cover image Too Hot to Handle

Too Hot to Handle

Tessa Bailey. Forever, $5.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4555-9413-9

A family road trip becomes a springboard for love in the fun first Romancing the Clarksons contemporary romantic comedy, in which four estranged siblings road-trip across the U.S. to honor their mother’s last wishes. When car trouble strands the quartet in Hurley, N.Mex., chef Rita Clarkson discovers an unexpected attraction to sexy, infuriating bar owner Jasper Ellis. The combination of personality clashes and mutual desire leaves them floundering; Rita’s ready for a wild fling, but Jasper is trying to leave his raunchy days far behind. She can’t wait to move on from Hurley, while he wants to settle down and open his new restaurant. Luckily, their mutual love of cooking helps them overcome their misunderstandings and whip up three courses and a happy ending. Bailey (Wound Tight) crafts an entertainingly spicy tale, with humor and palpable sexual tension fueling an otherwise conventional romance. This is quality comfort food: unsophisticated, unpretentious, and satisfying for its familiarity. Agent: Laura Bradford, Laura Bradford Literary. (Dec.)