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Southern Player

A Brother's Best Friend Romance: Charleston Heat, Book 2
Narrated by: Joe Arden, Emma Wilder
Series: Charleston Heat, Book 2
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Summary

I’m looking for a hot hookup with no strings attached. And I want my older brother’s best friend to step up to the plate...

My dating history is lame. My experiences in bed? Even lamer. As the owner of a thriving business, I’m used to calling the shots. But one place I don’t always want to be in charge is in the bedroom.

Enter Luke Rodgers. My brother’s best friend. Former major league baseball player. A guy who now hangs out on his farm, sweaty and shirtless, as he nurses a shoulder injury.

If the rumors are true, he also likes to work up a sweat behind closed doors. A total MVP in the sack.

Just the take charge guy I’m looking for.

With Luke and I, it’s game on. And it’s all good until Luke decides he wants forever, and he wants it with me.

I’m just not convinced I can trust Luke. Will he keep playing the field and break my heart? Or is he really ready to hang up his cleats for good?

Southern Player is a full length, stand-alone romance. The books in the Charleston Heat series are interconnected standalone romances, and can be heard in any order. 

Southern Charmer: Eli and Olivia's Story 

Southern Player: Luke and Gracie's Story 

Southern Gentleman: Greyson and Julia's story

©2019 Peterson Paperbacks (P)2020 Peterson Paperbacks

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    5 out of 5 stars

This is how you do audiobooks!

Jessica Peterson nailed this story! Gracie is awesome and such a strong woman… she isn’t afraid to go after what she wants and she wants some red hot lovins! She wants something to smoke up the room and leaving her unable to walk strait or think coherent thoughts. Luke is the perfect main to hook her up! She’s had a serious crush on him since he’s her brother’s best friend. Luke on the other hand has always played the field… like the boy might as well play baseball he’s always out there! Of course the minute Gracie is on the same field, he steps off and wants something serious… and he wants it with her! This was a seriously hot story with so much chemistry and fun! As always, Joe Arden and Emma Wilder are fantastic narrators. Joe Arden seriously SLAYS the southern drawl! It’s such an addictive drawl that I’m lost to his voice. Emma Wilder is one of my top 5 female narrators. One of the things I appreciate the most about her narrations is the fact that her male voices aren’t completely atrocious! I can’t tell you how many narrators do the opposite set and make me cringe!

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Gracie and Luke!

Gracie owns her own business and has found success professionally but the same can’t be said for her personal life. After another failed relationship she has decided to put her search for love and a relationship on hold and instead and has decided what she needs is a fling. She has the perfect man in mind and wants to ensure that it only includes fun and new experiences with no drama and she even has the perfect man in mind, her brother’s best friend Luke. An injury forced Luke to retire from baseball, so he returned to his hometown and is following his dream of operating a farm. He has been attracted to Gracie for a while but while he is interested in a relationship rather than a fling he is willing to do as she asks as long as she keeps an open mind about them becoming more. They were friends before they decided to cross the line and although the chemistry between them is off the charts they both have insecurities which affects their relationship. I really liked that rather than big brother drama he supported them both and Luke’s mothers were a hoot. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrators were the perfect choice for the characters.

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Pretty hot friends to lovers story

I really enjoyed this. A lot. I read/listened to book one in this series a few weeks back, although this can be read as a standalone. Gracie and Luke were so cute together. The banter as they worked on Gracie's bucked list made me smile and the steamy scenes were A+ The descriptions of food weren't as strong in this one but I still left hungry as all get out. This was a really fun and light hearted story which was pretty low on the angst. A big recommend from me. I requested a copy of this on audio to review on behalf of Valentine PR and the author. My review hasn't been influenced.

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Profile Image for  CAROLYN 🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹
  • CAROLYN 🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹
  • 25-06-20

NOW THAT’S HOW TO WRITE & PERFORM A 5 ⭐️ LISTEN

Burned by previous boyfriends for suggesting anything other than ‘vanilla’ in their relationships and feeling like her sex life has been missing something, Coffee Shop owner Gracie is determined to stop looking for romance and love and decides to concentrate purely on sex. So, if she could tick off her mental bucket list of sexual fantasies with someone without any ‘strings’ then that’d be great. And she thinks her secret crush and brother’s bff Luke just might be the man with the pen hot enough to tick those desires, he doesn’t do strings.. and he also looks like he knows what to do with some lube too! Luke has a successful Farm and does occasional hookups.. but lately he has had a burning need to date Gracie and settle down with her.. the sexy woman who’s tempted him for 10 years. And that’s a nice flip that the man wants serious while the woman wants casual. So it’s time for Luke to come up with a plan.. a smooth and sexy one that will tick those boxes, fulfil both their fantasies.. and give him and Gracie the dream ending. Friendship vs chemistry, lust vs love, lines blurred, h-h-hot sexcapades, a sexual awakening.. and heartfelt feelings and emotions entangled in love. This grits and grinds couple are so damn right for each other.. they’re honest with each other.. they talk things out.. they fit together.. they have some highly charged h-h-hot sex.. they slowly tick the boxes.. and they have fun too. But, as the country boy and the city girl socially mingle and try to merge there’s trouble in the wind when one of them starts to over-think. Worth a credit? Yes it’s a warm-hearted, witty, easy flowing romance.. it’s a sexual blossoming.. it’s a romantic road of red hot rendezvous.. it’s a head vs heart love story and it’s a very enjoyable listen. The dual POV narration by Emma (I think your male voice is my absolute favorite) and Joe (with his dreamy Southern drawl) really enriched the story, brought the main characters (and the preloved characters from book 1) to life and created the delicious feels, the delightful friction, the detonation-worthy fire and sighworthy sentiments that made me consume this audiobook in one sitting.

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  • kgagnon
  • 23-07-20

Loved this Sweet, Swoony, & Steamy Love Story!

I was so captivated by this sweet, swoony, and steamy love story. I love friends to lovers romance with a bit of the forbidden with Luke being the best friend to Grace's older brother. Grace runs a successful business and loves being apart of her small community. She is coming off of another bad relationship and is looking to become her own, strong person, who wants to feel confident in her secret desires. Luke suffered an career ending injury so he retired from playing baseball and now runs a farm and loves making things grow and flourish. He and Grace meet one night, and after talking about where they are in their lives, they realize they are both available to have a no strings relationship. Grace needs someone she can trust with her dark desires, and thinks Luck is perfect because he doesn't want a relationship. But Luke has wanted her for years but never felt worthy of her. Now he sees his chance and will do whatever it takes to convince her that he is the man for her. I really loved Luke and Grace, they were so perfect together. She was strong, smart, and caring and he is so kind, attentive, and swoony, and I loved his deliciously dirty mouth! I really enjoyed the relationship Luke has with his mother too, she really made me laugh at the hilarious puns that would make anyone blush. I loved the performances by narrators Joe Arden, and Emma Wilder. They portray each character with a perfect balance between fun & flirty, heartbreaking emotion, and sizzling passion flawlessly. They work so well together as they bring this sweet, sexy, and emotional story to life.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-09-20

Steamy and Heartfelt

Wow. Just...WOW! Mr Arden and Ms. Wilder nailed the narration of this story so hard, the board split. It's the first audiobook that had my emotions swinging so hard, I cried. I felt the word Jessica wrote through the narration. Kudos to them and Jessica for writing words so honest, they could be felt through my earbuds. Grace & Luke are amazing!

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  • Reggie
  • 23-08-20

Friends with benefits...what can possibly go wrong?

Grace and Luke have been dancing around each other for years...but he’s her brother’s best friend and that friendship could be soured if things didn’t work out. Luke has a thing for Grace but she’s in a relationship...until she isn’t and proposes a friends with benefits arrangement. Grace wants to explore her sexual fantasies and she thinks that Luke will be perfect...after all, he doesn’t want a relationship. An agreement is made and the duo begin a hot and steamy fling...how long will this last before feelings get real? Another good story in this series. Looking forward to the next book.

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  • SashaSays
  • 06-08-20

Luke and Gracie's story was fantastic!

There's a fantastic line in Southern Player, where Jessica Peterson pretty much wrote her own review for the book: "Five shooting stars. Or would it be exploding stars? Orgasmic ones, maybe?" And I totally agree- Luke and Gracie's story was fantastic. I had been (im)patiently waiting to get to know Luke better since he was introduced in Southern Charmer- an ex-MLB baseball player? Yes please! (And the author confirmed for me on Instagram that he did in fact play for my favorite team- the Chicago Cubs!) Luke was just dreamy- a kind, genuine, caring man interesting in finding forever. He and Gracie were perfect together- the witty banter, super-steamy moments, and interactions were so refreshingly real. And just as she did with Southern Charmer, the author again teases us with snippets of historical fiction- it's a genre I've never read but am beginning to see that I am missing out. Narrators Joe Arden and Emma Wilder were fantastic- the casting was just perfect. I am absolutely loving the Charleston Heat series and am excited for the audio for the next installment- Jessica Peterson never disappoints.

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  • KLW
  • 30-07-20

Joe & Emma make this story

First of all, I'm just going to say right now, if you're a fan of Joe Arden, watch for Chapter 11.... his signature word is epic! I very much enjoyed most of this story. The wish list and Emma's character taking control of her life and sexuality was great. It was fun listening to them fumble through first time phone sex. During the last 1/4 there were some things that felt repetitive for me. But overall it was an enjoyable listen. Emma's narration of the Duke's book in that British accent was awesome. The banter of the moms, the vegetable puns, the backdoor jokes, there was a lot of humor here too. This had a little bit of everything.

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  • Jenn Amy
  • 30-07-20

So much heat!

Southern Player is book #2 in the Charleston Heat Series. I am loving this series. Jessica Peterson writes with so much humor, heat and passion! I can’t get enough of these characters. Gracie and Luke have so much chemistry!! I loved Gracie’s character development. Her confidence grew in spades! Luke is a sexy ex-baseball player now farmer whom has always had a thing for his best friend’s sister Gracie (despite the ‘player’ title). The moment he realizes she is single again he knows this is his time to make her his. Gracie has a different plan in mind but quickly things turn into more. The passion between these two was insanely hot. They brought out the best of each other in and out of the bedroom. I loved the small town feel and the close community. Luke and Gracie were super supportive of each other and I loved that too. If you read Southern Charmer, then you know that Olivia is an author whom has just publish The Deal with Duke. I love the romance novel within a romance novel chapters. So creative and unique. There were moments of insecurity that affected the communication between them but then Luke pulls out the biggest and sweetest gesture at the end of the book! If I wasn’t already in love with him I would fell in that moment! Total SWOON! If you love a light hearted low angst romance with a seriously sexy and charming southerner pick this one up. I am loving this series so much and can’t wait for Southern Gentleman next! The narration done by Joe Arden and Emma Wilder was fantastic. They complimented each other voices well. Super passionate and sexy tones that added so much to the listening experience.

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  • Erin Lewis
  • 16-07-20

Loved it

Jessica Petersen is a relatively new author to me and I have no idea why that is. Southern Player was an entertaining book to listen to as I found it easy to fall for the characters. The narration by Joe Arden and Emma Wilder really brought the story to life for me. Not only is the book steamy, it is also sweet and romantic. I fell hard and fast for Luke and Gracie. Southern Player is a little gem, one click, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for M. Shea
  • M. Shea
  • 15-07-20

The Severely Unbalanced Grovel

First off, I've listened to the audible format of both this book and its predecessor; the narrators are fantastic. The stories themselves are mostly wonderful. I love the characters and the world they live in (and as a southerner, the references to the varietals of barbecue sauces and their origins pleases me to no end). Jessica does a great job of bringing the reader's heart into the lives of both members of the main couple; into knowing their hearts and their hurts, and to wanting the happiest of happy ever afters for them. However, the denouement of this particular book has been really bothering me. Of course nearly every romance book has a 'black moment' (at least I think that's what Olivia calls it in book 1) wherein the main characters must face/overcome some kind of trial or rift. We pretty much all know to expect that. And Peterson isn't coy in the lead-up to what this couple's hurdle is going to be. But in that same vein, the hero himself is not coy either; he's up front with the heroine when she asks, calmly and clearly explaining where his worry and insecurity stem from, and on the surface I guess she seems to understand it. Fast forward to the last 20% of the book, that 'black moment', and I start to feel like - in a way - the heroine is now unintentionally gaslighting the guy she's supposed to be in love with. That may be a harsh verb to use in this context but it seemed the most appropriate. I don't know how to explain without at least minor spoilers, so beware below this point. My problems start with the night of Gracie's coffee shop having its grand opening party. Note that at the party where this black moment occurs, Gracie already knows that Luke felt really uncomfortable in a prior similar situation, with many of the same people. However, when she invites him to be her date (she explicitly uses the word date) to the shop's opening he agrees despite his prior experience and his own reservations. I believed at this point the two were agreeing to go as a couple, to be there as a united pair, even though the night's events centered around Gracie's accomplishments. She could have allowed Luke to come on his own - with his family - in a purely supportive role but she didn't; she explicitly said she wanted him to be her date for this night. I'm assuming in this context that Gracie did not mean for Luke to be her arm candy, or gopher; that she meant she wanted to share the evening with him and that - I'd hope - she recognized his hesitations and wanted to be there to support him. Turns out, I either assumed wrong, or I don't understand what it means to be someone's date/partner in this context because as the night progresses, it seems to me that Gracie completely disregards and disrespects the promise she'd made to Luke when she asked him to be there as a pair. The reader sees from the beginning of the party that Gracie makes no effort to include Luke in the conversations or the events, despite having been told previously that he had some insecurity stemming from the lack of common ground between himself and her friends from this 'other world'. She is content to have him stand nearby while she converses and celebrates, failing to see Luke as anything other than another partygoer there to celebrate her. She doesn't treat him as her partner in the slightest, really she treats him more like an accessory until she needs a new drink. Luke of course notices this behavior and internalizes it - because he doesn't want to cause strife, he doesn't want to misconstrue, and he wants to believe the best of the person he loves. He even inadvertently seeks out Eli, his best friend, in his worst moment of self-doubt but Eli provides no help or comfort. Then, while getting his 'date' a drink at her request, he witnesses her with Grayson (an investor to her shop). This whole 'Grayson' thing is not just the straw that breaks the camel's back, but it's also its own separate but related issue (even though it's never actually acknowledged by either the hero or heroine, or the author). I believe both Gracie and Grayson stepped out of line in this interaction and should have been called on it. Grayson's tone and invitation to Gracie for a 'private tasting in his cellar' were inappropriate for a business relationship and disrespectful to her partner. Gracie did not call Grayson on it, nor did she even politely shut down the advance. Really her responses both nonverbal and verbal came across as flirting back to him while Luke was away getting drinks and witnessing this conversation. There were so many better ways she could have handled this, even as simple as saying "I'd love to have a wine tasting some time, though I think it would be best to do so here at the shop" or as basic as "That's very kind, perhaps we can talk about more business ideas later". She had both the opening and the responsibility to bring that conversation back to professional ground, and chose not to. And Luke saw this. At no point did Gracie reach out to her 'date' to include him in any of the conversations, to talk about the grits bar she'd supposedly done 'for him', to talk about the things he was doing at his farm, or even just to introduce him; Luke had to do this himself, after having witnessed this whole thing. She didn't even reach to him physically; Luke was left as an abandoned ship in a sea of sharks, and honestly I think from that point he was just trying to stay afloat until the night ended. He knew he'd been ditched, and that broke my heart. She then goes on (in her POV) to gloss over the fact that from that point forward she allowed her 'friend' Lily to usurp her for the remainder of the night, escorting her around to talk to other 'friends'. The disregard for her partner at that point just seemed blatant and mean. At no point did she stop and say "Lily, I need a break for a few; thank you for all this, let's tag up in 15 minutes" and simply check in with the person she'd invited as her date. Yes, at the end of the day this is fiction and there has to be a bump/hurdle introduced to get over, but I guess I just had thought better of Gracie before this point. In a way that's a compliment to Peterson's writing, really. I thought Gracie had listened to Luke and understood that even as much as she was fighting her own battles and vulnerability, so was he. Her triggers might be being left by the men she loves, or being judged for her wants in the bedroom; his triggers very obviously included feeling unworthy/insignificant when he was around Gracie's business associates. Both Luke and Gracie know of those triggers with each other, and yet she leaves him alone - both physically and emotionally - in this environment that feels hostile to him. It's not any wonder his thoughts get the best of him at that point, when she literally fails to even look at him until he's one of two remaining guests in the store and is - again, literally - acting in the capacity of a janitor for her. He was supposed to be her partner in this night, he's been reduced to being wallpaper. The joke about 'Cinderella' from Eli just made it cruelly worse. My heart literally was hurting for Luke at that point. Even after all that, there still was an opportunity for Gracie to recognize her own contribution to what happened - to say "I left you alone in an environment that I knew was uncomfortable for you, and I'm so sorry" - but she didn't. She never even really tried to empathize with what was going through his head and heart, and that made me so sad for him, and so mad at her. He ends the night confident he must 'let her go' or risk holding her back, and her response is just "No" or trying to reach for him. She doesn't try to talk to him, to ask him what he is feeling, to even look at her own actions over the whole of the night; she takes the attitude of 'why are you doing this to me' and wears the martyr badge with pride. Of course they're both miserable in the subsequent days. Of course Eli steps in to try to 'help'. I even kept hoping Eli would acknowledge - just freaking SEE - that his best friend was in pain before this break up even occurred because of how his sister was behaving - but he didn't. These supposedly progressive and romance-loving characters were completely disregarding the harm done to Luke's own heart, because Gracie was upset. Olivia maybe saw what was happening, in gifting Luke the book, but in reality why couldn't she have shown up for him? Said "Luke, I see you - I see why you're hurting, and I'm so sorry", told Gracie "look, what he did was hurtful, but you hurt him first even if unintentionally". By the time the couple is on the way to mends, Luke has done all of the work, all of the apologizing, and everyone around him has let him do it. No one has called Gracie to task for her own contributions, and it's so very unbalanced and unfair that - by the end of the book - I don't even like Gracie anymore and I question liking Eli. I believe Luke could do better. Or maybe I believe that Luke needs someone on his side to say "this was not all your burden to bear; she fscked up too", and to initiate a healthy, honest conversation between the couple. But that never happens. We get a tidy bow wrapped around Gracie's deliberate disregard of Luke's hurts, and that just makes me sad. I don't read this genre to finish a book and feel bad for the hero, but this time I actually did. Luke deserves better, and needs to demand better from those around him. Gracie deserves to be educated about the ways partners need to support and SEE each other. Eli needs to learn to stop letting his sister off the hook, and see the ways she hurt his friend. Olivia needs to speak up more for those she cares about. I might read the next book once it comes to audio, if this sour taste has faded. But I just felt someone needed to explicitly stand up for Luke after this sh!tshow of a 'resolution', so here's my review. Jessica Peterson is a great writer, but because of that, I know she can do better by her characters.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paulette
  • 09-07-20

You can feel the heat and I don’t mean the weather

The audible version of Southern Player captures all the sexy and swoon that you want and need. However, it also brings the deeper feelings to life. You could feel the feelings and insecurities that many of us face everyday. When Luke says “Baby girl” you tingle. Joe Arden and Emma Wilder bring these two characters vividly to life. I’ve read the book and came up with my own interpretations at the time. This audio version met all my expectations and more. Just like when I read the book I didn’t want the story to end. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time to come! I never thought I‘d say I might want to ride a tractor!