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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Guest Post with Author Jessica Peterson and Giveaway

Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Mr. Darcy, Jamie Fraser (OMG love the gingers!), and Edward Cullen, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark and handsome heroes of her own.

She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband, Mr. Peterson, and her smelly Goldendoodle Martha Bean. 

Hi there! My name is Jessica Peterson, and I am the author of SPANISH LESSONS, book #1 of the New Adult STUDY ABROAD SERIES. I pitch it as a sexy, fun mash up of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and Cora Carmack’s LOSING IT.

I began my career in romance writing historicals. But like so many romance readers, I was completely and utterly swept up by the New Adult craze. Hot hockey bros? Cute co-eds? Even cuter professors? Yes, please. I became a huge fan of authors like Elle Kennedy and Kristin Callihan. After reading so much NA, it wasn’t long before I started writing some of my own—which is how SPANISH LESSONS was born!

I always wanted to write a book based on my own experience studying abroad in Madrid. The food, the wine, the culture and history—it was pretty much a magical experience for this twenty-year old American chick. The only thing that was missing? A hot studly Spaniard, of course. My girlfriends and I would fantasize about super hot Madrileños falling in love with us. It didn’t happen for me, which is (mostly) why I wanted to write a study abroad romance. A Spanish book boyfriend is better than no Spanish boyfriend, right?

SPANISH LESSONS is about an artsy American student and the studly Madrileño she falls for. Viv and Rafa’s story was so fun to write—I hope you have fun reading the following excerpt, too!

Despite the late (or early?) hour, the churrería is packed. It’s a cute, high-ceilinged spot, its walls covered in gleaming white subway tile. The scent of fried dough, cut with the sweeter smell of chocolate, envelopes us as we walk through the door. I’m suddenly ravenous.

The line snakes around the perimeter of the room, but it moves quickly. Club-goers like ourselves lean against the counter as they wait to order. Rafa greets the guy behind the counter the same way he greeted the bouncer: handshake, bro-hug, something or another in Spanish. The guy nods at Rafa’s nearly-bare chest and laughs. Rafa introduces me as his amiga, Vee-vee-an, and I wave hello. The guy looks back at Rafa and smiles, speaking in rapid-fire Spanish. Rafa shrugs, his cheeks flushing with color.

I really, really need to work on my Spanish. I want to know what they’re saying. I want to know if they’re talking about me. I have the funniest feeling they are.

The guy hands us wax-paper cones overflowing with churros still hot from the fryer. He gives Rafa a small Styrofoam container that I assume is the chocolate. When I try to pay, Rafa grins at me over his shoulder as he digs a hand into his pocket.

“Maybe next time,” he says.

“You said that about the drinks,” I reply. “Really, Rafa, I wish you’d let me pay for something.”

“Next time. C’mon, it is too crowded in here, let’s eat outside.”

His hands full, Rafa leans his back against the door and holds it open for me. Part of me wishes he would stop being so polite. It might keep the swell of happiness I feel at his every gesture, his every smile, in check. I’m helpless against the onslaught. It keeps coming, wave after wave after relentless wave, and I am all too content to let it pull me under.

We walk a little ways off to the side and stop at the edge of the sidewalk. It’s quieter here; a gas lamp flickers on our side of the street, putting off shadows edged in gold.

“Is here okay to sit?” Rafa looks down at my skirt. “I do not want people to see something they are not supposed to see.”

“I think I’ll be okay.” I sit on the square curb, tucking my skirt between my legs, just in case.

Rafa sits beside me. Our feet almost touch on the cobblestone street; his suede lace-up shoes dwarf my sandals.

“Have you had churros before?” he says, setting the Styrofoam container on the sidewalk between us. He coaxes off the lid with a broad thumb. I watch him bring that thumb between his lips, licking off a small smear of chocolate.

Oh, dear.

I clear my throat. “Once, in high school. My Spanish teacher brought in the packaged ones – you know, the kind wrapped in plastic? They weren’t very good, to be honest.”

Rafa makes a face. “Why anyone would eat that stuff, I do not know. Those are not real churros. But these—these are the best.”

“So I’m supposed to dip it in the chocolate?”

“Yes,” Rafa says, showing me how it’s done. “The chocolate—how do you say?—completes the churro. Like the icing for a cake.”

I smile, dunking my warm churro into the thick chocolate sauce. It takes some handiwork to keep the chocolate from getting all over the place, but somehow I manage to bite off an embarrassingly huge chunk of my churro without staining my shirt.

Rafa watches me, waiting.

“Qué piensas?” he asks. What do you think?

“It’s delicious,” I say around a mouthful of churro. “Like, really freaking good.”

Rafa was right; the churro itself is yummy, kinda like an unglazed donut. But it’s the chocolate that really makes it. This is no ordinary chocolate sauce: it’s thick and gooey, just the right consistency for dipping. I’d compare it to a ganache, maybe, or especially decadent hot chocolate.

Rafa smiles, inhaling the last bit of his second churro. “See? I told you. The best churros in all of Madrid. It is our tradition here. We dance all night, and then we get churros before we go to bed.”

“In the States we have street meat,” I say. “Hot dogs and stuff.”

He laughs. “Oh, yes, I’ve had your street meat. I like it.”

“But you don’t love it.”

“Not like I love churros,” he replies. “You have to agree, Vivian, these are much better than your hot dogs.”

Tucking into my second—or maybe it’s my third—churro, I nod. “Way better.”

Rafa looks at me, his grin deepening. “You have chocolate on your face. Here.” He points to his left cheek.

Ef. I bring the heel of my hand to my face, trying to wipe it off.

“Did I get it?”

“No,” Rafa says. “The other left cheek.”

I try the other left cheek. Rafa shakes his head. He points to my face. “There.”


“No, there.”

“Did I get it?”

“No, there.”

“There where? Where the hell is it?” I’m wiping my fingers all over my face, trying to find this stray speck of chocolate. “God damnit, Rafa!”

Rafa is laughing now, and I am too, the kind of laughter that makes my sides ache. I probably look like a murder victim with all this chocolate smeared on my face, but whatever—I’m too busy trying to breathe to care what’s going on with my face.

“Here,” he says, reaching out. “Let me help you.”

He swipes his thumb—that thumb—across the edge of my bottom lip. A charge of electricity gathers at the base of my skull and races through my body, sparks flying between my legs. My laughter dies, slowly, and I’m left looking at Rafa looking at me, his fingers hovering above my face, my lips tingling like they’d very much like to be kissed.

It’s so ridiculous, I know, something straight out of a rom-com; the manly-yet-charming guy wiping a bit of ketchup, or maybe it’s ice cream, off the smitten girl’s face. A bit of intense, heated staring ensues, that moment of delicious hesitation before the guy leans in and plants a wet one on his lady love.

Who knew such romantic things happened in real life, too? I am in this ridiculous moment right now. And I have no idea what to do.

My heart is pounding.

Rafa’s blue eyes search mine. His teeth flash between parted lips. I wonder what he would taste like. What it would feel like to run my tongue along the seam of his perfect lips, to take that bottom lip between my teeth.

Say yes, a voice whispers inside my head. Let him kiss you.

I think he’s leaning closer. The heady scent of his aftershave envelopes me, and my eyes flick to his lips. Those intimidatingly perfect lips.

That nothing will be the same after this kiss.


Along with her BFF, Maddie, Vivian hopes to indulge her inner Art History nerd by visiting the best museums in the world. She also wants to tackle more practical concerns—like a less than stellar GPA in her major, Economics—with the help of a Spanish tutor.


Madrileño Rafa Montoya is the stuff study abroad dreams are made of: super studly and super smart. He also happens to be super into Vivian. With his wicked dancing skills and his passion for the arts, he tempts her to throw caution to the wind and live out her wildest dreams.

Only problem? Maddie wants Rafa, too, and Vivian promised herself she’d never settle for second best again…not after a hookup-gone-awry last semester left her heartbroken. Is it best for Vivian to protect her heart at all costs? Or is letting Rafa in worth the risk?

This book is a New Adult contemporary romance, suitable for mature audiences.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 10 eBook copies of Spanish Lessons

To Enter:
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Good Luck!

Special thanks to Jessica Peterson for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I enjoyed your historicals and I can't wait to read this. Thanks

    1. Hi Sheryl! Thank you so much for reading my HOPE DIAMOND books - such a fun series! So appreciate your continued support. Happy reading!

  2. This looks so cute. I always wished I could afford a semester abroad when I was in college, and Madrid would have been at the top of the list.

    1. Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by. Studying abroad was wonderful - but traveling there is wonderful, too! I hope you get the chance to check out Madrid someday. It's definitely worth it. Happy reading!

  3. oooh... this is the first I've come across this author and her book sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Hi Erin! Thanks so much for stopping by - I always love meeting new readers! This series is something new for me, too, and I hope you get a chance to read it. Viv and Rafa might be my favorite couple I've written yet!

  4. I want to go to Madrid and have a churro! :) This sounds great!

    1. Hi Sue! Hope you are well! And yes, writing this made me crave churros, too...especially if there's chocolate sauce involved. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Replies
    1. Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping by. And yes, reading books about glamorous, far-flung places definitely makes me want to see the world! Right now I'm a bit of an arm chair traveler, but one day I hope to go back to Spain.

  6. Question to the author: What is your favorite genre to read?

    1. Hi Mai T! Great question - and one that's hard to answer, because I really do read a bit of everything. Right now I gotta say New Adult is my favorite genre, but I also love reading Regencies, Chick Lit, name it, I read it! What about you?

  7. Replies
    1. Hi Kim! Thank you so much for stopping by - and for giving a new author a try! Hope you enjoy reading SPANISH LESSONS as much as I enjoyed writing it. Viv and Rafa may be my favorite couple yet!

  8. Loved the excerpt.
    Can't wait to read
    Nicole Ortiz

    1. Hi Nicole! Thanks for stopping by - and thanks for the excerpt love! Viv and Rafa's story was so fun to write. Hope you check out SPANISH LESSONS! Happy reading!