BOOK REVIEW: Hook, Line, and Sinker (Bellinger Sisters #2)  by Tessa BaileyHook, Line, and Sinker (Bellinger Sisters #2)
by Tessa Bailey
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King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he's a guaranteed good time--in bed and out--and that's exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She's immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his... personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.

Now, Hannah's in town for work, crashing in Fox's spare bedroom. She knows he's a notorious ladies' man, but they're definitely just friends. In fact, she's nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport's resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker's eye... yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can't deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.

Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she's walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and... and... man overboard! He's fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he's all in, she'll choose him instead?

In the follow-up to It Happened One Summer, Tessa Bailey delivers another deliciously fun rom-com about a former player who accidentally falls for his best friend while trying to help her land a different man...


Is Tessa Bailey a genius or is she a genius, people?

I am absolutely kicking myself for not having read this sooner but I think I was nervous. I’ve read a few different romances with the trope of the ~playboy whose phone is constantly going off with booty calls he has lined up~ and they typically have at least one moment in the book where things go south between the couple in some, stupid, preventable way.

That was NOT the case in this book. GOOD LORD. For starters, I’m not sure that I have ever read about a character similar to Fox’s that, on the outside, was the stereotypical hot playboy who NEVER is in a relationship for the exact reasons that Fox was. My heart hurt so. Damn. Bad for him. It was one of those age old cases of growing up with a shitty example of a father, thinking certain behaviors were a norm when clearly no young kid should EVER be thinking that way, acting on those said behaviors starting in his teenage years, and then because they lived in such a small town, everyone around him continued to perpetuate that stereotype for him. SO BASICALLY THIS FUCKING MARSHMELLOW OF A HUMAN BEING thought his only worth was in being that hot, wild cat, never-to-be-tamed, kind of man. Sure he still found pleasure in the hookups but was he ever fully satisfied–NO and yet he still didn’t even think he would ever even deserve that kind of normal happiness with a woman. Good fucking lord. Toxic masculinity at its finest right there, folks.

…and Hannah was always comfortable waiting in the wings, anticipating her cue to talk on as best supporting actress, even providing bail money on more than one occasion. That was where she shined. Bolstering the heroine at her lowest point, stepping in to defend the leading lady when necessary, saying the right thing in a pivotal heart-to-heart.

In comes Hannah. The quieter, more reserved Bellinger sister but one that loves with the fierceness of a thousand burning suns. She considers herself to be in a supporting role instead of holding a leading lady title so naturally she’s gotten really good at being a hype woman and solid support system for everyone in her life other than herself. When Hannah and Fox were foisted upon one another so that Piper and Brendan could spend time together in It Happened One Summer these two left a massive impression on one another.

AND I AM SO SOFT FOR THE WAY IN WHICH THAT MANIFESTS. Like I am a sucker for text exchanges in romances so naturally the ones we saw here were so lovely. And the records. And the secret record player. And the moments when they ask each other what kind of song their day was and they both just get what the other is asking.

“Hannah. I can’t answer what I don’t know,” he said through stiff lips. “What do you want me to say? Do I want to fuck you? Yes. Oh my God, I”–his eyes closed briefly, those fisherman’s hands flexing on the steering wheel–“I want you underneath me so bad that I can’t lie in bed without already feeling you there. I’ve never even had you, and your body haunts mine.”

But the main thing I loved? Hannah. Hannah may find it easier to be a supporting actress but damn if those qualities aren’t SO important in a person. The way she was so supportive and loving to Fox when he needed it most–when he needed to believe he was worth something more than just a playboy who would never take life seriously she was there. She did not allow him to sabotage their friendship/relationship when he felt it was treading too close into “real feelings” territory. Like I’m talking multiple times. She was steadfast and just simply loved with every fiber of her being. Good lord I’m literally tearing up thinking about it LOL. I don’t know, something about this was just extra special to me and I loved every second. (Also not like this needs to be said the steam was obviously hot as hell *insert 10 flame emojis*)

“Good night,” Hannah said warmly, going up on her toes to kiss his cheek. “What kind of music day did you have?”
He let out a breath, happy to be back on familiar ground. “Coming home after four days on the water. Mmm. Something about home.”
“‘Home’. By Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.”

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Avon for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for my honest review.