The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan | ARC Review & Excerpt

The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan | ARC Review & ExcerptThe Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #4
on April 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: via Author
Amazon US

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.
No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mature Content

I’d say “move over, Gabriel Scott” but I love that man to bits. So, scoot over a little, Sunshine. Finn is joining you in my top Kristen Callihan book boyfriends!

It wasn’t love at first sight for photographer Chester Copper and quarterback Finn Mannus on their first meeting. A feat considering Finn was in the nude, posing for her. But after the photoshoot, the two surprisingly become friends and enjoy each other’s company.

Even with the attraction and chemistry palpable between the two, Chess is reluctant to jump into bed with him. She wants a relationship, and Finn doesn’t seem the type to want to be in one. So, they stay friends, even though Finn wants to prove to her he’s not a bad bet.

“Days pass into weeks. Before I know it, Finn has become a fixture in my life.”

Their relationship changes from friends to roommates when Chess loses her home and Finn offers her a place to stay. Then from roommates to fake boyfriend and girlfriend, Chess joins Finn in his home in California for Thanksmas, where their relationship changes from fake boyfriend and girlfriend to real boyfriend and girlfriend.

Kristen Callihan has mastered the wonderful art of build up and sexual tension. The pacing was perfect, and just what I was looking for in a perfect contemporary romance read. She made me fall in love with the characters as they fell in love with each other. Eased me in slowly then drowned me in the love, affection, and FRIENDSHIP between Finn and Chess. She definitely knows how to write a good book boyfriend and how to write it well.

I have a lot of love for this couple. I love their banter and flirtations and loved their friendship and their natural chemistry. They’re both likable characters who are strong on their own and even stronger together. Chess is a fierce woman who has the wit and temperament that perfectly complements Finn’s. She keeps her cards close to her chest but would give her whole heart for those she loves the most. And I love her sense of humor!

And Finnegan Mannus. This man. I am so in love with him it’s insane. This man turned me into nothing but mush. He’s sweet, funny, thoughtful, and everything I want in a book boyfriend. Plus with that face and body, he’s pretty much cemented his position in my top 10 book boyfriends of all-time. My cheeks still hurt from smiling too much.

Finn, what am I going to do with you?” His smile is an easy glide, but his eyes hold mine a beat too long. “Keep me. I’m pretty sure I’m good for no one else.”

And two words—delayed gratification. It was a pleasure watching these two get to know each other, become friends, and fall madly in love with each other. There’s no insta-love here. The attraction, yes. But their story had the perfect build up I was looking for. I love it! Plus their banter was ace. I’m going to re-read this book over and over again.

The Hot Shot is the fourth standalone in the Game On series told in alternating POVs. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, funny, hot, and downright swoon-worthy with a strong and admirable heroine and an unforgettable hero. 5 stars for sure!


Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

“I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

“Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

“Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

“Salted caramel?”

“You know it.”

I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

“But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.

My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

“Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

“From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

“Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

“Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

“And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

“Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

“Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

“Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

“Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

“Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”

“That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

“Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

“No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

“I’m not flustered.” I am.


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About Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

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2 responses to “The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan | ARC Review & Excerpt

    • ofpensandpages

      Thank you, Claire! I think you’ll love The Hot Shot. I’m still on a book hangover bc of this!

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