Tempting Tessa (His Girl Next Door, Book 3)


Tessa’s dream is to go to college and write novels.  Her brother and her ex-boyfriend think college is a waste of time and money.  They want her to stay in town so they can take care of her.  Against their wishes, Tessa moves to the small, New Jersey town of Mystic Island, and rents a broken-down house while she buckles down to write and study. Her neighbor, a plumber named Hale, keeps a friendly eye on her, but wishes he could get to know her better. When her heater dies in the middle of a snowstorm and her pipes freeze and break, Tessa has nowhere to turn.  Reluctantly, she asks Hale for help, and soon their mutual attraction flares and sparks fly.  But Hale has a secret he fears will ruin any relationship, and Tessa has her own worries.  Does she dare risk losing her dream by getting sidetracked by a romantic entanglement?  Hale’s dog, Gunner, might very well have the final say.

“Tempting Tessa” is filled with complex, relatable characters, right down to Hale’s dog, Gunner.  Tessa is charming and stubbornly independent, and it’s highly entertaining watching her bump up against the stubborn and protective (and sometimes bumbling) Hale whose protectiveness reminds her of her ex and her brother.  The attraction is there, but they both fight against it.  The fierce New Jersey winter leaps from the page in its menace and beauty, almost becoming a character in itself and will give readers a real chill.  While none of the plot is particularly new or unique, Ms. James’ lively prose gives it a fresh crispness.  "Tempting Tessa" is a particularly good read for a cold winter day.

Marc Joseph