Review: “Southern Hotshot” by Jessica Peterson

Author: Jessica Peterson

Series: North Carolina Highlands, #2

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  | Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, Big Family Business, Workplace Romance, Insta Lust

Release Date: December 10th, 2020

Goodreads | (Available on KU)

Synopsis: Lusting after the woman trying to steal my job is stupid. Sexting with her? That’s a game-changing fumble.

Emma Crawford became enemy number one the second she stepped foot on Blue Mountain Farm. She might think I’m just a dumb jock, but I know she’s a stuck-up wine snob who believes she’d be a better exec than me.

She can take my position over my dead body.

But with her ridiculous curves and fearless smarts, she’s becoming one giant distraction just when I need to prove my worth most.

Lucky for me that I have a secret internet sext partner to blow off steam with. My nightly dirty chats with V scratch all the itches Emma gives me.

Emma and V couldn’t be more different—except it turns out they’re the same person.

Just when I thought this scenario was enough of a disaster, I’m falling for the co-worker I can’t touch and can hardly stand.

Even a hotshot player like me can see this is a game we’re both gonna lose.

Review: This is my first Jessica Peterson book, but with how masterfully she crafted the world and these characters, this won’t be my last. It’s not just the details of the place these characters inhabit, it’s the little details that stick with you. There’s food, wine, clothes, weather and moods – and Peterson nails every single minute of this book with precision and magic. I felt like I was at Blue Mountain Farm the entire time and to have that kind of out of body experience while reading a book is so rare.

I don’t even know where to begin with this book, because in Southern Hotshot, we are introduced to Samuel Beauregard and Emma Crawford who have to work together as co-heads for the resorts food and wine section. Blue Mountain Farm is owned by the Beauregard family, started by his brother Beau and maintained by the entire set of siblings (there’s a bunch of them, yay for more books!). Samuel is a former NFL player, who retired and is now an expert on food and loves his wine. Emma is a trained sommelier who has been brought on board to help Samuel with the wining and dining. And as you’d expect, Samuel’s pride gets in the way. He is good at what he does and he can handle it, but Emma’s better and she’s going to make Blue Mountain Farm the place to be.

Right off the bat, Emma and Samuel have the most incredible sexual tension. Samuel feels like he’s being replaced and Emma is enjoying that far too much. They’re both alpha personalities, so obviously the clashes are going to be intense. Sexual tension = explosive chemistry, which also means that they’re both going to pretend like nothing is happening when in reality, everything is happening.

“I devour things that intrigue me. Wine. Books. Men.”

Emma is such a brilliant character. She’s a tough nut and smart as a whip and nothing can stand in the way of her getting what she wants. Even if that something happens to be Samuel. She’s strong, a total alpha and so comfortable with her body and her sexuality that it is impossible to dislike her. She’s such a powerful character too. But Emma’s got her soft sides and seeing her interact with everyone other than Samuel makes it clear that she’s such a wonderful woman. Samuel is a grump, but an incredibly hot grump. He’s also an alpha, hot as sin and all kinds of distracting. And he’s stubborn as all get out. Which makes for all their interactions brilliant. But like Emma, Samuel has a soft side. When it comes to his family he’s a big old teddy bear and it’s so endearing.

In writing these two characters, Peterson has made you feel like you know them in every way. Like they’re your neighbours or your friends or people you grew up with. The nuances of Emma and Samuel are so well written and brought out that you want to be associated with them. And it’s so rare to find characters that have so many sides and are not just good looking and great at sex, what separates them is the fact that we get to dig into their souls and understand who they are and why they are the way they are.

“I want him to touch me again. I want to move closer and sniff his neck. Bite his shoulder. I want to know if the chemistry that keeps crossing from professional to physical and back again is as hot as I think.”

Because it’s set at a resort and the two characters are heavily involved in food and wine, there’s a lot of those details. I’m a wine drinker and I know my favourites, but through this book, I know far more than I ever thought I would know. There’s a spectacular wine tasting, which is informative, distracting and sexually charged. Honestly, any scene between Samuel and Emma is sexually charged, there’s no way around that. Their banter, their flirting, their verbal sparring and all the sexual innuendos – it’s all so smart, steamy and seductive. It’s a miracle my Kindle didn’t set on fire through the course of reading this book.

After all of this, the most important thing to focus on is the steam. And it is HOT. There’s some cybersex involved, which is incredible and there’s a whole lot of offline sex too, which is just explosive! I love reading books where the woman gets to be the alpha in the bedroom, because that’s a kind of power we don’t always see. Don’t get me wrong, I like a male alpha just as much, but a woman who is in control and in charge in bed? Smoking hot!

“I like beautiful women. The curvier and flirtier, the sexier. But a thinking woman? A girl who honestly and openly engages with the truth? She might be the sexiest of all. Also the most dangerous.”

I haven’t read the first in the series, but I absolutely loved the Beauregard family and their dynamics. I cannot wait to read Hank’s book and then everybody else’s. There are also some throwbacks to other characters from Peterson’s books, so if you’re a fan, then you’re going to get sucked into this right away.

Southern Hotshot is filled with sexual tension and chemistry, a family business, a seductively smart heroine and a sexy broody hero, and lots and lots of steam. I would recommend this book in a heartbeat, because everyone needs to experience the writing style that separates Jessica Peterson from everyone else.

Thanks to Jessica Peterson and Valentine PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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