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20 Best Tessa Bailey Books to Find Your Happily Ever After

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You know me – I’ve been a romance reader for years and I’ve never got tired of it. A big reason for this is that when it comes to the romance genre, there are quirky and interesting sub-genres like contemporary, chick lit, young adult, fantasy, paranormal, and thriller (and the list goes on). 

From these sub-genres, contemporary romance is my comfort choice, because with those stories, I get real world-adjacent settings and characters I can easily immerse myself in. One of my go-to authors for contemporary romance is Tessa Bailey.

What I love the most about her stories are her relatable characters. Most of the time, she writes about blue collar heroes and loyal heroines, making her reads super relatable. She has a knack for letting these everyday characters find love in enchanting ways, giving the rest of us a sense of hope as well. For this talent alone, I think she’s well-deserving of the contemporary romance genius accolade she’s been bestowed over the years by the romance fandom. 

She’s written everything from novellas to standalones to full series, and this list has a bit of it all. I might not have read all her books (she has a ton), but I’ve definitely read enough to compile a list for you. If you’ve been looking for a chance to make you forget your own real world problems, a Tessa Bailey book from this list might just do the trick.

How I rated these books

I’m a mood reader, so whatever I felt at the end of the book makes it into my rating. But there are a few more things I think of when deciding on it:

  • Whether the plot makes sense
  • Whether there are interesting characters and character arcs
  • If the style of writing is appealing
  • Whether the book is worth a second read
  • What other readers say about them

Best Tessa Bailey Books List

Why Read Tessa Bailey

Having debuted with the Line of Duty series (featuring some uniformed hotties and badass, sweet FMCs) in 2013, Tessa Bailey has since written about 70 romances to suit our every mood. From holiday romances to rom-coms and mystery-thriller romances, she has it all. 

Many of us have watched her grow over the years as a writer to become a New York Times bestselling author and then TikTok’s darling, thanks to her Gen-Z fans who find her and hype her up on BookTok. 

Entertainment Weekly has dubbed her the “Michelangelo of dirty talk” for good reason – she knows how to leave us breathless with all those steamy scenes. If you’re longing for a smutty romance, then my spice meter will definitely help. Bailey doesn’t shy away from the spice at all so the meter will give you some idea of the level of smut in each book. Hot tip: Keep your eyes peeled for 🌶️🌶️🌶️ and up!

  • 🌶️– sexual language and a little on-page action
  • 🌶️🌶️– a lot of sexual language and some on-page action, may be occurring couple times
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️– some explicit action and dirty talk, occurring frequently
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ – a lot of explicit action and dirty talk, occurring frequently
  • 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ – super graphic and explicit, occurring very frequently

Best Tessa Bailey Book Reviews

1. It Happened One Summer – My Favorite

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Piper Bellinger, the party girl, has fallen out of favor with her stepfather after a wild night of partying. He sends her off to Washington to manage her late father’s dive bar as punishment. Enter Brendan, the big bearded sea captain who doesn’t think she’ll last a day. Piper sets out to prove him wrong and one thing leads to another, and somehow they fall in love and lust.

We simply cannot start this list without my (and many others’) favorite Tessa Bailey – It Happened One Summer. When this was released in 2021, the hype was so BIG that I ended up buying the book immediately and devouring it. 

The first in the Bellinger Sisters series, this has the most perfect opposites attract trope between our MCs, Piper and Brendan. I’ve gushed over Piper before and I’ll do it again because she’s one of my favorite FMCs in contemporary romance. Many expect the worst from Piper thanks to her ‘party girl’ reputation, but she’s capable of growth and not one bit hesitant to show it. I was super stoked to find out that Piper was inspired by Schitt’s Creek’s Alexis – another spoiled yet sweetheart of a character. 

And then we have the sexy, bearded sea captain Brendan, one of those people who underestimate her (🙄) but he cannot seem to stay away from her. It clearly doesn’t help that the town is so small they keep running into each other at every turn. They might not like each other but when things happen, they happen. The chemistry between these two are unmatched – it’s like they’ve been waiting all their lives to jump into bed with each other. 

I get why this is the favorite Tessa Bailey for a lot of people; it’s a delicious mix of fan-favorite tropes from grumpy/sunshine to small town romance, with endearing characters and that perfect level of spice. This book cemented her reputation in the contemporary romance hall of fame, so if you’re picking up this read, you’re doing yourself a favor.

  • Best for – Fans of small town romances, opposites attract, grumpy/sunshine
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a steamier romance with lots of kinky smut

2. Hook, Line, and Sinker

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When Hannah ends up rooming with Fox, the town’s ladies’ man, she’s determined not to fall for him. She even hooks him into helping her catch her co-worker’s eye, but the more time she spends in his company, the more she finds herself thinking about him and Fox seems to enjoy it a little too much. Will they find out that their connection goes beyond friendship?

Since the first book in the Bellinger Sisters series was so good, I was waiting to get my hands on the second one – Hook, Line, and Sinker. I’m happy I didn’t waste any time without reading it because it was just as awesome as the first. 

This book is a perfect example of why I admire Tessa Bailey. Instead of following the same formula from book 1 for this one as well, Bailey delivered originality with refreshing characters and new tropes. 

Let’s take Hannah. She is Piper’s younger sister, but the two couldn’t be more different from each other. She’s sweet and understanding, and you can see that she has been a support system all her life. She’s the one encouraging Fox, our MMC, to grow and change. 

Fox, oh man, Fox. I love a broken man who is ready to change for the better. Their friendship is beyond beautiful and when it goes beyond a platonic connection? He worships the ground Hannah walks on, and while showing her how much he cares about her. We love that wholesomeness that comes from a good friends-to-lovers trope. 

It’s a funny, wholesome read where we are invested in both the character development of the MCs and their romantic relationship. I enjoyed it so much and I cannot recommend it enough for all my romance lovers – especially those with a soft spot for friends-to-lovers trope.

  • Best for – Fans of friends to lovers, reformed playboy, fake dating
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a quick burn

3. Fix Her Up – My First Tessa Bailey

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Georgie has chosen to follow her dreams and do what she loves – plan kids birthday parties and make people laugh. Travis, her brother’s friend and former famous baseball player, is back in town, after an injury stops him from following his dreams. When they discover that they can help each other out, they hatch the perfect plan. But will they finally follow their hearts too?

Here comes my first Tessa Bailey! I picked this up, book 1 of the Hot and Hammered series, after it was recommended to me so many times. I was being a bit of a snob because the title was a turnoff for me, but it turned out to be a sweet, small town romance with a touch of family drama. 

Fix Her Up follows Georgie, who is a birthday clown by profession. I absolutely loved that our FMC had such an unconventional job, more so because she was so hellbent on following her passion. We stan a queen who follows her dreams, despite her family not believing in her. 

When Georgie runs into Travis, her brother’s friend and former hotshot baseball player, she is all for helping him reform his ‘womanizer’ image. Travis needs to score a job as a family-friendly sports commentator, so some adorable fake dating takes to the floor to make sure he looks the part of a committed family man. 

Georgie, who has harbored a crush on Travis for the longest time, is pretty convinced he would never like her back, but on the other side of the aisle, my man Travis is battling his own confusing attraction toward her. It’s equal parts frustrating and endearing to watch. The steam between the pair is amazing as they tentatively explore their big feelings toward each other. 

Since Travis is Georgie’s brother’s friend, we are also served some family drama which Bailey skillfully deals with in the plot. It doesn’t take away from the romance in the plot, which is one of the things I love about Bailey – she always focuses on the love story. 

Honestly, it’s a perfect slowburn for those long weekends where you want to just stay in bed with a warm romance. It has the added benefits of an unconventional heroine, a reformed playboy, and those adorable fake dating and brother’s best friend tropes.

  • Best for – Fans of brother’s best friend trope and slow burns
  • Not for –  Readers who are looking for a quick burn 

4. My Killer Vacation

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What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in sunny Cape Cod turns into a murder mystery when a corpse turns up at Taylor’s house. Enter Myles, the dashing bounty hunter who’s investigating the mystery. Now Taylor’s not sure which is more devastating, the murder or having to put up with the hot, grumpy man in her house.

After romance, mystery thrillers are quite possibly my favorite genre. Bring those two together, and I’m your girl, any day. When I saw that Tessa Bailey had done just that, I didn’t hesitate to indulge myself. 

I am super into older, grumpy men who are determined not to fall for the charming girl with a sunny personality, so naturally I fell for Myles immediately. He’s smart mouthed, sexy, and rides on a freaking motorcycle. Need I say more?

And when I discovered that he has a domineering streak which especially comes out in the bedroom, I was swooning. This might be a cutesy, small town romance at first glance but the smut isn’t vanilla at all, folks. 

Taylor is all sunshine and rainbows, determined not to back down in the face of Myles. Her personality might be the complete opposite of Myles’, but they fit in with each other’s quirks like peas in a pod. 

My one issue with the book is that the murder mystery aspect of it wasn’t as fleshed out as I wish it could’ve been. But at the end of the day, it’s a low stakes, high romance contemporary romance/mystery novel and I’d recommend it just for those reasons.

  • Best for – Fans of mystery thrillers and opposites attract trope 
  • Not for – Readers who prefer a mystery focus

5. Window Shopping

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Stella’s an ex-convict, desperately looking for a fresh start. When she offers her honest opinion about the holiday display at the high-end department store, Vivant, the store’s manager, Aiden, is impressed. After offering her a job on the spot, he’s charmed by her work ethic, as she bustles around making changes to his store. Will they try their best to keep their hands off of each other or will they find a holiday miracle within each other?

A friend recommended Window Shopping to me while I was on the hunt for a good holiday romance last Christmas. Since Tessa Bailey almost never misses, I settled in with this book one cold night to discover it to be the coziest of reads. 

One of the most heartwarming parts of the book is Stella’s backstory – she’s an ex-convict desperately looking for a new job and a chance to prove herself. We are instantly taken to her from the first turn of the book because she’s no nonsense, hardworking, and determined to prove herself for the better. Tessa Bailey has written Stella with conviction and wit, giving us a refreshing, gray character with a growth arc.

It was heartwarming to see Aiden, our MMC, rooting for her. He’s patient, empathetic, cheerful, and 100% believes in her. He’s also a major HOTTIE. Add to that this has the forbidden romance trope because he’s her boss? This combination makes the chemistry between the pair flare up in the yummiest of ways.

They started off slow, so the sexual tension had me on the edge of my seat, but once they got going, I was left with no doubts as to why Bailey is known as the queen of dirty talk. I’d just say my eyebrows went super high up during the spicy scenes that left nothing to the imagination. 

With the scorching steam added in, this is one of the best holiday romances to read when the days start getting colder. Pick it up for all things sweet and spice, and make sure you do so during the festive season for maximum effect!

  • Best for – Fans of holiday romances, employer/employee trope, and reformed FMCs
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn or an alphahole MMC

6. Love Her or Lose Her

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Rosie and Dom are the perfect couple on paper. But all is not what it seems as the distance between them has only grown with the years. In a last ditch effort to save their marriage, Rosie suggests marriage boot camp. He’s all in and their relationship is getting back on track, but will one secret be the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back?

I picked up Love Her or Lose Her, book 2 of the Hot and Hammered series, because it was about mending a marriage – and you know this by now, second chance romances are the way to my heart. 

Tessa Bailey did true justice to the not-so-easy affair that marriage sometimes happens to be. She captured all the complexities of marriage extremely well in Love Her or Lose Her, leaving us quite literally sobbing at how Dom and Rosie laid their hearts bare to mend their love. 

This book is very different from the usual contemporary romances we get these days as it doesn’t feature the beginning of a relationship. This book explores the messiness that comes after the happily ever after, giving us an honest outlook into married life. 

Although Dom and Rosie were high school sweethearts and love each other very much, their marriage needed work. My heart broke for both of them because Rosie is afraid to ask for more and Dom’s best efforts go unseen by Rosie. But we could see how Dom and Rosie are both not willing to give up on each other, and honestly, that kind of faith and commitment are major relationship goals. I was smiling so much at all the parts where their marriage was being rekindled. 

One thing I wasn’t a fan of was the hypermasculinity behind Dom’s character – I certainly could have done without his OTT possessive nature. Other than that, if you’re looking for a fluffy yet emotional rollercoaster of a story about marriage, then this is the book for you.

  • Best for – Fans looking for a mature romance
  • Not for – Readers who’re looking for couples who are falling in love for the first time and meet cutes, readers who don’t like OTT possessive MMCs

7. Tools of Engagement

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Bethany and her brother are engaged in a fierce competition of house flipping, so Bethany decides to poach her brother’s newest employee – Wes – into her team. Although Wes gets on her last nerve, the more they’re forced to be with each other, the more she feels her heart softening. Will she win the battle and lose the war or will she get everything her heart desires?

Since the first two books in the Hot and Hammered series were awesome reads, I obviously had to give the last one a shot. Bailey really hammered the last nail perfectly with this installment including an enemies to lovers trope in tow. 

Bethany is desperate to prove herself capable of flipping houses, not just handling the design aspects of home renovations. Her brother doesn’t believe in her though, so they do what siblings do the best – compete with each other to do the best flip. Bethany needs help if she’s to beat her brother for good, so she hires the unwilling (or is he?) Wes onto her team. 

I loved that sparks flew instantly between Bethany and Wes, right from their first meeting (even though the two apparently hated each other 🙄). Their forced proximity, the constant banter, and the way they get on each other’s nerves made for a juicy mix of angst and excitement. 

I really enjoyed reading about these two. Bethany is quirky, really organized, and a little insecure, while Wes is much more grounded. I do wish he wasn’t younger than Bethany; that and the fact that we got their intimacy only toward the end of the book were the things I didn’t enjoy. 

The smut we eventually got was top-notch as Tessa Bailey has done an amazing job as usual with the steamy moments. I especially liked the spicy scenes about female pleasure which Bailey had written from Wes’ POV, making for an interesting (and super hot) read. 

This book is well worth the read thanks to the instant sparks, the family drama, the smut, and the enemies-to-lovers trope. This is truly a fantastic end to one of Bailey’s best series, so don’t miss out in the slightest!

  • Best for – Fans of enemies to lovers, lots of fluffy smut
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn

8. Secretly Yours

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Hallie’s childhood love, Julian, is back in her hometown. She’s now his gardener and gets to see him pretty much every day. The only issue? The starchy professor cannot seem to remember her and is increasingly frustrated with her messy habits. One drunken night, she leaves a secret admirer letter to a confused Julian, and the drama ensues.

There are some tried and tested tropes I almost never say no to, and grumpy/sunshine is one of my favorites among them. Another of my favorites happens to be when the MCs meet as kids, grow apart, and then meet again as adults only to fall in love. When I heard that one of Bailey’s newest releases, the first in A Vine Mess series, had both tropes, I spent exactly zero seconds deciding to get it. 

Julian was the MVP of this book – his character has so many layers, showing us his rigid exterior and the mellow heart. I admired how he was willing to work on his anxiety in order to show Hallie how much he liked her. 

Hallie, our FMC, is fun and quirky. She’s also very hopeful about love – she hasn’t given up on her first love despite distance, time, and him being oblivious to her. These nuances of both our MCs are beautifully brought out by Bailey’s witty writing style. 

Just as I enjoyed reading about our MCs as individuals, I enjoyed their romance too; their story was incredibly indulging to read about. I loved that they got to know each other up close and personal and I really wanted to see more of that, but not through Hallie’s anonymous letters telling Julian about how she feels. It felt a little unrealistic – I mean, why couldn’t a professor figure out that the letters in his garden could be from, well, his gardener?

All in all though, if you’re looking for a light and fun slow burn, this is the one for you. If you love the grumpy/sunshine trope and childhood crushes meeting again as adults, here’s a book that expertly weaves both into a fantastic read.

  • Best for – Fans of grumpy/sunshine, slow burn romances
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a quick burn

9. Unfortunately Yours

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Napa heiress Natalie is down on her luck and is in desperate need of a marriage to access her trust fund. August is in need of a loan and some major business advice about the vineyard that his late best friend dreamt of owning. They decide to help each other out by getting married, but their marriage of convenience quickly evolves into more.

BookTok told me that book 2 of the ‘A Vine Mess’ series is out in all its glory with a marriage of convenience trope, but I wasn’t fully convinced because book 1 wasn’t the greatest kick off for the series. I’m so glad I indulged though, because it turned out to be a fabulous contemporary romance.  

Right off the bat, I loved the FMC, Natalie. She’s determined to fulfill her dreams and she’s even more determined not to let heartbreak take the better of her. And when she finds August, our attentive, sweet, and loyal MMC, I’m so so happy for her. So happy and not at all jealous (I promise🫣). 

Their feelings for each other are hot and wild, and I enjoyed the chemistry so much more than that in the first installment of the series – especially the banter between the MMCs. It might be a marriage of convenience but the steam between the pair throws the contractual obligations out of the window. The smut scenes are particularly scorching, folks. 

Even if you don’t like book 1 of the series, I’d totally recommend this one. It brings everything to the table from playful banter to angsty tropes of marriage of convenience and forced proximity. Pick it up for a fun dose of classic Tessa Bailey.

  • Best for – Fans of marriage of convenience and forced proximity tropes
  • Not for – Readers who are sensitive to substance abuse

10. Protecting What’s His

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Ginger has been protecting her teenage sister and herself all their lives. When she gets the chance to steal $50,000 that would turn their lives around, she doesn’t hesitate. They make a run to Chicago and attempt to start a new life. The only problem? Their new neighbor is a cop. A sexy cop who won’t take no for an answer. How will their lives intertwine now?

This is OG Tessa Bailey, her first published book that kicks off the Line of Duty series. After I discovered Tessa Bailey through Fix Her Up, I was ready for another book, and the first ever published book of hers sounded like a good place to start – especially for some well-written smut.  

Derek, our MMC, is everything you’d imagine a hot cop to be – protective, alpha, and bossy. He’s the perfect complement to Ginger, our FMC, who has struggled all her life to protect herself and her sister. She’s practically raised herself, so when she learns to trust Derek to help her out, it’s heart-meltingly beautiful. 

As for the spicy stuff, Derek doesn’t mess around when it comes to intimacy. He makes it known right from the get go that he wants Ginger in very specific ways. The sexual energy between the pair was undeniable and the kinky, erotica side of things really did live up to my expectations – Bailey really knows how to write a good BDSM scene. 

In addition to Derek and Ginger, we’re also given a small window to Willa’s relationship. Although it usually throws me off when side characters get their storylines in romances, I loved how Will’s story was done. It didn’t take focus away from Derek and Ginger – instead, it added some extra sweetness to Derek and Ginger’s story. 

If you’re a Tessa Bailey fan and haven’t read this, you’re in for a treat. If you’re not a Tessa Bailey fan, I recommend giving this one a go if you’d like to give her a chance – you might just like her.

  • Best for – Fans of cop MMCs, alphahole MMCs, and kinky smut scenes
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn

11. Getaway Girl

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Addison, who was born to a scandal, has just returned to her hometown after nearly six years. When she shows up at her estranged cousin’s wedding, she ends up running into another scandal as she becomes the getaway driver for the groom, Elijah, who’s stood up at the altar. An unlikely friendship blossoms between the pair, with love surfacing as their relationship grows.

Getaway Girl was another recommendation by #BookTok when I was looking for a good contemporary romance with all the right clichés. Once I started reading it, I was surprised by how much this book served – it was the cutest, fluffiest ride. 

Ever since I watched Notting Hill, I’ve been a sucker for a good meet-cute. You know what I’m talking about – the most unexpected of meetings, the instant sparks that fly, the consequences that follow, the love that inevitably stays. Getaway Girl has a meet-cute of exactly that variety as Addison helps Elijah escape from his wedding when his bride stands him up at the altar. 

Now, I love a well-fleshed out FMC, and Addison’s character truly is one of my favorite parts of this book. Her backstory is A+ as the story starts with her having just moved back to her hometown after being estranged from her family (to whom she was born out of wedlock) for nearly six years. She’s determined not to let the haters get her down, which I found so impressive. 

Elijah, our MMC, has his own struggles as a politician who has to maintain the perfect, diplomatic persona; this is a bit difficult for him as he literally wears his heart on his sleeve. Although our two MCs seem to have little in common, the story follows them as they find a home in each other. 

They start off as friends and we see them teasing and being their true selves the more they get comfortable around each other, so when the sparks fly, they fly like it’s the fourth of July. Special mention to Addison, who doesn’t shy away from the dirty talk! 🥵 I love when the characters stay true to their personalities both inside and outside the bedroom. 

I wouldn’t say no to this Tessa Bailey any day as it truly fulfilled my desire for a heartwarming romance with a good plot. It’s got all the things you’d need from a contemporary romance: endearing MCs, a wholesome (and dramatic!) meet-cute, a storyline that shows us how they fall in love, and lots of fluffy smut.

  • Best for – Fans of meet-cutes and friends-to-lovers trope
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for kinky smut

12. Chase Me

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Roxy moved to New York with the hope of becoming an actress, but the city isn’t kind to her. Forced to perform singing telegrams to make some quick cash, her first job is to sing an ode to the penis of a gorgeous, rich Manhattaner while dressed in a bunny costume. Her performance, accompanied by a mindblowing kiss, seems to have left him wanting for more.

I had heard mixed reviews about Chase Me from the book community and since I wanted the tea first hand, I decided to have a go at it myself. Was it Tessa Bailey’s best work? No. Was it funny, light hearted, and cute? Absolutely. Settle in for a contemporary romance set in the Big Apple about a struggling actress and a charming lawyer.  

Our MCs, Roxy and Louis, meet in the most hilarious of ways when she is hired to sing an ode to his penis (New York, am I right?). Louis is smitten from the first sight and as their relationship grows, we see him being sexy, charming, and always willing to help Roxy. We also get to know that he doesn’t particularly like his job and wants to do more pro bono work instead. He’s the sweetest man that it’s absolutely impossible not to like him so when I say he’s a freaking 10/10, I mean it. 

Roxy is just a girl trying to make it in the big city while staying true to her dreams – her perseverance was really admirable. I think both Louis and Roxy’s go-getter attitudes complemented each other perfectly, plus their banter was hilarious and the sexual tension was yummy. 

The story was a little predictable at times and the drama seemed slightly repetitive, which did throw me off a bit. It also ends very abruptly with some unanswered questions about the MCs’ careers, which played a big role in the plotline in the first half of the book. 

I felt like I’d been robbed of a resolution because of that, but I’d still recommend this book as a read-worthy Tessa Bailey because it packs her classic, light-hearted and sexy storylines and the witty and fun writing style.

  • Best for – Fans of rom coms and fluffy smut
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for mature romance

13. Too Hot to Handle

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Rita is determined to fulfill her late mother’s wishes and reconcile with her siblings, so she decides to take a road trip with her siblings as an opportunity to bond. Her luck running ever low, their car breaks down in New Mexico. But when a hot townie arrives to help them, does it mean Lady Luck has finally decided to throw her a bone?

I’m a fan of Tessa Bailey’s signature dirty talk so when I saw the title of this book, my imagination ran wild. So here we are, after I read the book so fast you’d think the rent was due.

My imagination did not do justice to the dirty talking and the smutty scenes. They had the perfect balance of sexual tension, angst, and spice. This romance is steamy, folks! And why shouldn’t it be when it involves a hot, small town, reformed playboy who rides up on his motorcycle? While I love a man who changes for his love interest, I adored Jasper, our MMC, because he’s tried to reform himself before Rita, our FMC, comes into the picture. 

Kudos to Tessa Bailey for dealing very sensitively with the issue of male insecurities – in this case, with Jasper’s insecurity about being used for his good looks. His character is definitely an insightful look into men’s vulnerabilities in society. 

Jasper is head over heels for Rita from the get-go, so he’s determined to make her a permanent part of his life. Rita, however, comes with her own baggage as someone who’s struggling with the death of a parent and a failing career. I love that Bailey brought out these nuances very effectively while showing how the love between the pair developed in the span of three days. I’d figure the insta-love was a bit unrealistic, but the story flowed so well that I didn’t feel it was too rushed.

The family trope in the book was so beautiful. I really enjoyed following the dynamics between Rita and her siblings and how they re-evaluate their strained relationships. The other two books in the series are about her siblings, and I’d surely be getting to them sooner than later. 

Too Hot to Handle is an insta-love romance with that right mix of family drama, perfect for a cozy read. The fact that it’s set during a road trip? All the more fun. Be sure not to miss this Tessa Bailey!

  • Best for – Fans of insta-love, road trip, and family tropes
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn

14. Officer off Limits

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Instead of choosing to deal with the reasons behind her fiancé calling off their wedding, Story decides to visit her semi-estranged father in hospital. There, she runs into Daniel, her father’s mentee and sexy playboy. As she gets caught up in the whirlwind of emotions that run through this meet, will she also be ready to face her past catching up to her?

I loved the first book in the Line of Duty installment so I went looking for the second and third too. This third one – Officer off Limits – remains my favorite from this series. 

Okay, I’ll admit I’m biased towards this book because of Daniel Chase, the expert hostage negotiator with a troubled past. He might be laidback and always up for a good time, but he knows where his responsibilities lie, making him one of the most caring characters I’ve encountered. And his skills in bed? Unmatched. He’s all about showing his partner a good time😉.

This romance is made all the better because it’s a forbidden one. Story, our FMC, is the daughter of Daniel’s mentor. The longing for each other is evident from their first meeting, even though they couldn’t be more different from each other. 

On the note of Story, let’s start with her name. I adore that Bailey picked such a simple but endearing name here – might not be to everyone’s taste, but I for one am 100% on board. Next, as a character, I really enjoyed Story. Fresh off of a breakup, Story doesn’t shy away from her vulnerabilities, instead choosing to face them headstrong. We stan. 

The sparks between the pair are smoking and blazing hot! The story takes place over a week or so, and the characters instantly get down to the deed while falling in love with each other.The emotional and sexual connection between the pair may have been quick but Bailey relays it really well to us, quickly taking us on board this rollercoaster ride too. So as far as quick burns go, this one is perfectly nuanced. 

You can’t go wrong with Line of Duty because, come on, hot cops! If you’re in the mood for a quick burn featuring some steamy smut and two adorable MCs, this is the perfect Tessa Bailey for you.

  • Best for – Fans of a quick burn romance, smutty scenes, reformed playboy, forbidden romance
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn

15. Trying to Score

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Brent and Hayden couldn’t be more different from each other. He’s a hardworking cop worried about his family. She spends her time planning exclusive parties for her rich family. Neither wants to hang out but they are continuously thrown together thanks to their best friends. When they realize their incessant fighting serves just as good as foreplay, they cannot keep their hands off of each other.

And we are back with another from the Line of Duty series! Tessa Bailey has truly opened a new aspect of my personality where I’m into really really hot law enforcement officers. 

Look, I cannot say no to a delicious enemies-to-lovers trope. I love the hate-at-first-sight, the frustrations, the dismissals, the earth-ending arguments, which all ultimately culminate into mind blowing sex and then, gently, falling in love. Asking for Trouble features exactly that between Brent and Hayden who can’t stand each other but are unfortunately forced to spend a lot of time together thanks to their respective best friends being in love. 

Brent is the epitome of a classic Tessa Bailey MMC – hardworking, loyal, and a family man. He’s goofy but not afraid to bring the steam to sheets (with some signature Bailey dirty talk, of course). He has no time for Hayden, the rich family heiress (or so he says 💁🏻‍♀️). 

I really loved the duality of Hayden’s character. She’s sassy, outgoing, and fiercely loyal but she also can be snobbish and rude. It was as expected from a character from a rich background and I have zero complaints about that – in fact, I’m pretty impressed by how Bailey portrayed Hayden. Hayden comes off as stuck up at first glance, but we see the enormous pressure she is under to maintain the status quo of her family, along with a complicated relationship with her mother. 

I did feel like there was a lot of unnecessary time spent in the book hashing out the misunderstandings between the pair. This didn’t take away from the chemistry between our two MCs though, both of whom have truly won my heart. It really is a wholesome addition to the Line of Duty, featuring some kinky smut and the cutest enemies-to-lovers trope.

  • Best for – Fans of enemies to lovers, kinky smut
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn

16. Staking His Claim

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Matt is tasked with picking up his best friend’s sister, Lucy, and bringing her to New York, but he’s not happy when he instead meets her enticing roommate. When Lucy realizes her brother’s best friend was a certified hottie, she proceeds to lie about her identity, knowing he wouldn’t be with her otherwise. Even though they spend the next 24 hours together rocking each other’s world to bliss, will her deception be too much for Matt to endure?

Look, I won’t say no to Line of Duty, okay? That’s why I read this book and I’m so glad I did because each cop just keeps getting hotter. 

This time, Tessa Bailey is treating us to a sniper, Matt, tasked with transporting his best friend’s sister home from college. Oh yes, the brother’s best friend/forbidden romance trope, except our FMC, Lucy, isn’t going to waste time waiting for anyone’s approval. She straight up lies to Matt about her identity and tries to seduce him. I was actually laughing out loud – Lucy is hilarious, knows what she wants, and isn’t afraid to try every trick in the book to get it. I love an FMC who veers from the conventional track. 

And now onto Matt. He’s dark, he’s emo, and he’s broody. I love the strong and silent type and my heart just melted for Matt, especially when he learns of Lucy’s deception and has to deal with memories of betrayal from his past. After the initial misunderstanding though, we see Lucy try incredibly hard to give Matt everything he wants. Her lively spirit is the perfect match to his seriousness. 

Now, can we also take a moment to appreciate the smut in this book? Matt is dominant and this really comes out during the steamy scenes. I haven’t given this the highest spice rating for no reason, folks. 

This book is great for that perfect quick weekend read when you want to forget the rest of the world, so if you’d like a quick burn Tessa Bailey book with opposites-attract romance, then this is the one for you.

  • Best for –  Fans of a quick burn, kinky smut, opposites attract
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn

17. Unfixable

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Willa wants to get over her breakup and be done with love. She flies to Dublin for a change of scenery, and finds a blue-eyed man – a man that spells trouble, with some trouble of his own. Shane’s family needs the support so he wants to sell their inn, but he didn’t expect the sassy American girl staying there to make him question everything.

This is a spin-off from the Line of Duty series so if you’ve read Protecting What’s His, you’ve already met our FMC, Willa. I really liked her character as Ginger’s sister, so I decided to give this one a go. 

First off, my love for Willa grew tenfold in this one. She appears to be tough and uncaring, but she opens her heart wide to those who are closest to her. She’s put a lot of guards up as she heads off to Ireland to heal her broken heart, but it was endearing how her heart softened for Shane, his mom, and his sister. 

Speaking of Shane, he was truly a fresh face for me because this was the first time I read about a Formula One racer MMC. The guy has had to step away from racing for a while though; he has to care for his sick mom and the headstrong sister.

The forced (is it forced if she reserved a room?) proximity and I-don’t-want-love-trouble attitude of both MCs made for a simmering setup ripe for a lot of steam. In true Tessa Bailey style, Shane and Willa give into no-strings-attached lust, treating us readers with a lot of smut. They soon fall in love as expected, but the predictability of it doesn’t take away from the enjoyability of the book. 

This is a wildly sexy and witty book with the Ireland setting giving us some major holiday vibes. So if you’re looking for an easy (and smutty) romance to escape from reality for a little while, Unfixable might be just the fix.

  • Best for – Fans of Line of Duty series and headstrong MCs
  • Not for – Readers who are looking for a slow burn romance

18. His Risk to Take

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Homicide cop Troy Bennet is having a hard time after losing his partner while on duty. He vows never to be responsible for the death of a loved one again and moves to NYPD. But what – or rather, who – awaits him there is a reckless, stubborn girl, Ruby, the epitome of everything Troy swore off. Can he resist the temptation? When Ruby is in danger, is he ready to do what needs to be done?

This is the second book of the Line of Duty series so as you’d expect, we have a uniformed hero, and a rebellious girl who may or may not have a criminal past. 

For starters, I thought Troy was a replica of Derek from Protecting What’s His. Still super hot and attractive (we like a man in uniform, don’t we?), but a bit recycled nonetheless. The FMC, however, took the cake this time. Ruby is strong willed, stubborn, sassy, and she’s everything you want in a rebellious FMC. Her shadowy past and her desire to change things for the better added flavor to her character too, so I definitely enjoyed reading about her. 

They are both stubborn as hell and took their sweet time falling in love, but we don’t have to wait too long for the smut. As expected from a Tessa Bailey MMC, Troy is great at dirty talk, and Ruby matches that with her passion in the bedroom. 

I loved seeing how Troy let go of his demons little by little, but I wish the criminal side-plot was more fleshed out. We get to see his protective, possessive side as Ruby turns out to be in danger, but that’s where the side-plot ends. 

The other issue for me is the dirty talk. When I first read this book, I didn’t mind it so much, but now, reviewing it after a few years of reading Bailey books, I feel like maybe it should be toned down a bit. 

My complaints notwithstanding, this book is a trip down the Bailey lane if you haven’t read her early work. You’ll have a chance to see how her sass and smut came out in the first books in a delicious cop romance, so give this one a try!

  • Best for – Fans of cop romances and strong willed MCs
  • Not for – Readers sensitive to gun violence and PTSD 

19. Happenstance

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Elise, a commitment phobe with a dream of becoming a reporter, follows a lead and gets stuck in a cable car. She has the company of three handsome men stuck with her but she wants out of the tram, now. An hour passes, and everything changes. Elise finds herself longing for not one but three men vying for her heart.

This book had such an innocent cover that I actually gasped when I read the blurb. A reverse harem romance? From Tessa Bailey? Yes, please. 

So we have Elise getting stuck in a cable car with the three guys, Tobias (British porn star), Gabe (cinnamon roll of a construction worker), and Banks (the quiet and intense former rugby star). And then we have all of them becoming obsessed with her within the span of the time they spend waiting for rescue. It’s a bit insta-love but hey, it’s called ‘Happenstance’ for a reason. 

The love story kicks off immediately, and as opposed to the super intense romance that’s common in the reverse harem genre, Elise’s story is cute, full of witty banter and laugh-out-loud humor. This is not to say spice is lacking – it’s actually the complete opposite🔥. There are one-to-one steamy scenes as well, but for the most part, we have the four of them together with smut so hot it could set the pages on fire. 

I loved the growth of their relationship as well as their character arcs too. Tobias learns to let his guard down, Gabe learns to be more confident and forthcoming, Banks learns to let go of his uptightness, and Elise starts longing for a future with all of them. 

Happenstance is a sweet, funny book with adorable characters with Bailey’s signature dirty talk cranking up the heat, so if you’re a Tessa Bailey fan and you like reverse harem romances, definitely give this one a go.

  • Best for – Fans of reverse harem/why choose romances
  • Not for – Readers who are sensitive to kidnapping and gun violence

20. Follow

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Teresa’s brother is in trouble. She’ll do anything to save him, so she strikes up a dangerous deal. Follow Will Caruso, the runaway son of a mob boss and heir to a multi million dollar empire, and bring him back home. Only then Teresa’s brother will be off the hook. Except, the man who left home for a cross country trip for his dying dog, is nothing like she imagined.

The blurb said road trip and a dog so I bought the book without so much as a blink (don’t worry, South Paw doesn’t die). The book definitely delivered on the road trip, dog, and even more, because our MCs had chemistry sizzling enough to set them on fire. 

Will Caruso, our leading man, won my heart before I even opened the book, because running away from home and taking his dying dog on a road trip? Adorable. He was also super hot and an excellent dirty talker, so I see how our FMC, Teresa couldn’t resist him. 

When she shows up at Will’s motel to con (seduce) him and take him home back home, she doesn’t expect him to be so charming and bold, and neither does she expect to fall for him. But her brother’s life depends on whether or not she cons Will, so for her, the stakes are high. 

That doesn’t stop the romance from heating up though – my man Will is a goner from the moment he meets Teresa. The insta-love is a bit of a stretch for me, but it kinda made sense in the road trip setting. 

The book had the trademark sass and steam from Tessa Bailey, who delivered a whole lot of romance and delicious smut. I was also super impressed to learn this was her first self-published book. You go girl!

Pick this up if you want a cute and hot love story set in the backdrop of a road trip with mob-level stakes and a sweetheart of a dog.

  • Best for – Fans of erotica and insta-love
  • Not for – Readers who don’t like the insta-love trope

And there you have it – that’s my list of best Tessa Bailey books. Whenever I’m feeling down, in a reading slump, or looking to satisfy my craving for a rollercoaster of emotions and smut, she’s my go-to author. If you haven’t checked out her work yet, my list won’t fail you!

What Are the ‘Must Read’ Tessa Bailey Books?

No products found. is arguably Bailey’s most famous book, featuring the most heart-warming opposites attract trope. This is the first book of the Bellinger Sisters series, one of the most popular series by Tessa Bailey. 

No products found. also makes the list because it’s a unique mystery thriller-romance combo. Ever since we fangirled over Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson solving mysteries together and falling in love, couples who catch murderers together have been a very popular trope.

No products found. is another big one. Many holiday romance fans rave about it and for good reason – it’s a standalone spicy romance set in Christmas that makes for a good ol’ festive read.

What to read next

If you’ve enjoyed my favorite Tessa Bailey reads, check out my list of brother’s best friend books for similar fluffy and cutesy romances with a dash of angst thrown in!

1. Which Tessa Bailey book should I read first?

You can start with No products found.,No products found., or No products found.. They are some of her best and most popular work, so you’ll most certainly enjoy them too!

2. Can you read Tessa Bailey books out of order?

Yes, because most of her books are stand-alones. Even the series books can be read out of order because each book focuses on a new couple, but there could be some references to certain things that happen earlier in the series. 

3. Is Tessa Bailey a good author?

Yes, Tessa Bailey is a popular, talented writer with a penchant for writing smut. She makes it into New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists frequently because many readers love her books.

4. Is there a sequel to ‘It Happened One Summer’ by Tessa Bailey?

Yes.No products found.’ comes after ‘No products found.,’ but it focuses on a different couple: Hannah and Fox.

5. Can you read ‘Hook, Line, and Sinker’ without reading ‘It Happened One Summer’?

Technically, yes. But I recommend reading ‘No products found.’ first because the MCs in ‘No products found.’ meet in the first book and the second book picks up from where the first one ends.

6. Are the Tessa Bailey books a series?

Tessa Bailey has written stand-alones as well as a few series, which can be read as stand-alones if you’d like.

7. What genre is Tessa Bailey?

Tessa Bailey writes contemporary romance novels featuring everyday heroes and heroines.

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