Published by Amazon Digital on November 8, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Bailey Thorne doesn't hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school...and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She's had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he's left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten--and she's the teacher. It's going to be a very long school year.
Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast...and love is the most uncertain thing.
It was the elevator's fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It's his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she's caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there's a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can't seem to walk away first.
A quick hot read from an author who’s new to me. However, I’m pretty sure Melissa Blue has at least a couple of other names she publishes under, so it’s possible that she’s not new to me and I just don’t know it.
Bailey Thorne is a kindergarten teacher who has no interest in Jake Polaski, the father of one of her students. His nickname is Jake the Rake because of his tendency to date teachers and other parents for no longer than a few months before breaking up with them and moving on. He also has a reputation for being grumpy and reclusive, and Bailey has no time for it, no matter how hot he is.
Then they get stuck in an elevator together and she finds herself becoming very interested. And to her surprise, Jake the Rake seems to be interested in her, too.
They take it slow, not wanting to confuse things for Jayden, Jake’s son. Jake is also reluctant to get too close to anyone, because there’s something about Jayden’s parentage that he doesn’t want anyone to know. Honestly, I didn’t really understand how he was going to keep this a secret much longer anyway. It’s a pretty big one, and the older Jayden gets, the bigger it’s going to be.
Bailey and Jake were hot together, but Jake’s recalcitrance eventually got on my nerves. He wasn’t grumpy so much as just quiet and a not very willing to just talk to Bailey. He was so used to keeping his secrets, even though he really didn’t need to and shouldn’t be keeping them, that he wouldn’t just talk to her. He’s so determined to be Jayden’s sole parent, and to do all of the parenting alone. I didn’t really understand why he wouldn’t just talk to her, accept her help. Jayden adored her. She was right there, willing to step up and help him, and he completely shut her out. There wasn’t really a reason for it.
And as much as I liked them together, I really didn’t like his reason for breaking up with her. It was a reach, and he was unnecessarily cruel to her. And, by extension, was cruel to Jayden, when that was his entire reason for thinking they should end things.
He eventually came around, of course. And just apologized without a huge gesture, which I actually appreciated. Sometimes simple is better. Bailey certainly seemed to appreciate it.
Even though this book was short, Melissa Blue was able to develop both Bailey and Jake fully. Even Jayden was well-done, as much as a 5-year-old can be, anyway. He actually struck me as slightly over-developed for kindergarten, but I don’t have kids, so I don’t really know if I’m right about that or not. Bailey and Jake get to know each other through some hot texting and smoldering looks before they actually get together, though I wouldn’t call their relationship a slow burn. In a book this short, there isn’t enough time for something like that.
I think most romance readers will enjoy Bailey and Jake. It’s a quick read, and if you’re new to Melissa Blue like I was, it’s a good entry into her backlist.