Review by Gabrielle

Facts are facts. She’s cute as a button.

I don’t look twice at cute women. Anything cute, really. That would be like a tractor admiring a dandelion. Looking might seem like a fine idea, but tractors are built to mow down dandelions. It’s what they do. So there isn’t very much use in me noticing the way freckles just kind of…scatter all the way from her nose down her neck.

Master of the spicy romance, Tessa Bailey has done it again with murder mystery, My Killer Vacation.

It was supposed to be a relaxing vacation in sweet, sunny Cape Cod—just me and my beloved brother—but discovering a corpse in our rental house really throws a wrench into our tanning schedule. Now a rude, crude bounty hunter has arrived on the back of his motorcycle to catch the killer and refuses to believe I can be helpful, despite countless hours of true crime podcast listening. Not to mention a fulfilling teaching career of wrangling second graders.

A brash bounty hunter and an energetic elementary schoolteacher: the murder-solving team no one asked for, but thanks to these pesky attempts on my life, we’re stuck together, come hell or high tide.

I’m just here to do a job, not babysit an amateur sleuth. Although… it is becoming less and less of a hardship to have her around. Sure, she’s stubborn, distracting and can’t stay out of harm’s way. She’s also brave and beautiful and reminds me of the home I left behind three years ago. In other words, the painful hunger and protectiveness she is waking up in me is a threat to my peace of mind. Before I sink any deeper into this dangerous attraction, I need to solve this murder and get back on the road. But will fate take her from me before I realize the road has been leading to her all along?

This one is super fun folks. Growing up, I loved all the murder mystery shows of the 70’s and 80’s. Columbo, McMillan & Wife, and Starksy and Hutch but perhaps my favourite was Murder She Wrote. There is nothing I love more than a meddling, amateur detective and I definitely got those same vibes from My Killer Vacation

I found the characters a little on the cliched side, but I didn’t really mind. That’s the beautiful thing about a Tessa Bailey novel. You know you are in for some characters that blur the edges of stereotype and some really hot sex scenes. It’s why she’s the “Michaelangelo of dirty talk” and the queen of romance. You know exactly what you are in for and she delivers every time. I will say that Tessa does a good job of adding just enough depth to her characters to explain why they are the way they are, and narrowly avoid full blown stereotypes. It’s something I really appreciate with her books. The characters start out very cliched. In this book we have Taylor, the primary school teacher with a hidden dirty side, and Myles, a walking, talking wet dream of a bounty hunter. Over the course of the book, they help each other grow as people and become less of a stereotype.

Was it the best mystery I’ve ever read? No, but it was entertaining enough to keep me turning the pages well past my bedtime. I’m sure the amateur sleuths amongst us will have this ending figured out but I didn’t. But then, I never do. I’m not one of those people that even tries to figure it out. I like to be surprised and as I said, I love a good mystery. I really enjoyed this one. The puzzle of who murdered the man really amped up the tension in the story. A very useful literary device indeed.

Spice level is a solid 4.5 out of 5. If you are looking for a closed door romance, this isn’t it. The chemistry between Taylor and Myles is off the charts. Don’t be fooled by the cute illustrated cover, this book pushes the line towards erotica. The difference between erotica and romance is hotly debated and to me, it’s about the number and frequency of sex scenes. This book has fewer scenes than I would expect from erotica. Taylor and Myles get interrupted a lot, just as things start to heat up, and this is both a useful device to amp up the tension, and to keep things firmly in romance territory.

My Killer Vacation is a fun, spicy treat of a book and yet another example of what Tessa does best.