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Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it?

186 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 1, 2016

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About the author

Tessa Bailey

89 books40.1k 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 594 reviews
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,017 reviews12k followers
July 30, 2016
4 #PMB Stars

We're going to fuck tonight. Your bed. Mine. On the floor. In the shower. Against the window. All. Goddamn. Night. You're going to know me from every angle when the sun comes up over New Jersey tomorrow.

*pervy shudder*
I mean for the love of my ovaries! Holy cock this book was freaking hot! HOT I tells ya! Hands down my absolute favorite book in the series. #PMB for the win!

Firstly, I need to give Tessa props. Because let me tell you, people, it takes skill to take a man that's the size of a mountain with the beard and temperament of a mountain man, NOT have him be the typical ripped hero, give him a deliciously hairy chest, even a little bit of a beer belly, slap a dirty mouth on him, and have him turn out to be one of my favorite Tessa Bailey heroes to date. And considering I've read the woman's entire backlist, that's saying something mkay?! And the best part? Even though he wasn't the stereotypical romance hero with the ripped abs, he was still sexier than most of the ones I've read. Seriously. And his dirty mouth only had 1/8th to do with that.
That's Duke's clit between your thighs, Samantha. No one touches that clit but Duke. You need it polished, teased, banged, or just plain slapped, who's the one you call?
Be a good girl when you answer and I'll kiss it again later."

See what I mean? Rarrrr!

But I digress. So back to the book. We've gotten to know Duke in Thrown Down as the poor man stuck with 4 divorced sisters and no time to himself for even 5 minutes of sports center. He doesn't talk much. He doesn't date much. And he's not exactly looking to add a woman into the mix when his 4 hellion sisters give him enough estrogen to choke a man twice his size. But then he walks into a bar and sees a gorgeous newcomer and sparks fly...

She had him at the first pun
Samantha Waverly is a children's book illustrator that's hoping to finally make her business dream come true. Only thing standing between her and her dream? A ridiculous addendum put into her loan contract by her brother, Renner, that requires her to be married. Le sigh. What's a girl to do? Take up the sexy mountain man on his offer for a marriage of convenience, of course! Doesn't hurt that he's possessive and a freaking rock star in bed that makes her body sing, right?
You're going to have no doubt how much I appreciate being allowed to squeeze myself into your body. If I ever think you're unsure, my tongue will service you between the legs until there's no question. Until you scream the doubt free, along with my name.

As I was saying....

But this book was so much more than what that synopsis implies. Sure there was a heavy dose of insta in play, but it totally worked for these characters. I adored Sam and her quirky personality. Each time she pulled out another cheesy pun, I liked her even more. As for Duke? Hello? Did you miss all my pervy praising on all things Duke previously? Pay attention dammit!

We also got a little peek into Renner and the man that just may have caught the ruthless business man's attention (le gasp). I'm pretty sure I'd part with an ovary to get my hands on that books already.

After being slightly disappointed by the previous two books in this series, I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. I'm beyond happy I gave it a chance because I seriously loved it! It was swoony, entertaining, and sexy as all get out. The perfect read to spend a steamy afternoon with!
I don't want to be another responsibility to you.
Let me be the place you lose yourself instead."

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Coco.V.
48.4k reviews4 followers
August 12, 2016

Once again Tessa Bailey delivered a wonderful, steamy read with lovable characters and a story that keeps you wanting more. Her books never fail to bring me happiness! And this one was no exception.

Worked Up follows the story of Duke Crawford and Samantha Waverly. Ex-military Duke is a factory machinery mechanic working for Samantha’s stepbrother, Renner. He’s living with his four divorcee sisters and his only guilty pleasure is watching SportsCenter in peace. But taking care of his siblings doesn’t allow him so much peace. There are only a handful of certainties in Duke’s life. One, baseball. Two, his tools, grease and working with his hands. Three, barbecuing on summer Saturdays. Four, He doesn’t have any use for women, romantically speaking. But after meeting Sam at a local bar, there is one more certainty throwing to the mix, this wasn’t going to be the last time he saw her.

Samantha is a children’s book illustrator and lives in Manhattan. Sam loved her job and drawing filled every corner of her life. A broken promise made to her sibling, brought her to the little town of Hook, New Jersey. She’s only there for the week-end to salvage the project she had been working on since college…her passion project. When Sam ventures into The Third Shift bar, she isn’t prepare to catch the attention of a huge, rough and gruff Goliath of a man. She cannot help to draw idea of him, picturing him as a gladiator, a superhero, a warrior or a captain of a ship.

Soon, Duke and Sam are good and stuck. Their insta-attraction is so strong they both can't fight it, making them lose it. Wether he likes it or not, Sam awakes a raw possessiveness in Duke, a desire to protect her, a certified addiction to this woman. For Sam, her personal life had always played second fiddle to her career. She’d never stopped to consider the possibility of having both, without having to commit full time to the former. When Duke finds out the reason why Sam is so reluctant to meet with her brother, he comes up with the perfect solution to her situation. They should get married. Just a simple arrangement, a marriage of convenience with no strings attached between two big commitment phobes.

Duke and Sam’s story was highly enjoyable and I loved them together. Sam is the perfect match for Duke. She’s the yin to his yang. I also liked Samantha a lot. She’s strong yet vulnerable, quirky and sassy all wrapped up in a beautiful package. And the banter between the leads is just delightful.
The chemistry between these two sizzles and burns in the most delicious ways. The sex scenes are flawlessly and tastefully written. Loved Duke and his dirty talking. He’s not your typical sexy book boyfriend, hot but not handsome man, an ordinary blue-collar leaving a simple life. And I did like the alpha-male qualities of this perfect imperfect hero. He’s protective, possessive and ready to claim ownership of the heroine. Duke says and does all the naughty, over the top things I come to love in the world of romance. Each time I read one of Tessa Bailey’s stories I know she’ll make me swoon and lust after her male character.

“We’re going to fuck tonight. Your bed. Mine. On the floor. In the shower. Against the window. All. Goddamn. Night. You’re going to know me from every angle when the sun comes up over New Jersey tomorrow.”

“Go on, sweetheart...Tell them my name. Loud enough for them to remember it and tell the stories to their friends at breakfast. About the girl in the next room getting it so hard, they had to call security."

I truly loved this sexy and believable story! If a well-written, steamy, fun and feel-good love story with strong and relatable characters is your thing, look no further. Oh and let's not forget the totally great supporting characters. :)
Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,363 reviews2,303 followers
August 1, 2016



Duke Crawford, a factory mechanic, shares his home with his three divorced sisters. He doesn't date, hell he really doesn't have time for women at all. He just wants to sit at home and enjoy SportsCenter in peace. You see Duke is a bit of a commitment phobe. That is until Samantha Waverly walks into Third Shift, and suddenly SportsCenter is overrated. Thing is, Sam is a bit of a commitment phobe herself. Can two people so against "forever" find it in each other?

“Are you on a five-way text with them?” “Yes. Biggest mistake of my life.” He pulled out onto the dark street, hitting the blinker and turning right. “It’s like the mafia, these group texts. Once you’re in, you’re in for life."

"He had four broken-hearted sisters living in his house, each with their own personal ex-husband voodoo doll."

GAAAAHHH....Where do I even start with this review. This was by FAR my ABSOLUTE favorite of the series. Sam ran circles around the heroines of the first two books. She was FUNNY and ENDEARING and not for even ONE second annoying. I'm straight up in love with Samantha.

"All I know is I overhead Luanne calling Old News’s songs ‘panty droppers’ in one of the most traumatic moments of my life.” He sauntered forward, boots thudding on the porch. “So I’m coming, sweetheart. Because your panties aren’t dropping unless I make them."

"Mother Mary. There were men. And then there was Duke Crawford. He wasn’t pretty or sculpted. Didn’t have the kind of physique that would land him on the pages of a calendar or on a “hot bodies” board on Pinterest. No no. Duke was husky and covered in hair. A bear among mere cubs"

Duke...Where do I even start. I loved Duke in all his dirty talking, hairy, goliath, glory. He was a PERFECT hero. He was sweet, but still held onto his "alpha-ness" He wasn't a man-whore in the least. He was a gentle giant with a heart of gold.

"Those are things you need to be sure about, sweetheart. My mouth finding yours for a kiss, no matter the audience. Chasing away men who think they’re worthy of your puns."

Watching these two fall in love was EPIC. By FAR and AWAY the best couple of the series so far. I laughed and cried. I wore a smile a mile wide. I was sad when it ended and I wanted more. My curiosity was also piqued by a certain pairing that I hope (Lord do I HOPE) will be coming our way soon. Two HUGE thumbs up for this one from yours truly...

Profile Image for ✰ Liz ✰ .
1,349 reviews1,264 followers
October 18, 2016
"He was completely lost for this woman."

Worked Up is the third book in the Made in Jersey Series. Although it can be read as a stand-alone, the characters are interconnected throughout the series. Tessa Bailey is steaming up Kindles everywhere once again with this smoking hot romance that will certainly get you Worked Up.
Duke Crawford is the town "big guy" who takes care of his four sisters, loves to throw back a cold one at the local bar, and lives for sports center. He is a bit of a relationship phobe who is driven to work hard and live life to it's fullest without saddling himself to one woman. When Samantha Waverly rolls into town, she flips his plan completely upside down!
"Yeah. Tonight, she’d set herself up for a fall."
"The ownership in his eyes, the way he’d touched her…there must have been a small, long-denied piece of Samantha that craved the chance to belong to someone, as sure as they belonged to her."
Samantha rolls into town with one purpose and Duke Crawford wasn't exactly what she had in mind. When Duke offers to help her out, there is an instant connection between the two. Samantha is more than concerned about getting tied up with anyone. She has worked hard to protect herself, but considering her current dilemma, Duke might just be the answer to all of her worries. When Duke and Samantha come together, the chemistry is sizzling, and when the emotional connection is made, they both are terrified! Duke will do anything to convince Samantha that she is made for him!
“If it does hurt in the morning, I’ll find somewhere private to cup you in my hand. Right where it’s sore. I’ll apologize and give you a nice, easy rub. Kiss the sexy mouth that took me to the throat.”
“Church, work, restaurants, up the pathway to the house. I’m going to hold an umbrella over your head when it’s raining. I’m going to carry you when you’re sick. Carry your sketchbooks, too. I’ll do that for my sweetheart. I’ll do everything.”
Told in dual POV, Worked Up is a passionate sexy romance with endearing characters and a heartwarming plot. Duke is one of my favorite characters from the series, and it was quite a treat to witness him finally meeting his match. Samantha is a vibrant heroine, and her awkward, quirky actions were laugh out loud funny! The supporting characters continue to enhance this small town and keep me coming back for more!
Overall, Worked Up is another winning read from Tessa Bailey. If you are looking for a smoking hot romance with amazing characters and an endearing plot, look no further because Duke and Samantha deliver quite a treat! I look forward to many more Tessa Bailey greatness to come!

***Made in Jersey***
Crashed Out (Made in Jersey, #1) by Tessa BaileyThrown Down (Made in Jersey, #2) by Tessa BaileyWorked Up (Made in Jersey, #3) by Tessa Bailey

*An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. ARC won in Shh.. Summer Buzz Book Event 2016!


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Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,650 reviews3,233 followers
November 4, 2020
5 Yes, I said 5 Real People Stars
* * * * * Spoiler Free
There is a saying - "For Every Lid, There is a Pot"...which can be interpreted in many ways. As someone who has worked in Employment, we used that phrase meaning there is a job out there for everyone... just need to figure out what and find it. In life and romance...There is that special someone for everyone and they just need to be in the right place at the right time...and open to experience it. Tessa Bailey takes this premise, shoots it full of steroids and we benefit from it big time. For these main characters could be found Anywhere...They are not the socialite or billionaire, they are not the hedge fund traders or attorneys, nor are they running their own businesses, and media darlings. They are people who look like us, act like the regular, have serious commitment phobias which seem to be commonplace today, and somehow cross paths. For me, it was fantastic!

This is the third installment of the Made in Jersey series. I started with the first one, liked it, and missed reading the second one. Although there are references regarding the past characters, it did not impact this story. You could read this and not feel like you were missing something.

And oh this story...To set the tone so you will get the full impact of what I am talking about, the location is Hook, New Jersey, only a stone's throw from Manhattan but seems as if it is another place and time altogether. It is a company town... there is a type of Plant which provides the main source of income for the inhabitants and generations have been born, lived, and died there without ever leaving. Recently, the new owner of the plant has made himself known by walking through monthly and his actions have not made him a popular figure.

The local dive bar/hangout is called the Third Shift where regulars have their beers, stare at the big screen on the wall catching whatever sport is in season. It isn't fancy and when a new unknown face comes through the doors, all will look to see who the hell it is....assessing whether a second look is worthy.

Samantha Waverly is that woman who always seems to be in another place even when standing before you...She will get this far off look in her eye and you know at that moment she is seeing things no one else would ever be able to see. Samantha is an artist through and through...It has been her saving grace during all her times of sorrow and rejection. It has been there for her when parents were not....and luckily, it has provided her with a career as an illustrator and also feeds her dreams. Everywhere Samantha goes, her sketchbook is there. Her hands must sketch what her mind sees and it is in these sketches where her heart lives.

She was taught at a very early age to never trust the love professed to her... to never open fully to anyone... because the pain of when that professed love is taken away...it can and will break you.

Samantha learned well and even with her stepbrother taking her in and providing for her...She always knew there were strings attached to his actions...he couldn't help himself...it was his way.

Now she finds herself in Hook; she has arranged to have The Meeting with her stepbrother. He will not be pleased because she has called off an arrangement of sorts...a promise to him and instead of just letting him know over the phone... she is doing the correct thing; telling him in person. She knows this will not go well... but she has steeled herself for the outcome.

Which is why she is standing in The Third Shift trying to sit on a stool without getting everyone's attention. She gives her order to the bartender and one of her never-ending wealth of silly puns crosses her mind and makes Samantha quietly giggle. She realizes how insane she must seem; Hot and sweating from the heat, giggling like a loon and dropping the very tissue packet she needs to dab her face and chest. Upon rising too quickly, she slams her head on the underside of the bar.

Great, Samantha...Why don't you just put a neon sign around your neck to draw more attention to yourself...Her artist's eye is taking everything in and at the end of the bar, she sees a Goliath...Blinking a couple of times to check if this vision of Man is real or from her banged head, she looks again, and there he is ... But now Goliath is STARING back at her! This man is a force...Big, Broad with Shoulders, Chest to fills out two seats.... and Legs thick like tree trunks... And his Hands....rough and callused...His stare is so intense but not welcoming at all... in fact, he is now looking quite pissed but not directly at her....but to the men coming close to her, offering her a drink...

Samantha is pondering how to handle this as she doesn't have all that much experience in this bar and drinking thing, when Goliath stomps over and tells the guys to beat it and leave her be....They skaddle like scared rats and she turns to him and thinks Presumptuous!

Duke Crawford cannot believe what he has just done. All he wanted to do was watch SportsCenter in peace with a cold one in his hand. He certainly can't seem to do that back at his home...his 4 sister have returned to the homestead after 4 messed up divorces...He loves all of his sisters but with hearing all of the complaints, knowing how all of the men in their lives did them wrong...he has vowed to never get tangled up with a serious relationship...Men are crap and he is part of that tribe....He has his life; did the time in the service, is the top mechanic at the Plant and has his group of friends and family who depend on him.

So why the hell did he feel compelled to step in and block those workers from the plant... Could it be her amazing. curvy figure, or her smart inquiring eyes...or maybe it was he knew she was better than Hook and deserved some peace and quiet while she worked that sketchbook of hers...Damn she was cute....

Samantha heard the fleeing men call this giant Duke and after a moment, she turned to ask if he did that for all the women in the bar...He said no and changing the subject, asked what she was doing with the sketchpad...

And it there in this exchange where things start to happen.... For Samantha is without Guile and Duke is a man who has been captivated by this rare treasure of a woman....Both of these people are just one of many on the planet... yet as they start to talk and the rhythm and flow of their words happen... sparks are happening...both never thought they would feel these types of connections...

She sees him as more then just a mechanic...She first sees him a Goliath, full of bluster ....after talking she feels him as safe refuge... an ole' salt of the Earth Sea Captain...she sees so much with her pen and paper, he is taken by all of it. He offers her wonderful egg sandwiches and she decides to accept. This all leads to more conversation, sparks, laughs and insight to more of how amazing both are to each other.

It becomes dangerous for Duke... his lower regions are planning a mutiny....he is starting to feel pain from the hurt but cannot deny how much he is pulled toward this woman. He takes her to where she is staying, gives her his number should she need anything and fights the desire to take her there against any surface....As he is walking to his truck, his phone rings and it is Samantha telling him she Needs....He comes back and asks what does she need...

A Good Night Kiss....
Oh, Holy Hell... Even though Duke is careful not to overpower and crush her to his chest, he gives Samantha the kiss of tender lips and slamming body....and her slight moan kills him....He pulls away because he knows if he doesn't there will be no controlling him... and she deserves so much better than that.

Ok, this is just the tip of the iceberg on the type of chemistry these two have for each other.... and I want to stress there is a real story, plot points and meaningful life lessons here. It is Tessa Bailey, after all, and she knows how to craft a compelling tale.

But oh, be still my heart. This man Duke....He is not this sculpted, six pack guy.... so pretty with eyelashes you would wish were yours....and no, he doesn't have a fancy career or secret trust-fund so money is no object and trips to Cancun are the norm...

No, he has something so much better...

A Uncensored Dirty, Dirty, Naughty Mouth....Coupled with an Admitted Controlling Caveman Streak when it comes to Samantha. The things he says will cause you to shutter...the way he manhandles her will give you goosebumps....and the way he loves her, wants to protect her from any pain...will fill your heart.


These two have the same issues in the beginning - Commitment phobia- Duke just realizes sooner that his need, desire and love for this woman outweighs any of his doubts. Samantha's history and her relationship with her stepbrother is so ingrained... it will cause her to become stronger and need to understand what happened before does not mean it will happen again.

If you haven't figured out by now I LOVED this book, then there maybe be no future in my reviewing process...because as soon as I finished this book.... I wanted to start it all over again and pretend I knew nothing of what was coming.

If you can believe in almost love at first sight, are ok with a bossy, sexy, mega man-man and want to feel like you are the most important thing in his life....then you should read this book.

Oh, and I have a very strong, sneaky suspicion, the Stepbrother who is out and gay... is having a fling with the private security guard at the Plant... and Ms. Bailey is gearing up for a M/M romance....Very interesting and Hawt!

~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~
Wait a minute...
Did I just find out Tessa Bailey has the guts to make
a Working Man who is not...
Lanky, Rich and with Cheekbones Chiseled out of Marble...
the Love Interest in this book?????

Yup, she did and I say it is about time!
Bring it on Tessa...
Give me a Man that I could see walking down the street...
Give me this person with rough hands and a dirty talking mind but has the decency to respect women and thinks he needs to keep a distance....
I am all in!

Worked Up... Boy, am I!

Worked Up (Made in Jersey, #3) August 1st, 2016

A gifted copy was provided by Entangled Publishing, LLC via NetGalley for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Gi's Spot Reviews.
1,086 reviews1,169 followers
August 22, 2016
Samantha found herself in Hook, the a little town of New Jersey, with some time to spare until a life defining meeting with her brother, Renner, the factory owner and biggest employer in town. When she walked into The Third Shift, the only real bar there, she was hoping to some distraction from her problems and to pass by as unnoticed as possible. A mission that revealed itself impossible in a town where everyone knew everybody and she stood out like a sore thumb. She sure drew attention, even from someone for whom a woman was the last thing on his mind.

Duke just wanted some peace and quiet to enjoy his Sport Center and beer away from the chaos his sisters had created in his house. Now that he was working as a factory repair mechanic after getting injured and retiring from the military, that was all he aimed for. He thought the Third Shift was that safe haven, but when an enticing and quirky brunette walked through the front door. He could not resist her, and his peace was from that moment on lost. In the best way!

These characters were simply extraordinary! But Duke, wow, he was in a league of his own. He was far from the typical romance novel hero, and that just made me (and Samantha) love him more. He was a true man’s man! And she gives his perfect description.

Mother Mary. There were men. And then there was Duke Crawford. He wasn’t pretty or sculpted. Didn’t have the kind of physique that would land him on the pages of a calendar or on a “hot bodies” board on Pinterest. No no. Duke was husky and covered in hair. A bear among mere cubs. His muscles were slabs she wouldn’t be able to lift if they were separated into individual muscle packs. Muscle packs? You’re losing it.

Of course the chemistry was immediate, and hard for them to fight, but both had serious draw back when he came to relationships, not to their past love lives, but what they witnessed – in Duke’s case-, and what they suffered – Samantha’s heartbreak caused her stepfather.

Truth was that’s what happened in relationships. One person inevitably let down the other. And he had too much respect for women to make one miserable on his account. Never. Happening.
But their magnetism was impossible to overlook, and Duke fast realized that he wanted Sam more than anything in his life, that she was worth the fighting for. And there was no way in hell he would allow anyone else to steal her from him.

Christ, the girl busted a hole in his gut every time she looked his direction, and at the same time somehow patching up all the holes inflicted over the years.

She created so many foreign and unexpected feelings in him, that the poor guy had no way how to react to those other that jumping the gun and making a life changing proposal. Samantha was as sweet, smart and creativity – which fitted well with her career as children’s books illustrator -, she had a gentle soul, a quirky manner, and a no bound, overworking imagination that it was delightful to read about. All that and her personal brand of sassy really got Duke She really brought his caveman nature to surface, or better yet, barbaric – like she imagined him sometimes – and it couldn’t have been more delicious to see.

Like she soon discovered Duke was all growl and no true bite (unless she wanted, LOL) and behind his bear like appearance and vibe he was a sweet and gentle soul, a true marshmallow, that protected, cherished and cared for those his loved, more than he did for himself. A truly golden hearted soul.

“You claim to be a commitment-phobe, but you’re just a big imposter, aren’t you? Even to yourself.”

A good soul with one insanely FILTHY MOUTH, we have to say! And let’s take a moment here to discuss this IMPORTANT matter because, Sweet Baby Jesus!!!! Tessa Bailey always creates the best dirty talkers in this genre, but DUKE, oh Lordy, he really took it to a whole new level!!!

“I’m going to wear your come all night, sweetheart. Right where it’s meant to be. On my cock, like a badge of fucking honor. I’m going to run my hand over it when no one’s looking, feel that dampness and remember the sweet pussy it came from.”

Tessa always gives us amazing sex scenes too, and these two were simply EXPLOSIVE! I honestly think this book should come with a special warning on that regard, because it sure isn’t for the faint of heart, and hot flashes and tingling areas are most definitely guaranteed. So BEWARE!!!
Profile Image for Jen .
804 reviews581 followers
July 27, 2016
4.25 Third Shift Stars

“I feel like if I… break apart, I’ll be put back together differently. I don’t know.”
“What if I let you put me back together differently, too?”

All Duke really wants out of life is a little peace and quiet at the end of the day. If he has to hang out at the local dive bar to escape a house full of divorced sisters, so be it. All hope of keeping his spare time uneventful vanishes the moment Samantha enters the bar. And during Sportscenter, no less. What’s a surly commitment-phobe to do when a pretty lady needs a little rescuing?

Sam isn’t looking to get hit on, she just needs to kill some time in tiny Hook, NJ until she has a chance to meet with her brother and explain a few things. Mainly, why she broke the engagement he was counting on her to keep for the sake of his business. She may be a little socially awkward but she can handle a couple of men flirting with her in a bar. So why is the giant of a man across the bar taking it upon himself to make her his business? And feed her late night egg sandwiches?

Duke and Sam are rarities not often found in the book romance world; they’re true to life people. Duke isn’t a ripped billionaire looking to impregnate a virgin, nor is he a manwhore hoping to hook up with a convenient vajayjay. He’s a factory mechanic with no plans to commit and he’s fabulous! I can’t remember the last time I read a story where the male protagonist didn’t feel completely confident in his ability to flirt with and seduce a woman. I gotta say, all of that confidence can get a little repetitive, which is why Duke was such a welcome change. He admits to rarely hooking up and his fumbling moves prove that to be the case. Not that he doesn’t fit the Tessa Bailey definition of a dirty talker to a tee.

“Stop worrying about h-hurting me…you f-feel amazing.”
“That right?” Duke almost roared, turned on to an incredible degree. “So I don’t have to worry about you pouting all day tomorrow, because that big cock you’re riding made your pussy hurt?”
“No.” She shuddered on top of him. “Maybe.”

I don’t think it’ll come as a shock to anyone who’s ever picked up a Tessa Bailey Entangled Brazen book that these two are smokin’ hot together. The chemistry between Duke and Samantha was immediate and the sexytimes scenes did not disappoint.

If I have a complaint, it’s that the story managed to drag a little towards the end. I would’ve appreciated more exploration into the commitment issues both Duke and Sam were dealing with. Yes, I realize these books aren’t made to delve deep but both characters, especially Duke, seemed to recover from their commitment aversions in the blink of an eye. I wasn’t necessarily feeling the insta-love.

Tessa Bailey has become a go to author for me when I need a hot and engaging read. Worked Up most definitely checked those boxes and while I’m not sure if the Made in Jersey series has plans to continue, I wouldn’t mind some future Duke and Sam updates. Who do I talk to about that, anyway?

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

July 14, 2020
Audio 5 ++ Stars! Damn, but can Emma Wilder give great audio! 😍🤤

It's no secret that Tessa Bailey writes the kind of sex scenes that may cause damage to whatever ereader or audio device is being used. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 But Emma Wilder needs to come with a warning label too! This WOMAN'S performance of an alpha male blew me away! Not gonna lie, there are a few male narrators I would trade for Emma Wilder instead.

Story 3 Stars

Duke epitomizes what I consider to be physically attractive man...big, husky (slight beer belly included), hairy, a rough/callus hand blue collar worker who doesn't talk much. 😍 Samantha is the kind of heroine I love reading about...quirky and unfiltered. Unfortunately, what I'm so over with is the bossy caveman behavior. Especially when it's not a paranormal shifter romance. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy some jealousy and possessiveness but not when it gets so rediculous it seems to border on emotional abuse.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
345 reviews220 followers
August 3, 2016
I truly enjoyed this book! Duke was an amazing hero! Not only had he been celibate for what seemed like a long time, but he was thoughtful and sweet and took care of everyone! Sam was a good heroine- kind and funny, but I didn't like her pushing Duke away. They had great rapport and their steamy times were hot, hot, hot! I will definitely read this one again!
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,376 reviews316 followers
July 31, 2016
5 'freaking hot' stars

With the overwhelming number of romance I read throughout the years, honestly, reading sex scenes can sometimes be a chore *gasp*, they can be so methodical, or they just sorta blend together like any Tom, Dick and Harry. But in Worked Up, I am thoroughly worked up. Forget wet panties, I'm so freaking aroused and horny that I want to jump my husband who is snoring away next to me.


First of all Duke Crawford is the man. I'm sure he is not everyone cup of beverage, but he is totally mine. He isn't the stereotypical hero with the chiseled jaw, hair shorter at the side, longer on top, six pack abs, filthy rich, manwore with a tortured past. Yawn. Duke is freaking normal. He is a small town factory mechanic who live with his five divorced sisters. His appearance was described as something resembling a grizzly bear and he don't bother with hook up. He sounds like a total unicorn in the romance world.

Duke is a self proclaimed commitment phobic, but full of commitment, to his job, his sisters and his friend. Ironic, isn't he? He also has this white knight complex that he can't help himself but to save the damsel in distress, or in this case, help out the new in town, Samantha, even if to get her a late night sandwich.

Samantha Waverly only plan to make a pit stop at the small town in New Jersey to meet up with her stepbrother to discuss on her business plan and broken engagement. What she didn't plan is to meet up with the big and gruff Duke, who was set on to hover over her every step. The man is freaking annoying and adorable at the same time.

I love love Duke and Samantha together and I would totally plan a threesome together with them. Duke is super cute with his manly appearance, gruff attitude, a total alpha male in the bedroom but with hint of vulnerability towards his own status. He is such a good man at heart that he find fault in himself even before he do anything wrong.

Truthfully, this should feel very insta-love when I think about the length of the time they spent together. But when I was reading it, I don't feel it at all. Even during their first day of meeting, I'm dying for their first kiss. I'm so freaking aroused by their simmering sexual tension that I wanted them to go horizontal or vertical asap. And on their next day, I'm rooting for them to get married and start making babies together. That's how invested I am with their whirlwind romance.

Despite the short page length, things doesn't feel easy or simply. In fact, there is a good character development, a little angst, a lot of love and hotness in one short book. I'm totally sold.

p/s: Is it me or is Tessa Bailey planning a M/M for Renner and Milo. I think I might self combust thinking about the possibilities.
Profile Image for Barbara➰.
1,573 reviews380 followers
August 3, 2016
**5 Presumptuous Stars**

Duke, a machine mechanic in the local factory was minding his own business watching the game in a bar. Samantha is an illustrator of children’s books. She’s in town to meet with her brother and goes to the bar to have a drink. The two meet and sparks fly.

I think I smiled the entire time I read this book. It just gave me all kinds of feel goods. It was sweet, funny and hot.

Duke is a great hero. He is always fixing something or helping others. He’s a big growling bear who has no time for women or commitment. He was also that dirty-talker I love.
“I’m going to wear your come all night, sweetheart. Right where it’s meant to be. On my cock, like a badge of fucking honor. I’m going to run my hand over it when no one’s looking, feel that dampness and remember the sweet pussy it came from.”

Samantha is the type of heroine I love. She was kind of nerdy and quirky. She’s all the time “seeing” things in her mind and she draws them. She draws Duke as Goliath, a sea captain, and my favorite, a warrior. She seemed to have a sweet gentle nature. She had her own issues with commitment and the reason made me sad. But Duke won’t let her go.

They were such a great couple together and they just fit. And I’m wondering…do we get a story of Renner and Milo?? I’ll be anxiously awaiting…

Profile Image for Misha.
338 reviews90 followers
January 29, 2023
After rereading my highlights for the 100th time... I'm accurately updating this from a 4 to a 5.

I literally only like Tessa Bailey romances at this point— nothing else does it for me. She gets the intersection of WARM and AUTHENTIC and UNHINGED so right. I love a book that has heart but is also just kind of fucking ridiculous. Her style always reminds me of my beloved 30 Rock— that distinct combination of..... grounded absurdity???

Duke and Sam were both so LIKEABLE and interesting and real. I totally bought their connection, totally felt their chemistry.

I can't believe I was ever unsure about Tessa Bailey's insane dirty talk and sex scenes. It's so fantastic. Unhinged-hot and funny. I'm done questioning it... I'm into it.
Profile Image for Nicola.
1,393 reviews243 followers
August 2, 2016
Once upon a time there was a reader who loved Tessa Bailey's books. Loved the alpha but ever so slightly vulnerable dirty talking men and the ladies who kept them on their toes. But one day she fell a little bit out of love with them because storyline was sacrificed for sex and dirty talk and she was sad that this love affair was on the rocks. However...

"There were men. And then there was Duke Crawford."


I'll be damned, it's been a while coming but one word. Duke. Yes he has a bit of a mouth on him and yes at times, though not always, it was a bit OTT, but I can let that ride and take it for what it is because I loved him and this couple actually had a story; something that has been lacking in Tessa Bailey's books for me the past 12 months or so. He's not your usual literary hero. He is indeed as per the intro, a man bear--a Goliath proportioned chap with a hairy chest, rough hands and a bit of a beer belly who just wants to watch SportsCenter. And the poor sod can't get a moments peace to do so because his four younger sisters, all divorced, live with him and his best mate, wife and their daughter live above his garage.

Note: Goliath + tiny girl:


Children's illustrator, Sam is the one to knock him well and truly off his stride and she's quirky, funny, sweet and relatable! Because she suffers from the same diseases as me: making groanworthy puns and being a tad on the clumsy side. When she arrives in Hook to see her brother and encounters the brick wall with a hero-complex that is Duke, the sparks fly and they have an electric chemistry, with each pulling out unexpected feelings in the other.

"Even your slight beer belly is doing funny things…to me.

Worked Up worked much better for me. It was funny and sexy and at times quite sweet, and I think you have to accept that Tessa Bailey heroes do edge on the cruder side of the dirty talking scale. But when she showcases a couples softer side rather than them ripping each other's clothes off every five minutes, and gives them a story that has that bit more to it, then she does hits the mark.

Copy received courtesy of Entangled Publishing via NetGalley for an honest and unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Michelle.
2,101 reviews1,254 followers
August 1, 2016
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

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Oh, Duke Crawford!!!!! Tessa Bailey, you have truly outdone yourself with this sweet, sexy and scorching hot installment of the Made In Jersey Series. Worked Up was a gem of a read. Why? It’s simple. There were no billionaires, actor, athlete, or cocky alpha hero. But there was Duke Crawford, a factory mechanic. Yes, a factory mechanic, a blue collar worker is your leading hero. So thank you, Tessa Bailey for writing a story that is about ordinary and real working class people, who doesn’t need to be dined at five star restaurant but instead a simple egg sandwich can be the food to the heart.


Worked Up is a story of heart, grit, raw emotions, and love. This is a story of two strangers. A girl from Manhattan, New York and a small-town boy from Hook, New Jersey. This is a story where two people who came from two different walks of life but had one thing in common. LOVE. Duke Crawford didn’t need much to impress Samantha because he found a way to win her heart with his Goliath stature and his amazing egg sandwiches. But in all honesty, Duke is the true hero of this story. His kindness, honesty, vulnerability, and unyielding love for Samantha was beautiful. It was real and had me worked up begging and craving for more of Duke Crawford.

Tessa Bailey worked her brazen junkie magic on her readers as she wrote a story that was real, honest, and simple. I love getting lost in a story where the two main characters chemistry are felt throughout the pages. Bailey paints a story where taking chances, hard work, and trust is the fundamental backbone in this love story. And for this Goliath man called Duke Crawford, he was able to win his woman not from brawn but with unyielding raw love. So if you are ready to meet Duke and the people of Hook, New Jersey then I would recommend you to go read and fall in love with a real love story where trust, hard work, and maybe an egg sandwich can be the key to a happily ever after.

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Review can also be found on Four Chicks Flipping Pages: http://fourchicksflippingpages.weebly...Tessa Bailey
Profile Image for Al George.
502 reviews309 followers
September 29, 2020
So....those Scandalicious podcast ladies were right. Duke is dirty and delish and hot in a man bear way.


So he's not a real man bear, but the gif is hot in more ways than one.

Series: Yes

Sexy times: Dooood. Do not read if serious naughty talking and pokey pokerson is offensive. Typical Tessa Bailey...lots of the poke.

Plan on reading more by the author: One more left in this series.

Synopsis Of all the bars in all the towns in all the world, Samantha walks into the pub where Duke is trying to watch a ballgame. Immediately pegged as being new to Hook, New Jersey, doesn't take long before some of the regulars get friendly with Miss Sam and honey, that ain't working for Duke. No sir. He places himself right behind her and "roadblocks" her in so no one messes with her.

From that point on, Duke, who saves the world under normal circumstances, is hell bent on saving Sam from whatever and keeping her with him. One night trip for egg salad sandwiches from the back of a bakery, a road trip to Atlantic City and a not well-written contract from Sam's brother, kids we gotta a marriage of convenience.


Heroine: Samantha. She's a hot, good, mess. Living in own head. Sketching cartoon characters and telling terribly punny puns to anyone who will listen.

Hero: He's big. He's hairy. He's scary. He's got a bit of a beer gut. He's the savior of the world. And he has a mouth on him. I have no idea how Bailey comes up with this sh!t. She has to sit around hitting the bong or drinking the Sav Blanc by the gallon because there is no way this stuff just comes out of her fingertips and on to the page. No way.

Why it did or didn't work for me: Given my feelings for the first two books in this series, I did not really expect to like this one. The first book was meh-ish, the second better but this one? It was fun. I don't really know why...was it Duke and his he-man, save the world-ness? Probably. But it was also Sam with her sweetness and quirkiness and just damn oddness. They made the story work. And I have to say, it was a damned enjoyable read.


Yep, Duke is a gladiator.
Profile Image for Maayan.
Author 3 books301 followers
August 6, 2016
I really really really LOVED this book. It was perfect. Duke was perfect!! And Sam was adorable. Both of them together were explosive. I think it's my favorite Tessa's book to date <3
Profile Image for Mindy Lou's Book Review.
2,666 reviews624 followers
August 1, 2016
I adored this book! Duke and Samantha were perfect. I loved everything about their characters. Samantha seemed innocent, a bit naive and was just plain silly at times and I loved her. Duke, man who wouldn't want a Duke of their own. He's a protector, provider, hero and a passionate lover. The two together was a pleasure to read. Their chemistry was smokin! Loved it!

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews201 followers
July 3, 2017
Wasn’t every day someone caught him off guard, but this pretty girl whose voice oozed education, this girl with the stubborn—and…fuck it, cute—nose, had unsettled his stomach ever since gliding into the bar. Like a bad omen.

All factory mechanic Duke Crawford wants is to watch SportsCentre in peace. He has enough responsibility and chaos in his life with living with four divorced sisters and life has taught him that relationships aren’t for him. Until a tiny, hot brunette walks into the very bar he’s been trying to watch sport and suddenly peace is out of the question. The more time he spends with her, he realises he wants nothing more than to protect her and fix all her problems.

There were men. And then there was Duke Crawford.

Samantha Waverly is just as big a commitment-phobe as Duke, she’s learned that promises isn’t something people keep. But the only way of achieving her dream work is to marry, and the huge warrior-looking Duke has just offered her a no-strings attach way to achieve it – marriage with no promises, just a way to get her dream and them to explore the passionate chemistry between them.

“One kiss. I can’t give you any more than that.” His fist came up to bang against the glass. “Don’t ask me to bring you inside. Please. I’m not the kind of man you’re looking for. But you’d get me, regardless, if we fucked. You hearing me, sweetheart?”

But feelings has a way of getting in the way of plans and soon the lines start to blur, commitment and promises start to sound very good.

Apparently it was possible for a woman to burrow under your skin so deep you were afraid to see what happened if you yanked her out.

Duke is a big bear of a man, a bit grumpy but whose heart is just as big as his body, caring for his four sisters, giving his friend Vaughn and his family a place to live. I just loved him. Also mechanics are so hot ;-) I love how protective he was over his sisters and then over Sam, how possessive he was over her. Everything about him was so damn sexy!

And there was that look again from Duke. Probably the way Adam had looked at Eve, or more accurately, the way a caveman had looked at his first source of food. Mine. He didn’t even have to say the word; she could feel him thinking it. It starved her.

I loved Sam and her imagination. I loved that she was a children’s book illustrator and how her artistic nature made her see things in a different way, how she would imagine Duke as a gladiator, then as a pirate, a warrior, a superhero. It was amazing. Also her punny jokes were hilarious and I loved that she was kind-of awkward among others, that she couldn’t help herself from making bad jokes or accidentally hitting her head. She was adorable.

“Samantha,” he said, packing steel into his voice. “Somewhere along the way, I stopped being afraid of commitment and started being afraid of losing you.”

I love instant attractions so of course I loved the way both Duke and Sam reacted towards each other, especially since both of them didn’t want a relationship but were unable to deny the intense pull between them. They way cynical Duke tried to keep away from Sam, but it proved impossible for him, and then warning all other men away from her (he could be quite a delicious caveman ;-) ), wanting her all for himself. And I loved that he was the main pursuer of their relationship, that he realised first just how important she was to him. The sexy times were smoking and Duke is quite dominant in the bedroom, which was very sexy.

His woman would get her satisfaction when, where, and how she needed it. Everyone else could deal.

I love the way this author writes, her books always make me swoon and happy with her sexy dirty-talking alphas and how possessive and protective they are over their women. This was an excellent addition to this wonderful series and a must read for all Tessa Bailey fans. If you have not read her books yet, and you’re a fan of sweet and sexy romances with lots of dirty-talk, then she is a must read.

Profile Image for Court.
417 reviews47 followers
December 2, 2021
4/20/18 Re-read of one of my fave PMB's. Duke is LIFE.

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

What if she just threw her arms out the open window and sobbed on behalf of all womankind? If they knew about this guy in Manhattan, the next bus to Hook would be standing room only. Instead, he'd gotten her. The one who'd pass the bus, sprinting in the opposite direction.

God. Bless. America.

Duke has ruined me for all other men. I never even knew I had a thing for big, burly men until him to be completely honest. The blurb jumped out at me and what I got in return was this warrior prince who was one of the dirtiest talkers I've ever read.

"I'm going to wear your come all night, sweetheart. Right where it's meant to be. On my cock, like a badge of fucking honor."

I need help. Or like 10,000 Dukes hand delivered to me PRONTO.

This was, as is typical in Tessa Bailey novels, a fun, engaging ride. She never fails to write some of the dirtiest talkers ever, but also keeps you invested in the characters with or without the sex.

Sex is just the cherry on top of the incredible sundae.

Samantha is in the small town of Hook, NJ to meet up with her step-brother for the weekend. She's about to tell him that the man she was set on marrying for the good of his business, the sole reason he's about to invest in her Art on Wheels program, is out of the picture. She can't do it. No connection, just... nothing. She won't commit.

When she sees a mountain of a man in a local bar, she can't help but want to sketch him, so that she does. When he introduces himself, they're confused about their instant connection to one another.

"Sometimes I don't see anything when I meet a person. That's usually a bad sign." She smiled at him. "I've seen three things for you already."
"Lucky me."
"I know," she said brightly.

The rules are clear; if they continue their 'friendship', commitment is out of the question. Both have been around failing relationships too much to believe in it.

But Duke can't help but be protective of this girl - a ray of sunshine that just stumbled into his life. With her bright spirit, her amazing drawings and her ability to just see him. When she mentions the marriage deal, he offers himself up. They obviously have an amazing physical connection, what's a marriage-with-benefits gonna hurt?

Right? Wrong, obviously.

But ohhhh they were so fun to watch as they worked through their feelings. Sure, it's quick... like just a couple days time, but it's pretty clear that despite the short time period, maybe they've found their person.

Duke is the strong, somewhat-silent (outside of the bedroom) type. ALL THOSE "SWEETHEARTS". Guh, just kill me now.

"Right now, my woman needs to come, doesn't she? Soak my dick with it, sweetheart. Give me the spoils of my fucking war."

Sam is torn between family and duty, and the man she can't get out of her head.

Lovable characters. Steamy sex. A slew of supporting characters that are just as likable.

This is a winner.

'Til next time cuties ;)
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,389 reviews651 followers
July 30, 2018

***4.5 Stars***

I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK!!! My favorite Tessa Bailey book I've read so far!

"I feel like if I...break apart, I'll be put back together differently. I don't know."

"What if I let you put me back together differently, too?"

This book was the perfect combination of humor, feels and STEAM!

I absolutely LOVED Duke and Samantha.

Duke was a bear of a man with a gentle heart...a nurturer, a protector. And Samantha was quirky and fun (I seriously LOVED Sam's love of corny jokes and bad puns) and just as much afraid of relationships as Duke. And yet when they meet...sparks, fireworks...explosions. The sexual tension between these two is off the charts!

They don't want to be drawn to each other as much as they are....but the pull is impossible. And the reader is sweating it out right alongside them. They try to fight it, but the inevitable is coming....you just have to be patient because the payout is SO WORTH IT!

"Go on, sweetheart. Tell them my name. Loud enough for them to remember it and tell the stories to their friends at breakfast. About the girl in the next room getting it so hard, they had to call security. They'll have no idea I'm the one who worships you. That I would work overtime for a decade just to hear you call me a warrior. Go on. Confuse them. Say my name loud enough that they think you're going to open your legs for it whenever I unzip my jeans. But we both know I'll be begging you to let ME unzip YOURS. You might be the loud one, but I'm your slave."

But as well as these two fit together physically, it's the emotional part that scares the hell out of both of them...because they fit together just as perfectly there too. And I understood both their hesitations. Messy pasts filled with rejection and abandonment would jade anyone...but you can't fight your heart, even when your mind is trying to protect you.

Falling asleep in Duke's unyielding grip hadn't required a moment of thought. She'd just done it. Because it had felt...like a destination."

For a book under 200 pages, this didn't feel rushed. Yes, the marriage of convenience reason was a little thin, but I'll take whatever reason necessary to bring Duke and Sam together...because it's clear from chapter 1 that they just FIT and watching them stumble over unfamiliar feelings is what I love in my romances.

...the girl busted a hole in his gut every time she looked his direction, and at the same time somehow patching up all the holes inflicted over the years.

If you're looking for a quick read that hits all the spots, I can't recommend this book enough! And it can easily be read as a standalone (I haven't read the first two books in this series and didn't feel lost at all).


"Somewhere along the way, I stopped being afraid of commitment and started being afraid of losing you."
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews838 followers
August 5, 2016
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Worked Up by Tessa Bailey
Book Three of the Made in Jersey series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it?

What I Liked:

I've read the majority of Tessa Bailey's published books, and I've really enjoyed about 85% of what I've read. There have been one or two that were less than stellar, but still good. This book, unfortunately, is one of those.

Duke Crawford is a head mechanic at the factory in a small town in New Jersey. His house is crazy crowded, with all four of his sisters living with him, as well as his best friend, his best friend's wife, and their little girl. All Duke wants is to watch SportsCenter, but everyone needs him or needs something from him. One night, he's sitting in The Third Shift, the bar in Hook, and a stranger walks in. Samantha turns out to be the step-sister of Renner Bastion, who owns the factory that Duke and half the town works at. Samantha just broke off her engagement with a man she barely saw, but this throws a snag in her plans to start her own business. Her step-brother agreed to cosign a loan with her when he knew she was getting married. But now that she's recently broken off the engagement, Samantha knows Renner won't go through with the loan. But the agreement was if Samantha was married... so Duke and Samantha agree to get married. But what happens when you bind two commitment phobes together, after only a few days of knowing each other?

I knew I would like Duke, and he was probably what kept me reading. I've been following Tessa's #PMB updates in her Facebook group, and they're so fun! PMB = pouty man bear, and it's actually the best thing. I don't typically like huge bearded guys, but Tessa's PMB Facebook series is great. And Duke is definitely a PMB! He's gruff and a man of few words, massive and Goliath-like in size. But he's a sweetheart, letting his best friend/best friend's wife/their daughter/his four sisters live in his house. Duke is a sweet guy, a caregiver and a protector.

I liked Samantha's sense of humor. She likes to make bad jokes and puns, and I found her hilarious in this aspect. I LOVE bad jokes. Samantha has commitment issues because of her and Renner's parents, and ultimately, Samantha's commitment issues are what lead to the main conflict and climax of the book. Samantha had good depth, and I liked her sense of humor. I'm just not sure I liked her as a character in general? I felt a little meh about her, though I do have some things to complain about.

The story flowed well, so I was never bored. I thought time moved way too quickly, but the writing didn't feel rushed. Logically though, things happened too quickly. Samantha and Duke's connection kind of just springs up, and then the lust does, and then love. I will say that this book is pretty steamy, but not too steamy. See more on that below.

I don't think I have anything else to say in this section. This wasn't Tessa's best, and definitely not a favorite. I'd skip it if I were considering buying it.

What I Did Not Like:

Holy guacamole, this story happened in lightning speed. Like, I think Duke and Samantha knew each other for two days before doing the deed. And then they got married on Night #2. And then we reach the climax of the book on Day #3. And then a week passes with them apart. And then they see each other again and it's like the heavens opened up or something. The reunion is NUTS.

The engineer and logical person that I am cannot shake the mechanics of this relationship. They fall in lust and then in love in less than a week... it seems bizarre to me. And I'm a self-proclaimed helpless romantic! It was bizarre, peeps.

Also, this book wasn't NEARLY as hot as I expected. The one or two sex scenes felt so prolonged, almost tortuously so. Like at some point in the scene, the sex stopped seeming hot and starting seeming over the top. I got bored.

And the dirty talking... meh. Usually I don't mind dirty talk. But the dirty talk in this book did nothing for me. If anything, I was a little turned off at some points.

But what really bothered me about all the steamy stuff was, as I mentioned, the distinct decrease in hotness (compared to Tessa's other books). Tessa always finds ways of making each of her romance books very unique. She always has her characters trying some new or exotic position, or she has the sexual tension building differently, or the foreplay is wildly imaginative and totally hot. In this book... meh. Tessa has written more inventive scenes. Does that make me sound pervy?

Samantha bothered me, especially towards the end. You all KNOW how much I hate it when the male is the one who has to beg and grovel and make a big grand gesture to win back the girl, right? ESPECIALLY in situations where the girl messed up, or the girl needs to be the one apologizing and groveling and begging. Well, in this book... Samantha messed up, and she should have been the one looking back and trying to convince Duke to take her back. Not the other way around. So this made me mad.

So the first two books in this series were pretty good, but this book felt like a bit of a letdown.

Would I Recommend It:

Ehhh, not really. There are tons of other Tessa Bailey books that I'd recommend (like Officer Off Limits! Or Raw Redemption. Or the first book in this series.). This one felt like one that you would miss in a crowd. It's worth the read if you're a mega Tessa Bailey fan like me, but then, you might find yourself a tiny bit disappointed, like me. And if you're not a crazy fan like me, then skip this one. I could recommend so many other romance novels!


3 stars. I think I've lost a bit of interest in this series. It started out well but it's been downhill for me, slowly but surely. I was excited to read Renner's story after reading book two of this series, but now, meh. I'll probably pass.
Profile Image for Jabberwocky .
208 reviews194 followers
August 27, 2016

Title: Worked Up
Series: (Made in Jersey, #3)
Author: Tessa Bailey
Genre: Adult Contemporary Erotic Romance
Rating: 5-Stars *favorite*
Blog: HERE

Crashed Out (Made in Jersey, #1) by Tessa Bailey (Made in Jersey, #1) Crashed Out
Rough Rhythm (Made in Jersey, #1.5) by Tessa Bailey (Made in Jersey, #1.5) Rough Rhythm
Thrown Down (Made in Jersey, #2) by Tessa Bailey (Made in Jersey, #2) Thrown Down
Worked Up (Made in Jersey, #3) by Tessa Bailey (Made in Jersey, #3) Worked Up
Wound Tight (Made in Jersey, #4) by Tessa Bailey (Made in Jersey, #4) Wound Tight

Each book in the series can be read as a standalone.


Small-town factory mechanic, Duke Crawford, is a simple guy . Living in a house full of heartbroken divorcee sisters, he just wants to watch SportsCenter and drink his beer in peace—without the distraction of women or the heartbreak that comes along with them.

Big-city children's illustrator, Samantha Waverly, is a simple woman. With a heart already broken from childhood, she just wants to explore her dreams as an artist—but can only do that with the help of her brother, who will only be inclined to help Samantha if she's under a certain...status.

Except when Samantha breaks that...engagement...she has to travel to the little town of Hook, New Jersey, to convince her brother to still help fund her life-long dream.

But it's when Samantha stumbles into Duke's life that they both become tangled in each others dreams. Because commitment-phoebes or not, both Samantha and Duke feel the instant, all-consuming attraction to one another—and they can't leave the other alone, both in between-the-sheets and out of them.

And why would they, when they got each other all worked up?

“I’m going to wear your come all night, sweetheart. Right where it’s meant to be. On my cock, like a badge of fucking honor. I’m going to run my hand over it when no one’s looking, feel that dampness and remember the sweet pussy it came from.”

Words can't really express how much I enjoyed Worked Up. It was extremely well-written, with humor and sass that had me smiling and swooning throughout the book.

I've never read any books by Tessa Bailey before, so I was new to both her writing (boy, have I been missing out!) and the Made in Jersey series (#TBR, #TBR!).

But Tessa managed to make me fall in love with a quirky heroine, totally lovable yet unique to what I've read before, and a real-to-life but amazing-as-dreams Hero.

Ah, yes—DUKE! *kicks feet, scream-cries, throws tantrum* He felt so reallll, so why isn't he!?!? My life will never be complete without my own personal #PMB in it now. Thanks a lot, Tessa. Now I have impossible-to-meet #relationshipgoals.

And Duke was so different from the average book Hero, too! But I think that's what made me love him more. Because all his little differences (the manly-man attitude, the gruffy beard, the strong-and-silent affection, the hairy chest, mountain-man physique, even the little beer-belly) made him memorable and absolutely scream-worthy for wanting. I mean...

Mother Mary. There were men. And then there was Duke Crawford. He wasn’t pretty or sculpted. Didn’t have the kind of physique that would land him on the pages of a calendar or on a “hot bodies” board on Pinterest. No no. Duke was husky and covered in hair. A bear among mere cubs.

You see? You kind of want him too, don't you? Well, too bad. He's mine. And I'm his. Or, I would be, if he wasn't so obsessed with Samantha (damn her!). I never thought the day I'd be envious of a fictional character...

Because not only is Duke a protective, possessive, dirty-talking, sensually rugged Alpha-Male, he's also tender-hearted and adorable in his bumbling attempts at love. With all his man-handling (in the most lip-biting ways!) and growling, he seems so big and intimidating, but really he's just so sweet and charming and cherishes and loves like no one else.

*le sigh*

I just want to cuddle up to him and stroke his beard.

Wait. Is that weird?

Hero: 5-Stars
Heroine: 5-Stars
Romance: 5-Stars
Sex: 5-Stars
Plot: 5-Stars
Dialogue: 5-Stars
Writing: 5-Stars

PS: I was given a complementary copy of this book. But I do solemnly swear that I am up to...good. *wink* This is a fair, honest review and/or rating(s) of this book, pinky promise.

Profile Image for Jennifer.
374 reviews569 followers
August 17, 2016
5 Pouty-Man-Bear-Forever Stars!!!

I have one question for you, reader…..Have you ever read Tessa Bailey? If your answer is no, then stop reading this review and go read her books…...right now…..Seriously, stop. (There are no spoilers in this review, I just wanted to emphasize the awesome-sauce that is Tessa Bailey!).

à la Mode St. » fashion

”I was thinking I could switch to light beer for you.”

“Romance, thy name is Duke.”

à la Mode St. » fashion

This book is a modern-day fairy tale…..BAHAHAHA! Not really. The hero is a ginormous mountain of a man who is hairy and large in every way that counts. He is burly and blue collar and a POUTY MAN BEAR. I am a HUGE fan of the #PMB….I have my own #pmb t-shirt signed by Tessa herself, y’all. I have read all of her pouty man bear short stories that she wrote on Facebook in her private reader’s group, Bailey’s Babes (https://www.facebook.com/groups/19194...). #PMBforever

Ok, onto the book……Holy hotness! I can’t even handle Tessa’s dirty words. She writes the best words of all the words. I don’t even know from where she gets these words. Her words give me the tingles in my jingle.

à la Mode St. » fashion

”That’s Duke’s clit between your thighs, Samantha. No one touches that clit but Duke. You need it polished, teased, banged, or just plain slapped, who’s the one you call?” Leaning all his weight to one elbow, he gripped her jaw once again. “Be a good girl when you answer and I’ll kiss it again later.”

à la Mode St. » fashion

Duke is a mechanic who likes to get his hands dirty. He is the responsible brother who takes care of his four divorced sisters when he isn’t working at the factory. He had no idea what was about to hit him when Samantha walked into the bar. It’s one of those instant-attraction moments. Duke is rough and gruff and tries to hold back and be gentle with Sam, but of course he can’t, but she can take all that he dishes out!

My Duke:


My Sam:

Emma's girl, but with brown eyes:

Sam is a children’s book illustrator at heart. She loves to draw and is never without her sketchpad. In fact, she whips out her sketchpad to draw Duke when she first sees him in the bar. I loved all of the characters of Duke in this book - the sea captain, Goliath, the superhero, etc. Sam has an over-protective brother who has agreed to fund her art business for children if she agrees to marry. You can see where this is going, and I loved every second of it.

Oh God, the puns in this book! So adorkable! Sam is such a dork, and I love her.

à la Mode St. » fashion

”Stealing someone’s coffee is called mugging,” she whined.

“Ah, if you can pun, sweetheart, you’re wide awake.”

“I can pun in my sleep.”

à la Mode St. » fashion

Renner and Milo….Tessa’s first M/M…..GIVE THEM TO ME!!!

I could gush about Tessa’s books all day, but I’ll let you read them instead. Go! Go! Go!

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Denna.
410 reviews112 followers
August 8, 2016
Duke!!!! He will be going at the top of my favorite book heroes list!
Profile Image for Vaneesha.
120 reviews132 followers
August 10, 2016
“What do you call a melon that can’t get married? … A can’t elope.”

There are like 16 reasons why I shouldn't have liked this book: Marriage of convenience, possessive dude, tits getting slapped (I can be down for a little ass spanking but the BOOBS?! REALLY? IS THIS A THING?), etc ... BUT for some reason I cannot put my finger on, IT WORKED. I enjoyed this.

I liked Duke and Samantha equally. Duke is a blue-collar, factory mechanic, who's also a war veteran. Before his deployment his 4 sisters were all married and settled down, after his deployment, he returned to find his home inhabited by his 4 divorced sisters. Duke's very much a "fixer", he's protective and takes responsibility for the people he is close to. I found this endearing. Samantha is an artist, her dream for several years has been to create "Art on Wheels" - a mobile art studio that would go from neighborhood-to-neighborhood accompanied with artists to work with children to make something beautiful. In order to receive adequate funding, she signs a "mutually-beneficial" contract with her step-brother with the stipulation that she marry a man called Hudson. After a 3-year engagement, and Hudson's return from a 3-year stint overseas, Samantha decides to call off the engagement, she attributes this to a fear of commitment.

What I liked most, was Samantha and Duke together. There were a few times that they were described as being a "match" and "equal". In books I've read recently, I've been annoyed to find that one character receives more "shine" than the other, when this happens I think it's easy to come to judgment that their relationship doesn't feel balanced; Samantha and Duke both felt like they were on even-footing, so I was rooting for them to be together.

The relationship developed at a rapid-fire-pace, but it fit. Some of the dirty talk was absurd but most of it was *SURPRISE* pretty steamy.

This book had loads of bad jokes, puns, and comments about chauvinistic behaviour, it was a fantastic way to spend a few hours (I should be sleeping it is like 3am here, but I AM DEDICATED).

Profile Image for Carmen Rae.
1,459 reviews174 followers
August 29, 2016
I know I can always count on Tessa Bailey to write hot as hell books but damn this one was beyond smoking hot. Like I need a smoke after reading it.

This was the ultimate insta-love story but I felt the sparks flying from the moment they make eye contact and I don’t think I stopped squirming in my seat the whole time I was reading this. It was just that hot. Which isn’t to say I didn’t feel a whole heap of other emotions as well just that my libido was forced into overdrive from all the testosterone pouring off Duke.

Duke was so alpha and commanding I wanted to throw my panties at him and run all at the same time. He was probably the best H I have read in a long while and I call dibs. He was sweet and caring and possessive and growling in just the right amount. I fell so hard for him.

Samantha was awesome. I loved her passion for her dream I just would have liked her to have a little more self confidence, not that she needed it once Duke fell at her feet. But I would have loved for her to kick her brother in the dick.

The secondary characters in this were great and I am looking forward to seeing them all again as the series progresses (hint, hint Tessa). But now I am off to read the second one as I somehow managed to miss it.

Duke is mine!!!!!

Check out my reviews here
Profile Image for Mandy.
1,510 reviews219 followers
August 14, 2016
I have read several books by this author but this book is my absolute favorite! I adored the hero, Duke. He was perfect! Duke is an average guy, doesn't have a perfect body, he's hairy and real. He works as a machine mechanic at the factory and lives with his four divorced sisters. He takes care of people, putting others before himself. He doesn't want a woman or a relationship and is fine just working and watching Sports Center when he gets the time. Everything changes when Samantha comes to town. There's just something about her that catches Duke's attention. Both of these characters were fantastic and the chemistry between them was really great. The steamy scenes were smoking hot. Not only was this a really steamy book but there was also a wonderful sweetness to the relationship between Sam and Duke - the romance was swoony. I can't say enough about how much I loved this book and these characters. I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series!
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