Van (Cold Fury, Book #9)
Release Date: November 28, 2017
4.5 SHINY CROWNS
I’ve been a huge fan of the Cold Fury Hockey series by Sawyer Bennett for many reasons. First, I’m a sucker for a sports romance, particular hockey. Second, it is the series that introduced me to Sawyer Bennett. And third, this series is always filled with angst and steam, which is my preferred romance combination. Van, however, more than the last couple books in the series is more reminiscent of the original books for its brash heroe and angst filled plot.
Van is not a hero who we are intended to love immediately. He is closed off, abrasive, and often mean. His words are meant to hurt and cut people out of his life, and at the beginning, it is hard to see how readers would ever like this man. Sawyer Bennett, however, gives him a past that adequately explains his behavior and his motivation for being stolid and unapproachable. The other tool she uses to make readers like this seemingly gruff character is his relationship with Simone. With her, we see the care behind the harsh words, as he is absolutely a man who shows how he feels with his actions, and just as her heart becomes entangled with his, so does the readers.
Simone is another interesting heroine. She is often referred to as a brat throughout the book, and, to be honest, she is. She chases him relentlessly and has zero qualms about using anything in her physical arsenal to seduce him. She, however, is perfect for Van. She is able to take his abrasive personality and not allow it to affect her. She is able to tear down her walls and show him that he can be loved and love in return. Finally, her sexuality, specifically her openness and adventurous spirit to try anything, is refreshing and often unheard of in romances. Now, I’m sure there will be readers that are turned off by her, but I found that I liked her bold nature and her tenacity when it came to Van.
This plot of this story centers around the animosity, real and pretend, between the hero and heroine. While this works for developing their characterization and relationship, I do wish it would have gone a bit faster. I didn’t really like them as people during this time period; Sawyer Bennett, however, turns that all around when these two finally succumb to their desires. When this happens, readers get to see new sides to Van and Simone, and not only do we witness some of the hottest scenes I can recall from the Cold Fury Hockey Series but we also get to see these two become more than the two dimensional characters from the beginning of the book. This is where the story picks up, and this is what will make readers love the newest addition to the series.
While this Cold Fury Hockey Series is a set of standalones, I find it is hard to stay invested as more and more books are published, but this series keeps me intrigued. It is always sexy, sweet, romantic, and I always love seeing past characters resurface. Plus, Sawyer Bennett has found a way to make each book fresh and unique from the one before.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.