April 8, 2016

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & EXCERPT: Thrown Down (Made in Jersey #2)

Are you ready for Thrown Down? The latest novel in Tessa Bailey's Made in Jersey series will tug on your heart over and over. Check out my review and an awesome excerpt from the book!

Thrown Down (Made in Jersey #2), by Tessa Bailey
Publish Date:
April 4, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set on her...and River is in danger of drowning a second time.

No one believed Hook's resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he'll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he's worth their love in the process--even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.

But even as River's body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time...

I braced myself before diving into Thrown Down. I got a very small inkling of what River and Vaughn's story would be like in Crashed Out, so I knew it would be heavy, emotional and angsty. How could it not be when there's a small child involved in their story? Tessa Bailey did not disappoint. I got all those feels and more - a great second-change love story and some super hot makeup sex. 

Vaughn and River are two people that you spend the entire book just wanting to hug and bake cookies for. Neither have great pasts, and they're certainly not doing the best in the present either. And, it's not for a lack of trying either. Both of them did the best they could with the information and situations they were given. 

Vaughn was the town bad boy and never felt worthy of River's love, goodness and light. He wanted her to reach her full potential, even if that took her away from him. So, like so many noble, but idiotic hero-type boys do, he made that choice for her. 

Vaughn's decision had far-reaching repercussions. But, this man - he shows what kind of person he is as soon as Sarge calls him and tells him why he needs to come home. That River is struggling to work, live and raise their child on her own. He comes back immediately, knowing his reception might not be so pleasant. He steps up and mans up without hesitation. 

I can't imagine being in River's shoes, but thanks to Tessa Bailey's writing, I came close. She's struggling so much to raise her daughter on her own, when out of the blue, the love of her life who left her when she needed him the most, shows up again, claiming to be ready to do it right this time. What would you do? 

When two people who loved each other like River and Vaughn did come back together, and now have this child in the mix as well, there was no stopping the emotions and chemistry from rushing back. Tessa Bailey writes some super sexy books, and Thrown Down is no exception. Vaughn's dirty talk - just, wow. 

Thrown Down was such an awesome second chance love story. Emotionally-charged, sweet and sexy, I read it non-stop because I needed to find out what happened next. 

Forty-nine months and three days.

That was how long it had been since he’d seen her.

Vaughn swayed to the right, his shoulder slamming up against the wall. Then he kind of just hung there, counting forward and backward from one to ten. Not helping. Not helping. His stomach pitched at the sight of River walking through the drunks, like a nurse walking among the wounded on a battlefield. She could still knock his lights out on sight. Not that he’d doubted it for a second. But God, if it were possible, she’d grown even more beautiful over the last forty-nine months. Her blond hair was tied up in a ponytail, a pencil stuck through the base, in a way he remembered well enough to make his throat go raw. In a short black skirt and fitted white T-shirt, River tried to look the part of indifferent barmaid, but didn’t pull it off.

Not by a stretch.

Eyes Vaughn knew were just a shade darker than cornflower blue flitted to each table, and her fingers tugged on the skirt’s hem self-consciously every time she approached a new one. When she fumbled with the notepad, recovering with a nervous laugh, a choked sound left Vaughn. “Riv,” he whispered.

She looked up so fast, he might as well have shouted. The sudden impact of having River’s focus on him after such an extended period of time without it released a rushing sound between his ears, blocking out the sad lounge act…and apparently someone asking if he needed a table. Because when Vaughn snapped back to reality, a man he towered over by at least a foot was in his face. Snapping his fingers.

“I wouldn’t…” Vaughn shook his head to clear it, experiencing a resurgence of anger, this time for having his attention diverted from where he needed it to be. On River.

“I wouldn’t advise snapping your fingers in my face again.”

“Why’s that, huh?”

A toss of blond hair snagged Vaughn’s gaze as his angelic ex-girlfriend zigzagged through the crowd, drawing more than just his notice. Ah no, quite the opposite. She was putting on an unwitting show for every man in the room, attracting lecherous looks by virtue of being her beautiful self, light in a dark tunnel, same way she’d always been.

Finger snapped in front of his face. Again. “This is my place and I asked you a question.”

“This is your place?” Vaughn asked. God, one hour back in Jersey and already his accent had thickened from water to oil. “You hired River Purcell to clean up tables?”

“That’s right.” 
Vaughn plowed a fist into the underside of the man’s jaw, watching him fall backward onto the sticky concrete floor with detachment that slowly morphed into satisfaction. So much for calm, he thought, shaking out his right hand.

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.

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