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Never start a fire you can’t control…

Connor Bannon is supposed to be dead. Dishonorably discharged from the Navy SEALs, he's spent the last two years working as a street enforcer in Brooklyn for his cousin's crime ring. Through a twist of fate, he's now in Chicago, working undercover to bust criminals. But when a cute little arsonist joins the team—all combat boots, tiny jean shorts, and hot-pink hair—Connor’s notorious iron control slips.

Erin "she's getting away" O'Dea knows two things. She hates authority. And… Nope, that's it. When she's forced to operate on the “right” side of the law, her fear of being confined and controlled blazes to the surface. The last thing she expects is a control freak like Connor to soothe her when she needs it most. Worse, something behind the sexy ex-soldier's eyes ignites a dangerous inferno of desire. One that invites Erin to play with fire. And one that could get them both killed…

352 pages, Paperback

First published June 23, 2015

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About the author

Tessa Bailey

93 books40.6k followers
New York Times Bestselling author Tessa Bailey can solve all problems except for her own, so she focuses those efforts on stubborn, fictional blue collar men and loyal, lovable heroines. She lives on Long Island avoiding the sun and social interactions, then wonders why no one has called. Dubbed the “Michelangelo of dirty talk,” by Entertainment Weekly, Tessa writes with spice, spirit, swoon and a guaranteed happily ever after. Catch her on TikTok at @authortessabailey or check out tessabailey.com for a complete list of books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 357 reviews
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,504 followers
June 25, 2015
4 Stars!!


This one was my favorite book in the series so far. And one of the reasons is Connor, the male character. My Gawd, he was something else.. We met Connor in the previous book in the series when he was on the wrong side of the law working as a street enforcer. He's also an ex-Seal who was dishonorably discharged two years ago. Now he’s in Chicago working undercover with other criminals helping the ‘good guys’ busting criminals.


When he meets Erin he’s drawn to her like a moth to a flame. The sexual chemistry between them is off the charts and Connor is more intrigued than ever with this cute little 'thing' with combat boots and tiny jeans shorts.

Erin is a little damaged. Her past is not exactly full of rainbows and unicorns. She’s a pyromaniac who suffers from severe claustrophobia and she absolutely hates authority. She never expected to be so drawn to Connor, to crave his presence so soon, to feel so save in his arms.

“She was drawn to fire. Connor had enough inside him to burn down a major city. The fact that he kept such a tight leash on it only made her want to watch it crackle and race.”

But Erin is more damaged that Connor thought. She has an aversion for touch and if he wants to be with her, to keep her close, he must be very patient, learning to show some self-restrain. As time passes it looks there's something more than a simple attraction between these two and when Erin is in danger, Connor is ready to do anything for the woman who stole his heart.

“You’re the hottest goddamn thing I’ve ever seen, thighs spread wide open as you dry-fuck me to insanity…and I can’t even touch you. I should be the one begging.”


I really enjoyed this one! Tessa definitely knows how to write engaging characters. Both Connor and Erin are great characters. I loved Erin’s personality. Her sassiness just made me smile and I adored her smart mouth. She is strong and independent, but she also has a vulnerable side. I felt sorry for what happened with her step-father and also in prison. Connor was a fantastic male character. He’s a ‘real’ alpha male, but he’s not controlling at all. Even if he wants to protect Erin from everything bad in the world he lets her be and have some independence. He’s patient and considerate, sweet and attentive and he’s the perfect match for Erin. I really felt it! Their connection was fantastically done and the chemistry between them was off the charts. Tessa knows how to write sexual chemistry like no other!

I loved Connor’s filthy mouth. The man was sex on a stick and simply delicious. I couldn’t get enough!

“I will kill for this pussy. Kill for the right to continue ownership of it. Nod if you understand how serious I am.”
“Now fuck me like you mean it.”

The sex scenes were well written and satisfying and the side characters likeable and engaging. It was nice to see them all. Can’t wait to read more about these characters.

You have to know there’s some insta-lust here. Sometimes this aspect bothers me, sometimes it doesn’t. Depends...In this case I was ok with it since Tessa knows how to write it. Nothing felt forced and everything felt natural.Even if this series is labeled as a suspenseful series, the suspense element is pretty low. I for one I enjoyed it just the way it was – steamy with just a little suspenseful to make everything more interesting.

Overall, this was a great steamy read with an interesting storyline, well written main and side characters and great writing.

**“Up in Smoke” is the third installment in “Crossing the Line” series but it can be read as a standalone.**

Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,020 reviews12k followers
July 15, 2015
4 Stars

You might escape everywhere else, but you can't escape this. Me. I'm where you LIVE.

I've said it before and I'll say it again; Tessa Bailey books are my ovary happy place. They're pure guilty pleasure, dirty-talking-alpha-overload, awesome entertainment goodness. I'll never get enough of her stories or her dirty talking heroes. Ever. Each book offers something unique while still delivering the signature dirty talk punch straight to the ovaries. I absolutely love it!

Ever since we first met Connor in Risking it All I've been chomping at the bit to get my hands on his story. What's better than a bad boy criminal hiding a golden heart? Rhetorical question, clearly. Although this is the second book in the series, it's also easily read as a standalone. However, I'd strongly recommend reading it in order since it will help you understand Connor and the backstory a little more.

At the end of Risking It All we saw a new police task force being formed by non-other than Derek from Protecting What's His with the savvy criminals turned good guys. So what happens when you put a dishonorably discharged SEAL turned criminal and a pyromaniac with claustrophobia in the same room together?

Enough sexual chemistry to power a high rise in Chicago is what! The sparks fly immediately between these two. Erin is a sassy and smart mouthed little powerhouse that grabs the attention of the broody Connor when she first struts into the room. She may have her share of issues and they may be a mile long, but the woman has enough sass to overshadow that and give the illusion of a much stronger person than she really is on the inside.

Things between these two start off hot and heavy from the very beginning and they only get better as more time passes. And when I say better, I mean dirtier. So much dirtier.
Pet yourself, Erin. That's what I would do. I'd stroke your pussy with my fingers through that silk. Nice and gentle. I'd give it a soft kiss and apologize for the fact that I'm about to destroy it.

And you surely won't find this girl complaining.

Beyond anything else, this book was HAWT with a capital H. Connor and Erin absolutely burned up the pages together. I couldn't get enough of them.

There were also a couple of other secondary characters that were introduced that also caught my attention right away. The master of disguises; Austin, and the super hacker; Polly. I love the idea of criminals turned right side of the law. It just gives this extra delicious spin on things that I enjoyed very much.

As for Connor and Erin? I loved them together. My only complaint was the big case of insta-lust. These two get together right off the bat and just get more hot and heavy. I like my books to have that little burn of sexual tension before the couple go at it. But hell, these two were so hot together, I could barely even find it in me to care.
I will kill for this pussy. Kill for the right to continue ownership of it. No if you understand how serious I am...
Now fuck me like you mean it.

The story was quick paced and entertaining; I read it in practically one sitting. As was the case with every other series this woman has written, I'm completely hooked on Crossing the Line and cannot wait for more. I hear Austin's book is next, and if the teaser for it in this book is enough to go by, I can already tell it's going to be a good one. Another winner from the super fabulous Tessa Bailey and a must read!

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Claire.
2,308 reviews702 followers
June 23, 2015
3 - ”Proceed with caution.” Stars

I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and before writing my review I have made myself step back and take a little time to think about what I want to say.

Firstly I want to reiterate that normally I am a huge fan of Tessa’s books, no one quite matches her when it comes to strong, dominant, dirty-talking, alpha males… But in a way that is also the main problem that I had with Up in Smoke, because although Connor is all those things, there isn’t really anything that made him stand out from any of Tessa’s other strong, dominant, dirty-talking, alpha males.

The issues that Erin is dealing with are what should have given the book it’s originality, and at the beginning of the her and Connor’s story, I had high hopes of Tessa offering up an extremely emotive and thought provoking, but still sexy read, especially as this trope essentially took away one of the main strengths her male characters have in their efforts to ‘woo’ the women they are after. And in that vein it started well, but unfortunately it all fell to the wayside pretty quickly as soon as insta-everything took over and Erin decided she was horny…

”I’ll make you beg for my goddamn hands on you…”
”You’re welcome to try.”

I know this is a work of fiction, and I am not expecting everything to be medically or mentally correct, but I feel that glossing over a pretty serious condition rather than exploring it didn’t do the book on the whole any favors, I was looking forward to it being a deeper and more emotional story for this couple, and in the beginning it was, but it was quickly lost in amongst Connor’s almost unreasonable over-protectiveness, and Erin’s quick recovery around him, after struggling for years previously.

This isn’t a bad book, and it isn’t a bad story, the writing is of Tessa’s usual high quality, and I know I will be in the minority with my feelings about Up in Smoke, and I am alright with that, I have high expectations of this author, and rightly so, she is one of my ’go-to’ authors when I am looking for a fictional guy to get my knicker elastic in a twist. For me this book is a bit of a wasted opportunity in the fact it could have been so much more, and stood out on its own if the usual route to sexual fulfillment had not been so swiftly taken on this occasion.

They’d come a long way in such a short space of time.

Disguised in Danger is the next book due in January 2016, and I look forward to seeing where Tessa takes Austin and Polly and this series in general next.

ARC generously provided by Entangled, in exchange for the above honest review.
Profile Image for Ⓐlleskelle - That ranting lady ッ.
996 reviews808 followers
July 27, 2015
⭐️⭐️ 2 STARS ⭐️⭐️


What the hell just happened here?
My mind is confused, my body is confused...

I like Tessa Bailey's dirty talkers. Who wouldn't right?
She writes the best sweet talkers I've ever had the pleasure to read so I was really counting on her ability to create the cheekiest and bold heroines that get the alpha man crazy. This combo usually means the banter will be both playful and sexy, upping the sexual tension ever so high with the promise of fuckhot sex scenes, Tessa Bailey'style.

Using blackmail as leverage, Captain Derek Tyler recruits a skilled felon team of 6 to help his police department.

I really want to highlight the fact that the character's development as of the beginning of the book really hooked me.
I loved Erin's character.
Appearing tough with a lot of mouth to her and a crazy act to confuse people and hide her weaknesses. She appeared to be a really complex character with interesting depth.

Connor as well, was an interesting character. Reformed Seals, also fighting his own demons, he has no idea at first why he should make of Erin except that he's obviously attracted to her.

Let's not forget about Mr Bannon rather impressive... assets.

I thought I was in for a 5 stars entertaining and sexy romance. The opening scene where Connor Bannon and Erin O'Dea met got me all fired up about this crazy heroine and this all too serious former military man. Instant chemistry and attraction really forebode to some really good time.

Unfortunately this quickly escalated to be one of the most OTT case of insta-love I've ever read. The heroine obviously hiding her pain and damages under a not ordinary amount of sass, held onto Connor something fierce, triggering his alpha male instinct to protect and serve his woman.
Yes. As simple as that. And yes this instantly.

Why the hero felt the urge to protect and help a probably certified woman he literally just met? I have no idea.
I know, I know, erotica romance here, the alpha male protects what's his...

The "playful" banter only got entertaining for a while before getting old and repetitive...
The sub-plot was completely lost on me as this story held some consequent amount of sex... So, hum yeah, guilty here, I truly enjoyed the crazy sex everywhere but I was hoping for something... more?
I can’t even say that I enjoyed the dirty talk, it felt really monotonous and thrown in just for the heck of it. It was just… off.

Now, if you are looking for something simple and sexy and really fast paced, you might have your next read right here. Only just don't expect anything that makes sense because good sex and OTT caveman act is pretty much what you’ll get here.

I just personally wished this story held more substance than just the happenstance of great sex.

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Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,657 reviews3,235 followers
June 26, 2015
4 Wish List Fulfilled Stars * * * *
I am going to get to the point; Tessa Bailey knows how to put an over the top Alpha together with a complex, destroyed but feisty woman and make it work. She creates an environment where the premise is similar to the Dirty Dozen but more like The 6 Pack with Attitude. All of this motley crew are the best at what they do...and our favorite Bailey man, Derek(Dirty Talker)Tyler from Protecting What's His, is in charge of them. They either get with his program or they are back into prison. Period.

Each of our characters have either been on the wrong side of the law, been manipulated by it or hurt by what it has done to them. In this second installment of the series Crossing the Line we have Connor, our hunky hot ex Seal/enforcer. He carries the trauma of all the horrors from war plus the pressure of his mom's medical needs...which forced him to revert back into enforcing for his crime family connections. This is his way out... a way to protect his mom...and possibly break free. This man saw abuse as a child; it impacted his need to protect... to care for others and it is his driving force...as well as ah hmmm very strong sex drive...

Which leads me to Erin... she is a bundle of all sorts of mixed messages. She comes across as this tough, take no prisoners punk gal... but at the same time purposely does this cray cray thing to drive guys away. She has this need to play with matches and make sure she has an escape route planned out before she sits in a room.

Of course, these two knock heads right away... Connor needing to control Everything... it is his way of staying sane... and Erin, pushing all of his buttons. But in the process, revealing more of her inner mind than she ever imagined.

Right away, Connor's Cock Switch has been has been activated... Thoughts of Erin riding him, bending over, tied etc. are part of what he is thinking... And Erin didn't help the situation by wearing cut off shorts so tiny, the scrap of fabric hardly hides the goods when she dramatically puts her long, lanky legs up on the conference table and crosses them. It was deliberate and caused exactly the reaction she had expected...what she did not expect was her reaction to this man...

She felt something...something unusual...she actually felt. Period.


It is important to note...I knew this was coming, had no problem with it and was ready, willing and able to accept it.

The chemistry is off the charts for these two- Connor has seen past the charade Erin fronted - He senses there is something troubling her beyond the game of "She is cray cray, lights fires and escapes out of prisons." He sees the frighten woman and learns she cannot bear being touched or being in a room without a window or escape. We learn why and understand; as a child Erin was tortured by her stepfather after her mom's death. There is so much which is told and the bottom line is a very smart child was twisted into what she is as a woman now. Her intelligence and will is what has held her together and it is remarkable.

Connor and Erin are part of the team which throws them together. The book has a valid plot which I will not go into. What I will tell you is it works as most Bailey plots do and keeps you engaged. There are other characters to learn about and you will become interested in their stories...enough to look forward to the upcoming installments.

What I would be remiss in not sharing is the quirks of Connor. Over all I really liked him- BUT he Really, Really was over the top... just a warning...He has a wonderful heart and is totally smitten with Erin- he will do whatever is necessary to put her at ease or look out for her...
The two of them have sexually chemistry which is off the charts...

And yes, in case you were wondering....Connor is a huge dirty talker...and Erin is inventive, too. The scenes of them getting off but not even touching caused my kindle to short out...The dialogue coming from Connor... just saying... please before I die... can I hear it in person directed to me. The actual scenes of them together...are for any one's bookmark.

The only thing to remember is Connor is Alpha to the 10th degree and just accept it as part of the package.

I guess I didn't keep it as short as planned...but you all know I am a talker....

This is a successful series for Bailey; it works to her strengths and we benefit. She has given us a female hacker, Polly and a con/disguise artist extraordinaire, Austin. We already know his book is next and I cannot wait. I do advise reading the first installments of this series to enjoy all the layers of these characters.

Riskier Business
Risking it All

~~~ Before Reading ~~~
Hmmmm, my hidden wish list:
Strong, masculine, (no metro sexual, please), extreme dirty-talker who sees who he wants and then goes about getting it. Oh, and has the goods...knows how to use them, too.

He may have some, er...issues, like a confused past, but is now cleaning up his act...

Let's have him meet or better yet...work with an equally intense and charged woman... one who is driven in her career, willing to do whatever to become the best and have her packaged in a body with a sexy mind that won't quit.

And please, pretty please,
Bring in the original DT...the Main Man, Derek-Dirty-Talker-with-Capitals-Tyler from the book which was my first DT...
Protecting What's His...

Tessa Bailey, you must have found my hidden list.
I don't care how or when or even why...
All I know is I am ready to read my Guilty Pleasure, any book by you.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

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Profile Image for ~Stéphanie's Journal~.
620 reviews352 followers
June 23, 2015

Tessa Bailey is very gifted when it comes to create the perfect dirty talker. I haven't read all her books but I can already tell I'm in love with her hot alpha dirty talker male.
They are my weakness and this author knows how to please me.


Up in smoke is a stand alone book but if you want to know more about Connor, I suggest you read Risking it all. You will know where he is coming from and you will have a better grasp on the different interactions.


Connor, ex-SEAL, ex-criminal has been transferred in Chicago to join a particular group of ex-criminals just like him under Derek's watch (you remember the guy from Protecting what's his? Yep the very same ;) )
All have different skills that can help in a particular investigation case.
As soon as he sets his eyes on Erin, sexual tension is OFF the chart.
Erin is a smart, sassy, fierce but mostly she is shielding herself against everyone.


Connor's interest is picked by this woman who seems hostile to attention, but also attracted by him.

Erin specialty is to know how to escape. She is in a room and she knows how many steps she has until the next exit.
The pull she is feeling for Connor scares her. She is willing to share more than she never has and it's so disturbing for someone used to escape.
But things can never be easy with an aversion for touch. Erin is terrified to let it go. As for Connor, self-restrain is not something he is used to. Usually he is the one who controls, who tell what to do and how to do it. With Erin, all he knows will have to wait.


Up in smoke seduced me completely because the subject was interesting. I was wondering all along how it was possible to combine Tessa Bailey usual sexiness and of the chart sexual scenes with no touching. The tension between both our MC is so damn good!

Connor was such a sublime man. He fights against all his instincts because he knows Erin is worth it. I've loved everything from the moment they met until the end. With an underlying threat against Erin, Connor was overly protective and focused.

Up in smoke is a story full of passion. Trust is probably the most important element for both Connor and Erin.
Their hard limits will be shattered, what's important and what matters will be redefined.

“You gave me a place to feel safe. You made me feel safe. I just wanted to pass that feeling on to someone"


I have a special mention for this book because my attention was picked with Austin. I'm sensing something VERY emotional about him. My heart already aches for the young and handsome con. Please Tessa Bailey, tell me we won't have too long to wait for his book

~ARC provided by the author for an honest review~

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Profile Image for Jeanne .
303 reviews
June 28, 2015
dnf @ 60%

Insta-hard on, insta-lust, insta-love. Tessa Bailey definitely delivered on the smutty good times as always, I just felt like she forgot to build-up or develop their romance before it happened. I just didn't care enough to finish it.

Profile Image for Michelle.
2,101 reviews1,254 followers
June 22, 2015
ARC provided by publisher provided in exchange for an honest review

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Tessa Bailey...need I say more!! Yes, I am a BIG BIG FAN of Tessa Bailey. She is one of those authors who is my on one-click must list. After reading Risking It All, I knew I had to get my hands on UP IN SMOKE since I couldn't wait for Connor Bannon's story. And once again, Tessa Bailey heated up my kindle with her dirty-talking alpha male who has a heart of gold.

"Tell me you'll spread your legs for it someday, Erin. Give me that.." He fisted his cock and pumped twice. "I can only fantasize about coming in your pussy so many times before I need the real thin. I bet you're fuck-tight, aren't you? Like a closed fist." She poured more oil into her hands and rubbed them together. "Yes, I want very much to spread my legs for it someday." Her voice was throaty, sexual."And yes, baby, I'm nice and tight."

UP IN SMOKE can be read as standalone but I HIGHLY recommend you to read this series in order to get a better understanding of Conner and two of the secondary characters from Risking it All, who plays a part in this storyline.


Connor Bannor is a former NAVY SEAL that was dishonorably discharged, who has spent the last two years as an enforcer for his cousin's organized crime. Through a twist of fate, he is now recruited to work undercover for the Chicago police department in order to bring down criminals. Along with Connor and other criminals going undercover, they are assigned to work together to bring down a dirty politician. But the mission to take down the criminals got a whole of exciting and hotter, when Connor meets Erin O'Dea, a pyromaniac who has some issues of control and claustrophobia.

Sparks were igniting and blazing when these two met. Attraction, lust, and whatever you want to call it, Erin and Connor had instant chemistry. These two heated up the pages as they tried to break down each other's walls. And once Connor got a taste of Erin's lips, Ms. Bailey heated up our kindles with Connor and his dirty talking mouth and his sinful body. If you have read any previous books of Ms. Bailey, then you know what I'm talking about because she will having you deliriously panting and lusting for this hot domineering protective alpha male. So can Connor show Erin what she needs, while slowly ease her fears of touch and being in an enclosed space?

"If I'm what you want, hope is futile, because I couldn't belong to you any more completely than I already do."

Up In Smoke was a hot smoking read!! I enjoyed and loved this erotic romantic suspense and practically devoured this book in one sitting. Not only was I was hooked with Erin and Connor's storyline but I was also intrigued with the new secondary characters that Ms. Bailey introduced, Polly and Austin. As always, the writing was exceptional, the storyline was entertaining and the romance was smoking hot!! After reading this book, I seriously can't wait for Austin's book.

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Review can also be found on Four Chicks Flipping Pages::http://fourchicksflippingpages.weebly... Tessa Bailey
Profile Image for Bj.
1,217 reviews262 followers
June 26, 2015
5 "The Dom & Untouched Sub" Stars! Holy smokes! My Kindle nearly self-combusted with the unprecedented levels of dirty talk! I never would have thought it possible, but Tessa Bailey found a way to make a haphephobic heroine (a heroine who has a fear of being touched) and a dominant hero, come together to form one of the most erotic couples ever. Somehow not being able to touch the heroine, and having to earn her confidence and the right to touch her, just made every single word and action just that much more sensual and electrifying!

In a fashion somewhat similar to the Mod Squad, a group of former ex-cons is put together to bust a corrupt politician. In exchange for participation in the group, each is given something he or she desperately needs (money, excused jail time, etc.) Each one of the former cons is chosen for his or her own unique talents. Chief among this crew of unlikely undercover enforcers, is Connor Bannon (a dishonorably discharged former Navy Seal with a violent temper), and Erin O'Dea, a convicted arsonist who also happens to be a highly accomplished escape artist.

Connor's and Erin's unlikely attraction is first brought to light at their first meeting on the job when they are both the only two participants to show up early. When Erin's typical hot and cold routine fails to make Connor immediately run in the other direction, Erin is faced with an interesting quandary: a man who both thrills her and who just may be the only man to be able to handle her unusual idiosyncrasies. Connor is likewise intrigued. Though he knows he should run in the other direction from an unnecessary complication that could easily terminate his second chance, he just can't help but feel compelled to protect and heal Erin.

But just how is Connor going to be able to prevent Erin from running away the minute things get too hot. Moreover, how will he be able to restrain his natural dominant proclivities, to ensure he doesn't scare her away. As if that weren't bad enough, the source of Erin's particular aversions still remains at large and determined as ever to finally take out his revenge on her once and for all. Will Connor's and Erin's combined unusual talents be enough to keep Erin safe in the end?

I absolutely loved Up in Smoke! I found it to be highly creative and erotically effective notwithstanding its unconventional approach. This was my first read by Tessa Bailey, but now I'm clamoring for more. My first stop will no doubt to go back to Book 1 in the Crossing the Line Series to read the love story of Bowen (a crime family member) and Seraphina (the undercover cop). Can't wait!

Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,243 reviews1,939 followers
June 30, 2015
3.5 Stars

Connor Bannon and Erin O'Dea are given the option of prison, or joining a special undercover team in Chicago to use their skills for good. Connor is a former SEAL which is where he gets his skill set. Erin, however, get's hers in a more illegal way and is a known escape artist, oh and an arsonist. Meeting on their first day on the team they both are instantly drawn together and the chemistry sparks.

The blurb for this story instantly caught my attention and I just had to read it. I didn't even wait until I had read the first in the series - don't judge me. I was a little disappointed by the actual story though. I think I went into it expecting something really different so when I didn't get that it just wasn't as good as I thought it would be.

I still really liked this story and will definitely go back to read the first one, and the third when it comes out. Erin was a really unique character and I loved her with Conner. They were the perfect couple and they both had their issues but when they were together they could fight their demons and it was great to see.

I wanted a little more background on the characters, though, and kept wishing that we would learn more. As part of the team they were supposed to be investigating a crime along with the rest of their teammates, but that was kind of pushed into the background. The book started off focusing on Connor and Erin and the investigation but by the middle of the book it was mostly just about Erin.

The chemistry between Connor and Erin was super HAWT and I loved how patient Connor was with Erin and let her take control when she needed, even when it drove him crazy. The smexy parts and the mystery had me hooked within the first chapter and I devoured this book in a day. I loved the little bits we got of the other characters and I already can't wait to read Austin's story.
Profile Image for Court.
417 reviews47 followers
November 3, 2018
Re-read 5/6/18 - I missed the OTT obsession between Connor and Erin.

Third person, Dual-POV, HAE. Can be read as standalone.

True to Bailey fashion, this book is a scorch-fest of dominant heroes and likable heroines. A bit of suspense thrown in for good measure, considering they're part of a rag-tag group of criminals who have been selected for an undercover police team. (Bowen and Sera from book 1 are included in the group.)

These two, Connor and Erin, didn't like each other at first sight. Mutual attraction, yes, most definitely.

"What about a tiny little kiss?" Shit, where had that come from? "No tongue."
"This isn't summer camp." Those hands clenched. Unclenched. "If you want to kiss me, you'll get everything. I'm not going to hold back."

Both come with a bit of baggage - aside from their individual criminal records. Erin doesn't like to be touched, and her greatest fear is being back in a cage. Connor is trying to make up for his past transgressions, however noble his intentions were in the first place.

As a pair, they're a pretty opposite match. Connor craves control, in and out of the bedroom. Erin is frightened by someone controlling her, like her step-father did. Her story is pretty heartbreaking.

Initially, he plays along with her requirement of being able to touch him, but not being able to in return. It begins to develop a bond between the two because of his respect for her boundaries, until none exist anymore.

This is a quick love story, meaning they spend no more than 2 weeks together and fall deep. But it's sweet, sexy and a whole lot of fun.

'Til next time cuties ;)
Profile Image for Elle aka Leftie aka Shoebelle.
633 reviews122 followers
July 25, 2015
*Complimentary ARC received from author/publisher via blog tour*

4.5 ★

If ever I had doubts in the past that Tessa can write smoking dirty-talkin alpha, they’re all gone now! Seriously! *giggles*

Sweet momma, Up in Smoke INDEED! Literally and figuratively…

Erin is quite a unique h with her past and condition that developed because of her past. Connor has his own baggage to bring in to this unique relationship. But oh boy, did he know how to handle Erin or what! And in the most scrumptious way that an alpha H can!

It’s insta-lust/attraction, but ask me if I care. Heck no! Ask me if I bought every single moment of it. Heck yah! Not a lot of authors can sell that idea to me, but as you can see, Tessa can.

The story itself, while not entirely unique provided enough cachet to make it work. It’s like Suicide Squad done Tessa way, or as she even described it, thru one of her characters, like a modern day Mod Squad.

And the way I felt about this book, maybe I’m reading too much into it making all kinds of presumptions, but I really like the way that Tessa almost calls herself out with her story line even before I get the chance to do so which makes it come across as self-deprecating and cheeky, and totally working for me; remarks like “the criminal version of Meet the Parents”, and the pop culture history reference like the mention of Topanga, too awesome! And yes there is intensity without laying the angst too thickly.

So did this totally worked for me? Heck yah!

While I've read Derek and Ginger's story, I've yet to read the others in this series so I have a lot of catching up, as in pronto!

Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews201 followers
May 9, 2017
Because he knew with irrevocable certainty that he would give Erin whatever she needed, whenever she needed it. He’d help her battle her demons any way he could.
God help them both if his own demons came out to play.

I’ve been intrigued by Connor Bannon since the first book, wondering how he went from being a navy seal to working for his vicious criminal cousin. I loved how protective he was over women, and that everything he’s done has been because of his need to look after his mother, and that made him very sexy to me. I’m a sucker for instant attraction, so I was ecstatic with Connor’s immediate fascination and desire for Erin. And the fact that he saw beneath her crazy façade she always hides behind, just made me love him even more. I love how this author writes her heroes, all alpha with a mad streak of possessive and protective and Connor was all that.

She was drawn to fire. Connor had enough inside him to burn down a major city. The fact that he kept such a tight leash on it only made her want to watch it crackle and race.

Odd and different heroines are my favorite and I loved Erin O’Dea. She’s a convicted criminal with a history of arson and a brilliant escape artist. She’s also so terribly broken because of her step-father, unable to stand the touch of others. I loved the way she reacted to Connor, how she goaded him and how shocked she was when he wasn’t put off by her crazy attitude that she weaves like a shield. I also loved that she felt safe with him, and that she eventually took a risk on letting him get closer to her than she’s ever allowed anyone before.

“You want freedom? Fine. I can’t stop you from slipping out windows or walking out doors. If I have to go insane with worry in order to keep you, I’ll do it. I’ll do it for how I feel when you show up again. I’m not giving up. And you insult me by thinking I can’t take some frustration. Some pain. Bring it, Erin. I’m fucking ready.”

The romance was hot and sexy. Connor was very dominant in the bedroom which made things quite interesting at first with Erin needing to be in control and him willing to do anything to keep her. I occasionally do enjoy a bit of dominance in my books, but Connor was a bit too dominant for me, which I didn’t enjoy.

I’m really liking the plot development of this series, with the police forming a new task force made up of criminals, who uses their expertise to catch other criminals. It’s all very exciting and action-packed. I also loved spending time with the other characters, seeing Bowen and Sera from the first book getting their HEA. I really love Bowen…..

Tessa Bailey is a favorite author of mine and I’m so loving this sexy series. Highly recommended.

Profile Image for Erica.
1,271 reviews677 followers
June 21, 2015
I have been so intrigued about this one since finishing Bowen and Sera's story, because hello? We're back in Chicago and Derek and Ginger are making some appearances! Yahoo. And Connor totally won me over in the last book, so I was excited to see his story as well.

Up in Smoke was slowly on the upswing in winning me over. It was the second half of the novel that really solidified this one for me. I liked Connor, but I was slower to warm to Erin; at first, I just couldn't see the appeal Connor saw and it felt like their relationship moved much too quickly. However, as the story continues, I quickly because sold on the pair of them.

I loved the characters, both new and old. One of the best parts of Up in Smoke was the amount of Sera and Bowen moments. It rocked!

While this wasn't my favorite of Tessa Bailey's books (sorry, I'm in a committed relationship with Asking for Trouble and Off Base), once I got deeper into reading it, I quickly fell for the characters' and their story they had to share. Now, I am SO stoked for book 3, Disguised in Danger, because those characters who it'll feature rocked my socks off, especially towards the end of this one.
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,300 reviews723 followers
June 18, 2015
This one needs a bit of a disclosure - it has a VERY alpha/controlling/possessive did I mention controlling? Hero. I think some will be turned off by him. I took him more as a fantasy hero - and paid attention to the dirty talk and I was good ;)

I like this series. The men are SO ridiculous over the top. It's fun (to me):)

Review coming
Profile Image for Nicole P.
784 reviews
November 26, 2017
Another intense and gripping book by Tessa Bailey. Connor Bannon has been given another chance to live. He moves to Chicago to join a group of ragtag criminals, who now work for the Chicago PD. His Navy SEAL training not only honed his skills but made him one intense and intimidating force. Not that it affected Erin O'Dea, the heroine of this story. She came across as cavalier and used humor to deflect but she met her match in Connor. Their first encounter was electrifying. As usual, Tessa Bailey's characters were complex and interesting. Connor was dealing with his own demons, while Erin's issues, which took up the bulk of the story line, was dealing with such deep, psychological issues.

With the backdrop of a bribery and corruption case, interesting and complex characters, and enough sexy times to make my Kindle go up in flames, I would consider this a winner.
Profile Image for CC.
1,755 reviews238 followers
July 9, 2017
I think Connor might have surpassed Derek as the hottest Tessa Bailey dirty talking hero.

This was instant everything and I really liked their relationship. But I just did not connect to Erin. Loved Connor. But Erin brought this down for the first half of the book. After that she got better, but it was not a 5 star read for me.

Profile Image for Erin.
395 reviews51 followers
April 28, 2016
4.5 stars! I would like to apply to be a part of these awesome misfits... please & thank you.

This is part of an interconnected series and would be more enjoyable if the reader started with the first book; however, I believe it CAN be read as a standalone.

Set up: Connor and Erin (love the name!) are pretty much blackmailed by the Chicago PD to join an undercover team that is full of criminals in order to catch other criminals. In most cases it’s either join this team or go to jail (the circumstances are different for every person). Connor and Erin are on time for the first time meeting of these misfits while everyone else is late. They are immediately testing and teasing one another, trying to figure the other out which neither one can do. The chemistry and attraction is off the charts. The problem is since they are criminals, they don’t trust anyone, and they aren’t happy about working with cops. Connor doesn’t want a distraction even though he can’t deny he wants Erin. Connor is also dominant and craves control, something Erin can’t give him. Erin has an aversion to touch and has never let anyone get close to her emotionally. Both are broken in their own ways but realize that being around the other makes everything a little bit better.

Hero: 5/5 stars! Oh yea. Love Connor. Book boyfriend. Dominant & alpha male but is still open with his emotions. Connor is super sweet to Erin, always trying to keep her safe and happy. He has a learning curve due to her aversion to be touched, but he is so understanding and patient with her! It’s amazing. Connor is a dishonorable discharged SEAL who then did work for his cousin who is part of organized crime. Connor was of course the enforcer. Everything he has done for money has been to help his sick mother, this job included. He’s a softie in a rough and tough exterior.

heroine: 5/5 stars! I didn’t just love Erin because of her name although of course that helped. Erin puts up this super punk chick exterior but inside she was constantly battling her own demons. She always has to have an escape route, always has to know how to get out of a room, can never be trapped. Erin is an arsonist (although that was downplayed for the most part), and an escape artist. She joined the undercover team to keep from getting sent to a psychiatric institution by her step-father. She’s an odd ball that has had to deal with a shit life, but she isn’t crazy like some people believe. Her aversion to touch is real and painful, but she wants to be able to have Connor touch her. Connor heals her a little by little, and it’s absolutely beautiful to read the progression of their relationship.

Sex scenes: 5/5 stars! Amazing and hot. They are also creative because for the first part of the book Connor cannot touch her. It was so interesting to read how Tessa Bailey handled this.

"I’m going to give it to you right where you need it, Erin. When we’re finished getting you ready, you’ll be begging for inches. I’m going to give you ten. Right between your fuck-me thighs.”

Holy Lordy! Lots of well written and hot as hell dirty talk. A controlling alpha male in the bedroom? Count me in!

"Pet yourself, Erin. That’s what I would do. I’d stroke your pussy with my fingers through that silk. Nice and gentle. I’d give it a soft kiss and apologize for the fact that I’m about to destroy it.”

I need a fan.

Plot: 4/5 stars! Connor and Erin’s story was really a insta-love story. It may have stared as insta-lust but it quickly became something else and you are able to see that clearly when reading the book. The book is very centered on Connor and Erin’s relationship. Their job with the undercover team is more in the background and shadowed by the relationship and Erin’s stepfather. I would have liked more action and use of the undercover team of misfits which is why my rating is 4 stars for the plot.

What I loved: Connor and Erin. I loved everything about them. Seriously. They are a great couple. I usually only like either one of the main characters, but these two together are perfection.

"'I’m in love with you’, she said. ‘But please stop looking at me like that because I don’t know where else to put the feelings. All the cracks are filled in and there’s nowhere for them to go.’
‘We’ll make room.’ His voice rang with intensity. He didn’t come to her though, appearing rooted to the spot. ‘I’m in love with you, Erin. Get used to me looking at you like I mean it.’”

What I disliked: There wasn’t really anything that I didn’t like about this book. As stated above, I wished there was more with the undercover team. I think it could have added a little more to the story.

In short: An amazing book in an amazing series. I have read only 3 of Tessa Bailey’s books, but I have loved every one of them. This is a couple that is going to stick with me for a while, and Miss Bailey is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

Spoilers/Triggers: Completely safe except…
Condom use:
Profile Image for Maria Rose.
2,471 reviews242 followers
April 2, 2016
Continuing the Crossing The Line series, this smoking hot addition (easily read as a standalone) features Erin and Connor, two new recruits in the Chicago PDs undercover group of not so squeaky clean people who are making a go of it on the right side of the law. Connor comes from a military and organized crime background. Erin is an arsonist (for reasons we soon come to comprehend) and an expert at escaping confined spaces. She's also got a phobia of being touched. When Connor and Erin find that the blazing attraction between them can't be denied, Erin must decide whether trusting Connor with her body and her heart will be worth the risk.

So here's a conundrum for you - how can you write hot sex scenes when one of your characters doesn't like to be touched? Well, Ms. Bailey manages to outdo herself here, combining some super special dirty talk with a hero who is willing to give the heroine exactly what she wants and can handle, and making a fabulously sexy story out of the deal. I loved Erin's character - she's been through emotional trauma that has resulted in extreme claustrophobia combined with a fear of personal touch. Though the circumstances are touched upon it doesn't overwhelm the story but gives just the right amount of insight into why Erin is the way she is. Her need to define all her situations by the ability to escape if necessary was quite fascinating. Enter Connor, the uber protective alpha male and she's finally got someone on her side who will listen to her every need and desire. I loved the two of them together and the development of their relationship was well written and contained lots of emotional honesty as they need to be able to communicate with each other if they are going to succeed as a couple.

There are some secondary characters in the story that were equally intriguing. While two of the team members, Bowen and Sera, we've seen before in the first story in the series, the other two, Austin (a chameleon of disguises) and Polly (an accomplished hacker) are a bit of an enigma and will surely make for an interesting read when their story comes out later this year. There's a nice cameo of Derek, the Chicago cop hero of Ms. Bailey's story Protecting What's His as it's his team. There are two main plots running through the story in addition to the romance between Erin and Connor - Erin's past coming back to haunt her as well as the the first case for this motley crew - to bring down a corrupt politician. It made for lots of action and a fast paced story. Combine that with the steamy love scenes and it all worked for me. 4.5 stars!

Note: a copy of this story was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.
Profile Image for Nicola.
1,393 reviews244 followers
May 18, 2015
Tessa Bailey is one of my must-read authors. And, having loved Risking it All I had fairly high expectations for Up in Smoke

This is where my inner conflict starts because whilst I enjoyed it, I’m somewhat torn over Connor and Erin’s story.

As a seasoned reader of Tessa’s work, I know that when I pick up one of her books I’m going to be greeted with a man with a delightfully dirty mouth, a feisty lady driving him crazy and a substantial amount of mutual pleasure between said couple. She has a formula and it generally works and whilst Connor and Erin brought all the above by the bucket load, I can’t help but feel this overshadowed what could have been a winning story.


Erin wasn’t the character I was expecting. With confidence, fight and fire (no pun intended even though the girl is a pyromaniac), she has a recognised psychological condition brought on by a traumatic life-event. Yet it felt underplayed; I know this isn’t real-life, but the speed and ease at which she overcame her fears was just a little too unbelievable and the deeper issue was drowned out amongst all the foreplay and sex. I never thought I would hear myself saying this, but it was simply too much and much of what I wanted to see from this story and this team of ex-cons seemed to dissipate amongst the passion.


But there's no denying Connor and Erin were good together, I just struggled to become invested in them. And it was lovely to see how past favourites were doing; Bowen made me smile, I still love Sera, you will never get a grumble out of me where Derek Tyler is concerned and I continue to very much like the dynamic of the group. I just would've liked a little more focus on the action/undercover side of the storyline.

But, onwards and upwards as I am looking forward to Austin and Polly’s book. An intriguing master-of-disguise and a hacker? Should be interesting.

Copy received courtesy of Entangled Publishing for an honest and unbiased opinion.

Profile Image for Dísir.
1,665 reviews171 followers
June 25, 2015
I've told myself to proceed with caution when it comes to ambivalent antiheroes in chick lit fiction...and was proven right here. Connor's and Erin's story promised a lot more at the end of the first book, but seemed to be one of the bigger let downs in quite a long while.

The further I read on, the more alarming it became when all I could think of was that Erin really should be in a mental institute with the amount of instability she's been showing, which I seriously doubt could be cured by hot, rough sex, as Tessa Bailey seems to imply over here. Connor on the other hand, is yet another dirty-talking, cookie-cutter hero that Ms. Bailey seems so fond of, falling into instant love (or lust really) because Erin fires his protective side...and his libido.

Ms. Bailey excels at sex; her imagination of steamy scenes is beyond porn-site worthy, but I wish the characters and the plot matched those. Right now, I'd be happy if Austin and Polly's story were a stroll in the woods with rolls in the hay, after this particular walk on the wild and mental side.
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.4k reviews425 followers
July 12, 2015
Wow, I'm not sure how this book ended up on the fast train to crazy town, but it did. I did like the meeting between Erin and Connor, but the more we got to know Erin I realized she was bat shit crazy. She did manage to make me laugh with how she "worked" Connor and his frustration with dealing with her. It didn't take me long to realize that in his own way Connor was crazy too. I did like how patient that Connor was in his dealings with Erin, by doing this it made her realize she was safe with him.

As we learned about Erin's past I found myself getting so angry on her behalf. She didn't really have a choice and you could understand why she was so crazy. I was glad that Connor was able to work within her craziness.

The motley crew that was the group Derek built made me roll my eyes. There is no way that could happen in real life, but I went with it. They did do a good job at finding the bad guy and bringing him down.
Profile Image for *CJ*.
4,074 reviews448 followers
February 4, 2017
AH! Another beauty!!
All the major feels in this story of what happens when a claustrophobic pyromaniac meets an ex navy seal, both with a jealous possessive streak..and sparks fly LITERALLY.
One is averse to touch, and the other is used to controlling everything.
How they fall for each other with a single look, respect each others' fears and boundaries, have super duper hot sex and slay demons forms the story.
This book had both relationship and boyfriend goals.
Erin has had a tragic past, and how Connor helps heal her..and in the end himself was so sweet.
Mild dose of angst..but so worth the read!
Safe safe safe
Profile Image for Whitney.
595 reviews
July 28, 2015
4 stars

This was different. With Tessa Bailey I know there will be a lot of "insta" stuff going on so that doesn't bother me. Was this story believable, not really. BUT, it was entertaining and hot. Hot's a given since Mrs. Bailey is THE Queen of Dirty Talk. There was an actual story going on other than the romance but it was kind of unimportant. I was surprised they actually wrapped up that story-line given little screen time given to it. Overall, a hot read and good addition to the series.
Profile Image for EgyptDiva.
262 reviews1 follower
June 25, 2015
4.5 stars

I'm going to make this short and sweet.

Can't get enough of Tessa Bailey's heroes. Conner !! He was just the perfect combination of filthy talking alpha male and sweet caring man. I loved the story , the connection between Conner and Erin was really believable even if it was instant , liked all the new characters and loved seeing Derek again. I can't wait for the next one ;)
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