The sister of a man’s best friend becomes his lover in this sports-fueled romance dealing with grief, life-altering illnesses, and action on and off the ice. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Dax by Sawyer Bennett, along with my impressions of this contemporary romance, then add this fourth installment in the Arizona Vengeance series to your bookshelf.
The Arizona Vengeance is killing it on the ice. But one player can’t seem to keep his eye on the puck—all thanks to the woman he just married to save her life.
My name is Dax Monahan and hockey is my passion. And if you want to succeed in this sport you have to bust your ass 24/7. I’ve never had a hard time focusing on my career, but when my past comes knocking, no amount of training can prepare me for what lies on the other side of the door.
Regan Miles was always like a sister to me. When a shared tragedy brings us face to face after several years, I’m shocked to see just how much she’s changed. Gone is the shy, awkward little girl that always used to chase me and her brother around. Instead, I’m faced with a gorgeous woman who makes it damn hard to concentrate on anything but her.
Turns out, she’s in trouble, and the only way out is to get married.
I surprise myself when I tell her to marry me. Order her, actually. And most shocking of all, she doesn’t even hesitate before saying yes.
So it’s settled. We’re getting hitched and she’s moving to Arizona with me. All platonic, of course.
I never knew I’d fall so hard for my best friend’s little sister.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
The Arizona Vengeance series continues to shine courtesy of its sexy and dedicated hockey players and the women who challenge them at every turn. While this latest offering overlaps the action in the previous book, Legend, it also gives readers greater insight into what Dax is going through in a tale that pulled at my heartstrings. It’s an emotionally intense tale too that deals with modern issues in a realistic way that pulled me in wholeheartedly and has me excited for what comes next.
Dax Monahan lives and breathes hockey, has dedicated himself to the sport and to his teammates, but changes are coming and he’s feeling a bit uncertain about what it all means. With his teammates slowly finding their other halves he’s starting to miss their fun times together, feels a bit jealous of what they now have, which leaves him especially nostalgic when his best friend passes away. Being close with his best friend’s sister has him running to help her during this difficult time and it’s not long before he helps her in the most unexpected way possible...as her new husband. The theme of friends-to-lovers is amongst my favorites and there’s much to enjoy in Dax’s connection to Regan...the most enjoyable being the endless sexual tension. Dax always felt close to her growing up but saw her more as a sister, saw teenage imperfections. Now though he sees her as a grown woman and it makes him feel both exhilarated and unworthy of these new feelings he’s having for her as it’s hard to step out of the friend zone. While it’s clear that he’s conflicted by his feelings for Regan, he knows what he wants and it makes for a compelling romance that had me staying up all night to reach the final page. With each turn of the page I fell in love a little bit more with the kind-hearted Dax, knew he was in fact more than good enough for Regan, and rooted for him to realize it too every step of the way. He never saw their marriage as a sacrifice and that truth endeared him to me as each word and deed showed his growing feelings for her.
Regan Miles has always had a close connection with her brother as he was given custody of her after the death of their parents and together they’ve been through a lot. His place in the hockey world made her into a fan too and it’s just one layer of her bond with Dax that comes through here. Her brother’s career had a direct influence on her as well when it comes to matters of health insurance and the illness she’s dealing with. Needing health insurance is just part of the reason she and Dax marry, the only reason they’re willing to admit to early on, and it’s both a timely issue and one that was vividly dealt with. The more time they spent together the stronger their attraction to each other became and the more invested I became in them. Through their rocky road to HEA, Regan showed herself to be a likable and strong-willed heroine. She had a lot of adversity come her way, a lot of punches thrown by fate, that she just rolled with. She hates accepting help but is smart enough to know when not to wage a war and when to hold on tight to someone offering help unconditionally. Regan was a good support to Dax as his team went through some rough times here and I enjoyed how seamlessly she fit into his world. It made for a deeper connection being on display, one that not only warmed my heart but one that made me blush a time or two in their sweet and sensual interactions.
This series continues to entertain and to get the most out of it it’s best to read it in order as each story builds upon the previous book. Each member of the Arizona Vengeance has started to feel like family, has them interacting as brothers, and it made me more invested in their outcomes. These hockey gods are both sexy and charming too and each of their romances have been richly rewarding with this one being another delight courtesy of an entertaining trope and its immensely appealing main couple. The angst for these two was there but wasn’t relentless in a story that dealt more with serious issues that everyone can relate to rather than melodramatic ones. Alongside this likable main couple were glimpses of Dax’s other teammates. There were glimpses of players who’ve already achieved their HEA along with those just waiting for something more. Tracker clearly stood out amongst the other other secondary characters with a journey that has been painful to witness. Guilt and loss continue to eat at him over the death of his fiancée and this story showed him at his lowest point and knowing that his story is next has me breathlessly counting down the days until release day. Fans of sports romances will find this series a sizzling one with easily relatable characters and storylines that flow perfectly. If you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for?
My rating for this is an A-/B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
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.