Monday, March 2, 2020

Ryker by 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 that 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 that their hot streak will last forever, but with Ryker's conniving ex plotting to reclaim her man, the pressure's on Gray to step up and save a tender new love before it's too late.

Series: Cold Fury # | Publisher: Tantor Audio | Narrator: Cris Dukehart, Graham Halstead  | Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins  | Genre: Contemporary Romance| Source: I can't remember  | Rating: 3.5 Cups

Challenges Read For:  - Audiobook Challenge -   Literary Pickers  : Laundry Basket - Romanceopoly: The Office (Any genre): a romance where the couple meet at their place of work
What’s a goalie to do when he falls for a woman who happens to be the GM of his team?


Here’s what’s going on. When goalie Ryker Evans joins the Cold Fury under a cloud of drama, he knows everyone from management to the fans is waiting for him to screw up. With a year left on his contract, he knows that he doesn’t need to borrow trouble but then he finds himself falling for the Cold Fury’s new General Manager, Gray Brannon. While Gray’s having fun with Ryker, she’s determined not to let it sink the career that’s she’s worked so hard for but she knows before long she’s going to have to make a choice.


I listened to Zack and knew I had to immediately start Ryker (thankfully, I had it in my Audible library). He was such a prominent character in the Zack and I knew that I needed his story.  


Ryker was great—his marriage is over and he’s waiting for the judge to sign off on the divorce. He’s brought a bit drama with him to the Cold Fury in regards with how he left his previous team. He’s also a single father to two adorable daughters and is willing to do anything for them, even letting their mom—who cheated on him with a younger member of his previous team—spend time with them in his house. What was great with Ryker was that, while he felt sympathetic towards his ex-wife, he wasn’t willing to let his ex-wife ruin the good in his life.


I had a hard time connecting with Gray through most of the book. She’s worked hard to get to where she is—the first GM of a pro hockey team—and she’s not willing to let anything stand in her way. Then she starts this relationship with Ryker—or rather they start shagging like rabbits—while she seems to be falling for him, she’s determined to treat him like her dirty secret. I wanted more from her. I wasn’t really a fan of Gray’s until the last third of the book.


The relationship felt a bit off for most of the book. There’s chemistry and instant attraction but not a lot of honest feelings from Gray. It’s obvious from the start Ryker’s head over heels for her—because he’s a father, he’s not the type to do casual—so he knows there can be more with Gray if she’s willing to let him completely into her life and own up to the fact she’s in love with him. Gray’s determined to protect her career—and I understand that their relationship would have major implications—but I just wanted her to make that big declaration to Ryker long before she actually did.


Amidst the will she won’t she from Gray there’s some outside drama from within the team as well as some moves being made by Ryker’s ex and I felt they were well-handled and fit in with the story. It wasn’t drama for drama’s sake and it was events that was the catalyst for character growth.


While I enjoyed this one, I felt like it was lacking a bit. Having just finished Zack, which was emotionally charged and had depth, I feel like this one, for the most part, was basically all sex with a side of story. I don’t mind a steamy romance, but please give me a little more development.


I struggled a bit with Cris Dukehart’s narration in the previous book but it actually worked for me in this one. I had no trouble with Graham Halstead and find him to be an easy listen.


Overall, Ryker saved this book for me. Honestly, if I hadn’t been so caught up in his story, I would have DNFd it halfway through. He definitely provided all the feels. If the entire book would have been as amazing and well-rounded as the last third of the book this would have easily been a 5-cups read.

The Cold Fury Hockey Series

Alex #1

Garrett #2

Ryker #4

Hawke #5

Max #6

Roman #7

Lucas #8

Van #9

Reed #10

Marek #11