have each other.  Mom was too busy turning tricks or getting high to do more than blame them for making her life miserable.  Scraping by, either by stealing food for Willa or begging the neighbors for handouts, Ginger has become a fierce guardian.  When she sees the opportunity to get the hell away from their mother, she takes it, as well as a bundle of cash that she finds in her mom’s purse.  Grabbing her sister, she throws their meager belongings into her beat up pickup truck and flees Nashville for greener pastures.

As they move into their new apartment in Chicago, Ginger and Willa make a less than favorable impression on their anal neighbor, Derek.  Though sparks fly between the two of them, Ginger quickly places him on her people to avoid list after discovering that he’s a cop.  She’s lived her whole life suspicious of the police, and after stealing that fifty thousand from her mother, she’s not in a hurry to get chummy with a cop.  She’s got enough to worry about without adding her grumpy new neighbor to the list.  New job, Willa has a new school, and Ginger just wants to fade into the woodwork and live a happy, quiet, safe life as far away from her mother and her seedy acquaintances as she can.

Now, of course, Ginger and Derek can’t keep their hands off of each other.  Every time they encounter each other there is a spontaneous combustion between them.  It was hot!  They are both fighting an intense and all-consuming attraction that will not allow them any peace.  Derek uses some of his police resources to perform a background check on Ginger and her family, and suddenly he’s overcome with an overpowering urge to protect Ginger and Willa from their past.  He can only guess at how dysfunctional their childhood must have been, and despite the disruption they bring to what he thought was a contented life, he can’t get close enough to Ginger. This is probably the only part of the story that didn’t work for me, because he was a cop.  Derek is so possessive of Ginger that he physically attacks other men, both on and off duty.  I just kept wondering if the police department had a hefty insurance policy to pay the lawsuits that were certain to follow him around.

Protecting What’s His is a quick, blisteringly hot read with likable protagonists.  I was glued to the story from beginning to end, and I can’t wait to see what Tessa Bailey comes up with next!

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Too Hot to Handle by Aleah Barley


Title: Too Hot To Handle

Author: Aleah Barley

Publisher:  Entangled


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

She was playing with fire…

Honey Moore has made a pledge: no more stealing cars and no more lusting after Jack Ogden. But when an arsonist torches her house and chases her all over Los Angeles, she’s forced to throw herself on Jack’s mercy. No one will look for a convicted felon in an LAPD detective’s apartment, right?

Jack doesn’t need a woman like Honey in his life. She might be sexy, but trouble follows her everywhere. But it’s hard to walk away from someone who lives at full throttle—and even harder to keep her safe. Now he’ll have to sacrifice everything to protect Honey from the arsonist determined to kill her.


When I read the blurb for Too Hot To Handle, I was intrigued.  The heroine is a car thief.  That was new for me, and I was eager to see how events played out in the story.  Honey’s love interest is a cop, and I didn’t think I could be convinced that they could put her past indiscretions behind her.  I was wrong.  This is a very fun read, perfect for vacation reading or lounging by the pool.  I hate to keep saying that lately, but during the summer, I do adjust my reading habits to include fluffier fare, because I enjoy escapist reading so much.  While I enjoyed Too Hot To Handle quite a bit, I did have to check my skepticism at the door.

Honey Moore is a reformed car thief.  Kind of.  After serving eighteen months in jail for stealing Jack Ogden’s police car, she decided to turn over a new leaf.  Instead of stealing cars, she fixes them now.  Honey loves working on cars, but when the chance comes to score some easy money by recovering a stolen car, she agrees to find and retrieve billionaire Logan Burrow’s auto.  She quickly regrets the decision after her house is burned down to the ground.  Quickly realizing that someone wants her dead, Honey adds another crime to her portfolio – she breaks into Jack Ogden’s apartment.  She has had a crush on Jack since high school, but realizing that her shady family would ruin his political career, she denied her feelings for him.  Except that she couldn’t stop thinking about him, leading to harmless pranks and the not so harmless car theft that left her a convicted felon. 

When Jack finds Honey hiding out in his apartment, he isn’t amused, but he can’t deny the attraction that still simmers between them.  Another attempt on Honey’s life kicks him into protector mode, and soon they are both flirting with danger, as well as with each other.  If Jack doesn’t come clean with his involvement with Honey, he can ruin his career, which is already on shaky ground because of his temper.  Now that Honey is back in his life, he will do anything to keep her there.

I thought this was a humorous and fast-paced read.  I loved the tension between Jack and Honey.  Jack has no reason to trust her, given her long list of crimes, and he is still baffled by her sudden rejection when they were in high school.  I understood his confusion, and I even forgave him for jumping to the wrong conclusions about Honey’s actions.  She has never been straight up with him, and with her history, it’s easy to believe that Jack would have some reservations about trusting her.  Honey is so used to defending her family, which by her own admission is full of criminals, that she doesn’t think that she is good enough for Jack.  His parents are prominent and socially influential people,  and Honey doesn’t fit in well with them.

The ending is a bit too neat, with all of the loose ends tied into a pretty bow, and that is my one gripe with the story.  Honey’s circumstances change dramatically, and I thought that it would have been more interesting if they hadn’t.  Not only does she score the love of her life, she also finds a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I kind of wish that she hadn’t, though I am certain she loved letting Jack’s nosy mother know about the change in her social status.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

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