Alex by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Cold Fury Hockey #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: October 14, 2014
Format: eARC, 224 pages
How I got it: NetGalley
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
I love sports romance books, but until now I’ve stuck mainly with football-centric ones. It might be that I’ve been disappointed by other (*cough* baseball *cough*) books in the past or because football is my favorite sport. It might be all of the above. But, Alex is the fourth hockey novel I’ve read and I am totally in love with this genre. And I don’t even watch hockey. Apparently that’s not a requirement. I do, however, have a new appreciation for hot hockey players. Yum! But, Alex is far more than your average sports romance. It’s a great story about facing your past and not letting it define you, tearing down your walls and moving forward.
The characters and their development are what makes this book standout from the rest. Sutton is my favorite type of heroine: smart, feisty and determined. A counselor at a drug crisis center, she works hard and cares deeply about those she helps. Her career is going well, her personal life isn’t quite as peachy. She’s had some relationship drama lately and isn’t really looking to get involved with anyone. She’s very close with her family. Her biological father is a mess. He’s barely in the picture. Her stepdad is a wonderful man and he, along with her mother, make for a great support network. Sutton and her younger brother Glenn are close. He’s a good kid. They might not be wealthy, but one thing she never wanted for growing was love and support. In short, she’s a real woman and the type of person I could be friends with in real life.
Alex is the MVP (most valuable prick) of the Cold Fury hockey team. He’s hot as hell, talented on and off the ice, driven and weighed down with baggage. He might be a talented hockey player, but he hates the game. He can blame it all on his father. He isn’t a particularly good man and wasn’t a good father. He was abusive with Alex while he was growing up, all under the guise of making him a better player. He’s manipulative and an alcoholic. Not exactly a role model. Yet, even though he knows all this, Alex still lets his dad get in his head. He’s never gotten over his past and it’s made him a bitter man today.
After Cold Fury’s front office gets annoyed with Alex’s attitude problems, he gets assigned to help form a youth outreach program. The person he’s assigned to work with? Sutton. The attraction is immediate, but Sutton doesn’t want to do anything unprofessional. Alex just doesn’t do relationships. He can’t afford the distraction. What begins as a simple business collaboration starts to become something more as Alex lets down his walls and lets Sutton get close to him. Sutton helped Alex fall back in love with hockey and he helped her get over her ex and find herself again. No romance is complete without sexy times (holy hot!) and a good dose of drama. This book has both. It also has a fair number of feels and an ending that totally melted my heart.
Sawyer Bennett is at the top of my auto-buy author list. I need to find the time to go back through her backlist, because I know I’ve missed a lot of great books since I just discovered my love for her about a year ago. I have a copy of the second book in this series, Garrett, and it’s taking everything in me to not break down and read it right this second. But, if I do that it will be one seriously long wait until the third book comes out, so I have to spread out the awesomeness of this series. Do yourself a favor and check this one out. Hockey fan or not, you’ll love it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.