Series: Cold Fury Hockey,
Published by Random House Publishing Group on October 14th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Sports, Contemporary Women, Erotica
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett scores big-time with the first novel in a sexy new series hot enough to melt the ice.
Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.
This is the first book I’ve read by Sawyer Bennett, and I have to say I was impressed. The novel is the first novel in the series about the men of a fictional North Carolina hockey team. Alex Crossmen is the Cold Fury’s superstar and MVP (Most Valuable Prick). He’s surly, rude, and standoffish towards the other players and even his fans. If he wasn’t a god on the ice, his career probably would have tanked years ago due to his poor public image. However, everyone is tired with his routine. Management has given him an ultimatum: Clean your act up, or clear out your locker. Since his alcoholic father made sure that hockey was the only skill Alex acquire, the sport Alex hates has become his life. So when management suggests he work with a teen drug program to clean up his image, Alex isn’t happy about being strong armed… until he meets Sutton Price. This sexy redhead has curves in all the right places, and a sharp tongue. Plus, she isn’t intimidated by the man who intimidates everyone.
Of course you know right from the beginning that these two crazy kids will hook up, but it’s the ‘how’ that makes this book so much fun. Set against the NHL backdrop, readers get a look (real or imagined) at what life is like for hockey players and the women in their lives. As a newbie hockey fan, Sutton is clueless when it comes to how the game is played, and that gives readers who also are clueless when it comes to hockey a chance not to feel lost. This is not majorly important to enjoy the book, but does help greatly since hockey is a major part of the story.
The characters in the story are very well-developed. Both Sutton and Alex are no-nonsense characters, and their banter is fun to read. What’s even more fun? The hot, hot, hot sex scenes. These two don’t beat around the bush when it comes to their sexual attraction. However, the plot is strong enough on its own that even if you removed the sex scenes, you’d still have a good, well-written, character-driven story. Another plus is that this wasn’t your typical ‘love at first sight’ story. Alex and Sutton’s feelings for each other develop slowly throughout the novel, which made their relationship more relatable. That’s what I like to see in my romances.
I kind of think that these two got together a tad too quickly. Alex is this hard-ass hockey player, that pisses everyone off all the time. Yet, it seems like he tried to change too soon after meeting Sutton. I would have liked to see a few more scenes of him being a major dick to Sutton, before he decided to become a better man and get the girl. I’m being a stickler about this, but I think character wise it would have been more realistic if Alex had remained an ass for longer than he did.
Another aspect I found lacking was Alex’s development with his teammates. The only teammate to get a lot of play was Garrett, Alex’s new bff (and lead of book 2), but as the book develops you see how Alex’s relationships with his team changes as well. I wish we had seen more of this, especially since more of the players will be featured in later books. The character building was great. I just wish there was more world building in this novel.
Do I Recommend?
I loved this book! Despite not learning more about the team as a whole, I found this novel hard to put down. I’m currently reading a couple other books, and this originally was a book I was going to read a bit of at night. However, once I got sucked in, I couldn’t put it down. I’ve since bought the second book, Garrett, and I can’t wait to see how the story continues. However, I am a bit worried that Alex and Sutton will be forgotten going forward since Bennett needs to introduce the characters for the subsequent book that weren’t developed in Alex. Hopefully, her world building is better in book 2.