Saturday, October 4, 2014

ALEX -- a summary and opinion

*I received a free ARC of ALEX: A Cold Fury Novel from LoveSwept via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.
I needed a sport romance in my life. I needed a hockey romance in my life...

You see, I have a number of books, all stemming from one series, just juggling around in my head, waiting to be written. The initial series follows a hockey family (and it moves to a military family, to a family living in Montana, etc etc). But the more military romance books I read, the more my Douglas boys and their sisters talk to me, and really, those Prescotts need to start talking too, and more than just the youngest, Porter (if you ever get to meet my Porter Prescott, you'll see how much he stands out in his family).
So between the need to write those Prescotts, and the fact that I'm jonesin' for hockey season (3 days!!)... This book was very much needed.

Publication Date: October 14, 2014
*I just saw the cover for Garrett and I'm even more in love and excited to read it!! ...and now, 2 minutes after typing that, I just read the synopsis and I have tears in my eyes -- over a 2 second blurb! -- and I'm even more pumped to read it. Garrett's gonna fall hard... and I'm going to love watching it.


USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett scores big-time with the first novel in a sexy new series hot enough to melt the ice.
Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.

As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy facade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.


Alex Crossman is the player Carolina Cold Fury fans love to hate, and that's OK with him. He hits the ice, completes his shift, and rolls his eyes when the crowd cheers when he does something well -- because regardless, the fans hate him. He's played this song and dance for 6 years. He doesn't like the limelight, the feedback. "I hate this fucking shit  .  .  . the adulation, the limelight  .  .  . all of it."

He doesn't even like to play. His coldness, though, is what has earned him the Most Valuable Prick title.
"'You were the best player in the Quebec Juniors by the time you were sixteen, the number-one NHL draft pick six years ago, and you have the potential to win the Art Ross Trophy every fucking year if you actually decided to start caring about this game. Instead, you do the bare minimum to get by, which lucky for you and your career, still makes you pretty fucking good. You have the talent and ability to captain this team, yet you have the emotional maturity of the arena’s janitor. You’re a fuck-up by most standards, yet you’ll continue to get your pay and bonuses because you have more talent in your pinky than most players have in their entire body. I guess what I don’t understand  .  .  . how do you look at yourself in the mirror every day knowing that you’re wasting your life?'"

...but the problem lies within and at home.
No matter what Alex does, he will never measure up to his dad's standards -- so why bother applying himself? While I don't want to post the exact flashback that really drills this home... it's really not a surprise he hates the game with how his father treated him as a child.
So, as most athletes with a terrible reputation can probably attest, the big suits in the organization are requiring him to clean up his image. No big, right? But the clean up involves hours and hours of an anti-drug campaign (and before he was given the time requirement, eh, no big deal) -- but the kicker is he either cleans himself up, or he says goodbye to his career.

He meets Sutton through this outreach program. Her excitement for the game starts to bring excitement back to it for him, too. He begins to look forward to his talks with Sutton, and slowly but surely, romance blossoms.
As the book moves through the motions, Alex finds himself more and more attached to Sutton and the way she makes him feel. However he continuously warns her that his 'asshole' side will come out, and that while he knows she can do better than him, he's going to be selfish as long as he can, because he wants to be with her.
One of my favorite thoughts of Alex's is much later in the story:
"An image comes to my mind of Sutton pregnant, her tummy round and her walk bordering on a waddle. It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, and I hope she wants more than one kid".
The reason why I love this thought so much is because he had such a shitty childhood, the fact that he wants a family with Sutton is amazing. A lot of times these heroes fear that they will be no better than their own parents, but Alex is not so -- he knows Sutton makes him a better person, a fuller person. I can't wait to see him be a dad -- so Ms. Sawyer Bennett, these Cold Fury players better be around long enough so I can see it!
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While the song lyrics don't really fit... Every time Trading Yesterday's "Shattered" comes on my Spotify list, I just think of Alex.
Yesterday I died, tomorrow's bleeding // Fall into your sunlight // The future's open wide beyond believing // To know why hope dies // Losing what was found, a world so hollow // Suspended in a compromise // The silence of this sound is soon to follow // Somehow sundown

And finding answers // Is forgetting all of the questions we called home // Passing the graves of the unknown

As reason clouds my eyes, with splendor fading // Illusions of the sunlight // And the reflection of a lie will keep me waiting // Love gone for so long

This day's ending is the proof of time killing all the faith I know // Knowing that faith is all I hold

And I've lost who I am // And I can't understand // Why my heart is so broken // Rejecting your love // Without love gone wrong // Life // Less words // Carry on

But I know // All I know // Is that the ends beginning

Who I am from the start // Take me home to my heart // Let me go // And I will run // I will not be silenced

All this time spent in vain // Wasted years // Wasted gain // All is lost // Hope remains // And this war's not over

There's a light // There's the sun // Taking all the shattered ones // To the place we belong //And his love will conquer

And I've lost who I am // And I can't understand // Why my heart is so broken // Rejecting your love // Without love gone wrong // Life // Less words // Carry on

But I know // All I know // Is that the ends beginning

Who I am from the start // Take me home to my heart // Let me go // And I will run // I will not be silenced
Oh, and here's some more fun for you too; while it's an AHL goal (the farm-league Alex's dad played, and the league that I spent most of 2008-2012 watching and singing the National Anthem for), it's still a pretty sweet goal. Is it regular season yet?!

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