Ryker by Sawyer Bennett Book Tour, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway!

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RYKER
Cold Fury #4
Sawyer Bennett
Releasing Sept 8th, 2015

 

The rugged men of the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team are winning hearts once again in another scorching novel from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett.
The stakes have never been higher for Carolina Cold Fury goalie Ryker Evans. With his contract running out, he’s got a year left to prove he’s still at the top of his game. And since his wife left him, Ryker has been balancing life as a
pro-hockey star and a single parent to two daughters. Management is waiting for him to screw up. The fans are ready to pounce. Everybody’s taking dirty shots—except for the fiery redhead whose faith in Ryker gives him a fresh start.
As the league’s only female general manager, Gray Brannon has learned not to mix business with pleasure. And yet even this tough, talented career woman can’t help breaking her own rules as she gives Ryker everything she’s got. She hopes their hot streak will last forever, but with Ryker’s conniving ex plotting to reclaim her man, the pressure is on Gray to step up and save a tender new love before it’s too late.

Excerpt

My father has never been one for pomp, sugar coating, or long segues. He cuts right to the chase. “I know you all have seen the news stories and I hate that it was leaked before I could talk to you. As of today, I have officially stepped down as the acting general manager of the Cold Fury.”

No one utters a word. Not a sound is made. This tells me that indeed, everyone has already heard the news.

“I’m appointing my daughter, Gray Brannon, in my place.”

And there it is . . . a distinct rustling sound as bodies shift in their seats. My father continues on, making firm and clear statements about my qualifications.

Graduated Princeton when I was nineteen.

Got my MBA from Kellogg at twenty-one.

Ph.D. in statistics from Berkeley at twenty-four.

Genius level IQ of 142.

Okay, Dad . . . that’s a little much. Get to the good stuff.

As I half listen to my father talk with pride about my two Olympic medals while playing for the U.S. women’s ice hockey team—one silver, one gold—I let my eyes roam over the group. The two front rows are composed of the coaching, equipment, and training staff. The players sit in clique-type groups based on what lines they play on. This isn’t by design, but I’m betting more because they have a unique bond and camaraderie. They almost have a sixth sense that enables them to read each other while on the ice.

My eyes pass over Ryker Evans, our team’s goalie, and then snap right back to him. He’s not watching my father but rather me, and I find myself unwillingly sucked into those silver-gray eyes. It happens every time I look at him, whether it’s in person or he’s giving an interview on TV, which is again proof that I am indeed a woman.

His lips tip up in acknowledgment of me and his eyes radiate congratulations. He gives me a nod of approval and then slides his gaze to my father, who is now lauding my scouting efforts for the Cold Fury. I’ve been the senior scout for the past two years and have scored some great players for the team.

I don’t immediately move my own gaze on, but rather take an unfettered moment to appreciate Ryker’s bold handsomeness. He’s called the Brick Wall in this league because he’s big. I mean really big for a goalie, but he’s still one of the most agile net minders I’ve ever seen. And still speaking as a woman for just a second, he has the face of a GQ cover model. In fact, I think he’s actually graced their cover twice if memory serves me. Dark hair, liquid silver eyes, and a beard of what looks like no more than three days’ growth that never gets shorter or longer, even during the playoffs. I’m quite sure when he’s ready to retire he could have a second career as a model if he was so inclined.

As it stands, however, I am far more interested in Ryker Evans for his athletic abilities than his face and I consider him to be one of my greatest acquisitions as a scout. I thought that even when our playoff hopes were crushed during Ryker’s first game in a Cold Fury jersey when he failed to stop a penalty shot, securing for us a big fat loss. I thought he was still a fantastic prospect even when the organization’s CFO, Bill Bowman, berated me in a staff meeting for insisting on such a pricey acquisition to the team.

I remember that day with actual fondness. Bill got all red in the face as he ranted at me, and my father just leaned back in his chair at the head of the conference room table and let me take it all on my shoulders. My father never fought my fights once I became an adult and I loved him for it. It meant he respected me.

It didn’t matter that it was wholly unfair to put that loss on Ryker’s shoulders. The fact is, the team—as a whole and with our regular starting goalie, Max Fournier—blew a three-game lead in the playoffs against Atlanta. Ryker came in cold off the bench when Max suffered a season- ending knee injury and was immediately placed in the net to face off against one of the best players in the league for a penalty shot.

And when he missed it, he became the pariah of the Cold Fury team.

At least for a little while.

But right now, it’s kind of hard to be the outcast when you have a .936 save percentage.

Yes, now my boy is back. He’s become a team leader—a man the younger guys look up to. He’s killing it on the ice, and I believe nothing is going to stop him this season. I can see it in his eyes, the tilt of his chin, the set to his shoulders. Ryker Evans, the Brick Fucking Wall, is going to lead this team—my team—straight into the playoffs. He has something to prove and that’s fine by me . . . whatever motivates him best.

“—which means that the only one who has to prove herself to you is Gray. I’m not even asking you to give her a chance because I know she’d never ask that of you either. I’m just telling you to watch and judge her on her own merits.”

My dad steps away from the podium and gives me a wink. He sweeps a hand out, indicating that I now have the floor. I didn’t have any expectations that I was going to be greeted with open arms. I didn’t expect applause, wolf whistles, or even metaphorical banging of hockey sticks to welcome me. In fact, I got more than I ever anticipated just from that quick nod of approval from Ryker Evans.

That’s fine by me.

Just makes this all the easier for me as I step up to the podium and prepare to cement my place in history.

Review

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What do you get when two driven professionals with equally loving hearts are attracted to each other but know their paths mustn’t cross? I got whole lot of sweet smiles, tender hugs and sexy moments and a feel-good story about love conquering all.

“If it’s real love… it’s supposed to be hard… because you feel deeper. Things are more important. The risks are greater and the rewards surpass anything you could hope for.”

Ryker “the Brick” Evans has mastered being a single parent to two adorable little girls. He’s also on a hot streak he needs to keep in order to secure his contract renewal. Even as a veteran goal tender with a stellar career in the NHL, many seem to believe Ryker has no more to give, but the new general manager has faith that his fortitude will take the Carolina Cold Fury all the way to Stanley Cup championships.

Gray Brannon is making history and setting precedent. She’s been appointed as the first woman general manager in the male dominated world of the NHL. With her take charge attitude, prior hockey experience in two Olympics and a certified genius IQ, she’s determined to create an indestructible championship team.

In order to do so, she shouldn’t be crossing professional lines that could potentially ruin both hers and Ryker’s careers. But their attraction is undeniable. Will she give up her career in order to pursue love? Will he? Can they find a way to have everything?

I don’t know how many books I need to read for it to be official, but I think I’m a certified Sawyer Bennett fan. Before I read the blurb, even before the cover reveal, just from a couple of appearances from Ryker in the previous Cold Fury book and I knew I would fall for him hook, line and sinker. What I didn’t realize was that I would love his partner just the same. But I should have, since I know Sawyer Bennett has the capacity to draw you into a story with great characters and make you want more.

There are so many great things about Ryker to love starting with his devotion to his two little girls. He’s tough yet sensitive and completely sure about himself. After he was cheated on by his wife he could have easily turned to meaningless flings, yet he continued to believe in love and marriage.

Gray was wonderful and perfect for Ryker. She’s a gorgeous, smart, motivated woman who grew up a funny, vibrant and warm with a lovely, passionate heart who just needed the right man to show her there was more to life than statistical models and championships.

“For the first time in my life I feel interest in something other than my career.
I feel needed.
I feel happy.
I feel cherished.
I. Feel. Everything.”

They tried to be just friends in order to assuage their pull. They got along so well though, the lines were easily blurred. Especially since they were open and honest with their wants and feelings which lead to a sweetly mature, deep relationship that allowed them to see that what they had was worth taking the risk.

“I’m doing what feels right to me. You feel right to me.”
“We can’t…”
“We can…”
“I’m your boss… it’s inappropriate.”
“And yet I don’t give a sh!t.”

I liked how much Ryker understood her geeky methods and wasn’t intimidated by her. I got happily dizzy just imagining this big, powerful, model worthy man, teasing her with the cutesy nickname.

“I can handle anything you throw my way, Big Bang.”

And I loved how Ryker put Gray before him, how he was willing to step back from his career in order for Gray to continue with hers. But it was a heartfelt two way street with them. Because once Gray realized her attraction to Ryker was soul deep, she would equally stand aside for him.

A team sport wouldn’t be complete without the rest of the team and I was glad to see the gang back, especially Zack and Kate who, among stolen moments, steal a lovely one for themselves.

Taking moments in between games, hockey controversy, and family drama, Sawyer Bennett gave us sweet, sultry romance that had me smiling wide with its incredibly happy ending of Big Bang proportions.

Ryker is the fourth book in the Cold Fury Hockey series by Sawyer Bennett. It can be read as a standalone with interconnecting characters from previous books. With no cliffhanger and a happy ending.

 
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USA Today and New York Times 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 third book in the Cold Fury Hockey Series with Random House Loveswept, June 2015.

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Grab the other Cold Fury Romances
 
ALEX
 
GARRETT
 
ZACK

2 thoughts on “Ryker by Sawyer Bennett Book Tour, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway!

    Tasty Book Tours said:
    September 9, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Thank you for hosting RYKER! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

      dalitza responded:
      September 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you Tasty 🙂 It was my pleasure!

      Like

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