cover image Tools of Engagement

Tools of Engagement

Tessa Bailey. Avon, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-287293-7

House-flipping leads to a love connection in Bailey’s sweet and super-spicy third Hot and Hammered rom-com (after Love Her or Lose Her). When San Antonio cowboy Wes Daniels’s sister decides to take a break from her responsibilities, Wes travels to Port Jefferson, Long Island, to take care of his five-year-old niece, Laura. Home renovator Bethany Castle is competing on the house-flipping reality TV show Flip Off and hires Wes to be part of her construction crew. The reality show setting adds both tension and comedy as the macho Wes immediately begins pursuing perfectionist Bethany. As Wes settles into his uncle duties and his chemistry with Bethany evolves into bold, erotic sexual encounters, his resolve to return to Texas once his sister comes back wavers. Wes’s swaggering, often expletive-filled flirtations, and Bethany’s insecure internal monologue paint clear pictures of both characters, but sometimes slow the plot. Though Wes and Bethany are solidly drawn, it’s adorable Laura who sparks the most authentic and evocative moments. Chick-lit lovers will flip for this sexy, heartwarming story. Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary. (Sept.)