• Southern Charmer

  • A Friends to Lovers Romance (Charleston Heat, Book 1)
  • By: Jessica Peterson
  • Narrated by: Joe Arden, Emma Wilder
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (227 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Narrated by Joe Arden and Emma Wilder!

He's sexy. He's southern. And he won't stop showing up at my door half naked. 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 just proposed with the perfect ring. 

I should feel ecstatic - but instead, I feel suffocated. So I break up with my boyfriend, hop in my car, and head south. 

Charleston, South Carolina: Home to stunning architecture, sultry accents, and - oh yeah - my perpetually shirtless neighbor, Elijah Jackson. 

As if his abs for days and inked-up deliciousness aren’t enticing enough, he also encourages me to chase down my dreams. 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.

I have to choose. A choice Eli doesn't make any easier by inviting me out to his cabin for a long weekend. Just the two of us. And one bed. I swear to God this southerner is out to charm the panties right off me. Just this once, I might let him....

Southern Charmer is a slow burn, stand-alone romance with no cheating. It’s the first book in the Charleston Heat series, set in Charleston, South Carolina.

The books in the Charleston Heat series are interconnected stand-alone romances, and can be listened to in any order.

  • Southern Charmer: Eli and Olivia's Story
  • Southern Player: Luke and Gracie's Story
  • Southern Gentleman: Greyson and Julia's story
©2018 Peterson Paperbacks (P)2020 Peterson Paperbacks

What listeners say about Southern Charmer

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Charleston Heat!

Southern Charmer is the story of Olivia and Eli and it is a standalone with an epic HEA.
Olivia is trying to recharge and escape her seemingly “perfect” life in small town New York, to pursue her passion for writing and relocates to Charleston to stay at her friend’s house. It’s the perfect little hide-away to regroup and determine what she wants out of her life.
Little did she know that her friend’s house comes with a distractingly handsome, foul mouthed neighbor -Eli. He is an Executive Chef and owner of one of the most successful restaurants in Charleston - The Perla.
Through series of neighborly run-ins and talks they get to know each other and slowly discover each other’s secrets while exploring the off the charts chemistry between them.
Charleston heat has everything a romance lover could wish for - captivating story line, amazing cast of characters, swoon, steam and love.
Is Olivia going to be able to step away from her seemingly perfect life un north to pursue happiness in the South with the man she’s falling for?
Joe Arden and Emma Wilder were absolutely phenomenal narrators, their performance brought the story alive in the best possible way!

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good angsty romance story

Let me be clear, I liked this book. I wasn't blown away, but I was engaged with the characters and the story line from beginning to end. There were times I teared up, and times I chuckled, as well as the heart warming feels you get when things go right. I recommend the book.

When this audiobook first started playing, I was struck by 2 things. The recording sounded like it was done inside a tin can, and Emma Wilder had a voice that reminded me of an over enunciating therapist. Very calm, clipped constanants, and slightly nasally vowels. When you put the voice and the tinny recording together, I kept hearing Mae West quipping, "Is that a gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" (Yes I'm old but she was still before my time, LOL!) Unfortunately, It's all I could hear for the rest of the book.

When Joe Arden's first chapter started, the tin can quality of the recording completely disappeared. As the book went on, I noticed that it was present during all of the female narrated chapters, and was more pronounced when she spoke more quietly, but I never heard it during the male narrated chapters.

This is a book that I think I would have liked better if I had read it vs. listening to it. Joe Arden sounded like he was having trouble catching his breath through the whole book. It was an angsty performance, so his dialogue was often read in a rush, which made it worse ( must be the cigars the character kept smoking). I didn't like his female voicings and honestly felt the same about the male voicings from the female narrator. I don't know anything about Emma Wilder, but I know Joe Arden is considered the gold standard of romance audio book narrators. In this book at least, neither of the narrators was my cup of tea.

2 people found this helpful

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Charming romance!💜

This was a wonderful heartwarming story with a little heartbreak, hot chemistry and loads of southern charm.
These characters are magical together. The narration was very good.
This is book 1 with an HEA and can be read as a standalone.
I recommend this book.

Sisters Spotlight 💜

1 person found this helpful

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Eli is hawt!

This is a must listen version of a wonderfully romantic story. set in Charleston, South Carolina, the Hero is a good southern boy with talents in the kitchen, yoga studio and bedroom. Eli and Olivia are lovely together and the way the two fight the attraction is simply adorable. The narrators are fan fans but it is the southern drawl that will get you on this one. Take a chance if this is a new to you author, you will be very pleased with yourself.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Yankee Girl

When her boyfriend Ted proposes, Olivia realizes she’s not so sure her “perfect life” is the life for her. She decides to take some time to figure out what she wants before giving Ted an answer. She decides to go Charleston for a few months and write the romance novel she has always dreamed of writing. Olivia meets Eli the day she gets to town and he turns out to be
her neighbor. He’s a chef/owner of a few local restaurants and begins making her breakfast where she shares her dream of writing and agrees to let him read chapters after she finishes them. Olivia and Eli become friends and the closer they get, the more obvious it becomes to her that she has feelings for him and doesn’t want to go back to her “perfect life.” She has to make the decision between hurting Ted and giving up her comfortable lifestyle or staying in Charleston and giving writing a shot.
The chemistry between Olivia and Eli was obvious from the beginning and was off the charts hot. He was a friend who listened to her dreams and gave Olivia the confidence to pursue her dream.
Joe Arden and Emma Wilder really brought these characters to life. They never disappoint and always give 5 star performances.

1 person found this helpful

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Deliciously Charming!!

This is my first book of any kind by author Jessica Peterson. I was excited to listen because this is narrated by two of my faves Joe Arden and Emma Wilder. They both gave amazing performances filled with emotion, vulnerability and lots and lots of heat. Olivia is at a crossroads between doing what is expected of her, or embarking on a journey to find her happiness. Her conundrum is one that is highly relatable and was addressed so well in the writing of this book. There was definitely some life imitating art meta moments when Olivia was trying her hand at writing a romance novel. Eli was like an onion with his many many layers and it was so enjoyable to watch him peel them all back for Olivia. I loved how supportive he was of Olivia's dream. What is sexier than a man who reads romance novels? There was drama and some low angst, but I didn't feel that the characters ever made decisions that were intentionally dumb, which can be a pet peeve of mine.

This book was a five star read for me, now more than ever, it is important that we take time to be strong independent people, who can find their passions within themselves. This book was wonderful on so many levels, I highly, highly recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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Super sexy southern accent!

I really liked this story. But, the big surprise for me was Joe Arden. Sure, he is a talented voice actor, but the sound of his voice has never been my favorite. However, Joe Arden with a southern accent? Absolutely scrumptious. I could listen to him all day long!

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An utter delight from start to finish

This was my first book by Jessica Peterson, but it definitely won't be my last. I absolutely adored this first installment to the Charleston Heat series. It is food porn at its finest (you WILL be hungry the whole time you're reading) with all the concoctions of Chef Eli Jackson being described in exquisite, mouthwatering detail. Eli's not bad either. ;) Everything about this book was delightful, and as a former academic myself, who also left to write romance novels, Olivia's story definitely resonated on a deep level. Add in Joe Arden and Emma Wilder's stupendous performances in the audio version and this one's going on my re-listen shelf. Don't miss it!

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Great details about the south and culture!

The narrators were perfect for this story! I was drawn into the story right away even with the self-absorbed Olivia, who was that way throughout the book and did not even give thought or concern when Eli was going through a hard time. My reason for only 4 stars in story. The hero is what really made the story and kept me wanted to know more. This was a new author to me and I did like the way she describes food and the south it was very visual. I would recommend this book for this reason, and I will listen to more from this author.

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Good book

I enjoyed this book. I hope their story continues in the next series. I like to see the progression of the first love story throughout the series. Joe Arden did really good with his southern accent.

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  • Sara
  • 06-14-20

Grab some ice cold sweet tea to help cool ya down!

There is nothing like a good southern man! Jessica Peterson gave me the sexiest chef ever.. add in Eli's preference for going topless while being covered in tattoos (holly sexiness!!) plus the sweet and caring way he cared about Olivia. I was smitten, darn near immediately!! Olivia has it all.. the job, a possible fiancé... but is it really what she's wanted? The life she's building while on sabbatical seems to fit as well. What's a girl do? Does she completely upend her seemingly happy life following this new but happy life?

Lordy, Joe Arden was AMAZING with that southern accent! Goodness, I needed a good tall glass of sweet teat to calm my racing heart after hearing him give life to a southern chef with some of the BEST attributes! Emma Wilder also played Olivia's part to perfection! I'm not sure I could have loved this audio performance more than I did. It really helped with the story was a tad slower to get going but once it got up to speed I could NOT stop listening!

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  • Michelle
  • 06-06-20

Wasn't for me

I am reviewing this audiobook.

Olivia is living the perfect life, a great house, a great job, and a great boyfriend. When her boyfriend proposes, Olivia realises, this may not be the life she wanted. Escaping down south, Olivia wants the space to experiment with what her life would be like if she followed her dreams. To be herself, have the confidence to write her romance novel and not to be as "perfect" as everyone back home expects her to be. No distractions, well only one, in the shape of her handsome, sexy, shirtless chef of a neighbour.
Eli is amazing, supportive, and just gorgeous. He is everything you'd want in a book boyfriend. In saying this their relationship is awkward and a little all over the place. Some parts were uncomfortable to listen to.
There are scenes that just end, for example, their first kiss. They make out for hours and she basically falls asleep while making out. I felt like the author didn't know how to end the scene or how the characters would react to each other.
I found this book very repetitive and the pace very slow.
I loved - Eli. He is so encouraging and is genuinely amazing.
I loved how they provide a safe place for each other to be themselves and to explore their dreams.
I loved Joe Arden and Emma Wilder as the narrators. They capture the characters perfectly.
Things I didn't like - Olivia continues to speak about her past in a negative way, yet she keeps doubting herself and considers returning. It is obvious she is not happy back home, yet she can't see it!

Overall I didn't enjoy this book.

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  • Clare Tunilla
  • 06-03-20

Makes me want to go to South Carolina

I received an copy of this on audio on behalf of the author and I volunteered to leave an unbiased review.

This is my first Jessica Peterson book and it won't be my last. I don't usually go in for foodie books, but this made me SO hungry. It also made me want to write and read more historical romance. Eli and Olivia had me hooked from the first chapter. Olivia is on the run after feeling pressured and suffocated by her life in New York. She decides to have a break in South Carolina. There she meets smoking hot chef Eli.

Sparks fly.

This book was a whole lot of fun. And now I'm hungry. And I don't even know what grits are. But hearing Joe Arden talk about them made me really want them. Emma Wilder is also a big favourite of mine.

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  • Barbra Lazzarini
  • 10-15-21

Beautiful 💓💓

Definitely worth a listen 🎧 too . Joe and Emma do a magical job bringing this story to life . You will not regret it . Enjoy 💖💞💗💘❣️❤️‍🩹💝

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  • Jaime
  • 04-24-20

Fantastic Absolutely Fantastic

Joe Arden and Emma Wilder are just perfect as Eli and Olivia, I love this book so much I just had to get the audiobook too!!!! This is a Masterpiece!!!