HOOK, LINE, AND SINKER
BY TESSA BAILEY
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 was not at all what I expected but everything I needed in this sweet slow burn of a romance. I loved it’s take on toxic masculinity with discussions centered around being judged, how others perceive you and how sometimes you just have to cut through the bullshit and be who you want to be, no matter what others may say.
Fox was this sad little cinnamon roll who broke my heart into a million pieces. Always known as a player, the peacock down for a good time and a one night stand. Assuming it was better to make fun of himself and put himself down before anyone else could do, to laugh with them rather than be laughed at. My heart hurt for this man. We really got to crack him open and see how he was sexualized as a kid and how that lead to him seeing and feeling about himself. He’d closed himself off from the world and felt that his life was what he deserved when in fact he deserved the world.
Hannah truly had her work cut out for her. She never tried to fix him, but instead was a friend to him and someone that saw him as more than his innate sexuality or just a pretty face. I enjoyed their opening up and honesty with each other and how even while helping him see himself as more, he was able to help her step into that leading lady roll and encourage her to pursue her dreams. They had a great dynamic and their journey together was a beautiful one.
There was obviously some steam in this book, but it took the backseat and wasn’t the highlight of this book. It wasn’t used to move the plot forward, but instead was this pivotal moment in the relationship. Bailey sure as hell knows how to write a damn good sex scene though and Hannah was a lucky girl all around.
I went into this book expecting something like It Happened One Summer, a silly and lighthearted romance, but Hook, Line and Sinker was so much more than that. It was a heart wrenching story that brought me to tears quite a few times. I loved Fox and Hannah’s journey from friends to lovers and think this is a powerful story that I’m grateful I stumbled across.