Author: Tessa Bailey
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…
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?
Hook, Line, and Sinker is the standalone follow-up to It Happened One Summer. This story features Hannah Bellinger and Fox Thornton, who were first introduced in the previous novel. After Hannah’s sister, Piper, moved to Westport, Washington, and fell in love, Hannah returned home to Los Angeles where she continued to work in movies as a production assistant with a dream of transitioning into soundtracks. She met Fox, who is the best friend of her sister’s now fiancé, Brendan, and the two of them became friends. When Hannah convinces the director, who she has a crush on, to film in Westport, it is a chance for Hannah and Fox to reunite. The two of them get closer when Hannah is unable to stay with her sister and ends up staying in Fox’s guest room.
Hannah is used to being in the background while Piper remains in the spotlight, so she is convinced that she is the supporting character. She wants to change this in some ways, but it is easier said than done. Fox has the reputation of being a ladies’ man with a string of one-night stands. He is afraid of rejection to change this part of himself now that his reputation is established. Both Hannah and Fox were attracted to each other during Hannah’s initial time in Westport and they decided to become friends. Throughout this novel, both have their reasons for both wanting to become a couple and to remain friends, so there is a lot of angst written for each character. I loved the friendship between both of them as it seemed genuine and not just in place to create the basis of the friends to lovers trope. The two characters supported each other and helped each other grow throughout the story and their transition to a potential couple seemed natural and realistic.
While the story did deliver on the fun and sweet friends-to-lovers story, it provided a lot more heart than I initially expected in an amazing way. Fox and Hannah on the surface are a rake and wallflower type story, but the author created a lot more complexity for both characters. Each received a lot of attention for their growth throughout the story, so it was a very balanced and romantic read. Since this is a slow burn, there are some moments where scenarios seem to repeat, which may not be for every reader. For me, I did not mind as I was invested in the characters, setting, and story. Although I enjoyed the steamier moments between the characters, as a reader, I connected more with the emotional intimacy the two characters shared. Overall, this was an excellent wrap-up to the Bellinger Sister duology and I hope that there are more novels to re-visit Westport in the future!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Avon and Harper Voyager, Avon, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**