Book/Author and Year Published: Big Shot by Carly Phillips and Erika Wilde (2017)

Reviewer: Bethany

Age/Genre: Contemporary Romance, Office Romance, Brother’s Best Friend Romance

Preferred Reading Environment: At the bar you go to after work

Reading Accoutrements: Your favorite beverage and appetizer

Content Notes: Divorce, Good Ol’ Boys Club

I don’t know what it is about summer, but I always struggle to read the heavy stuff during the warmest months of the year. I’ve been reading a lot of light romances – a surprising number of which have multiple authors, like this review I did earlier this month – and this one fulfilled my need for summer fluff quite nicely.

Big Shot is about Wes Sinclair and Natalie Prescott, competing luxury real estate agents who have known each other since childhood. Wes is the best friend of Connor Prescott, Natalie’s older brother, and Natalie has had a crush on Wes since highschool. When Wes, Connor, and a couple of their friends opened their own business, Natalie applied to be a real estate agent at their firm. It was Wes who argued that her presence could cause a conflict within the company, and who fought to make sure she didn’t get the job.

In the opening of the book, Wes learns that Natalie has successfully sold a house from underneath him- for the third time this month. When Wes sees Natalie celebrating her sale at a bar, he bets her that she won’t be able to sell another property before him. If Natalie wins, she gets to work at Wes’s company. If Wes wins, Natalie has to do whatever Wes wants for two weeks (with some caveats – aka no sex under duress in this book).

Natalie has a plan – she either wins the bet and works at the company of her dreams, or she will move to Atlanta to take a position at another real estate firm with more growth opportunities than her current employer. When she loses the bet, she spends two weeks as Wes’s date to various functions and Wes realizes that he can’t let her go. But Natalie is focused on her career and her growth opportunities are in Atlanta, while Wes’s business is in Chicago.

Wes has serious issues stemming from his parents’ divorce. His father left his mother for another woman, but his mother got only a small settlement and social rejection from the divorce. While Wes’s father built a new family, he and his mother struggled to survive. He decided a long time before the events of this book that love wasn’t worth the hassle and he has been a total player ever since. Ultimately, Wes has to decide if Natalie is worth the risk.

This book has pretty well-developed characters. Both Natalie and Wes have pasts that have understandably impacted their views on love and intimacy (although, this whole book could have been avoided with the help of a good therapist). I would love to know about the strategy these authors used to get such fleshed-out characters that consistently have their own voices. I almost wonder if one of them wrote the chapters from Natalie’s perspective while the other wrote the chapters from Wes’s perspective. Phillips and Wilde are challenging my previous belief that multiple authors usually result in inconsistencies of both plot and character development.

Big Shot did exactly what I expected it to – gave me a light summer read to help me beat the heat. What type of books do you like to read when it’s sweltering hot outside?

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