Spotlight & Giveaway: The Au Pair Affair by Tessa Bailey

Posted July 4th, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 23 comments

Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Tessa Bailey’s new release: The Au Pair Affair




Author Tessa Bailey returns with an all-new sports rom-com about a burly, surly, single dad who falls head-over-hockey-stick for his quirky live-in nanny…

Tallulah is smart, vivacious, and studying to be a marine biologist. She’s also twenty-six and broke. So when Burgess, a battle-scarred hockey veteran and newly single dad, offers her a job as his live-in nanny, she jumps at the opportunity to get paid while living in a super fancy neighborhood and being around Lissa, his cool but introverted tween.

Her tween charge isn’t the only one who could use some help fitting in, though. According to…well, everyone except Burgess, he needs to get back on the dating scene, and adventurous Tallulah is just the girl to show him how. But as boundaries are slowly crossed and Burgess finds himself pulled between his daughter, who wants her parents back together, and his insane chemistry with Tallulah, a huge rift is formed, and Tallulah does the “right” thing—breaks her own heart and walks away.

Though Burgess knows it’s for the best—he’s too jaded, with too much baggage—a chance meeting, and a new push from his daughter, forces him to put everything on the line and fight to prove he learned his lessons well and is worthy of a happily ever after with Tallulah.


Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from The Au Pair Affair 

Tallulah had never seen blood droplets sail through the air quite so gracefully.
She turned the phone sideways and enlarged the hockey highlight to full screen mode, tapping the volume button in order to hear the commentator’s voice.
Abraham with the vicious elbow to O’Hanlon’s nose. Oh mama. Somebody call the trainer. O’Hanlon just learned the hard way what we’ve known for years. Players risk bones and cartilage when they enter Sir Savage’s house as he’s just proven once again tonight…
Tallulah exited the video and set her phone down, queasiness rolling in her stomach.
This afternoon, she was scheduled to begin shacking up with the homicidal hockey player from that very SportsCenter highlight. Sir Savage. If the algorithm gods hadn’t creepily recognized her location as Boston and placed that nose crunching clip from last night’s pre-season game in her path, she would already have left the smoothie shop and entered the landmark doorman building across the street to begin her employment as an au pair for his tween daughter.
She’d agreed to the arrangement months ago. Back when the whole idea hadn’t seemed so unnerving. Now, however, the white, plastic seat in which she’d been parked for over an hour was rapidly making lattice patterns on the backs of her legs. Blenders whirred in her ears. She’d been rendered unable to stand up and cross the road. Which was galling, considering she’d just spent a year in Antarctica studying the migration habits of the Adelie penguin.
A nanny job should be a cakewalk, right?
Thanks to a twist of fate, she’d landed a swanky place to live in Beacon Hill while she earned her master’s in marine biology at Boston University. In return, all she had to do was nanny for an already self-sufficient twelve-year-old girl while her daddy apparently went out and flattened perfectly good noses on the ice.
It was the latter that kept her glued to the uncomfortable chair.
Tallulah reached for the paper cup holding her peanut butter-espresso blast and noticed her hand was trembling oh-so-slightly. She gave herself an impatient eye roll and snatched up the cup, swigging what remained of her smoothie. The guy behind the counter obviously heard the empty vacuum sound coming from her paper straw and gave her the Boston eyebrow. Head cocked, impatient, one brow raised. Like, are you done here or would you like to lick the napkin dispenser, too?
She’d clearly overstayed her welcome at the Joyful Juicer.
Message received, Tallulah stood up, crossed to the trash can and tossed her cup, before returning to the table and gripping the handle of her suitcase. Staring through the picture window of the shop at the ten-story brick building on the other side of the road, her stomach sagged somewhere in the vicinity of her knees. On paper, she didn’t have any reason for the alarm weaving through her ribs.
After all, her best friends, Wells and Josephine, had vouched for the Boston Bearcats team captain, Burgess Abraham, also known as Sir Savage. He didn’t have any criminal history that she could find on the internet. In fact, he was known for being a terror on the ice, but stoic and reasonable once he entered the locker room. As evidenced by the time Tallulah had spent watching post-game interviews with his sweaty black hair plastered to his forehead, his denim blue eyes intense as he considered every question like the answer was deeply important.
And no, she hadn’t purposefully searched for shirtless interviews, thank you very much.
They’d come up as a suggested Google search. She couldn’t simply ignore that kind of search engine divine providence. It would be irresponsible. Nor could she ignore shoulders thick enough with muscle to seat a couple of baby walruses—and those suckers had heft.
But right now, when she was an hour late to arrive at Burgess’s penthouse to view her new living space and go over the particulars of their arrangement, all she could see was that brutal elbow slicing through the air, the accompanying expression of malice.
Like a peek inside some hidden part of the man?
Accepting this job had seemed like a great idea when she’d met Burgess at that golf tournament in California last summer. But she shouldn’t have been so impulsive when it came to something so huge, like living with a man who she barely knew. One who could have all manner of issues lurking under the surface. In her experience, men could be mild mannered, charming even, on the surface. Easy going, friendly.
They could also be dormant volcanos waiting for the right moment to erupt.
Ignoring the sigh from dude behind the counter, Tallulah sat back down.
Moving in with this near-stranger was a bad idea. An error in judgment.
Thankfully, she hadn’t moved in yet. If she was going to change her mind, it had to be now. Before she wasted valuable time Burgess could be using to find a new au pair. She could check into a hotel tonight and use tomorrow to view apartment-share opportunities. With other women. The apartments probably—no, definitely—wouldn’t be in neighborhoods as nice as this, nor would they be a penthouse, but at least she’d be able to sleep at night.
Decision made, Tallulah slipped the phone out of the front pocket of her windbreaker and prepared to call the Bearcats defenseman. Being so unprofessional about this rankled. She should break their deal in person. But what if he reacted badly? Got upset?
A phone call was better. Safer.
Before Tallulah could dial, a bell tinkled above the door.
And Burgess Abraham himself entered the smoothie shop.
Holy shit, she’d forgotten how…hulking he was. Six-three, give or take an inch. Broad as a barn. And grizzled. Sir Savage had entered the second half of his thirties and he already had a hint of salt and pepper buffering in his black beard, his temples. He walked with leashed confidence. It wasn’t the stride of a man who needed to be noticed. Or feared. It was a one hand in his pocket, the other loose at his side, eyes forward, unhurried but goal-oriented gait. He didn’t bother stopping at the register to order, just signal the employee with a salute.
“Your usual, Savage?” The smoothie guy got working, tossing frozen fruit into the clear blender, adding fruit juice and three heaping scoops of protein powder. “I live in hope that someday you’ll come in and try something new.”
“I like what I like,” Burgess muttered, frowning at the screen of his phone.
Was he checking to see if she’d called?
Probably. She was now sixty-seven minutes late.
With an inward wince, Tallulah tapped call and held the phone to her ear. When the device started to buzz in Burgess’s hand, a ripple went through his back. He dropped the phone to his side and looked straight ahead for a moment, then back at the phone, coughing. Rolling a shoulder. She could only see his profile, but his lips moved slightly like he was practicing his greeting—and that’s when Tallulah remembered why she’d agreed to take the live-in au pair job with someone she barely knew.
Time had obviously blurred the memory of Burgess.
There was something about his energy that read…safe.
Very safe.
Along with her friends’ faith in Burgess, she’d trusted her gut.
It was going to be a shame to break the agreement. It was for the best, though. There was no guarantee he’d be civil off the ice one hundred percent of the time. Wells and Josephine might wholeheartedly believe in Burgess’s good character, but Tallulah had done the same with people throughout her life and gotten burned when their true selves were revealed.
You just never knew.
Tallulah watched as Burgess tapped the screen and held the phone to his ear, plugging the opposite one with his finger to drown out the screaming blender.
“Hello,” he said, staring intently at the floor. “Tallulah.”
Best to ignore that hot shiver that trekked up her inner thighs at the basement baritone version of her name. Blame it on her recent lack of anything resembling a sex life.
Watching penguins mate didn’t count.
“Hi Burgess,” she responded, waiting for him to register the blender sounds in the background of her call, too. When he did, his gaze zipped to where Tallulah sat, a grunt brushing up against her ear drum.
They both ended the call, looking at each other across the smoothie shop.
It was very hard to tell what Burgess was thinking. But he was thinking. A lot. Intuitive blue eyes traveled between her and the suitcase, a slight wrinkle taking up residence between his brows, though the rest of his expression remained carved in stone.
Without taking his attention off Tallulah, Burgess reached out and accepted his smoothie over the counter and that casual competence was…dangerously attractive. It was all coming back to her now. The hot spark of attraction she’d felt for this man all those months ago. She’d flown into California as a surprise for her best friend, Josephine’s, birthday. Burgess had been in attendance as a spectator at the same golf tournament where his friend, Wells Whitaker, had been competing. Brought his daughter, Lissa, along, too.
The five of them had unexpectedly had lunch—and when Burgess sat down beside her at the table, she’d been caught off guard by the ribbons of electricity that had only fluttered with more persistence every time his voice did that deep, boomy thing. There’d been no reason to question his outward calm while at lunch with other people, but she couldn’t discount her current apprehension at the prospect of being alone with him. In an apartment. Day in and day out. Knowing he was capable of breaking someone’s nose with all the fanfare of a sneeze.
As Burgess approached the table, the sound of his bootsteps was muffled, her palms growing soggy, but she also couldn’t help but notice the way his God of Thunder thighs were almost too robust for his jeans. He wore a loose navy sweater, like a man in the middle of a relaxing Sunday, and she wondered if he’d stretched out the neckline to show off the sharp cuts of his throat and collarbone.
Instinct told her no. That he’d just thrown it on.
But instincts weren’t always enough when it came to men, right?
When Burgess was five yards from the table, Tallulah shot to her feet with the brightest smile she could muster and held out her hand for a shake. “Burgess. It’s so nice to see you again.” She pressed her toes into the soles of her ankle boots when their hands connected, coarse into smooth, twisting the ball of her foot into the soft leather, because the clash of awareness and misgivings was so peculiar. And noisy. She could hear herself swallow.
Dang, he was tall. Mean appearance, collected demeanor. So confusing.
“I’m so sorry, but unfortunately I won’t be able to take the au pair position, after all.”

Excerpt. ©Tessa Bailey. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Giveaway: A print copy of AU PAIR AFFAIR by Tessa Bailey


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Meet the Author:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey can solve all problems except for her own, so she focuses those efforts on stubborn, fictional blue-collar men and loyal, lovable heroines. She lives on Long Island avoiding the sun and social interactions, then wonders why no one has called. Dubbed the “Michelangelo of dirty talk,” by Entertainment Weekly, Tessa writes with spice, spirit, swoon and a guaranteed happily ever after.

23 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Au Pair Affair by Tessa Bailey”

  1. Leeza Stetson

    I loved the excerpt. Tessa Bailey always creates winning books.

  2. Kathleen O

    I read the first book in this series and can’t wait to read this one. Love the except. Makes me want to read it even more.

  3. Anita H.

    This sounds like so much fun, Love the excerpt, can’t wait to read more!

  4. psu1493

    Loved the excerpt and was eager to see Burgess’s reaction to Tallulah’s bombshell.