Friction by Sawyer Bennett

I came across this book searching for Sawyer Bennett after I saw that she is, contrary to what I previously thought, publishing a new Cold Fury novel. Oh, happy day. The book is not yet up on NetGalley, but this one was, and since I enjoyed the last Legal Affairs series I read, I decided to grab this one.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
Two lawyers on opposite sides of an important case can’t keep from starting an affair, promising each other and themselves that what happens in the court room won’t affect what happens in the bedroom. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I love this author, but there were a lot of things I questioned at the beginning of this book, so I was pleasantly surprised when it found its romantic footing and drew me in to the angst between Reeve and Leary.

Though I never would have considered myself a fan of stories where law was the setting, I enjoy these ones. They don’t get bogged down in law jargon, and though I have no idea how valid anything is in the legal world, it’s written so well and convincingly that I buy right into it and have a lot of fun in the process.

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Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
Right at the beginning I had a knee jerk reaction. The heroine is told to use everything she has to win, and that seems to include her sexuality and looks. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. I was even more conflicted because the “winning” was actually to help good people in bad situations.

Reeve, in general, is a good guy, but in the first few scenes between him and Leary, I almost thought he was objectifying her. It was a thin line, really, considering she was trying to turn him on to get the advantage in court. It just seemed a little off to me.

The Romance Factor
The romance didn’t pick up until later and was definitely overshadowed by the sex in the first half of the book. Things subtly blossomed between Leary and Reeve, but where this book really hit my romantic sweet spot was all the emotion Reeve shows when he messes up. Because a groveling man who knows he did wrong can bring the best angst ever. 4/5

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The Steam Factor
Though not her steamiest novel, Bennett still doesn’t hold much back. There’s plenty of dirty talk, sex positivity, and heat inducing encounters, including one in a public bathroom that was both hot and kind of funny. 5/5

Final Thoughts
By the time I really got into the book, my initial reservations were gone. Leary is good at what she does and has a good reason for using everything she can to win. I also liked that the book brings about some moral questions and explores them through the plot. If a sequel to this one comes out, I’ll definitely read it.

Ryker by Sawyer Bennett

Since I discovered the Cold Fury series a few months back with my introduction to Zack, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Ryker’s story. I mean…he’s the goalie! I love the goalie! And his intro in the previous book was definitely enough to rev me up for his romance.

Ryker

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A seasoned goalie and his team’s first female general manager give in to their mutual lust, determined to keep it a secret in order to keep their jobs and their integrity. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
This book had a lot of great stuff, and I had a hard time putting it down. Ryker is a nice guy trying to do right by his daughter, be nice to his cheating ex, and making sure that Gray knows she has his full support. He’s a strong hero that doesn’t go overboard with the alpha.

The element of Gray being the team’s first woman general manager gave the story something deeper to mull over than just the relationship. She’s a strong, smart woman, given a position that is usually given to men, and there is a wide range of opinions from the other players. This, in turn, flows into the question of career vs. love for both of them, but how it’s slightly different for men and women.

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I ended up enjoying Gray and loving that even though she was strong, she still allowed herself some vulnerability and acknowledged that there was more to her than her education and professional position.

The Romance Factor
It was hard for the romance in this to beat the one in Zack, at least for me. Still, it definitely gave it a try with the developing relationship between Gray and Ryker and how they navigated their relationship around professional constraints. It does get a bonus for a damsel-in-distress moment and a heavy dose of angst. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Bennett continues to bring the hotness. While this one wasn’t as risque as some of her others, it was definitely enough to make a reader blush. 5/5

Hot Hiddleston

Final Thoughts
I’m guessing this is the last book in the series (though I’d be okay with being wrong), and I loved the high hockey note it went out on. It was also fun to see cameos from past characters. This is the series that introduced me to hockey romance and is thus far, the best that I’ve read.

Wicked Fall by Sawyer Bennett

It’s safe to say that Sawyer Bennett does not shy away from all things sex. In fact, this book is all about sex. A secret sex club, in fact, with a country western bar as front. Talk about a fun read…but definitely a steamy one, so proceed with caution should you want to read this in public.

Wicked Fall

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
The owner of a secret sex club likes to play it loose and dirty until his high school friend’s sister, who he had a thing for, comes back to town after breaking up with her fiance. The full synopsis can be found at this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
There is a good balance between sex and romance in this book, even though I think the book was about 80% sexy times, and ones meant to push the envelope on steaminess. This book is definitely contemporary erotica, and it’s very sex positive. Woolf allows Callie to explore her curiosities without pushing her or making her uncomfortable, and taking the time to talk to her about things after a particularly exploratory scene involving Woolf’s best friend.

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Also, the general theme of the story is safe, consensual, fun sex, even if it’s kinky, and I really liked that in this world, there were couples who engaged in these activities and were comfortable doing so, the experimentation helping to strengthen their own relationship. Yay for sex positivity!

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
The only issue I took with Woolf’s attitude towards Callie was that he “knew” this lifestyle wasn’t for her. He’s definitely an alpha male, so I guess it was to be expected. It didn’t detract from his character, as it was part of who he was, and overall, I really liked him as the hero. But part of me wanted Callie to be like, “Let’s do that again!”

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The Romance Factor
While only slightly angsty, I really loved the way Woolf handled Callie when showing her his world, and though most of their interactions were hot and dirty, there were some very sweet moments, too. 4/5 RF

The Steam Factor
I don’t know if I’ve done this before, but this book is getting a major 6/5 on the SF scale. The world this is set in explores all sorts of kinks and the author doesn’t hold back the detail, using all of the senses to let the reader know what’s going on. If you’re not used to a high level of sex in books, you might want to work up to this one.

Final Thoughts
I think Bennett is going to deliver another hot and fun series, and I can’t wait to read the next book, which is introduced in the epilogue of this one in a scene that I found to be strangely hilarious and enticing.

Blog Tour: Zack by Sawyer Bennett

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Zack
Cold Fury Hockey # 3
By: Sawyer Bennett
Releasing June 9, 2015
Loveswept

New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett goes for a hat trick with the latest romance in a sexy series about cool-as-ice hockey players and the women heating up their lives.

Warning: The following contains spoilers from a cliffhanger in Garrett.

Rising star Zack Grantham has been stuck in a downward spiral of grief that has put his career on hold. Back on the road with the Carolina Cold Fury, still crippled by emotional baggage, and now a single dad, he’s in need of some serious help with his son. But while the nerdy new nanny wins his son’s heart, Zack isn’t sure he’s ready for a woman’s touch—even after getting a glimpse of the killer curves she’s hiding under those baggy clothes.

Kate Francis usually keeps men like Zack at a distance. Though his athlete’s body is honed to perfection, he refuses to move on with his life—and besides, he’s her boss. Still, the sparks between them are undeniable, tempting Kate to turn their professional relationship into a personal one. But before she makes a power play for Zack’s wounded heart, Kate will have to open him up again and show him that love is worth the fight.

Link to Follow Tour
Goodreads Link | Goodreads Series Link

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo | Publisher

My happy little hockey heart was so happy read this book. Those hockey scenes gave me some major nostalgia (Go Lakers!). As a romance novel, this one had everything I like: good story, cute trope, fun characters, some hot scenes, and those moments that gave me all the feels.

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Needless to say, I was happy to join in on the book tour for this one to help spread the word. Seriously, fellow romance readers. This is a good one. You can read my full review at Goodreads.

Keep reading for an excerpt of this book, an awesome giveaway, and more info on the author (who has made my short list of must-read romance writers).

Sawyer

Author Info

USA Today Best-Selling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series. She will be releasing her second book in the Cold Fury Hockey Series with Random House Loveswept, February 2015.

 Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter  | GoodReads

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Loveswept & FLIRT Mugs and Select Ebook Bundle)

Excerpt

My heart feels like it’s going to leap out of my chest as I stand at the sink and wash the griddle clean. It’s actually kind of a pleasure to clean up in a kitchen like this. I’ve never been in a home this nice, and it’s hard not to stare around in wonder at all the shiny. His kitchen is übermodern, with sleek blond-oak cabinets and stainless-steel handles. The counters are done in black granite with flecks of gray throughout and the sink is a massive single bin made of some type of stone.

Zack sits at the table on the opposite side of the L-shaped kitchen counter with Ben as they eat their breakfast. His eyes remain pinned on me, a mixture of anger and confusion.

He clearly doesn’t like me and I have no clue why. I expect him at any moment to just fire me. I can see it in his eyes…That’s what he wants.

There was a moment when Ben hurtled his little body at me that I cut a glance at Zack, and I saw fury wash over him. It scared me so bad, I almost ran out of the house right then. But I didn’t because I really, really, really need this job. Without it, I’m just one bus ticket away from being forced to return home to live with Daddy in our dingy tin can of a trailer in the backwoods of eastern North Carolina. And I promised myself when I left home five years ago, as much as I adore my daddy, I would never let that happen.

So I pulled on all of my available confidence that I’ve built up over the years along with my sheer will to survive and promptly ignored Zack and his dirty looks and started to clean his kitchen. He didn’t say a word, just watched me as I worked and sometimes would make conversation with Ben.

I’m just wiping down the counters when Zack picks up the empty plates and walks over to put them in the dishwasher. When he’s finished, he turns to Ben and says, “Why don’t you go upstairs and play in your room a bit? I need to talk to Kate about a few things.”

“Can I watch TV?” Ben asks.

“Sure,” Zack says, and Ben jets from the table and pounds his way upstairs.

I rinse out the dishcloth in my hand, wring it, and then fold it over the faucet. Turning to Zack, I find him leaning a hip against the counter with his arms crossed defensively over his chest. His gaze is frosty when he says, “What exactly did Delaney tell you the job would consist of?”

Man, he intimidates the hell out of me. He towers over me, and even though he has the face of an angel with dark brown hair and whiskey-colored eyes perfectly supported by a strong jaw, so much animosity is radiating off him that I think he may be the devil.

I know all about Zack Grantham. That’s because I love sports. All kinds of sports, but in particular, Cold Fury hockey. When North Carolina got its first professional ice hockey team, I had just started sixth grade. But I remember sitting on the ratty green corduroy-covered couch in our trailer, and Daddy and I rooting for the Cold Fury. Of course, often he’d be drunk and passed out by the third period, but at least for two periods we’d have a good time bonding over our mutual love of the sport.

I’ve followed the team closely ever since. Of course, I’ve never been to a live game, that being an absolute luxury I could have never afforded, but because every game is broadcast locally, I rarely miss one unless I’m studying for an important test or something. And because I follow the team so well, I know exactly who Zack Grantham is.

He’s an amazing player and, truth be told, if I could afford a jersey, I’d probably get one with his name on it. Or maybe Alex Crossman’s. Or even Garrett Samuelson’s. About four months ago, Zack was in a terrible car accident that killed Ben’s mom, Gina, and caused him to be kept out of the first half of the season with a fractured wrist. That has apparently healed enough that he’s ready to return to the team, and thus the need for a nanny for Ben.

I was utterly stunned when I got a call from his sister, Delaney, for an interview. I had posted my résumé and qualifications on a website for nanny services, knowing it would be a long shot because most of my experience came from helping my sister, Kelly, with her three kids, and other various babysitting jobs. But at this point, I needed work, so I was applying to every place I could think of.

“Now you seem to have nothing to say,” Zack growls, and my body jerks over the derision in his voice.

“Sorry,” I mutter. “Um…Delaney said you needed a live-in nanny for Ben. That the position would be full-time until he started school in the fall, and then part-time after that. She said I’d be responsible for his care when you weren’t here and that I’d have to do basic household chores and stuff.”

Zack nods at me, unfurls his arms from across his chest, and rubs his chin thoughtfully. “Delaney thinks you’re right for this job. I’m going to have to trust her on that.”

“I am,” I tell him earnestly. “I’ll take very good care of Ben.”

“You’d better,” he growls at me so menacingly, I take an involuntary step backward. “If you harm one hair on my child’s head, I will make you regret it. Do you understand?”

The scared country girl inside me wants to curl into the fetal position and just shrink away from the threat in his voice. But I’m not that young girl anymore. I’ve pulled myself out of crappy circumstances and made a new life for myself. I’ve worked hard over the years to build up my self-esteem, and I’m not about to let this man tear it down.

Squaring my shoulders at him, I give him a stern look. “I appreciate your protectiveness of Ben, and I’d feel the same way about my own child. I can assure you, you have nothing to worry about. But I have to insist that you treat me with some type of respect for the position I hold. At the very least, you don’t want to teach your son it’s okay to threaten and intimidate women, do you?”

Zack stares at me, his amber-colored eyes turning almost a dark brown. He blinks a few times and shakes his head. “Are you always this blunt?”

“I’m always this honest,” I clarify for him.