Worked Up is the third book in Tessa Bailey’s Made in Jersey series. First I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed this series. Hook, New Jersey, reads much like any random small town across the US. It has its problems but it also has a lot of great people living there trying to make a difference. It’s a hardworking town and I think that is best showcased in Worked Up which is just… WOW.
I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. It far surpassed my expectations and that is because well, I kind of fell in love with Duke too. As much as one can fall in love with a fictional character. But yeah, he owned me in this story. Duke cares deeply for everyone in his life, no matter how much he blusters that he is commitment-phobic.
Sam is another reason I really liked this story. Sam is a children’s book illustrator and a great artist. She has a goal to work with kids and spread her love of art to the next generation. It is a really worthy goal. I love supporting the arts so this storyline really worked for me. Sam is an interesting character. She was engaged for three years to a man she barely knew, who was living overseas at the time. She did it to make her brother (well, stepbrother but she considers him her only family), Renner, happy and support his business. That engagement is now at an end and Sam is worried that Renner will pull his support for her now. Not only his support of her arts but his love and support for her as family. Sam feels know one will ever really love her. I’m making it sound like she is a sad sack throughout the story and this is not true. She is a very vibrant person but she has had bad luck in terms of people caring about her. So she is sure that while Duke may be attracted to her, he could never love her or make any type of commitment to her (not that she wants him to–or so she tells herself).
And then they head to Atlantic City where things get even more complicated. I’m not going to say much more because this book is worth reading and I do not want to spoil it. Suffice it to say things between Sam and Duke truly get hot and heavy.
Tessa Bailey does so much right in this book. In particular, I love Duke’s instant support and lust (yes, lust!) for Sam. He grows to love her very quickly mind you but there is just something so romantic about the way he instantly connects with her. And really, the way she connects with him too. She instantly draws him when they meet. He is a star in her eyes. It is evident very early on that Sam wears her heart on her sleeve and Duke is more than happy to protect it.
There is one quote in particular that stood out for me and just really summed up Duke’s interest in Sam: (quote from ARC version of Worked Up).
Out in the backyard, Samantha had been nothing short of…spellbinding. And hell, he’d never said that word out loud in his life. No other description seemed to do her justice, though. Ankles crossed, mouth smiling, head nodding, hair sticking to her neck as she spoke so dreamily about her dream of bringing art to children. How he’d kind of wanted to pick up the world and demand it give Samantha what she wanted. To stop making her sound sad about any damn thing.
His intensity around her is just shiver inducing. I know I’ve made this review a lot about Duke but I guess for me he remained a huge draw throughout the story, much as I really like Sam.
By the end of the book, I swear my heart swelled ten times with happiness for these two. They make each other so happy and that in term made this reader incredibly happy for them. It is impossible to walk away from their love story with any thought except, damn these two make a fine pair together!
So set your internet browser to your preferred e-tailer and purchase Worked Up. This book does not disappoint.
ARC provided by publisher for review.
Tagged: Tessa Bailey