TOO HARD TO FORGET (Romancing the Clarksons #3) by Tessa Bailey-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour
TOO HARD TO FORGET
Romancing the Clarksons #3
by Tessa Bailey
Release Date: April 25 , 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance
Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM / Google Play / ibooks / indiebound
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 25, 2017
This time, she’s calling the shots.
Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.
In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.
REVIEW: TOO HARD TO FORGET is the third installment in Tessa Bailey’s contemporary adult ROMANCING THE CLARSONS erotic, romance series focusing on the Clarkson siblings. This is youngest sibling Peggy Clarkson, and college football coach Elliott Brooks’s story line. TOO HARD TO FORGET can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty although I recommend reading the series in order for backstory and cohesion.
SOME BACKGROUND: One year earlier Miriam Clarkson passed away but not before leaving her now four grown adult children (Rita, Aaron, Peggy and Belmont) a journal of her most intimate thoughts and dreams. Miriam’s final wishes were for her children to seek out what is important in their lives and thusly a cross country trek began wherein each sibling will find his or her own happily ever after as they venture their way from California to New York City ending with a New Year’s Eve celebration. Rita found the love of her life in book one –Too Hot To Handle/ Aaron found love in book two-Too Wild to Tame.
Told from dual third person points of view (Peggy and Elliott) using present day and memories from the past, TOO HARD TO FORGET is a second chance story line focusing on college football coach Elliott Brooks, and one time cheerleader Peggy Clarkson. Three years earlier Elliott and Peggy ended a torrid but forbidden affair between coach and student-an affair that ended when Elliott pushed Peggy out of his life. Fast forward to present day, Alumni Week is in full swing at the University of Cincinnati, and the Clarkson cross-country tour pulls Peggy into the vortex of her of alma mater. Prepared to give Elliott a piece of her mind Peggy comes face to face with the man that ruined her for everyone else, never expecting to pick up where everything went wrong. Enter Elliott Brooks, widowed father of one pre-tween daughter, and the man that broke our heroine’s heart and soul. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Elliott and Peggy, Elliott’s struggle to forgive himself for sins of the past, and the scramble to save one player’s home from bankruptcy and loss.
The relationship between Elliott and Peggy is one of second chances for two people destroyed by one man’s guilt. Elliott is a practicing Catholic who has difficulty forgiving himself for the loss of his wife (a woman he considered more of a friend than soul mate) and for falling in love with the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Peggy was a senior at University of Cincinnati but catching the eye of the school’s infamous football coach placed Peggy on the fast track to lust, love and a potential happily ever after until her world came crashing down when Elliott pushed her out of his life. The $ex scenes are erotic, intense and seductive. Elliott likes to talk dirty in the bedroom; Peggy likes it a little rough.
With two of the Clarkson siblings having found love on the cross country journey, that left Peggy and Belmont, along with Peggy’s best friend Sage to continue onward towards New York and a New Year’s Eve celebration. Belmont struggles with dark demons and his attraction to his sister’s best friend Sage; Sage’s past hints to an abusive and neglectful start.
The world building continues to focus on the Clarkson’s journey towards love and a happily ever after. Told through present day, as well as memories from the past, the reader goes along for the ride as each sibling finds their purpose and role in life. The story line advances the series but a few days.
TOO HARD TO FORGET is a story of heartbreak and sorrow; love and pain; emotional guilt and loss. The premise is realistic, emotional and energetic; the romance is passionate, palpable and compelling; the characters are colorful, intelligent and spirited. TOO HARD TO FORGET is a sultry story line of second chances for two people caught in a tidal wave of one man’s guilt.
Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Too Hot To Handle
Too Wild to Tame
Too Hard to Forget
Too Close to Call (June 2017 novella)
Too Beautiful to Break (September 2017)
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Tessa: I’m a control freak living in Long Island with a wine habit. Ha! I have a five-year-old daughter, a husband of ten years and a temperamental cat. Romance is what makes me cry, laugh and everything in between.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
Tessa: I’ve always thought writing was my one talent, but I lacked the discipline until my daughter was born. After that, I was very motivated to carve out a career for myself. I guess you could say she influenced me. I wanted to make her proud.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?
Tessa: At this point, I have a tried and true system that ensures I can get the book written and released in its best form. In the beginning, I would say my biggest opponent was doubt. Or letting others get in my head and spread doubt about story ideas. Now I ignore everything but my own gut.
TRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of TOO HARD TO FORGET and the ROMANCING THE CLARKSONS series?
Tessa: The Clarksons are four dysfunctional siblings on a cross-country road trip from San Diego to New York, each of them finding love at a different stop along the way. TOO HARD TO FORGET is the third book in the series—the youngest sister Peggy’s turn—and she’s out to make her old flame’s life hell on their stop in University of Cincinnati where he works as the head football coach.
TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Tessa: My characters do it for me! A characters’ pasts and insecurities dictate how they respond to any given situation, so give two characters the same plot and they each could take it in a different direction. I love when a character surprises me or I learn something about them during the course of a book. That can often make me change course when it comes to the plot.
TRC: Thank you Tessa for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of TOO HARD TO FORGET.
“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”
Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”
“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”
“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”
“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”
No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”
The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”
“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”
“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”
“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”
Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.
He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.
She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
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