Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.
Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…
Even with her many romance novels, I’m most familiar with Sophie Jordan’s work through her excellent Firelight series. When I heard she was doing a new adult novel, I was over the moon because that’s where my reading interests have ventured to lately.
My initial impression of Pepper is that she is exceptionally naïve. She has never had a boyfriend because she has been pining away for her “ideal” man, Hunter. Her roommates Emerson and Georgia believe that a fling with a more experienced guy would help her be better prepared with Hunter. Pepper is definitely not the player type. This whole plan to use and dump a guy doesn’t sit quite right with her yet Hunter IS the ultimate prize and with that in mind she’s willing to forgo any misgivings.
Reece is the older, mysterious hottie who takes her breath away. I mean, he took my breath away with his gorgeous blue eyes, eyebrow ring and tattoos. (BiblioJunkies Nat and Shel are probably rolling their eyes at me because he's totally my type right now.) Their mutual attraction is apparent from the get go. Pepper’s awkwardness is downright adorable while Reece’s personality being a bit more complicated left me on edge for a couple of reasons. One, I wondered how he would react to Pepper once he realized that she was using him. Two, I was curious what his own motivation was to go along with this truly ridiculous plan.
I relished every moment of this story because truth be told, not knowing how any of this would pan out, it made the whole scenario rather exciting. Jordan did a wonderful job with their backstories giving us a glimpse of their personal demons. Pepper with her own issues is somewhat well-adjusted whereas Reece has a touch more angst. But it’s what happens when Pepper’s two worlds collide that everything kicks into high gear. Hunter has always represented safety and reliability to Pepper. And she has been resolute in her desire for him for a long time. Her judgment gets clouded by her attraction to Reece. Ever been in a situation where you've set your mind on something it's like tunnel vision that you can't even consider that there could be other options? That's exactly what it is here. She plays the denial game very well but Reece does call her out on it in one of the best scenes, "You can't even see it. I'm the safest thing you'll ever find."
Unfortunately, I can’t share my favorite moment in the book but trust me it is good! (I just read it again and well ...) Do I recommend Foreplay? Absolutely! It successfully captures Pepper’s growing confidence while still keeping her relatively grounded. And there’s more to Reece than just being the hot bartender to drool over. Jordan sets events up well from the beginning that allows the story to progress sensibly. The gravitational pull between Pepper and Reece is really what makes Foreplay tick and I know I'll enjoy reading it over again!
Thanks to Edelweiss and Above The Treeline for the opportunity to review this title.