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 Fury's effort to clean up his image. What she doesn't expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips stirring 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.
Wow. This book is an exceptional example of what a well written romance novel should look like. The characters have depth, are believable and likable, and the chemistry between them is sizzling. The novel is expertly written with tension and difficulties that the characters face, yet the tricky situations they must navigate are explored in a way that doesn't leave the reader groaning at a character's obvious mistake or cringe worthy action (think running into the basement in a horror movie). Instead, the challenges are faced with character and poise, and the difficulties only enhance the build up of the story making the characters more likable and real to the reader. I was very impressed by the delivery.
The story begins with a hockey MVP - "Most Valuable Prick" as Alex likes to call it. Alexander Crossman is notorious for being self-centered, uninterested in the sport, and an overall cold jerk to both teammates and fans. He's a hot shot and one of the best players, but hates the game of hockey. He is gorgeous, strong, and turns heads whenever he walks into a room, but what's not so obvious is the amazing person he is below the surface. After a rough childhood, he's learned to push away anything that threatens to get too close. He likes keeping his distance and hates being ordered into anything, which is why he's majorly ticked off when his coach orders him to do some mandatory PR work to improve his image. Unwilling to get kicked off the team, he reluctantly agrees to help with a drug/addiction program targeted to help local youth. What he doesn't realize is that being forced into this may be the best thing that has ever happened to him.
Sutton Price is a drug/addition counselor who works with difficult people overcoming their addiction problems and at risk teens. She has experience understanding their issues because of a tough childhood with a father who was in and out of rehab. She's worked with a lot of challenging clients, but what may prove to be the most challenging is working with a professional athlete on a targeted youth campaign. Sutton could care less about sports, but she cares greatly about helping kids and is eager to take on the project with a sports celebrity that actually may be able to reach more youth and have a greater impact. However the man she meets is not at all what she was expecting.
The chemistry between Alex and Sutton is instant and intense and it practically sizzles anytime they are near each other. What really makes this novel memorable however, is not just the physical chemistry (which is hot hot hot!), but their emotional connection which comes through in the incredibly worded dialogue and the way they interact with each other. Sutton is witty, charming, and able to take down Alex's defenses so smoothly he doesn't even know what hit him. Alex, despite his hard shell, is kind to her and has such an amazing heart that he's the type of hero most girls dream of. Their banter is enjoyable and will leave you laughing out loud at parts.
The story is complimented by a brilliant cast of side characters. Most notably Garrett, who Alex can't manage to push away as a friend. His dry humor is infectious and the whole book produces a reading high. Sutton's family and the rest of the cast are all expertly done and the story is enjoyable, well rounded, and will leave you craving more books from Sawyer Bennett.
I listened to the audio version narrated by Graham Halstead and Cris Dukehart and they were perfect for their roles. Their voice brought the characters to life with just the right blend of emotion and inflection that the story felt like watching a movie - a memorable movie like Love Actually or The Notebook. The type of movie you'd want to tell all your friends about.
The story pace was well done, the characters were outstanding, and the narration was perfect. Definitely a book worth reading or listening to!
NARRATED BY: GRAHAM HALSTEAD, CRIS DUKEHART
LENGTH: 9 HRS AND 57 MINS
SERIES: COLD FURY HOCKEY, BOOK 1
RELEASE DATE: 03/03/2015
PUBLISHER: TANTOR AUDIO