REVIEW: Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey

thrown-downAuthor: Tessa Bailey
Series: Made in Jersey #2
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Rating: 4/5
Source: ARC was provided through NetGalley
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Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set on her…and River is in danger of drowning a second time.

No one believed Hook’s resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he’ll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he’s worth their love in the process––even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.

But even as River’s body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time…

River Purcell has been in love with Vaughn De Matteo since they were in high school. Vaughn was River’s first… in everything. Including the first and only one who broke her heart four years ago. Now, River’s not only nursing a broken heart but also nursing a three-year old alone. With Vaughn returning home from nowhere, River was torn between holding the grudge that left her heart torn to pieces and forgiving Vaughn to make her family complete this time. But the past seemed to chase them both every time they make a progress.

Thrown Down is the second book of Tessa Bailey’s Made in Jersey series. While I wasn’t able to read Crashed Out, the first book, I didn’t think it would be hard for me to connect with the characters. Because this is Tessa Bailey and almost everything from her is a standalone.

But standalone and emotional? Man, that’s brand new! The last heartbreaking Tessa Bailey book that I read was Riskier Business (Troy is mine, by the way) and I shed a lot of tears on that one. While this wasn’t that tearjerker, it still hit that vulnerable spot in my heart because of Vaughn’s reason for leaving River that left River a single mother. And also maybe the fact that Vaughn was questioning his worth because of his status or… the lack thereof.

They’re the exact opposite—Vaughn being the high school dropout whose fighting skill is almost a second nature, who doesn’t believe in the word can’t, a mechanic once, a 2xx-pound of dirty talker but only to River, while River is… light and brightness in every thing who had all the potential in the world until she fell in love with Vaughn.

See, this is why I love Tessa Bailey with every fiber of my being. She makes the impossible possible with a story and characters this unique and always filthy but also with a healthy dose of reality. Vaughn right here is very different from the typically rich book boyfriends I read and Tessa nailed his personality well. Even River who’s very forward with her feelings and actions but still had that reservation for being hurt. Her decisions may be confusing sometimes but I kind of get it because there’s still the feelings that glue them both together, not to mention a cute daughter to boot. I like that they were both written in the realistic point of view and that’s the strongest point of the book for me. Their circumstances didn’t involve any cheating, just… human error in judgement to put it nicely. Their love was something like… gold—going through the highest of temperatures, the problems of all problems, lowest of lows, to achieve the highest quality, their happy ending they both well deserve.

Of course, Tessa didn’t leave me high and dry (I don’t think she ever will) because my goodness, the sexual tension and desire of the characters is so on point! It’s so freaking hot! Tessa specializes in scorching hot so there’s that.

I just felt the book was lacking in the parent-child moments but that’s just me. But overall, it’s really one of Tessa’s unique books that I will reread every chance I get. And also because of that ending and the note that’s written after.

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