Tuesday, November 28, 2017

ARC Review: Van (Cold Fury, Book #9) by Sawyer Bennett

 Van (Cold Fury, Book #9)
Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: November 28, 2017


Score one for the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team as a stone-cold badass melts for a woman who makes his blood run hot.

As one of the league’s toughest enforcers, Van Turner is ruthless on the ice. He plays hard because it’s the only way to channel the rage boiling inside, and a reputation as an A-hole is better than everyone knowing the truth. Van has spent his entire life running from a secret that’s kept him from getting involved in relationships—or accepting lucrative deals with East Coast teams. Then the Carolina Cold Fury makes him an offer he can’t refuse . . . and Van meets a woman he can’t resist.

Simone Fournier is the stubborn one in her family—and that’s saying something, considering her brothers are two of the Cold Fury’s biggest stars. Simone gets what she wants, and what she wants is Van. Still, there’s a part of him Simone can’t reach, no matter how hard she tries. In private, he’s all fire and passion. In public, he freezes her out. Van may want to push her away, but Simone won’t let him go that easily. Because this time, she’s playing for keeps.

Sawyer Bennett’s New York Times bestselling Carolina Cold Fury series
can be read together or separately.

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What I thought about Van

Van is a grumpy dude introduced in the last Cold Fury Hockey book, and now he gets his own HEA, although the road to get there isn't all that easy.  He's not exactly nice, doesn't really interact with his roommate Lucas and basically gives everyone the impression he's a jerk.  That is until Simone Fournier, Lucas's sister shows up and gives him the eye.

Simone sees something in Lucas -- at first it's the fact that he's built and she wants him in her bed.  She's tenacious about it too and doesn't give up even though Van says "no" many times.  I'll admit this made me little squeamish at times because he really wasn't giving her mixed signals.  But then he breaks down and they enter into a sex-only, keep-it-secret sort of relationship.

These two had great chemistry together. Simone doesn't put up with his attitude, and Van starts to feel something different than he feels with his usual one-night stands.  I really liked Van and Simone together and Simone's adventurous nature really was a highlight of their time together.  When Simone discovers the secret that Van is keeping from everyone, there's a risk that Van will push her away, but Simone handles it perfectly and their relationship continues to develop and grow.  I loved that about this book -- the story isn't anything new, but some of the details were very refreshing and unexpected.

As the team heads into the Stanley Cup finals, a reporter threatens to uncover Van's secret, causing great turmoil for Van and Simone.  My heart was really hurting for these two at this point, and I may have actually leaked a little bit when Simone gives Van an ultimatum that doesn't work in her favor.  It was so heartbreaking and I loved it!  It made the "make-up" scene all that more satisfying. I loved Simone and how she handled Van.  I loved Van for his willingness to give Simone a chance after everything he'd been through. They were just perfect together.

I really enjoyed this book. I think it took me less than two days to read because I wanted to know what was going to happen to them. There was also the little detail of Van having sex with his teammate's sister, and we all know that's a no-no!  It provides a nice bit of conflict in the story. 

This book also overlaps somewhat with Lucas, the previous book in the series, and I did like that as well.    So I'm giving this a 5 star rating because it hit all the right notes for me, at the right time in the story.  Loved it!

An ARC was provided for review.

About the Author:

 Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. 

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone. 

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both. 

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe. 

 Connect with Sawyer: 

 Sign up for Sawyer’s newsletter: http://sawyerbennett.com/signup/ 

Spotlight, Excerpt, ARC Review & Giveaway: Wolf Hunger (SWAT #7) by Paige Tyler

Title: Wolf Hunger
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: SWAT, #7
ISBN: 9781492642374
Pub Date: December 5, 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

She’s all the wolf he’ll ever need

When SWAT Officer Max Lowry meets Lana Mason, he falls fast and hard. He’s positive she’s The One. And Max’s favorite part? Lana’s a wolf shifter too, so they can skip the awkward reveal and head straight to the happily ever after. There’s just one problem: Lana doesn’t know that she’s a werewolf.

To make matters worse, hunters with intent to kill have tracked Lana to Dallas. Max has to figure out how to keep Lana safe, show her who and what she really is—and just how much she means to him.

Wolf Hunger

“Speaking of award ceremonies,” she said to Max, “I didn’t see you on the stage getting a commendation, so I’m guessing you must be here to support someone who did?” 

He nodded. “Yeah. Some of the members of my team got recognized today. How about you? Your boyfriend getting a commendation?” 

Max thought he was being pretty damn smooth, but the smile tugging at Lana’s lips told him she saw right through his deception. 

“Nope, no boyfriend,” she said. “Actually, it was my dad. Brandy took forever getting dressed. Then we got stuck in traffic. We barely made it here in time to see him get the award. I had to watch from the back of the auditorium.” 

That explained why Max hadn’t picked up Lana’s luscious scent earlier. And while he was relieved she didn’t have a boyfriend, it made him wonder which of his fellow cops getting a commendation this afternoon could possibly have a daughter this smokin’ hot. 

Max opened his mouth to ask her who her father was when another DPD officer walked by with a plate filled with a collection of various hors d’oeuvres. While Max wasn’t impressed with the selection of food, Lana looked at the appetizers longingly, even though she still had the ones her friend had given her. Maybe she wasn’t big on squash blossoms. He didn’t blame her. 

“Would you like me to get you something else to eat?” he asked. 

She glanced down at her plate, then shook her head. “Thanks, but unfortunately, the spinach puffs were the only thing remotely edible, which is probably why they’re all gone. I can’t believe they’re trying to pass this stuff off as food.” 

He grinned. “I was just thinking the same thing a little while ago. I’m planning to head out as soon as this thing is over so I can get some real food.” 

She leaned in close and gave him a conspiratorial wink. “Maybe we can slip out now while no one is looking. I can drop my car keys off with Brandy and we can disappear into the night. I’d just about kill for a slice of pizza.” 

Any other time, Max would have been stoked to hear that. In his opinion, there wasn’t anything sexier than a woman who loved pizza. But right then, all he could think about was how his body was reacting to Lana’s nearness. Not only was his pulse racing, but his claws and fangs were dangerously close to coming out. He only hoped his eyes weren’t turning gold. 

On the upside, at least he now knew for sure she was a werewolf. He could smell it in her pheromones. That was probably why they hit it off so well. Well, there was another reason, but he wasn’t about to go there—even if a little wolf voice in the back of his head whispered maybe he should. 

Lana was telling him about an awesome pizza place that wasn’t too far away, wondering if he’d be interested in checking it out, but instead of answering her, he went in a completely different direction. 

“It’s so cool finding another of our kind here,” he said. “I totally didn’t expect it.” 

She didn’t seem to mind that he’d changed the subject, but she looked a bit confused. “Another of our kind? Are you a pescatarian, too?”

Max chuckled. That body and those looks combined with a wicked sense of humor? It was like she was made for him. A werewolf who didn’t eat meat? Now, that was epically funny. 

Unless it was true, in which case it was a little strange. 

Before he could say anything, Lana leaned over to look at something behind him, her lips curving into a smile. Max turned to see who she was looking at and was a little surprised to find Deputy Chief Hal Mason. The deputy chief was in charge of the police department’s specialized Tactical Division, which included the mounted police, canine unit, helicopter support, EOD, and SWAT. As a high-ranking officer in the department, Mason had to attend every award ceremony, but this time he’d been recognized for his commitment to developing his entire division, especially SWAT. 

“Hey, Dad.” Lana stepped around Max to give Mason a hug. “I was looking for you and Mom earlier, but you were deep in conversation with some people and I didn’t want to interrupt.” 

Max picked his jaw up from the floor and shoved it back into place. Lana was the deputy chief’s daughter?

What I thought about Wolf Hunger

Max meets Lana at a police function when he detects her scent over all others.  If you've been reading this series, you know that probably means that the owner of that unique scent is none other than "The One" -- Max's soul mate for life. Finding The One has been the theme for all of the books in this series.

There's one little (ok, not so little) problem for Max and Lana -- Lana's father is the deputy chief in charge of SWAT, and he doesn't want Lana to have anything to do with Max.

Fortunately, Lana feels the pull to Max just as much as he feels it for her, and she defies her father to be with Max.  But then everything falls apart when Lana's former roommate is murdered, and the SWAT team suspects the hunters have moved into Dallas.  

Wolf Hunger is the seventh book in the series, and it's the point in the series when I worry about stories getting repetitious. That doesn't happen at all in Wolf Hunger.  The last half of Wolf Hunger is filled with non-stop action as Lana, Max and the SWAT team work to defeat the hunters and their special brand of attack.  The fast pace was awesome and I couldn't put this book down until the very last pages.  

I loved Lana and Max together too.  Even though she's got some big hurdles to jump (considering she's not even aware of what she is), Max helps her along the way, sometimes to his own detriment. Lana is strong and not easily intimidated, and I loved that about her -- she's the perfect compliment to Max.  

So another terrific installment in this romantic wolf shifter series. I've got to give it 5 stars, especially for the action sequence that goes on in the last half of the book. I really adore this series and recommend it. 

An ARC was provided for review.

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Paige Tyler is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.

Find Paige Online:
Twitter: @PaigeTyler

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