A steamy sports romance, starring a bad-boy NHL star might be just what the doctor ordered for October. This one packs powerful psychological portraits of adults dealing with childhood abuse. Read on for my review and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway for an Alex Crossman/Cold Fury team jersey! This review tour is brought to you by Tasty Book Tours.
Cold Fury Hockey # 1
By: Sawyer Bennett
Releasing October 14th, 2014
Alex is a machine. He plays hockey like a machine, he beds women like a machine (I used the other word in my Goodreads review) he socializes like a machine–as in not at all. Fans of Cold Fury, his team, love to hate him. He’s the MVP, as in the Most Valuable Prick.
But the team’s management want their star player to work on his social profile. Or else. Alex now has to deal with some social worker on a drug prevention outreach program. Life sucks. But the surprisingly young and beautiful social worker doesn’t, so he decides to show her both spaces he owns: the pitch and the bedroom. He even resorts to showing her his gentleman side: he warns her that he’s going to break her heart. Because that’s all he’s capable of, right?
Sutton Price knows very well what she’s getting herself into. But Alex’s abusive background, bits and pieces of which surface especially during their post-coital bliss, hit very close to home: she’d been there herself, only she chose the path of acceptance and forgiveness, and she wants more than anything to help Alex involve more emotions than anger, hatred and apathy. But when he gets there, fear and insecurity also creep in and mire everything. With his father always devastatingly present in his life, and a career with an expiry date he needs to focus on, how can Alex give Sutton what she needs?
This sports-themed NA romance had some surprising elements. First of all, it offered the male point of view as well. In the case of a damaged, withdrawn hero, especially if he’s in the star (rock or sports) category, it is not often that we get to see his mind at work with extra insight into his childhood; the source of all evil. Usually, his behavioral pattern is explained in the final stages of the plot through dialogue or revelations of a third party. In the case of Alex, however, not only he knew exactly what mindset he was in and what caused it, but we get a front-row seat to vivid scenes of his hair-raising childhood in the hands of a father destroyed by alcohol and his own demons.
The other element I appreciated was the presentation of the two different paths an abused child can follow in life: Sutton shared experiences with Alex, but she embraced her past in an empowering, creative way. But Sutton’s way, although acknowledged by Alex, causes further rift between them, as self-doubt and even envy tipping towards jealousy manage to further distance him from her. These subtle psychological insights made the book stand out from the lot.
The sex scenes are frequent and steamy, but they’re not there just to underline the hero’s prowess; they also help to move the plot forward as that’s where Alex’s psyche is gradually revealed.
Ms Bennett’s writing is efficient, adeptly delving into the characters’ true essence. The only thing that got to me was big chunks of narration revealed in the form of thoughts during an on-going scene, inevitably using past perfect. For example, someone would wake up and start getting ready for the day, thinking about what happened the day before. Quite a number of scenes were presented that way. Other than that, this was a smooth read.
If you enjoy reading sports romances with seriously hot, seriously damaged heroes, but want a deeper portrayal than just of their physical attributes, you should consider picking Alex up—pun intended 🙂
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett is a snarky Southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.