He’s sexy. He’s southern. And he’s a superstar chef. Meet Elijah Jackson, my hot new neighbor...
From the outside looking in? I’ve got it all. Prestigious job. Pretty house. And a perfect boyfriend who proposed with the perfect ring.
But as beautiful as my life looks on the outside, I feel like something’s missing. So I hop in my car and head south. I’m hoping the thousand mile distance will clear my mind--and give me time to work on the romance novel I secretly want to write.
Charleston, South Carolina: home to stunning architecture, sultry accents, and--oh yeah--my new neighbor, Elijah Jackson. A chef at one of the city’s most renowned restaurants, he’s simultaneously intimidating and inviting. Especially when he shows up at my door, shirtless, offering me homemade biscuits.
As if his abs for days and inked up deliciousness aren’t enticing enough, he also encourages me to chase down my dreams, one chapter at a time. And the chemistry between us? Hotter than the kitchen at Eli’s restaurant.
But I still have a life a thousand miles away. One I’ve worked really hard to build. And I don’t know if I can just leave it all behind.
Romance novels always end in happily ever after. But is one possible for a southern charmer and this yankee girl?
SOUTHERN CHARMER is a slow burn, standalone romance. It’s the first book in the CHARLESTON HEAT series, set in Charleston, South Carolina.
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Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Mr. Darcy, Jamie Fraser (OMG love the gingers!), and Edward Cullen, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark and handsome heroes of her own.
She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Mr. Peterson, and her smelly Goldendoodle Martha Bean. She is the author of the super sexy STUDY ABROAD and FLINGS WITH KINGS series. Check her out at www.jessicapeterson.com
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I've been reading Jessica Peterson's books for over a year now and the one thing that's been consistent is how sexy her stories are. I think she outdid herself here though because not only did she create a sexy, talented southern chef, she made him one of the most sensitive and open-minded male characters I've ever had had the pleasure of reading!
After her boyfriend proposes to her and her not giving him an immediate emphatic "yes" in response, Olivia retreats to Charleston for a few weeks where in hopes of clearing her head and returning to him fully committed to their future. Taking the time off is exactly what she needs right now. She's worked so hard for most of her life having achieved a career to be proud of, a dream boyfriend, a picture perfect life. But once she's away from the hustle and bustle of New York and the slower less frenetic speed of Charleston is like a much-needed soothing balm for her soul. She has the space to think and can actually hear her thoughts and one of them is saying, "get that romance novel written!"
Eli is the neighbour she meets who is so opposite of everything she is used to. He's confident, laid back, open. He doesn't sweat the small stuff too much. Oh, and he's shirtless. A lot. He instantly welcomes her and is shocked when he offers to help her with her writing. Not even her own boyfriend has offered to do that much less supported her dream. He thinks it's beneath her while Eli's thinks it's creative and is excited for her. Can he be real, please? This little thing they had going was charming.
Now I know the romance is a huge part of this story but let me tell you what I loved more than that: Olivia's awakening. After all this time of living up to everyone else's image of what she should be or want, she finally takes a breath to understand what she wants without all the naysayers cluttering her mind. So yes, she comes alive through her friendship with Eli, new friends she makes, but it's still all HER finally listening to HER voice and being unapologetic about it. Olivia, who defends the romance genre so fiercely and who argues for its merits, finds her own self-confidence bolstered through the process of writing her own novel. I was overjoyed for her! And just as Eli encourages her, she encourages him with his restaurant businesses. No romance goes smoothly so naturally there's a hiccup which anyone could see coming. It's just that I hoped the character's reaction wasn't quite what it was.
I enjoyed Southern Charmer a lot. The little glimpses into Olivia's writing experience I'm sure were inspired by Peterson's own and I like getting those behind-the-scenes insights. I could tell that this was a personal story for her since she chose Charleston, a city she loves, as the setting, and that she made Olivia an aspiring author and Eli a chef in what sounds like one of the most amazing foodie cities around. I think this Charleston Heat series is going to be one to keep an eye on, so get it on it now and let your soul experience a little Southern charm!