I still cannot believe that I get to review one of my all-time favorite series that have been newly edited and got some gorgeous looking covers as well. This is the first romance series that I fell in love with and that cemented my love for Carly Phillips. I hope you enjoy this smoking hot sports romance series as much as I do!
Note: I will be giving brief reviews for each book since there are four in the series as to not make this post a million miles long lol. Keep in mind there will be some spoilers
March 7, 2017
Hot Stuff (Book 1)
He’s about to find out … She’s not just one of the guys.
Annabelle Jordan and her two sisters were orphans in frilly dresses when they went to live with their sports-lawyer uncle in his world of locker rooms, bookies and gambling. Now the girls are publicists in their uncle’s firm, The Hot Zone.
Despite her upbringing, Annabelle is all woman. She’s naturally drawn to real men—like her latest client, businessman and former football legend Brandon Vaughn.
The chemistry is potent, undeniable, irresistible. Annabelle soon realizes that Brandon is much more than just another jock. And that she’d better hold on tight if she doesn’t want to lose her heart.
I hate to play favorites especially with a series that is near and dear to my heart BUT Hot Stuff is my favorite book in the Hot Zone series. This was either my fourth or fifth time reading it and it brought back all the feelings I had when I read it back when I was 16. Annabelle and Brandon are just adorable together but they also bring the heat as their resistance to working alongside one another, because of their obvious attraction, does not last long once they are alone up in Brandon’s hometown. And even before that happens we get great bickering back and forth moments where their butting heads with one another just causes the sexual tension to build and build and build.
Though the bickering and butting heads moments are thoroughly entertaining and definitely lead to some hot moments in the bedroom, one element of the story really pulled on the heartstrings for me and brought forth a topic not usually talked about in romance novels. Brandon has dealt with a learning disability all his life that made things difficult in high school leading him to focus on something he was good at which was football. He overcame his obstacles thanks to some help from his agent but it caused him to have a very strained relationship with his parents who did not view him as being good enough in their eyes. Brandon dealing with his parents throughout the story was hard to read because they still view him as the kid who didn’t do well enough in school and not as the uber successful football player that he has become. When Brandon admits what he views as his flaw to Annabelle, it was the most heartwarming moment of the book because it sets up the beginning of their relationship as one that is more than just having fun.
If you like characters that bicker and challenge one another causing heaps and heaps of sexual tension, a cast of entertaining and lovable side characters, and a bit of a mystery, then you will love Hot Stuff.
Micki Jordan is a tomboy as much at home on the playing field as in a locker room full of naked guys.
But the star publicist is looking to prove she’s also an irresistible woman in order to get a second shot at professional baseball player and major league playboy, Damian Fuller.
Micki transforms herself into one hot number Damian can’t help but notice and together they burn up the sheets and find themselves falling hard. Until Damian’s past returns, threatening their future.
Good Ole Micki, just one of the guys. That is how Micki Jordan has felt for most of her life. And for good reason considering she spent most of her childhood in a locker room following her Uncle Yank around. She never felt like she could relate to her sisters and be girlie. That was all fine and good until it began to get a bit old and that was before she kissed Damian Fuller at a New Year’s Eve party. Now this tomboy wants to be seen as more than just one of the guys especially to Damian. And boy does she get her wish when things get a little crazy on a trip to Florida acting as Damian’s publicist. Let’s just say it involves a mix up in the drink order, a strip club, and Micki showing Damian just how much she is not one of the guys. Intrigued? Well this little incident, which is extremely entertaining to read, leads to Micki and Damian escaping to his vacation home on an island off of the Florida Keys ALONE. I don’t think I need to explain what happened while they were there, only that it was hilarious to read Damian’s reactions when Micki decides this is the perfect opportunity to make her move.
Micki and Damian’s moments together on the island were adorable, steamy, and very real but when they come back from the island the storyline shifts more to the side characters and what is happening between them, mainly the debacle that is Uncle Yank and Lola’s relationship. While I enjoyed reading about these characters because you just can’t help but fall in love with them as you see their storylines progress from the first book, I did feel like the focus on Micki and Damian’s relationship was pushed aside a bit too much for my liking. I realized how much I enjoyed the beginning part of this book much more than I did the middle moving into the end. Overall though the ending was worth the wait, even if there were quite a few obstacles before we could get there, and I adored Micki and Damian’s story just as much as did the first time I read it.
Cool, collected Sophie Jordan loves her daily routine running her family’s top sports management agency, as long as she gets to stay behind the scenes. But with big sister on maternity leave and little sis on her honeymoon, she’s forced to step up to the plate. And a recent media crisis surrounding the disappearance of super-agent Spenser Atkins is not going to make the job any easier.
Enter star quarterback and notorious bad boy Riley Nash who, for reasons of his own, needs to track down Atkins. Up until now, Sophie has kept a strict no-dating-clients policy, but each day with Riley makes her rule near impossible to follow. With her job and her heart on the line, Sophie will need to make the toughest choice of her life!
Out of all the sisters, I knew I was going to relate to Sophie the most just because she is described as always having her nose in a book when she was younger. Now all grown up she is “the smart sister” who uses her need for knowledge as a way to control everything in her life. Everything in her life is planned out and that includes her relationships, which under no circumstances will ever be with a client as Sophie doesn’t do athletes. The only person who seems to be an exception to this rule is Riley Nash. He purposefully goes out of his way when he comes to the office to flirt with her, making it harder and harder for her to resist the building attraction she has for the man. Now that is all going to change when they are both after the same thing: finding Spencer Atkins. Sophie needs to find Spencer because of business reasons since the merger between his sports agency and Uncle Yank’s and Riley needs to find Spencer for a more personal reason. Their pursuit leads them to Florida to question his sisters if they know of his whereabouts.
Florida provides both Sophie and Riley with some answers but it also reveals one very important thing and that is their feelings for one another. But Riley has a lot going on in his personal life between his business with Spencer and dealing with his teenage daughter who knows daddy will give her whatever she wants if she asks. This novel like the previous one featuring Micki’s story also has a bunch of side characters and there are times when they take over the story leaving Sophie and Riley’s time together off to the side. While I absolutely loved Sophie and Riley especially Riley with his bad boy ways and Southern accent, it did seem like they weren’t getting enough of the spotlight in my opinion. But I guess that is what you have to realize as you continue on in this series because the storylines of the side characters continue to progress even if the love stories change with each book. While it did get annoying for me sometimes I love the side characters just as much so it wasn’t all bad in the end.
Just one short season ago, major league center fielder John Roper had it all: the looks—and personal life—of a sports hero and the public’s adoration. But this hot property’s lucky streak has run out. After a World Series disaster, fans diss him, shock jocks mock him and his dysfunctional family hassles him for money he really can’t spare.
Now it’s up to him, and Hot Zone publicist Amy Stone, to get his life back on track.
Amy finds it’s easier said than done. What with the constant intrusions of his nutty family, a crazed fan playing stalker, and Roper’s refusal to put his own needs first, she’s starting to think that life in the fast lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when the two retreat to a secluded lodge, the sexy center fielder throws Amy a curveball—one she never saw coming…
The lovable John Roper finally gets his own story as well as his own HEA and I am so happy! John Roper is a client at Athletes Only and Hot Zone as well as Micki’s best friend. He is first introduced in Micki’s book, Hot Number, and then pops up in Hot Item as well but now it is his turn to find the love of his life. Only he doesn’t make a very good first impression when he comes onto Amy Stone at her cousin Riley’s wedding when he already brought another women as his date. Not a very good move John! It is not until a month later after Amy moves to New York for her new job as a publicist at Hot Zone that they meet again. Not only is the attraction still there but it is hotter than ever which makes things a little complicated when Roper is assigned as Amy’s first client.
Amy is so so sweet and new to the world of being a publicist to a professional athlete completely taken aback by the attention that they get especially Roper who has been under some heat for his poor performance last season. Not only is she juggling getting acclimated to this new life style, she is also trying to juggle her feelings for Roper while trying to be professional as his publicist. Add Roper’s demanding family constantly needing him to solve their problems and she has more than enough to deal with. With Roper’s family added into the mix, this book like the others in the series has a whole cast of side characters which definitely add to the drama. Especially the point of view that pops up of the person who is trying to ruin Roper’s career. While these side characters and storylines definitely take time away from the main couple, Amy and Roper, they add a lot to the story further expanding on the world that Carly Phillips has created over the course of these four books.
As a series overall…..
About the author:
After a successful fifteen-year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at http://www.carlyphillips.com.
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