Series: North Carolina Highlands, #3
Release Date: April 22nd, 2021
When I took a seat next to the gorgeous brunette at the blackjack table, I had no idea it would be the start of the hottest weekend of my life. By day, Stevie and I dominate the casinos of Sin City.
By night, I dominate her in my penthouse suite.
Then my brother Samuel ruins it by asking me to come home for his engagement party.
Because he’s not just getting married. This isn’t a normal celebration for me. His future bride is my “one who got away.” The girl I may or may not still be in love with.
The catch? He wants me to prove I’m over his fiancée before they set a date. So I ask Stevie to double down on our chemistry and pretend to be my girlfriend.
We set our ground rules: lots of sex, plenty of pretend smiles, and no strings.
But we’re not only gambling with the truth. We’re gambling with our hearts.
They say every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. But Stevie’s past may force us to fold on our future before it’s even begun.
I thought I had experienced a really steamy Jessica Peterson book when I read Southern Hotshot, but in terms of steam, nothing is going to beat Southern Sinner. This book is an absolute sin and also a treat in terms of the sexual adventures that the characters go on. And as I’ve come to learn about Jessica Peterson’s books is that her characters are always so wonderfully written and their stories so magically crafted. And the stories are captivating right from the start.
After all of the drama that happened between Hank, Emma and Samuel in Southern Hotshot, you almost feel like there’s nothing that could redeem Hank and his actions. But we get to see him going on a bit of a redemption tour with Rhett. He takes a nine month sabbatical, as it were, and he goes off across America to make sense of everything that is happening and trying to sort out his life. He’s not looking for romance or anything, he’s just looking to shake off the feelings he had for Emma and the mess he left behind at home. Because right now, it’s very clear to him that there’s no way that he’s going to be able to fix the chaos he created. And then Hank meets Stevie. She’s the complete opposite of him, the opposite of Emma and exactly what he needs in terms of distraction. And since all he’s looking for is one night of debauchery, he’s going to get it with the most seductive woman he’s ever met.
“I’m just sober enough to realize if I’m not careful, I’m gonna catch real feelings for my fake girlfriend. And I’m just drunk enough to wonder if that wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing.”
Guys, the chemistry between these characters is explosive. Hank and Stevie not only have the most incredible and hilarious banter with all the pop culture references tossed in (hi Bridgerton!), but they are so hot together. From the moment they meet and then through every sexual experience they share together, it’s incredible. Jessica Peterson is fantastic with her sex scenes and she doesn’t hold back in this. It’s a friend with benefits that turns into a fake relationship scenario, so you can imagine the kind of fire these two characters share and just how wild and passionate they can get. Brace yourself for multiple steamy, naughty and sexy scenes that will completely knock you on your ass.
I loved the relationship between Hank and Stevie, because it was so raw and unfiltered. They just wanted each other in every physical way possible and the unabashed way in which they just claw at each other and sink into the other made it such an incredibly hot read. Stevie is truly a favourite right now, I loved how focused she was. But also how body and sex positive she was. This is the kind of character that really makes you enjoy a romance novel. Heroines don’t have to be just one thing and with Stevie you get that – she’s fierce, but she’s also soft. She’s a badass and she’s gentle. She’s loving and she’s hardworking. As a new business owner, Stevie is constantly trying to prove herself and she’s not going to take handouts, even if they come in the form of a sexy former NFL player who is on his very own redemption tour.
“My heart skips a beat, the threads of real and fake tangling inside my head. The sexual desire he feels for me is real. But this look—this is another kind of desire, the kind we promised we’d only fake. Only Hank doesn’t appear to be faking it.”
Hank definitely does redeem himself with this book, because you finally get to see his side of things and you get to dig deep into his mind. But I also felt like he was a little childish and impulsive in a lot of the decisions he made. Of course what he did to Emma and Samuel is always going to linger in the back of everyone’s minds, but I felt like he hadn’t really fixed that after the way he left. Personally, I would have held Hank to his mistakes a lot stronger and harder, but that’s the great thing about the Beauregard family, they are willing to forgive and move on, because family means everything to them.
Speaking of the family, they are so wonderful. Everything about their relationship with each other and the resort is what makes for a great fictional family. They’re supportive and understanding, kind and generous. They’re also beautiful. Like, it’s rude how attractive the whole bunch is. The book is obviously about Stevie and Hank, and their fake relationship turned into something more. But I love how Jessica ties in the family drama, the resort, Stevie’s business and their relationship all together. It’s nice to have a book that covers all bases without all of it being too overwhelming.
I am very excited to see how Rhett and Milly’s books turn out, because with all the hints dropped in this one, I can see that their stories are going to be just as intense and sexy and delicious.
Thanks to Jessica Peterson and Valentine PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.