Too Hot to Handle (Romancing the Clarksons Series #1)

Too Hot to Handle (Romancing the Clarksons Series #1)

by Tessa Bailey

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When rescue looks like a whole lot of trouble . . .

The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn't seen in years. When rescue shows up---six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle---Rita's pretty certain she's gone from the frying pan right into the fire . . .

Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he's about to be sorely tempted. There's something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn't just for tonight---he's forever.

The Romancing the Clarksons series
Book 1 - Too Hot to Handle (Rita and Jasper)
Book 2 - Too Wild to Tame (Aaron and Grace)
Book 3 - Too Hard to Forget (Peggy and Elliott)
Book 4 - Too Beautiful to Break (Belmont and Sage)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455594122
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 05/17/2016
Series: Romancing the Clarksons Series , #1
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 111,568
File size: 451 KB

About the Author

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, and drove 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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Too Hot to Handle 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## Excellent read. I really enjoyed this book. It was very different from anything I've read. In a good way. I loved that the heroine started off snarky and self-deprecating. It was cool seeing her slowly but surely grow into a warm, much more confident woman. And Jasper was hot as all get out. I hate that he was written as the town tramp, but once he spotted Rita, it was all Rita, all the time. They were amazingly hot together. There were plenty of LOL moments as well which I always appreciate. Normally I don't buy a book without a description, HOWEVER since this book was written by the incomparable Tessa Bailey I took the chance. Happy I did. Will read again. Apprx. 250 pages.
TheLustyLiterate More than 1 year ago
Molten-Hot & Monumentally Satisfying! 4.5 Stars | White-Hot Steam TOO HOT TO HANDLE is here and it is sizzling perfection! *throws confetti* An absolute drop-everything-must-read affair for Tessa Bailey fans and new, soon-to-be-obsessed readers alike, Rita and Jasper’s scrumptious and sinfully sexy story—an intimate romance wrapped up in an epic adventure—is quintessential Bailey at her finest! Endlessly appealing and impossible to put down, this lively, emotive, molten-hot, and monumentally satisfying first installment of the Romancing the Clarksons series is the optimal gateway read to your next novel addiction! Brilliantly written with a wealth of joy, heart, soul, and blazing heat, Tessa Bailey delivers one of her most endearing, rousing, and passion-fueled page turners to date. Rita and Jasper—one of my favorite Bailey couples ever—are an inextinguishable wild fire of pent up passion, urgency, intense need, and wicked desire. Imagine your every naughty fantasy come to life—that’s this heavenly couple on every page, in every scene. Together they’re delectably dirty, raw, unleashed, and achingly beautiful. Oh, how I loved them! I haven’t been this excited for a new contemporary series in ages! After devouring the preview of TOO WILD TO TAME at the end of TOO HOT TO HANDLE, I am desperate to find out what happens to Aaron and Grace. I’m not sure how I’ll survive until September. I wish I could just binge read them all this instant! Bottom Line: Read this book! Complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed all of the books from thiss author and this was no exception. It is one off my favorites because Jasper's character is just amazing. He's so endearing; vulnerable yet strong. I just adored him and the whole story. I laughed, I got teary. I laughed some more. It was so good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the way Tessa Bailey writes her characters - real people with foibles and insecurities. Match that with incredible humor and the hottest sex around and you've got sone of the best romance. I especially liked Jasper, with his odd mix of experience and insecurity. Who would think to write a character like that? Rita meanwhile was confronting her self doubts and finding her path in life. I loved this book! Really looking forward to the next one in the series.
SJCReviews More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting read that gender flipped the "bad reputation" trope. Rita Clarkson has had a bad couple of years. Her cooking show when up in flames and her mother died. She has to travel with her siblings cross country to fulfill her mother's dying wish and the family SUV has broken down in the middle of nowhere. Rescue shows up in the form of Jasper Ellis, a local restauranteur who falls quickly in lust/love with Rita. Jasper looks at Rita and sees an opportunity for a clean slate. Jasper had been a local ne'er do well and lothario who earned his bad reputation and now loathes it. Rita doesn't have any baggage related to him and his self-confidence desperately needs someone to look at him and see someone worthy of a relationship. Both characters come with a bit of self-loathing and baggage. Rita has always felt unworthy, her mother was a famous chef and Rita has always felt the inferiority that comes from not being as brilliant as her mother. Jasper has been trying to make a name for his bar and his work and he does not know how to make a fresh start. The story was enjoyable and fresh with great secondary characters that made me look forward to the continuation of the series. Reviewer received copy of book on Netgalley
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great start to a new series, can't wait for the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this story. First time reading a book by Tessa Bailey and I am going to read her other books. This was a great love story, funny and oh, YES, very hot! ?
CoffeeGoddessTK More than 1 year ago
To say that Rita Clarkson has a complicated relationship with her family is putting it mildly. The personalities of the four of them couldn't be more different, so when they embark on a cross-country trip based on a journal left to them by their mother, shenanigans are sure to ensue. Jasper Ellis is doing his best to live down that kind of reputation. Having spent most of his adult life as the resident manwhore of Hurley, New Mexico, Jasper has sworn off women and is focusing on creating a new version of himself, and things have been going just fine. Until the Clarksons show up in town, that is. I love a book that takes me by surprise, one that has sass, humor, and enough snarky dialogue to make me laugh out loud. And, if said book has enough heat and spark to start a fire, even better. I was delighted to find that TOO HOT TO HANDLE by author Tessa Bailey has all of these things, and more. Tessa's books never fail to appeal. In TOO HOT TO HANDLE she's written characters and a story that engage from the first page. There is no way not to be intrigued by the complex relationship of the Clarkson family. Watching them together is amusing, and sometimes heartbreaking, but never dull. Their cross-country trip promises to be one heck of an adventure from the very beginning, because there is just a whole LOT of personality packed into one Suburban. And, even though they seem like caricatures, each a cliché of a type, there is so much more to them than meets the eye. The immediate heat between Jasper and Rita could power a small country. The more time that they spend together, the more it flares, and I find it a wonder that there is no spontaneous combustion going on. Serious fan myself moments going on there. But beyond all of this, there are two people that are trying really hard to refashion themselves into rebooted "better" versions of themselves. To find out that each is what helps make them that better version is bittersweet, when they're working with a timeline of just a few days. I am so glad that Tessa has written this book, and that there are more to follow, because I can't imagine that the other Clarksons will be any less wonderful to experience. 4.5 deliciously funny, sexy, snarky, 'grab this book now' stars. Grab this book. Now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not waste your money. So bad, couldn't finish. JR
AmberatWickedGoodblog More than 1 year ago
I love Tessa Bailey's writing and I was so excited to get to begin a brand new series of hers! Meet the Clarksons is book numero uno and follows Rita, as she is kicked off of a cooking show, burns down her mother's restaurant, fights with her siblings and ultimately falls for Jasper. Characters - Rita. She's a hot mess of funny and shes very relatable. We've all been there Rita and we feel your pain. Crap jobs, nutty siblings, hot guys wanting us... ok, well most of those have applied to me. She is just trying to make it, dammit, and live up to her late mother's wishes and expectations. And if that involves driving her crazy siblings across the country to dive into the frozen ocean she will. Poor Jasper, on the other hand. He just wants to stop being a whore. LOL. Once the towns bad boy, always the towns bad boy, right? NO. He can reform. He wants to. He just needs to find the right lady to make it happen. Character rating - 5 Story/Mechanics - The story moved really fast and was exceptionally wordy, IMO. Im a pretty slow reader and the last few Tessa Bailey books I have read have been written in this manner which make it just a wee difficult for me to read. Sometimes I miss key parts and have to go back - retrace my steps into the story. I get lost. I got lost several times in Too Hot to Handle. Occasionally I couldnt figure out who was talking/what they were talking about. The grammar and editing in the story were very clean. I noticed nothing out of place with this. I liked the cover. Story/Mechanics - 3 I give Too Hot to Handle a solid 4**** WickedGoodStars and will definitely recommend it to readers who love a dirty talking hero! - Amber
CindyMeyer More than 1 year ago
If you had asked me a week ago, I would have told you that there is nothing sexier than Tessa Bailey’s dirty talking cops. Like cactus, prickly on the outside, but gooey soft on the inside. Well, cactus now has competition: a desert rat by the name of Jasper Ellis. Too Hot to Handle is the first book in Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series, and it’s Rita’s story. Desperate to escape the shadows of a life in San Diego that has spelled nothing but disappointment – mostly in herself - Rita convinces her siblings to take a cross-country road trip, believing that it is their mother’s dying wish that her children join the Polar Bear Club. Belmont, Peggy, Rita and Aaron set out with the goal of jumping onto the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island on New Year’s Day. But their plans change less than a day on the road. Car trouble, and maybe a little divine providence, have the Clarksons stranded in Hurley, New Mexico at the mercy of the only garage mechanic in town, and Rita at the mercy of Jasper Ellis, the self-described joke of Hurley. Jasper and Rita couldn’t be more and less alike at the same time. Their attraction is instantly electric, but neither trusts that they could ever do anything but disappoint the other – not to mention the fact that Rita and her siblings are only in town for the day. Of course, with a little motivation, Jasper may be able to use his influence with the local mechanic to extend their visit. The Clarkson ensemble is, for me, among the most complicated characters Tessa Bailey has ever penned. The siblings have a love-hate dynamic that was both confusing and liberating, sad and humorous. The story took on different perspectives of the characters so that the reader was a part of each painful struggle. It’s a sure sign of greatness when the last chapter has me sobbing into my pillow. Five tear-stained stars!
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
A mixed bag, but ultimately I'm absolutely intrigued by the whole Clarkson clan so I'm going to keep reading. Especially because I'm pretty sure that Ms. Bailey's going to make me wait until book 4 to get Belmont's story--cruel, but effective planning. ;) What I liked: Jasper. When he was telling Rita about the day he decided to change his manwhore ways my heart broke a little. Talk about slut was definitely different to see it aimed at a guy for once. Every time it made him doubt himself I just wanted to give him a hug. The dynamic between the four siblings (Rita and Peggy's thing for The Golden Girls? Loved it), and later on, Sage (Peggy's best friend) as well. Not to mention the whole crazy whatever-it-is between Sage and Belmont. Did I mention I'm anxious for his story? Jasper's grandmother. She cracked me up. The last 20%--definitely the most solid part of the book. Loved the ending. The series potential. It's got me hooked. The siblings' names--all relatively unusual but not jarringly so. So many books seem to go to extremes--the same "unusual" names that everyone else is using, or ones that are head-scratchingly weird. I liked Rita, Peggy, Aaron, and Belmont. Sigh...Belmont. What I wasn't so crazy about: Jasper's dirty talk. Too much (I know, I know!) and it made him seem like a different guy than he is in the rest of the book. It was more jarring than hot. Rita's kitchen phobia. I just had trouble "getting" it, which made her getting over it somewhat puzzling as well. I don't know why--it was explained, more or less, but it just didn't work for me, exactly. I can't put my finger on it. Jasper's back-and-forth with Rita and intimacy. As much as I got why he was conflicted, it got weird. Especially when he started with the talking... Overall I enjoyed reading this and more ended up in the "like" column than not. Aaron appears to be next--since he's got a dog, I'll forgive him for not being his older brother. Rating: 4 stars / B+ I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a good book! I loved it can't wait for the next one!!
micharch More than 1 year ago
Jasper and Rita meet when she gets stranded in Jasper's hometown. Rita and her 3 siblings, 2 brothers and a sister take a road trip inspired by their mother's final wish. Her mother, Miriam, died and left a book that gave her children her life story, hopes, dreams and wishes for her children. Rita gets her siblings to agree to her mother's last wish and they all agree to go on a road trip across country to do the polar bear plunge on New Year's Day in New York. Rita meets Jasper on the side of the road after her brother, Belmont's, car breaks down and they get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Both Jasper and Rita feel a magnetic pull to each other, neither of which can explain. Rita has a new set of life goals and thinks her stop in Hurley is only for a short time and she will continue on. Jasper knows Rita offers him a shot at reinventing himself and he takes it. Both of them did get caught up in their baggage at times and were guilty of taking their anger over their issues out on the other one. Rita was especially difficult at times and caused Jasper some real hurt at times. Rita and her family do not express emotions well and Jasper wears his heart on his sleeve for Rita so it was definitely a transition for her to deal with Jasper's honesty. When Rita and her family are stuck in Hurley for longer, Jasper takes the extra time to try and win her heart. It was well done and Tessa Bailey did a good job of making you feel for both of them and their predicament. While Jasper knows it is selfish to have Rita leave her family and stay with him, he also knows she is his soulmate. Rita knows that Jasper wants her to stay but feels her siblings are on this journey because of her and that they are finally starting to bond. I will not say how it works out, you will have to read the book to find out. I will say that Jasper was sweet in trying to find ways to get Rita to want and need him, even though one of his plans wound up blowing up in both of their faces. Overall a good start to this series and will definitely read Aaron's story when it comes out.
Kindle_Loving_Mom More than 1 year ago
Oh my God, I love this book such a ridiculous amount!! Jasper and Rita were a revelation. Rita Clarkson has just watched her dead mother's restaurant burn to the ground, and she's not sure if she's sad or relieved. Meanwhile, her estranged siblings have all shown up and they've all decided to honor their mother's final wish in her journal, for them to all go NYC together and do the polar plunge on New Year's Day at Coney Island, like she had done herself when she was young. Rita doesn't fly, so they're road tripping it in her older brother Belmont's ancient Suburban. Her younger brother Aaron, and youngest sister Peggy are along for the ride as well. All is well until they break down somewhere in New Mexico. Jasper Ellis is his small town's good time guy. But he's been trying hard for the last 2 years to change that. He stops to help the Clarksons stuck on the side of the road. He has no idea what he's in for. He gives Rita a ride on his motorcycle to the auto shop and then he asks her out. She is agog to say the least. She tries to hide in plain sight most of the time, and she can't believe THIS MAN is noticing her. He charms her into saying yes, and my, what a journey they go on together. The book was sweet, genuine, and super sexy, as always with Tessa, but also, SO FUNNY!! There were also parts that made me cry, especially memories of her mother/things from Miriam's journal. If you can get me to laugh, cry, and feel turned on in the same book?! I'm your fangirl for life! Jasper was a dirty talking god, and the siblings were all so intriguing, each in their own way. I CANNOT WAIT for the rest of their stories to play out. And OMG, Belmont and Sage?! It. Is. So. On.
SiobhanDavisAuthor More than 1 year ago
Rita has to choose between her head and her heart in this funny, heart-warming tale of finding true love and happiness. This series has a great premise, and once I read the description, I just knew I had to read this book. The Clarksons are a mad, eclectic mix of personalities, and I can't wait to read more of this series to find out what's in store for the rest of Rita's siblings. All of them were unique in their own way, and it was refreshing to read about such different characters. Characterization was superb. All of them are suffering severe emotional baggage, and they are at a crossroads in their lives. They are attempting to rebuild their relationships after the passing of their mom. Their mom was this larger-than-life somewhat-celebrity chef. Rita was her nominated heir and she is in charge of her mom's restaurant, but she is miserable as sin, and crumbling under the pressure of delivering to the same high standards as her belated mother. She manages to convince her siblings to go on a trip - it was their mom's last wish- and they hit the road. Jasper enters the picture when their car breaks down just outside his village. He finds himself instantly attracted to Rita and wants the opportunity to get to know her. He is battling his own demons, which force him to pull back from Rita when he doesn't actually want to. Consequently, he is sending out all kinds of mixed signals that are confusing Rita. There is a fair amount of angst and back and forth, so you have been warned! The main focus of the book is the developing relationship between Rita and Jasper and how they both come to terms with the issues they are hiding. While, on the surface, they appear to be in similar situations, they are being drawn in opposite directions. Can they make it work to build a life together? This book is chock-full of witty banter and hysterically funny scenes and there are plenty of sizzling sexy times, too. I enjoyed the writing, the setting, and the pacing was bang-on. The only thing I didn't like was how this all took place in three days. I had to suspend my disbelief in order to enjoy the story, because, in reality, Rita would have to be cray-cray to make the decision she did after only three days. Overall, though, this was a great read, and I look forward to continuing the series. Thanks to the publisher and publicist for proving a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
BookReaderAnnie More than 1 year ago
This is the first time I read Tessa Bailey. In the beginning I wasn't sure what I thought of it. The story starts out slow for me and I had a little trouble getting into it. I will be honest at times in the beginning I had to force myself not to put it down and walk away. Of course I didn't have that luxury because I agreed to write a review. I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm not sure if Bailey will ever be a favorite author of mine but I did like it enough to give her another try. You never know, I might change my mind. I so wanted to like all the characters but at times I found it hard to do. They each had moments that you are right there with them and then they lose me. I did understand somewhat the family dynamics and didn't mind that they are the usual love-dovey family. As time went on the family grew on me and I really liked Jasper. Sexy name right! He felt easy to read about. He called to me more then the rest. As I continue to write this review more about the story is coming to me and I realized there are a few more moments/things that I like about this story. Don't you love how that happens. The second you start to talk about a book you remember more of the things you liked? Like I said, I'm willing to try another book in the series. This isn't a four star book for me but it is a solid three.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
When Jasper Ellis rolls up onto a broke down Suburban alongside the road, he can't believe his luck, and is quite certain the love gods are smiling down on him, because amongst a bickering family he spots the most alluring and stunningly beautiful woman he has ever had the pleasure of sharing air with. There is something about her that has him gravitating to her, something he wants to explore on a more personal level, so he invites her and her family to stop in at his bar with the hope that they will have the chance to learn more about one another. The moment she walks into his bar and the sparks start flying between them he knows they have stumbled onto something that has the makings of forever written all over it, the problem is her stay has a time limit... now he must find a way to convince her to stay or he may just lose his one real shot at true love. After Rita Clarkson watches her future burn to the ground she decides it may be a sign from above that her and her siblings need to make time to carry out their mother's last wishes, so after a whole lot of discussion and some bickering they decide to load up in her Suburban and set out on a cross country trip. But just outside of New Mexico her beloved Suburban decides to take a dump on them and leave them stranded alongside the road, and puts a major damper on their trip. As their standing alongside the road bickering about their next move, and sexy man rolls up on a Harley and offers his assistance, and gives Rita some serious heart palpitations... she has never been in the presence of such a wickedly handsome man and it seems as though she has caught his eye too! He invites them to his honky tonk for a drink or two and the minute Rita walks into the bar the sparks start flying and suddenly her cross country trip starts to lose it's appeal... The moment I saw the cover for this one I was immediately intrigued, and had to know more, so I went in search of the synopsis and liked what I found, so I took a gamble on a new author in hopes of discovering a much needed spicy literary escape... and I am happy to report I got my wish...and found a whole lot more!! Barely three sentences into this sinfully delightful story, and I felt a obsession start to ensue, and instantly knew that there was no way I was putting it down until I had devoured every last page!! From the get go I felt myself being sucked into Rita and Jasper's world, and completely captivated with every written word, and left dying for more! The chemistry between these two burned brightly from start to finish, and every encounter they had was filled with so much passion and intensity that I frequently found myself breathless and in dire need of a fan!! This is by far one of the most memorable first reads that I have had in a long while and I look forward to coming installments in the series, and getting myself better acquainted with the Clarkson family! If you like small town romance, with a hot and spicy twist, then I highly recommend you give this read a try, the Clarkson family is sure to find their way into your heart and provide you with a laugh or two along the way too!!
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
Tessa Bailey's new series starts off with a story that hits all the feels with four siblings heading off to New York, following the wishes of their late mother. Along the way, a mechanical failure lands them in the small town of Hurley, where bad boy biker Jasper comes to the rescue and is instantly smitten with Rita. I loved the family dynamics in this story, all four Clarkson siblings being very unique characters. Rita herself is a woman feeling pretty low in self -esteem after a disastrous outing on a televised cooking competition and holding herself personally responsible for her late mother's restaurant burning down. And Jackson has his own self confidence issues, aware that the people in his town believe that he's good for one thing and one thing only - sex. Together they find a way to break down those barriers that have kept them from really connecting with someone. It's an insta-love story, but the best kind. Their love scenes are super sexy, fraught with emotion and have signature Tessa Bailey style, though Jasper is more of sweetheart than he lets on. It was a highly enjoyable story and I'm definitely invested in reading more of the series. 4 stars for this entertaining romance.
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
Tessa Bailey and her family of misfits took some time for me to warm up to but once it happened, I was all in. The Clarksons are a family that know what they want but lack the direction needed to get there. That guidance has always come from Miriam, the family matriach. Through the flubs she made and the love she gave, her teachings were the one constant in an ever changing world of heartaches and failure. She was the glue that held this faltering group together. Now they have too find the way on their own. With a little divine intervention. I received an ARC of Too Hot to Handle in exchange for an honest review. Rita had the heart to fulfill her dreams but lacked the confidence. Her life is quickly falling apart and she is losing herself piece by piece. Through memories, we get to explore her relationship with her mother and her personal development. I loved how Ms. Bailey wrote a tempting love story but she also explored the deeply emotional bond between a family. Through the good and bad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She wrapped her arms around him, pressing against him as she gave him a tight hug. "Nice boxers." She giggles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago