Series: Cold Fury Hockey #1
Published by Loveswept on October 14th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sports
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 facade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers."
I haven’t read anything by Sawyer Bennett before, but this series is most definitely on my auto-buy list. I’ve already bought the next two and pre-ordered the fourth.
Alex Crossman is a star hockey player for the Carolina Cold Fury. In fact, he’s THE star player. He’s also a complete dick. Which he’s more than happy to own up to and actually takes pride in. He hates hockey, has no real relationship with his family, and alienates everyone around him almost on purpose. He’s consistently voted MVP of the team, and the fans have taken to carrying signs proclaiming that to stand for Most Valuable Prick. He has a reputation for being nasty to everyone, coaches, players, fans, the media, pretty much anyone he comes into contact with. As a result, team management has given him one final chance. He has to work with a drug counselor on a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth. He has to actually show up and do the work and make the appearances or he’s out. As much as he hates hockey, it’s been drilled into him over the years by everyone in his life that it’s the only thing he’s good at, and the only thing he’s good for. If he loses his spot on the team, he’ll lose that, too, and he doesn’t have a back up plan. In fact, he hoards all of the money he makes instead of spending it because he doesn’t know how he’ll make money once he can’t play hockey any more, and wants to be able to live it.
Enter Sutton Price, the drug counselor he’s assigned to work with. Alex is attracted to her immediately, but to be fair, that’s probably because she’s a woman in his immediate vicinity, which seems to be all it takes. He smiles at her and turns on his usual charm, and is taken by surprise when Sutton turns him down. He’s intrigued by her turning him down and also by the fact that she genuinely has no idea who he is. She doesn’t follow hockey, doesn’t know anything about the sport, and only knows his name because it’s on the assignment she was given for this project.
Alex is… he’s wonderful. He’s so clearly starving for someone to give him even a tiny bit of affection. He’s never had that in his life, and for as much as he claims to not care or need anyone, he’s obviously full of shit. The way he immediately attaches to Sutton shows that. He’s such a mess in the beginning. I didn’t know if the author could make him redeemable. Recognizing that he’s a prick and telling everyone he meets that he’s a prick so they won’t expect anything less from him doesn’t make him a better person. He’s absolutely a dick. It’s really great to see him change over the course of his relationship with Sutton.
Ironically, for as much good as she did Alex, I didn’t like Sutton very much. She’s a doormat. And entirely too perfect to be real. She overcame a terrible childhood and made something of herself. She bought her first home and is rehabbing it herself, even though she’s never done any handy work before. She has a great relationship with her mom and stepdad, she and her little brother idolize each other, and all of Alex’s teammates think she’s amazing. In fact, everyone she meets thinks she absolutely fantastic and the best thing ever. Well, except for Cassie, Alex’s former hook-up partner. She doesn’t really like Sutton in the beginning, but it’s ok, because Sutton completely understands and is ok with Cassie being nasty to her. Sutton is so perfect and wonderful a person that even when her college boyfriend broke up with her after four years, telling her that he really wanted to be able to have sex with other women without feeling guilty, she thanked him for being so honest and wished him well in his endeavors. And to this day, she still tells everyone who hears that story that part of it, too. “…I kind of respected his honesty about it.” Seriously. She’s a saint. She may make a great friend and girlfriend, but she’s a pretty boring character. Alex, while a complete jerk in the beginning, was a lot more fun to read.
There wasn’t a lot of drama in this book. I was expecting a lot more up and down and back and forth, but it wasn’t there. For the most part, once these two decided they were going to be together, they just were. Most of the angst they each dealt with, they did so internally. Obviously, they had to break up toward the end, which I didn’t really buy. Alex did the breaking up, and it seemed more like he had been looking for a reason and grabbed the first one he came up with. And I thought the epilogue was a little over the top. But, his trying-to-get-her-back grovel was wonderful. I loved that.
Overall, I would absolutely recommend this one. I wanted to read this book from the moment I saw the cover, and I was not disappointed. Seriously – look at that cover. It’s gorgeous. Alex’s friend, Garrett, is up next, and I’m really excited for that one!