ARC Review: Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

Title: Tools of Engagement

Author: Tessa Bailey

Series: Hot & Hammered (Book 3)

Page Length: 368

Publication Date: Sept. 22, 2020

Publisher: Avon

Synopsis: Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore! 

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LINKS:     Goodreads    |       Amazon     |     Book Depository

My Review:

Tools of Engagement, the third book in Tessa Bailey’s Hot & Hammered series, is a witty and sweet rom-com. It begins as Bethany decides to venture out on her own house- flipping endeavor instead of staging for her family’s business. Wes, in a great Renee Zellweger moment (I love this reference in the book!), joins Bethany. When her story and the family drama catch a producer’s ear, Bethany finds herself in a reality tv competition against her brother.

I enjoyed Bethany and Wes’s love story. Their teasing and flirting were a great build-up to a sexy romance. Between their witty, teasing banter and their strong connection, the chemistry was palpable. I also like that, as they each deal with personal issues, they are a great support to each other.

Stepping out on her own forces Bethany to face her fears. She is a perfectionist who stresses about what others think of her. She never likes to be anything less than exceptional, and it is shown in her work and her appearance. But Bethany deals with insecurity, anxiety, and fear of rejection. Can she succeed on her own? What will people think of her if she fails? Bethany spends a lot of her time keeping up appearances, and Wes is one of the few who see through her facade.

Wes deals with his own issues like taking responsibility for his young niece after his sister takes a “break” from parenting. A young, single man in a new town, Wes must juggle the challenges of caring for a five-year-old while working for Bethany. He is an honorable, if cocky, man with a wicked sense of humor.

Tools of Engagement is a fun and sexy romantic comedy with great characters and an interesting story. Though it’s the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Avon for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance, of course!
  • The lovely relationship between Wes and his niece.

Favorite line:

Knowing one’s worst faults didn’t mean one could fix them alone.


Readers who like contemporary rom-coms with a spicy enemies-to-lovers romance will love Tools of Engagement.

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