12 Best Tessa Bailey Books That Will Ignite Your Love for Contemporary Romance

Check out our thoughtfully collected list of the best Tessa Bailey books that will guide your exploration into the steamy world of contemporary romance.

Tessa Bailey loves putting hard-working, stubborn men into her fictional contemporary romance novels. Her first published novel was back in 2012, called Staking His Claim. Readers were so taken with the compelling characters and fascinating storyline that Bailey’s career as a contemporary romance author was in the bag.

Now, as one of the best romance authors to grace the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists, Tessa Bailey keeps her readers satisfied with a seemingly endless stream of standalone and series novels. To experience firsthand the joys of her work, start with this list of the best Tessa Bailey books, including some of her new books.

Best Tessa Bailey Books Ranked

1. It Happened One Summer

It Happened One Summer book cover
Book cover of It Happened One Summer

In It Happened One Summer, Piper Bellinger is a Hollywood socialite. After an over-the-top party lands her in hot water, Piper’s stepfather sends her and her sister to a small town far from the glitz and glamour Piper is used to, and the money has stopped. Piper meets Brendan, a rough-around-the-edges guy who isn’t swayed by her fame. Brendan is wearing a wedding ring, so even though Piper feels drawn to this different kind of man, she steers clear of crossing the line.

The plot deepens as Piper and her sister decide to use this chance to learn more about their deceased father, who grew up in this town. As if that wasn’t enough, it turns out that Brendan is a widower who’s free to fall in love again. Their relationship blossoms against the backdrop of this charming town, and fans of romance books follow their journey as they navigate through their differences and toward love. You might also be interested in our guide on authors like Rosamunde Pilcher.

“Can you be mad at me while I kiss you, baby? It’s all I’ve wanted to do for the last two weeks.”

Tessa Bailey, It Happened One Summer
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02/18/2024 03:15 pm GMT

2. Tools of Engagement

Tools of Engagement book cover
Book cover of Tools of Engagement

Tools of Engagement tells the story of real estate professional Bethany Castle. On a self-imposed dating hiatus, Bethany decides to finally take on her house-flipping project, with the goal of doing it all herself. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she competes on a reality TV show, forced to partner with a Texan with a chip on his shoulder.

As they navigate through the show’s challenges, Bethany finds herself struggling with her growing feelings for Wes, and the story heats up as the two of them are cornered into small spaces together where it’s hard to hide the feelings they secretly share for one another. Determined to focus on the house flipping and not the heart flipping, Bethany struggles with all her determination to fight the undeniable attraction she feels for Wes.

“I just don’t want to lead you on. Sex is off the table, remember?”

Tessa Bailey, Tools of Engagement
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02/18/2024 03:06 pm GMT

3. Fix Her Up

Fix Her Up book cover
Book cover of Fix Her Up

In the delightful rom-com Fix Her Up, the male lead is Travis Ford, an MLB player whose career was prematurely ended by a sports injury. Trying to move on isn’t as easy as he hoped since people stop to reminisce on his bright career in sports everywhere he turns in his hometown. The protagonist is Georgette Castle, whose family runs a popular home renovation company in town. 

Tired of being looked down on as a girl instead of being treated as a woman, Georgette decides to make herself over into a woman of the world. That includes having a boyfriend. When Georgette learns of Travis’s need for an image makeover, she suggests they pretend to date. Their faux feelings for each other become genuine, and both Georgette and Travis end up being the ones who have fixed each other up.

“I see you, he rasped. “Dammit, Georgie. You had to be exactly what I need, didn’t you?”

Tessa Bailey, Fix Her Up
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02/18/2024 03:10 pm GMT

4. Protecting What’s His

Protecting What's His book cover
Book cover of Protecting What’s His

Protecting What’s His introduces us to Derek Tyler, a rough and possessive Chicago cop. Derek’s protective instincts kick in when the feisty Southern belle Ginger Peet moves in next door with secrets of her own. She’s looking for a fresh start, far away from her troubled past, but she didn’t expect a man like Derek to take an interest.

Their intense connection triggers a fiery romance that tests their boundaries. As Derek helps Ginger confront her past, they face a new array of challenges threatening to tear them apart. If you like reading romance books, you might want to check out our round-up of the best Barbara Cartland books.

Baby, I don’t need an excuse to cuff you. I just need the opportunity.”

Tess Bailey, Protecting What’s His
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02/18/2024 03:06 pm GMT

5. Runaway Girl

Runaway Girl book cover
Book cover of Runaway Girl

Runaway Girl is a famous Tessa Bailey romance novel about a girl who gets cold feet on her wedding day. On the day of her wedding—a mere 15 minutes prior—Naomi Clemens starts to realize that she’s marrying the wrong man. As dawn lights on the marble head, Naomi takes advantage of a small window of opportunity. Through the back window of the church, Naomi spies her happy cousin sitting on the church steps. 

Naomi doesn’t hesitate for long. She escapes, leaving her life behind, and runs into Jason Bristow, an ex-military security expert, during a gig in Florida. Jason, carrying his baggage, is resistant to Naomi’s charm. But a slow-burn romance unfolds as the free-spirited runaway bride and the guarded Jason interact.

“I’m fifteen minutes away from marrying the man who ordered me the wrong white wine at our rehearsal dinner last night. There are definitely far better reasons to get cold feet.”

Tessa Bailey, Runaway Girl
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02/18/2024 03:16 pm GMT

6. Secretly Yours

Secretly Yours book cover
Book cover of Secretly Yours

The contemporary romance novel Secretly Yours revolves around a professor, Julian Los, eager to complete his first book, and Hallie Welch, who has secretly harbored a massive crush on him since childhood. But the serious adult version of Julian is not interested in the charms of Hallie as she tends the garden right outside where he is trying to write.

Hallie writes Julian a profession of her love as a secret admirer, finally getting Julian thinking about a lost love from his past. This opens the window for Hallie, who Julian knows, will add chaos to his life that he’s not sure if he wants. This gardening-themed love story is sure to delight, even for readers without a green thumb.

“You’re still not going to yell at her anymore. If she’s upset, I’m upset. I don’t think you want that.”

Tess Bailey, Secretly Yours
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02/18/2024 03:06 pm GMT

7. Officer Off Limits

Officer Off Limits book cover
Book cover of Officer Off Limits

Officer Off Limits is another Tessa Bailey novel that doesn’t fail to disappoint. When Story Brooks, a kindergarten teacher, is unceremoniously dumped by her fiancé just two weeks before the wedding date, she feels the pain. Life piles on when her estranged father, a hostage negotiator, suffers a heart attack. Partially to bury her troubles and partially to take what time is left to reconnect with her father, Storybooks, a flight to be with her father before the end.

Story bumps into Daniel at the hospital, and the two immediately have an abrasive interaction that is bristling with simmering heat. The attraction is undeniable, but Story’s father is Daniel’s boss and mentor. Daniel didn’t know until now that he even had a daughter. Finding out it’s the hot teacher that he can’t control himself around makes everything all that more complicated.

“He’s breaking our engagement in a seafood restaurant.”

Tessa Bailey, Officer Off Limits
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02/18/2024 03:06 pm GMT

8. Getaway Girl

Getaway Girl book cover
Book cover of Getaway Girl

Getaway Girl is the story of Addison Potts, a woman returning to her hometown of Charleston after six years away. She attends her estranged cousin’s wedding, who decides to jilt the unlucky groom at the altar. Addison is there to act as the getaway driver for the distraught groom, who also happens to be the future Charleston mayor, assuming all goes well.

Does Elijah listen to his heart, which just wants him to be happy with his new best friend, Addison? Or should he continue on the path already paved for him, taking his place in an election that was pretty much in his pocket until Addison came along? With the mounting political pressures and public opinion wavering, Elijah has an important decision to make. For more, you might be interested in our round-up of authors like Susan Mallery.

“When I woke up this morning, I didn’t plan on crashing a wedding.”

Tessa Bailey, Getaway Girl
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02/18/2024 03:15 pm GMT

9. Chase Me

Chase Me book cover
Book cover of Chase Me

In Chase Me, college drop-out Roxy Cumberland embarks on pursuing her dreams as an actress in New York City. However, her financial situation threatens to shatter her aspirations. Desperate for money, she takes up the unconventional job of performing singing telegrams. Roxy’s wit and sultry voice entice her first client, and a passionate kiss against his doorjamb leaves him longing for more.

Despite her initial reservations, Roxy discovers that there’s more to Louis than his privileged upbringing. As he relentlessly pursues her across the vibrant streets of NYC, Louis aims to reveal his true self to Roxy.

“Roxy Cumberland’s footsteps echoed off the smooth, cream-colored walls of the hallway, high heels clicking along the polished marble.”

Tessa Bailey, Chase Me
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02/18/2024 03:11 pm GMT

10. Asking for Trouble

Asking for Trouble book cover
Book cover of Asking for Trouble

Asking for Trouble introduces Brent Mason and Hayden Winstead, two individuals with a love-hate relationship. Hayden, an organizer of lavish charity events, comes from a wealthy background, while Brent, a rugged cop, lives life on the edge working with explosives. Their clashing personalities make conversation unbearable, and they both prefer to keep their distance. But with each argument, their connection grows stronger until it culminates in a passionate night of unforgettable intimacy.

For Brent, it’s just the beginning. But Hayden holds a secret. She must let go of her feelings for Brent to protect her loved ones. You might be interested in exploring romance prompts, check out our round-up of top writing prompts for romance.

“If he winks at me one more time, I’m going to introduce his nuts to my size seven stiletto.”

Tessa Bailey, Asking for Trouble
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02/18/2024 03:11 pm GMT

11. Too Wild to Tame

Too Wild to Tame book cover
Book cover of Too Wild to Tame

Aaron Clarkson leads a double life; the ideal gentleman by day and a passionate man by night. His two worlds collide when he begins working for the country’s most influential senator and encounters the senator’s daughter, Grace Pendleton. Grace deemed the black sheep of her esteemed family, finds herself irresistibly drawn to Aaron despite his association with a past she’s trying to leave behind. Intrigued by the mix of danger and seduction he brings, Grace is captivated by the intoxicating blend of his voice and his persona.

They must balance their desires with Aaron’s ambition and professional responsibilities as they navigate their palpable chemistry. A riveting tale of passion, ambition, and unexpected romanceToo Wild to Tame explores whether the polished and controlled exterior of Aaron Clarkson can truly handle the unrestrained wildness of Grace Pendleton.

“His desperation to catalog her features shot into the stratosphere.”

Tessa Bailey, Too Wild to Tame
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02/18/2024 03:07 pm GMT

12. Love Her or Lose Her

Love Her or Lose Her book cover
Book cover of Love Her or Lose Her

In Love Her or Lose Her, once deeply in love, high school sweethearts Rosie and Dominic Vega now find themselves in a rocky marriage. Feeling stuck and yearning for more, Rosie is nudged by her friends to chase her culinary dreams and rekindle the spark in her marriage. This leads them to an unexpected adventure: a marriage boot camp. Rosie never imagined her stoic, emotionally-reserved husband agreeing to engage in relationship therapy guided by a cannabis-friendly hippie.

Yet, to Rosie’s astonishment, Dominic embraces the process wholeheartedly. They find their bond growing stronger. Just as they begin to recover their lost connection, Rosie stumbles upon a secret Dom has been keeping, threatening to unravel their progress.

“I love you. When was the last time she’d heard those words out of her husband’s mouth?”

Tessa Bailey, Love Her or Lose Her
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02/18/2024 03:07 pm GMT

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