Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey
Series: Made in Jersey #2
on April 4th 2016
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He has one last chance to deserve the girl of his dreams...
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...
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Wow, OK. I’ve read Tessa Bailey before and I knew she wrote hot… but damn! There was so much schmexy going on in Thrown Down that at times I felt it got in the way of the story.
Let’s see here, I loved the premise of this story: a single mom working her butt off for her little girl, the dad who never knew was a dad, and who got to town sooner than you can sneeze when he finally learned about his baby girl completely set on making them all a family.
I also loved how the author made this a story about regular people. River works at a factory and is supplementing her income by waitressing at a bar. Vaughn, was a mechanic who went into the military, didn’t quite fit in and got into private security after his tour ended, making a comfortable living for a bachelor. This meant that there was no swooping in with a bottomless bank account to make everyone’s life easy.
What didn’t work for me was River and Vaughn’s actual relationship. I think for the very first time ever I thought this is what a dysfunctional relationship looks like… and I’ve read some pretty out-there stories. Somehow this more real-life-like romance made me question their relationship more than any super rich dom/slave/Stockholm far-fetched relationship. I guess it was the real-er feel to it which worked against them in my head.
In addition, two of the main issues in their relationship (from the moment they started in high school) border on pet peeves for me: first Vaughn had this whole “I’m-trash-and-I-shouldn’t-even-be-breathing-the-same-air-as-perfect-River-but-I’m-selfish-and-I-want-her-but-I’ll-always-feel-crap-about-making-her-dirty” going on. This of course led to a lack of communication where Vaughn would shut down when he was upset at himself from wanting River. River, being a young-ish insecure girl who didn’t know how to handle Vaughn, would just let herself be distracted by sex… incredibly hot and dirty sex… but still, they’d never resolve the issue at hand.
So yes, they were hot for each other, a whole lot, but it wasn’t until the very end of the story that they started to work through some of their problems and actually change their relationship to something better. I even complained about it: how I didn’t care anymore how horny they were and how they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. I wanted them to freaking work through their issues.
While yes, Vaughn comes back decided on winning River back and set on being able to support his family, and he was actually a very decent guy to his young girlfriend and then to his baby momma, his inability to communicate drove me crazy.
River I can’t really say much about, didn’t love her, and didn’t hate her either. I just wished she could have been a little more assertive in her behavior towards Vaughn. In my opinion, she caved too easily when she was supposed to be thinking of the well being of her daughter (even if that was not the case in the end because Vaughn really did want to be involved).
Another issue I had with the story was that I like my stories involving kids to have said kids actually involved in the story. Here we don’t get to meet Marcy until well past the 30% mark and even then her appearances are so fleeting it felt like she was just a prop… not what I was hoping for.
Anyway, Thrown Down was certainly a hot story. Vaughn is the filthiest dirty talker I’ve read in a while. The characters regular daily struggles gave it a real-life feel. While it was well written and well paced, it just didn’t hit the right spot for me.
Sparkles’ Rating: 3 Stars
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