Zack (Cold Fury Hockey 3) by Sawyer Bennett-Review and Book Tour

ZACK (Cold Fury Hockey 3) by Sawyer Bennett-Review and Book Tour

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ZACK
Cold Fury Hockey 3
by Sawyer Bennett
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance, hockey
Release Date: June 9, 2015

Zack

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 9, 2015

Rising star Zack Grantham has been stuck in a downward spiral of grief ever since the car accident that left him a single dad and put his career on hold. Back on the road with the Carolina Cold Fury and still crippled by emotional baggage, he’s in need of some serious help with his son. But while the nerdy new nanny wins his son’s heart, Zack isn’t sure he’s ready for a woman’s touch—even after getting a glimpse of the killer curves she’s hiding under those baggy clothes.

Kate Francis usually keeps men like Zack at a distance. Though his athlete’s body is honed to perfection, he refuses to move on with his life—and besides, he’s her boss. Still, the sparks between them are undeniable, tempting Kate to turn their professional relationship into a personal one. But before she makes a power play for Zack’s wounded heart, Kate will have to open him up again and show him that love is worth the fight

•••••••••••••••

REVIEW: ZACK is the third installment in Sawyer Bennett’s adult, contemporary Cold Fury Hockey romance series focusing on the players of the Carolina Cold Fury professional ice hockey team. This is twenty seven year old, single father Zack Grantham, and twenty three year old, child psychology graduate student Kate Francis’s storyline. ZACK can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Each storyline focuses on a different member of the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team.

Told from alternating first person points of view (Zack and Kate) the storyline focuses on Zack’s recovery following the death of his girlfriend (and mother of his son Ben), and the need for a live-in nanny to help Zack while he attempts a come back with the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team.

It has been four months since the accident that killed Zack’s girlfriend Gina, leaving a grieving and injured Zack to raise his three year old son-alone. Enter Kate Francis-a nerdy, post graduate student whose care and love for Ben is rivaled by her attraction and growing love for Zack. Kate is a fan of the Cold Fury hockey team, and a bigger fan of Zack Grantham.

Zack’s trust of, and attraction to Kate is slow to build as our heroine hides behind baggy clothes, thick glasses and snarky comments. When Zack sees Kate for the beautiful woman that she is, Zack’s need for Kate is palpable but he is a man unwilling to commit to anything beyond the present. Zack claims to not do relationships; and their sexual affair is only a ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement that Kate is all too quick with to agree. As the storyline builds, so too does the attraction and relationship between Zack and Kate, but Kate will soon discover that when Zack said he doesn’t want anything more, he makes sure everyone else knows it as well. Zack pushed a few of my buttons with his attitude and expectations.The $ex scenes are erotic, intimate and provocative.

Kate is an intelligent woman; a female who tells it like it is, and there are times that Kate has had to step up her game to regain control of her life. But there were moments throughout the story, including her sexual relationship with Zack, that were difficult to accept. The couple had crossed the line between employer and employee, and in this Zack took issue with some of the developing friendships between Kate and other player’s girlfriends and wives. At this particular juncture in the storyline my emotional attachment to Zack, and at times, Kate waivered. Yes, the man suffers horrendous guilt but his treatment of Kate is almost bipolar in nature. Kate will become his lover; his go to woman at every opportunity, and in this, Kate becomes a willing ‘victim’ to Zack’s need to control his ‘employee’s’ life. In public, Kate is Ben’s nanny and Zack is her employer; in private, Kate is Zack’s willing lover who knows that the man with whom she is falling in love wants nothing more than sex and a warm body at night. Please note, Kate was not forced into the relationship; it was a mutual attraction and need; there were no threats of sexual harassment or loss of job; Kate went into the relationship knowing there was no possibility of a happily ever after but what the heart wants isn’t always what the heart gets.

ZACK is an ensemble storyline with all of the previous storyline couples playing a supporting and secondary role throughout the story. We are reacquainted with Alex and Sutton (Alex #1) as well as Garrett and Olivia (Garrett #2). The reader will be introduced to newcomer and goalie Ryker Evans whose own life as a single father finds Ryker looking to Kate as a possible nanny for his two girls. Ryker’s story will be told next.

The build up to Zack’s rejection of Kate is tense and not unexpected. My emotions were all over the place with this storyline; I despised Zack’s treatment of Kate; and disliked Kate’s eager acceptance as a ‘temporary lover’ but saying that, ZACK is a fictional storyline where controversy and anxious moments push the proverbial envelope of emotional restraints. ZACK is a story with grief, heartbreak, acceptance and moving on; there are moments of romance and love; humor and fun; betrayal and letting go. But the overriding issue is Zack’s guilt surrounding the death of his girlfriend and his inability to commit to the mother of his son. Survivor’s guilt is a psychological condition wherein the survivor is unable to accept what has happened and blames his/herself for a traumatic event, in this, Zack is unable to move forward and out of the protective bubble he has created for himself and his son.

Sawyer Bennett is a ‘go to’ author every time. Despite my anxiety level ratcheting up with this particular storyline, Sawyer’s COLD FURY HOCKEY series is a must read. The premise is engaging, imaginative and emotional; the characters colorful, controversial and heartbreaking; the happily ever after and reconciliation impassioned, hopeful and intense.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Series Spotlight

Alex
Cold Fury Hockey #1
by Sawyer Bennett
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance, hockey
Release Date: October 14, 2014

ALEX by Sawyer Bennett

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: October 14, 2014

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of ALEX by Sawyer Bennett

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.

____________

GarrettGarrett
Cold Fury Hockey #2
by Sawyer Bennett
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance, hockey
Release Date: February 17, 2015

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of GARRETT

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GARRETT (Cold Fury Hockey #2) by Sawyer Bennett

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 17, 2015

Carolina Cold Fury star Garrett Samuelson never wants to miss out on a single minute of fun. Whether he’s playing hockey, hanging out with friends, or walking the red carpet with a new date on his arm, he lives every day to the fullest. When he meets Olivia Case, he sees someone who’s exactly his type—confident, sexy, smart . . . his next fling. But the more he pursues her, the more Garrett shares a side of himself that other women don’t normally get to see.

Olivia has been keeping a secret. While Garrett lives for the next thrill, Olivia’s not sure she’ll live to see the next day. She’s undergoing treatment for some serious medical issues, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship with no guarantees—especially one with a hot-as-sin womanizer who won’t take no for an answer. But as she gets to know the real Garrett, Olivia can’t help falling for him . . . hard. To reveal the truth would mean risking everything—but you can’t score without taking the tough shots.

Excerpt

As soon as I get out of the club and into the silence of my car, I dial Delaney.

She answers on the first ring. “You scared the shit out of me. Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I murmur as I start the engine and wait for my Bluetooth to connect. When I hear the subtle click telling me she’s on speakerphone, I put the car in drive and say, “Just driving around…thinking.”
I hear her blow out a gust of sympathetic frustration, but her voice is gentle. “Okay. Just get home.”
“Is Ben okay?” I ask.

“He’s fine. Sleeping. Have you gone over the applicants I picked out for you?”

My hands tighten on the steering wheel, and a tiny pain shoots through my wrist, a pain I’d never admit to the team doctors, so I ignore it and tell her, “Not yet.”

“Tomorrow,” Delaney says sternly. “You have to make a decision tomorrow.”

“I know,” I mutter, realizing that the time for dragging my feet and procrastinating is over. “I promise. Tomorrow.”

“Okay,” she says softly. “That’s good.”

I don’t say anything else, my mind already starting to shut down. I abhor the thought of culling through her final recommendations for a nanny for Ben. Because that means this is final…that Gina is really dead and Ben’s mommy is definitely not coming back. In my mind, it’s putting the final nail in her coffin.
“I love you,” Delaney says, almost desperately, into the phone.
I bite my lip…hard, and feel my tooth slice down into the delicate flesh. “Back at ya,” I say, my voice harsh and raspy.
Words of love to my older sister—the woman who has been my rock-solid support the last four months since Gina died—unable to materialize. I disconnect the call and stare blankly out the windshield. I’m practically on autopilot as I drive home.
Out of the silence of my car, an unbidden, sarcastic snort bursts forth from me, and then I start snickering to myself.
Home.
What a fucking joke.
My five-bedroom house on Marchand Street feels like a prison, the walls closing in on me and causing me to seek out strippers named Candi Apple at midnight. I can’t escape my memories there, my guilt devours me as I look at Gina’s pictures throughout the house, and every day, rather than rise above my pain, I get swallowed up in it a little deeper. I hate that fucking house now, and I’ve pretty much resolved myself to sell it. Maybe moving will help leave the ghosts behind and give Ben and me a fresh start.
If it wasn’t for Ben…
Beautiful, blond-haired, blue-eyed Ben.

The spitting image of Gina.

My little boy, who seems to have bounced back fine after losing his mother, giving me toothy grins and cuddling with me on the couch at night. If it wasn’t for him…

No, I don’t even want to think about where I’d be if it wasn’t for Ben. Let me just appreciate the fact that I have the most wonderful child in the world, and it’s only because of him that I at least have some sort of desire to want to feel again.
While I can’t seem to feel outside the bounds of pure and unconditional love for my child, it doesn’t mean I want to be this way. I’m smart enough to know that Ben will look to me for guidance on how to live this life without Gina, and I’m savvy enough to know that if I don’t get my shit together, for his sake, I stand a really good chance of fucking his head up.
So I try the only way I know how—by seeking out the Candi Apples of this world—and dig down deep for something to interest me in this life outside of my child and my hockey career.
Taking a deep breath, I pull onto the outer belt line that circles around Raleigh, and let it out slowly. Yeah, tomorrow I need to start the process of removing my head from my ass. I also know the first step is to do as Delaney says and make a choice from the final applicants and hire a nanny for Ben. Once I start back at practices next week, I’ll need someone to help me with him.
Delaney has been down here in Raleigh for the past week, interviewing prospects and checking out references. She’s narrowed it down to a choice of three, and while I really don’t want to care about whom to pick, I know that for the sake of my son, I need to be satisfied the person I do choose is right for the job. I trust Delaney implicitly, but I also know that I need to show some interest . . . at least for her peace of mind. The day after tomorrow she’ll head back to Manhattan, where she works as a financial analyst, and I can’t let her leave with undue worry over me and Ben.
It pisses me off that I have to hire a nanny. It feels like I’m replacing Gina . . . hiring a new mommy for my boy. Deep down, the rational side of me knows this isn’t true. While I’ve been able to handle Ben just fine on my own for the last four months while I recovered from my wrist injury, there is no way I can be a single parent to Ben when much of my career is spent on the road. I will need someone to be with him full-time when I’m gone, and it has to be someone trustworthy.
So I’ll do my duty tomorrow and give the applicants thoughtful consideration. Then I’ll make my decision and start the process of introducing a new woman who will become a provider and mother figure to my son.
That thought causes pain to shoot through my chest, and while I know it’s unfair, a little part of me already hates this woman because she will be taking Gina’s place in that respect.

About The Author

Sawyer BennettUSA Today and New York Times Best-Selling 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.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series. She will be releasing her third book in the Cold Fury Hockey Series with Random House Loveswept, June 2015.

 

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

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13 thoughts on “Zack (Cold Fury Hockey 3) by Sawyer Bennett-Review and Book Tour

  1. Wonderful review Sandy. Love this series by Sawyer Bennett. I can understand where your frustration is coming from with these 2 leading characters. I had the same visceral emotions with Zack and Kate. Kate’s character almost seemed desperate and Zack was a bit of a ‘d*ck’ 😉

  2. Great review but I truly dislike hero who are such users and have so many issues to get though it’s a forest. That said it sound like a good series.

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