Review: Hotshot by Julie Garwood

Title: Hotshot 
Author: Julie Garwood
Published: August 6th 2013
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: eARC provided via Netgalley for honest review
Rating: 4/5

Bestselling author Julie Garwood returns with a novel of family drama, suspense, and romance.

Peyton and her sisters have inherited Bishop's Cove, a small, luxurious oceanfront resort, but it comes with a condition: they must run the resort for one year and show a profit – only then will they own it.

Out of work and in a bad place personally, Peyton thinks a year doing something completely different sounds wonderful. She dives into the resort business, but a series of dangerous mishaps keeps progress slow. Peyton refuses to be intimidated – until she's nearly killed. Then she calls on her childhood friend, Finn MacBain.

Now an agent with the FBI, Finn is more than happy to help an old friend. But he isn't expecting to have feelings for the beautiful woman Peyton has become. And it soon becomes clear that she is facing something far more sinister than sabotage . . .

Finn saved Peyton's life when they were kids; now he must find a way to do it again.

Note: I suggest that if you are like me and judge books by their covers, then judge this book by the Australian version (above) as the US version does not do this book justice

The story:
I want to start by saying the blurb is not exactly the most accurate of descriptions for this book. It suggests the main plot line follows Peyton and her sisters as they take over Bishops Cove Resort and have to fight off developers who make threats to her life. But in my opinion this was really a subplot, with the main plot following Peyton's struggle with a sexual harassment case from he ex employer, Drew Albertson. This is where most of the suspense and drama come from, and after Drew and his thugs try to hunt her down to stop her from pressing charges, she calls her childhood crush Finn MacBain - retired Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer, now FBI Agent.

As Finn starts to investigate the Drew, the focus of the story does shift back to the Resort and also Peyton and Finn's romance. Finn's not interested in a relationship, but clearly has strong feeling for her. While spending so much time together they get to know each other again as adults, which worked well.

The characters:
Finn is a very simplistic character. He's not an overly emotional person and sees things in black & white. After working in the FBI he's become a hardened character, almost turning off his emotions. He's also been jaded in the romance department and is certainly not looking for love. I found him very hard to connect with at the beginning, and it wasn't until about half way through that I started to warm up to him.

Peyton is such a contrast to Finn. She is young and she comes across as quite innocent & naive. Some of her responses to particular situations where so head-shakingly wrong and put her in even more danger. I think this is in part to her being too proud to admit she made mistakes. I would have liked to of seen her grow a little bit more by the end of the novel.

The romance:
Peyton has always had a crush on Finn, ever since he saved her from drowning in her backyard swimming pool. He's 9 years older than her and she grew up idolising him, but now that she's all grown up, Finn is starting to see her in a whole new light. The development of their relationship is slow, taking a backseat the the unfolding harassment drama in the first part of the book. But this just increased the sexual tension between these two and made it all the more passionate when they do finally admit their feelings.

The Writing:
Written is third person this story jumps between both Peyton & Finn's perspectives. I think the most effective part of the writing was the suspense scenes. I stupidly started this book late at night and at the very beginning there is a chase scene that I became completely engaged in - needless to say I was wide awake & couldn't really sleep after. These suspense scenes pop up throughout the story and kept me on edge as to what would happen next!

While yes the story is a little far fetched and there are some clichés, I still enjoyed it. I mean this is a fictional story after all. The romance was good & I got caught up in the suspense scenes. It your after a sweet romance with a bit of suspenseful drama thrown in, then this book could be for you.

Sexuality: medium / sex scenes
Violence: mild-medium / some gun violence - but no descriptive details
Language: medium / some f*ck
Drugs & alcohol: mild

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