Title: Wound Tight (Made in Jersey)
Author: Tessa Bailey
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Length: 168 Pages
At a Glance: This is a good category romance with a couple of likable guys who get their act together just in time for the HEA.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: When CEO Renner Bastion walks into a room, everyone keeps their distance. Well, everyone but the sarcastic, tattooed, Boston-bred security guard whose presence has kept Renner in New Jersey longer than intended. As if the unwanted attraction isn’t unsettling enough, Renner finds out his protector isn’t as unavailable as originally thought.
Milo Bautista just came out to his wealthy, ultra-confident boss, a man he secretly respects and admires…in more ways than he’ll admit. Worldly, experienced Renner would never look in his direction, let alone share some of that confidence he wears like a cloak, so Milo has set his sights on someone else to be his first.
Until Renner offers him private lessons in seduction…
Review: Aaah, I need a tropey little romance every so often. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of digging into a book and finding something comforting and familiar, then knowing that the ending is going to give you a payoff in the feelings department. Tessa Bailey’s Wound Tight is the fourth book in her Made in Jersey series, but as the only M/M title, it can be read as a standalone. And, it gives you the payoff you both want and deserve, with a smidge of angst along the way as well.
Renner Bastion and Milo Bautista are opposites in many ways. This story isn’t an enemies-to-lovers romance as much as it’s an adversaries-to-lovers story about a cold and emotionally distant boss who is confronted, on a daily basis, by a lovable and cheeky security guard. Renner and Milo throw shade and sass at one another, almost as a matter of routine, and in its own way it’s sort of charming that it’s how they interact–they mix it up without having to face the fact that they rather enjoy each other. Milo is open and charismatic, and the younger man to Renner’s jaded cynic. Renner’s been around the block a few times, has some hard and fast rules, and has been burnt—badly enough that he’s locked up and walled off his heart. But…Milo isn’t a quitter, and Renner never stands a chance.
Milo, who has always believed himself to be straight, finds that his attraction to a guy back in Boston might mean that he’s been going through the motions and just needed the right man to come along to make him question who he is and what he wants in life. That guy happens to be Travis, a chef who is as different from Renner as he could be. So, where’s the romantic hook? In Hook, New Jersey, as a matter of fact. When Milo took the job as a security guard at Bastion Enterprise, he also took it upon himself to act as a guard of sorts to Renner himself. It’s clear to Milo that Renner needs someone to look out for him since he has no friends and his employees don’t much like him. And when Milo discovers that Renner is only thirty-three and has already had a significant health scare, he makes it his mission to ensure his workaholic boss starts taking better care of himself. And, this is where the author gets to introduce a tried and true device that’s the catalyst for the conflict—Milo will help Renner relax and take life a little easier, in exchange for Renner helping Milo learn how to do something he’s never done before: romance another guy. Simple, right? Yeah, sure. We’ll go with that.
There’s not question that Tessa Bailey knows how to write chemistry. The frisson of lust and attraction between Renner and Milo is obvious even when their conversations and interactions have nothing to do with sex, and it’s the ability to buy into what begins to grow between them that helps to overcome what might otherwise be considered another garden variety genre erotic romance. There isn’t a lot of background static—secondary characters are just that, secondary, and don’t draw the focus away from what’s growing between Renner and Milo. There’s a wee hint of the dominance in the story too—Renner likes being the boss in and out of the bedroom—which works for Milo as he reflects on his past relationships with women. I liked watching how they struggled to overcome the bigger obstacle that was exacerbated by smaller but no less problematic issues, and their penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time—or shutting up when they should’ve been honest. But, that’s romance for ya. If it were all candy hearts and sparklecorns, it wouldn’t be much fun. Though, the end is all candy hearts and sparklecorns, so you get the “aw, sighs” payoff in abundance. It was sweet to the extreme, in fact, after what was otherwise a bumpy and sexed up road to romance.
While I did have a couple of niggles with stylistic choices in Wound Tight—too personal and petty to even mention by name because they’re definitely a “me” thing—I enjoyed this book for what it is—a good category romance featuring a couple of men that I wanted to find a happy ending together.
You can buy Wound Tight here: