Monday, June 17, 2019

Book Release Blitz for Benched by Elise Faber (REVIEW)

It’s a sweet and sensual tale found between the pages as a woman weighed down by her past finds an exhilarating reason to rejoin the land of the living after meeting a sexy hockey player juggling single fatherhood and a heartwarming request from his son.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Benched by Elise Faber, along with my impressions of this book, then add this fourth installment in the Gold Hockey series to your bookshelf!

Max Montgomery was at the height of his career, playing the best hockey of his life, and lucky enough to have a starting spot on a team that was actually a contender for the Cup. And one by one his friends were falling in love.
Love. Now that was a dirty four-letter word if he’d ever heard one.
Max had experienced love and all of its aftereffects and where had that gotten him?
Lonely, living in an apartment, and paying alimony to a woman who’d left him at the merest sign of a hiccup in their marriage.
His only bright spot was his son. Brayden had moved back in with him a few months ago, after his mother had taken off to God knew where. Max loved having him home, but with his son only seven and him on the road for forty-two games a year, they’d struggled. Still, they’d found a way to make it work.
But then Brayden threw Max a completely new curve ball.
He wanted Max to find a wife.
Max had been there, done that, got the crappy T-shirt as a souvenir. No way would he make himself vulnerable like that again, no matter how much his son wanted it.
A puppy was a perfectly viable alternative, right?
At least that was what he’d been thinking until he met Angelica Shallows, sister to the team’s Physical Therapist guru, Mandy, and a brilliant engineer in her own right. She was gorgeous, smart, but had shadows in her eyes.
Max knew all about shadows, knew they were meant as a sign for him to stay away.
What was that about the best intentions paving the road to hell? Max may have wanted to stay away, may have wanted to abide the warning signs in Angie’s eyes, but—
The real trouble began when found that he couldn’t do either of those things.



Readers looking for a feel-good romance will get just that with this sweet and sexy romance set in the hockey world as a single father tries to fulfill his young son’s newest request...finding him a new mom.  The journey to HEA isn’t simple though as fears over their pasts leads to a few doubts along the way that still ultimately led to a cheer-worthy conclusion.

Max Montgomery is at the top of his game after a rocky year full of life changes.  With his ex relinquishing her parental rights to their son Brayden, Max is now a single dad who juggles his son’s needs while continuing to be successful on the ice too.  So what if he’s sometimes late in getting Brayden to school on time.  At least his boy knows he’s loved with interactions that made me smile.  It all leaves little time for Max when it comes to matters of his own heart, which is fine by him as his ex left him bruised and doubtful of love and honesty due to her deceitfulness.  Seeing the quiet and jittery Angie does tempt him though and what starts out as subtle flirtations soon becomes so much more.  Just when HEA is within their reach his fear leads to harsh words and a hard-fought Grand Gesture that Angie richly deserved.  Max is a delicious hero with an endearing connection to his son courtesy of quiet movie nights and moments of mutual rambunctiousness.  He’s a loving father who would do just about anything for his son, but putting his heart on the line again isn’t something he’s rushing out to do.  Thankfully fate, and a newly-adopted dog, brings him and Angie together in a relationship that takes both of them outside their comfort zones.  Angie’s got her own baggage which Max is very conscious of and in his dealings with her he’s very gentle.  There’s definite maturity to him but playfulness as well when it comes to sci-fi talk and he’s an entertaining dichotomy that I was drawn to from the very start.  Even with his anger late in the story directed at Angie, he still managed to win me back due to a truly heartwarming act of forgiveness that pulled at my geeky heartstrings and that made for a perfect ending.

Angela Shallows is the illegitimate daughter of hockey royalty, kept secret from everyone including the half-sister now hoping to make a connection with her. Life’s not been easy for her through the years though with the pain of loneliness, and unending fear from being sexually assaulted, leaving her jittery and full of uncertainties.  She feels awkward in social situations and her low self-esteem had her closing herself off from the world and it broke my heart to see her struggle early on.  With a new group of friends pushing her though, daring her to be bolder, readers were soon cheering her on as a sexy hockey star made his attraction towards her known.  Fun and flirty texts soon evolved into tongue-tingling kisses that brought out a gentle side in Max and a coquettish side to Angie.  Angie’s an appealing heroine for the most part, very comfortable around Brayden and determined in her interactions with others.  I applauded her going outside her comfort zone and was thrilled to see her becoming more empowered by being around Max.  His harsh words late in the story would’ve broken the old Angie, but this one picked herself up and brushed herself off before getting ready to reclaim her place in Max’s life.  I also want to mention how simple Angie’s recovery was from her assault (touch from others previously had her pulling away) as it felt a bit too easy.  Despite that I still appreciate that the author dealt with the long-term aspects of what happened to her in a respectful way that made Max look even more the hero.

Overall there was a sense of familiarity to this story, a sense of predictability that frustrated me at times, while keeping me entertained through its crackling dialogue and sensual interludes.  The main couple clearly had issues of their own while being together made them stronger in a relationship that was virtually angst-free.  It wasn’t until the very end that the author threw in a very unnecessary roadblock to HEA, a roadblock that was overly-melodramatic but one that quickly solved one problem while creating another that was quickly cleaned up.  Surrounding this appealing main couple was an equally likable cast of secondary characters.  From Max’s teammates (who felt more like family) to a psycho-ex looking to turn his HEA upside down, readers were kept glued to the pages seeing teammates act more like brothers in laugh out loud scenes while hissing at Suzanne’s duplicitous behavior.  After the heartwarming conclusion found here, readers will be left counting down the days until the next installment in the Gold Hockey series as the sparks are just beginning to fly between rookie hockey star Blue and Max’s strong-willed nanny Anna.

My rating for this is an B+

*I got this book from the authors for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Aside from writing romance, Elise's passions are chocolate, Star Wars, and hockey (the order depending on the day and how well her team -- the Sharks! -- are playing). She and her husband also play as much hockey as they can squeeze into their schedules, so much so that their typical date night is spent on the ice. Elise is the mom to two exuberant boys and is thoroughly addicted to Dancing With the Stars.


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