My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey
June 6, 2022
Review by Iby
I am admittedly a Tessa Bailey fan, especially her newer works. I love the banter and the steam – she has great dynamics between her main characters, and her books tend to be lighthearted and eminently enjoyable. When she said she was writing a murder mystery romance, I knew that I’d be all-in.
The set-up: Careful, cautious second-grade teacher Taylor has saved for years to take a vacation in a resort town in Cape Cod with her brother. She has always been the safe and steady one, and when she discovers the rental house owner’s dead body in the laundry room, she decides that she wants to be brave and adventurous. Enter Myles, a tattooed and gruff bounty hunter, brought in by the victim’s sister to solve the murder… if only he wasn’t distracted completely by Taylor’s charming ways.
First, I loved the characters. Taylor is a sweet, caring person, and she just wants a man who can be her forever, while also turning her on. This is a snippet from an earlier scene with Myles:
“I guess I wouldn’t mind the suit and socks and finance section type of man. No, that would be fine with me. As long as he doesn’t treat me like porcelain in bed.” Lord, it is incredibly satisfying to witness the smirk fade from his face. Take that, muscle head. “That’s where the pickiness comes in. It seems I can’t have both. On one hand, I’d like a man who makes a good living and wants a family someday. On the other, I’d like to be manhandled once in a while. Just sort of thrown down and told who is boss, you know? Is that so much to ask? But on the three occasions I’ve dated a man long enough to… to do… it, they insisted on treating me with respect in bed. It was incredibly disappointing. Zero stars. Would not recommend.”
Myles was drawn to Taylor for unknown reasons. He also is a man with secret pain. He’s grumpy and tough, and honestly everything I would want a bounty hunter to be. Together, they are a great grumpy-sunshine pairing.
I also love Taylor’s brother, Jude. He is snarky and fun, but also deeply cares for his sister. There is some side drama with his best friend (a famous movie star named Dante), and I’m hoping we get to see a Jude/Dante pairing in a future book.
To me, this is the sexiest of all of Tessa Bailey’s books. She always writes excellent steam, but this book kicks it up a notch. Three words: sex toys, church. (Not all three words in the same scene, but definitely three words that are relevant for this book.)
What about the murder mystery plot? Well, it felt a little low stakes. There are some books where the murder mystery really drives the book forward – and there are other books where the characters drive the book forward, and the murder mystery is secondary. This is the second scenario. I guessed the villain before the end, but I was ready for more Myles/Taylor interaction, so it didn’t bother me.
If you are looking for a fun vacation read with a swoony hero and lots of grumpy-sunshine goodness, this book is for you.