Set in the hockey world, this novella will pull at reader’s heartstrings as a star player, returning home to be with his dying father, is given a second chance at HEA with the girl he left behind. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Rafe by Sawyer Bennett, along with getting my impressions of this emotionally intense tale, then add this next installment in the Arizona Vengeance series to your bookshelf!
I was living my dream until one phone call changed everything.
As the second line center for the Arizona Vengeance, my mind has been on one thing—helping my team bring home a championship. But that all changed when I found out my dad had cancer and only months to live. In that moment, nothing mattered more than getting home to North Carolina to be by his side. That meant asking for the unthinkable—a trade to the Carolina Cold Fury.
Now I’m home and when I’m not on the ice with my new team, I’m helping care for my dad. And in the midst of my grief, I find comfort from the one person I never expected.
Calliope Ramirez stole my heart at a very young age. The beautiful, smart, headstrong girl next door, she was my first… everything. She has never forgiven me for leaving her, believing that I chose hockey over a future together. What she doesn’t understand is that every decision I made was for her, and I’ve never given up hope that one day we’d be together again.
Watching my dad slip away is a harsh reminder of how short life can be, and having Calliope by my side makes me realize I was a damn fool before. That changes starting right now. Calliope Ramirez is mine and I’m not going to waste the second chance that I’ve been given.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
Having read both of Ms. Bennett’s hockey series I’ve come to think of all the characters inhabiting the worlds of the Cold Fury and the Arizona Vengeance as family. And it’s that idea of family that drives this novella and pulled at my heartstrings a time or two as a star player returns home to be with his dying father. Returning home is fraught with pain though as he has to address the issues simmering between him and his father as well as spending hours with the girl he left behind eight years ago to pursue his hockey dream.
Though this is a novella it’s never short on emotions and I ached for all that Rafe Simmons went through with his father. His father was not the most expressive when it came to how he felt about his son and it led to years of him feeling inadequate. With time ticking away they finally get the chance to say how they really feel and the realistically depicted interludes between father and son brought a tear to my eye. The lone bright spot during his time home was reuniting with his former teenage love, Calliope “Poppy” Ramirez. These two were inseparable as children and as they grew older their relationship took a more steamy turn. They were each other’s firsts at everything and neither could see a future without the other in it...at least until Rafe made assumptions that had him leaving Poppy behind with a broken heart and tons of questions and doubts. The years since led him to the top of the hockey world but he’s never forgotten her and has regretted his decision every day. Seeing her gives him the chance to make amends, explain his actions, and hope for forgiveness. She may be angry when seeing him again...and rightly so...but Poppy’s too kindhearted to make him suffer for long. Despite her early anger she was a silent support to him while guiding him through his father’s journey as her nursing background has him soon relying on her. Their renewed friendship soon added sensual benefits that gave him a few hours of forgetting the harsh reality of his father’s upcoming death as their encounters burned up the pages. Fun and steamy encounters were quickly balanced with heartbreaking truths as his father’s journey was inevitable, and with each turn of the page I became more and more invested in these two very likable characters.
Rafe’s a delicious hero who’s determined to do things right this time. He sees the mistakes he made in the past and is bent on not wasting another moment. With his father he made sure to remember the good times, never made his father feel emasculated despite his weakening state, and never shied away from sharing a hug or tears. His reason for leaving Poppy was a bit silly but at the time it felt like the truth. He can now admit how wrong he was back then and by relying on her strength now he can finally prove himself to her. Poppy’s an appealing heroine who grew up as Rafe’s neighbor before becoming his everything. She loved their time growing up together, cherished each encounter, which is why her heart was broken by his leaving. It was a betrayal that made her feel inadequate and has festered in her for years. She’s a strong-willed person but his leaving broke her and she hated how low his leaving took her. Being a nurse though speaks to having a kind heart and when Rafe needs her most she’s there once again in a heartwarming journey to HEA. Ultimately this was a story light on angst but deep when it came to emotions and I applaud Ms. Bennett for all that she packed into this novella. Readers looking for a sweet and sexy story will definitely want to add this tale of second chances to their bookshelves!
My rating for this is an A-
*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.