Desert Isle Keeper
Tessa Bailey writes sex scenes that never let you down. Sometimes I don’t love the characters outside the bedroom, though, so I’m delighted to report that Getaway Girl is a read in which the characters are a good match throughout, and not just in the spicy parts.
Addison Potts crashes her cousin’s wedding to political scion Elijah Montgomery Du Pont, only to find out there’s no wedding to crash: her cousin has left Elijah standing at the altar. In the face of this catastrophe, Elijah’s southern gentlemanliness fails him. Unable to face the polite condolences of the entire wedding invite list, he jumps into Addison’s car and lets her drive him to her apartment. Addison has inherited her grandmother’s risqué novelty Christmas ornament business, Jingle Balls, and the apartment is Christmas year round, yet somehow this tacky wonderland feels more soothing and homey to him than any mansion he was born to. Still, Addison isn’t exactly the social class expected of the girlfriend of a mayoral candidate, and the worst part is that she’s illegitimate, and possibly his ex’s half-sister, not her cousin.
I liked Elijah, which is not a given for me in a white Southern politician who graduated from the Citadel and whose best friend is a cop. He’s charming and not at all snobbish, and unlike some ‘hot’ novel heroes, he’s as enthusiastic with Addison in the lead in bed as he is when he’s dominating. Like most Bailey heroes, he’s a dirty talker, but he’s also a good dirty listener, and a regular listener on top of that. I laughed out loud when he realized that Addison wasn’t comfortable with the bed that was supposed to be for him and his wife, so he took an axe to it. Oh, and there’s a Twitter account dedicated to his butt – which, charmingly, makes him self-conscious, so he untucks his shirttails and wears long-cut jackets. I liked that Bailey added that human side to the humor.
Addison, meanwhile, is delightful, up until what I can only think of as a psychotic break. One-on-one with Elijah, she sticks up for herself and calls him out when she feels unvalued. However, she’s not as rock-solid in her own feelings of value as she’d like to be, and she struggles (relatably) with criticism from Charleston gossip and from confrontations with his family. (I do question that there is so much media interest in a mayor’s love life that paparazzi stake out the house). It’s great until Elijah, who was only recently abandoned by his fiancée, can’t say “I love you” as easily as she’d like him to, and she runs off and does something so TSTL she almost does not L.
To return to strengths – Addison and Elijah’s misunderstandings are reasonable. For example, Elijah tells Addison she doesn’t have to come to an event because she seems uncomfortable; Addison thinks he’s trying to ensure they aren’t seen together because he’s ashamed of her. Elijah wants Addison to be a secret in the special sense of a private treasure; someone who is a relief and respite from his frenzied public life; Addison can’t help but see being a secret as dirty, not precious. These are legitimate interpretations of the same set of events which are grounded in the characters and their points of view.
I know this book is worth keeping because I’ve already reread it. I picked it back up for this review when I realized it wasn’t in our database. It’s funny, spicy, and a worthwhile read off of Bailey’s backlist.