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New Release Review! STEELE by Sawyer Bennett (Arizona Vengeance #9)

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Steele (Arizona Vengeance, Book #9)
Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: December 8, 2020

A second chance may be just what James Steele needs…

I might be one of the older players on the Arizona Vengeance, but I like to think that also makes me one of the wisest. Or at least I used to.

Turns out, I’ve been a bit selfish. I’ve been married to hockey and my team for years, which hasn’t left much time for my actual wife, Ella. Now I’m juggling a separation I never wanted, the pressure of being a single dad to our teenage daughter, and the career I sacrificed it all for.

While my game on the ice might be on fire, the game in my personal life is clearly lacking, as evidenced by the fact I just saw my wife on a date with another man. If I have any hope of saving the family I love, I need to re-prioritize, and fast. So it’s time for me to get back to fundamentals, just like I did when I learned how to play hockey. I’ve never backed down from a challenge, and romancing my wife is a challenge I am very much looking forward to.

Time to put on my game face, because I’m in it to win it.

Steele cover

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To be honest, I saw that this was a hockey romance from Sawyer Bennett and picked it up without even glancing at the blurb–so I didn’t even realize that it was a marriage in crisis story until I started reading. It did make a nice change of pace–why was the marriage in danger? What could the hero and heroine do to fix things? Could they fix them? It’s a rare glimpse into an after the HEA story, with a slightly older (though wiser remains to be seen) hero and heroine.

And their 13-year-old.

And a puppy.

What could go wrong? 😉

I liked that Ella had been the one to ask Jim for the separation–as high school sweethearts, he’d begun to take his happily married life for granted, and both Ella and their daughter Lucy deserved more from him. Once he got past his rather juvenile spying on Ella and her date and started to really listen to his wife’s concerns and to put effort into earning his family back, the book really picked up.

Though I would have liked a *little* more groveling on his part, Jim does do a decent job of getting his head out of his butt and figuring out what is really important in his life. We’re left with a sweet second chance romance for a couple who end the book a whole lot closer to that HEA than when they started, as well as some pretty broad hints at how the next book is going to go–bring on Jett, I’m ready!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Sawyer Bennett author photo

About the author:

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Sawyer Bennett uses real life experience to create relatable stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From contemporary romance, fantasy romance, and both women’s and general fiction, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

A former trial lawyer from North Carolina, when she is not bringing fiction to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to her very adorable daughter, as well as full-time servant to her wonderfully naughty dogs.

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