Book Review, Contemporary, Opposites Attract, Romance, Series

Southern Poison (Tennessee Whiskey #1) by Shauna Jared


Ace Dalton is the middle son, the black sheep of the family. Drinking, women, gambling—welcome to Ace’s world.

Until dear old dad cuts off Ace’s credit cards and forces him to work at the family distillery, insisting that it’s time for Ace to grow up.

But whiskey isn’t the only thing brewing at Dalton Enterprises when an environmental agency files a class action lawsuit, forcing them to cease and desist production. Meanwhile, Ace falls for the one woman in Nashville, Tennessee who doesn’t want him—Callie Harrison.

Can he win her over and save the family business or will the pressure be too hot for Ace to handle?


Contrary to what the author’s bio says, this book is not paranormal at all, so I’m guessing she is branching out to contemporary romance. I seem to be on a roll with poor little rich manchild characters lately and this book is no exception. I picked it up because I am scheduled for a blog tour on book 2 of the series and I was advised to read book 1 to get a background on the characters. I’m so glad I did because this one ends in a cliffhanger. And the cover on this one? Yummy!!!

Ace Dalton is one of the heirs to Dalton Enterprises, a whiskey distillery in Tennessee. Ace is known as the black sheep of the family who gave up trying to please his controlling father a long time ago. Ace enjoys parties, women, and spending his father’s money like it’s going out of style.  Until his father cuts him off and forces him to work in their family’s company as a glorified assistant. Unknowingly, his father has put a target on Ace’s back when he owes a big chunk of money to a notorious “collection agency”. If that isn’t enough, Ace is manipulated into being a candidate for an auction at a charity benefit. Enter the beautiful woman who has won three dates with him via her manipulative grandmother. The attraction is immediate, but the timing is bad and the cost is too high.

Callie Harrison is an artist and a woman done with relationships. Her last one left her vulnerable and guarded. But her grandmother is determined to get Callie married to the love of her life despite Callie’s protests. Callie is obligated to take this gorgeous man on three dates as part of the charity auction’s guidelines, but she is not expecting much considering his playboy ways. He just may surprise her.

Callie and Ace have some baggage coming into their relationship; however, they can’t help the attraction they feel for each other. Callie’s guardedness and Ace’s vulnerability give them the foundation to change their ways as they respect each other’s boundaries and open up their hearts. Callie is fearful of having her heart destroyed by a man who has it all, but she realizes that she can’t run from things that get difficult,  especially matters of the heart. Sometimes you have to take risks. Ace is constantly trying to get his father’s approval and he just needs to man up and take control of his life by being honest with his feelings. I was delighted to see him rally for his family business and fight for the woman he loves. I love sunflowers and the story of Clytie in Greek mythology. I was also intrigued by Ace’s beautiful poetry and Callie’s painting. It’s nice to see characters with various ranges of interest.

There are many supporting characters that add depth to the story. Callie’s grandmother loves her granddaughter very much and gives great advice to Ace when he comes looking for Callie. Ace’s younger brother Jasper is a big supporter of Ace, and Ace’s older, sterner brother Nick is more aloof and single-minded though he does come around later on.  As for Ace’s dad, he’s a controlling, manipulative bastard who treats his middle son Ace like crap. Is the elder man, redeemable? I’m looking forward to reading book 2 to find out.

I enjoyed this feel-good contemporary romance with its explosive family dynamics, instant love, and genuine growth of many of the characters. The story tells us to not fear setbacks but to embrace them and live the best life we can. It also embraces family relationships and standing up for what’s right. 


Southern Poison

Amazon US


Shauna Jared is a paranormal romance author who aspires to become a professional time traveler. Her first book, Bitter End (book one of the Nashville Immortals series), is set to release in the summer of 2020. She writes about all things paranormal and lives vicariously through her characters.

Shauna lives near Nashville, TN with her husband, son, their dog, and a beta fish. She loves books, coffee, wine, and bacon, in no particular order.

Follow Shauna on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Bookbub.