Review: Make Me by Tessa Bailey

Babs‘ Review of Make Me by Tessa Bailey
Contemporary Romance released by Avon Impulse on August 11, 2015

Make MeConstruction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she’d stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family’s hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn’t helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby’s suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she’s ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

Make Me is the third book in the Broke and Beautiful series. I’ve had the series on my to-read list for awhile. I got the first book at RT in May. I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary recently–Lauren Dane, Aurora Rose Reynolds, Penny Reid–along with this series. I read all three books over a 3-day period. I’m one of those readers that read series in order. I recommend reading the first two books in the series before reading Make Me. I think you’ll miss some back story if you try to read this as a stand-alone.

Throughout the series Russell has been longing for Abby and she’s been oblivious. Russell is struggling with his own demons and doesn’t think he’s good enough for Abby. He has in his head he has to be the strong one, the protector, and he thinks he knows what Abby needs and it’s not him. Russell has tried to stay firmly in the friend zone then things take a turn–like they do. I’m a sucker for the big, burly guy that’s all gruff but on the inside is a softy. Russell would do anything for Abby including not let her know how he feels because he doesn’t feel worthy.

Abby loves that Russell doesn’t handle her with kid gloves. He gets mad or frustrated when she doesn’t behave like he expects but is still there for her as a friend. Abby has her own secrets and insecurities that mean she doesn’t even think about Russell as a potential lover or that he would want her that way. She’s also wrestling with a big work/family issue. Then something happens and changes their relationship. Abby learns Russell wants her and she wants more of him. I think Abby is a great character–trying to be strong for everyone, trying to find her way in her new relationships, overcoming childhood fears. At the same time I like that she also figured out what she wanted from Russell and walked away when he wouldn’t give it to her. She also took charge and found her own solution for the work/family problem.

I like the change up in this book where Abby has the money, not Russell. Contrary to billionaire hero trends and a switch from the first two books in the series, it’s not the hero with the money–it’s the heroine.

Russell and Abby have hot sexy times. I wanted to yell at them “Just do it already” because the build up was killing me! The sexy times get marred by the several misunderstandings and failure to fully open up to each other. I wish there had been more time in the story with them as a romantic couple–not just as friends.

Roxy and Louis and Honey and Ben from the previous books are all around for this story. I loved seeing the relationships of the “supergroup” grow and really reach maturity in this book. I love series that follow connected groups be they friends or family members.

All three books are pretty spicy reads. I think this one kicks things up a notch. Russell is a dirty talker (yum!) and they’re both feeling out the dynamics of their sexual relationship. I like the dynamic of them both getting something “new” from their physical relationship. Russell wants to do stuff to Abby he’s never wanted before and she’s experiencing everything for the first time.

I liked this book and enjoyed the series. If you like hot contemporary reads, these are great stories. My first Tessa Bailey read was Off Base. I highly recommend that story too–a fabulous, hot contemporary book. I read it when it was released and could not put it down.

Grade: B

You can buy a copy here.

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