Title: Too Hard to Forget
Author: Tessa Bailey
Series: Romancing the Clarksons
Release Date: 4/25/2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 336
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5.5 stars out of 5
This time, she’s calling the shots.
Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he’s been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy’s determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she’ll finally be able to move on.
In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.
Oh my God. This book was magic. I’m consistently blown away by Tessa Bailey’s talent and her amazing stories. This book was EVERYTHING. I wasn’t sure how to feel about Peggy in the 2 prior books. She seemed flighty, and superfluous a lot of the time, but with all the Clarksons, there’s always more beneath the surface. And when I teared up while reading the prologue, I knew I was in for it!
Peggy Clarkson is on a cross-country road trip with her siblings to complete their mother’s last wish of jumping into the ocean in NYC on New Year’s Eve. They lost her older sister, Rita, in New Mexico to the amazing man she met while their car was broken down, Jasper. They lost her older brother Aaron in Iowa to the gorgeous, unique, daughter of the senator he was trying to work for, Grace. So, now it’s just Peggy, who is the baby of the family, and her oldest brother Belmont. Sage, Peggy’s best friend, is also traveling with them. Peggy’s headed for a pit stop in Cincinnati, Ohio to her Alma Mater, for alumni weekend. But she’s actually going to finally try to close the page on the one that got away, the head football coach at her University, Elliott Brooks.
Elliott is a hot mess. He’s got a 12 year old daughter he barely seems to have a relationship with, though they live in the same house. He’s got his deceased wife, who he knows he didn’t do right by, and it kills him with guilt every day of his life. And, to try to assuage the guilt, he clings to his Catholic faith. Once upon a time, he also had Peggy. She saw the real him when no one else did, but he felt he couldn’t be the right man for her, and at the end of her senior year, after a year of sneaking around together, he broke it off, broke her heart, and forced her to leave and not come back. All he felt after being with her was guilt, because he didn’t deserve to have someone like her in his life. But, after she left, he pretty much numbed out to his life and didn’t even realize it had happened.
Sparks flew immediately the moment Peggy stepped foot back on campus. Though her plan was to make his life hell by seeing exactly what he was missing, nothing ever goes according to plan. They really did a number on each other in the past, and it took being back together again for them to realize just how bad it was. Peggy figured out some not so great things about her self, and her self-image, that needed to change. Elliott realized how much his behavior was hurting everyone, Peggy especially, but his daughter Alice, and himself as well. They both had big hurdles to overcome. And a lot of the time it was painful to watch. You wanted so much for them to figure it out together.
There was a side plot that brought them together, that I loved. It involved one of Elliott’s players, Kyler Tate (great name!) and his family in Indiana. There’s going to be a novella about Kyler, and his high school sweetheart he’s never gotten over. I can’t wait to read that this summer!
I felt so many emotions reading this book. I cried, and I laughed, and I felt brokenhearted, and I cringed, and I smiled, and I felt relief. And LOVE. I felt love for the Clarkson family, as they’ve always felt so real. I was so gobsmacked by everything I felt for this book, I was afraid I wouldn’t have the right words to express how much it affected me. Tessa’s books are amazing because event hough they are fun, incredibly sexy stories (she’s the dirty talking QUEEN!), that to the outside world (of non-romance readers) could seem frivolous, they’re full of real things. Characters you can relate to, and emotions you can’t hide from. I’ve always been a reader; a person who loves to read, and spread the love of books to everyone I know. I’m so thrilled to recommend this one.
I’m greatly looking forward to learning more about Belmont and Sage and their strong connection, and falling even deeper in love with Bel in the final book. I’m also sad it’ll be the final book. I’ve been loving Belmont since book 1, and I just KNOW his book is going to be well worth the wait. I’m excited to see them all together again in NYC. I seriously cannot recommend this book highly enough. 5+ Stars!!