Sawyer Bennett's stories are comfortable like a pair of broken-in jeans or well worn shoes: You know what you will get, the stories follow a certain pattern and are predictable most of the times. That's not necessarily a bad thing.
Hawke Therrien is the newest addition to the Cold Fury hockey team and he is thrilled and excited about it. Until he sees his love of another lifetime during a team meeting and realizes that he will have to work with Vale for the time being. Vale and Hawke were tight and so in love with each other, so absorbed in each other they couldn't imagine to be apart. Their future was laid out before them, youth not withstanding. One night everything changed and Vale, party girl extraordinaire, breaks up with Hawke out of the blue.
Vale was a wild child and she loved her boyfriend with all her heart. She loved to party hard and there was nothing she wouldn't try. Hawke's farewell party before he wanted to leave his hometown to join a team in Pittsburgh didn't go as planned for her. She left early, not feeling so well. Since it was Hawke's last evening with his friends he stayed and went on partying. A choice they didn't know would define their future.
Hawke, now with the Cold Fury, feels a lot of resentment towards his ex-girlfriend. His anger bubbles up again the moment he sees her. When he learns that Vale has to deal with the health issues of her father - a man he respects deeply - he reigns in his emotions and gives her support. I
I guessed the secret that drove those two apart pretty much while reading the prologue, so not much that came after surprised me. Like I said - well worn shoes. As the story unfolds we are being fed small details and puzzle pieces to give us the bigger picture. And with all Sawyer Bennett books we get a really short fallout and a resolution soon after. There is no unnecessary drama drawn out until you want to stab your eye sockets. It's simple and lovely. I loved how good of a guy Hawke was, how nice and gentle. And he added the naughty to his nice.
You could see a distinct difference between the Vale of the old days and the new serious woman she has become. She is a strong heroine with who made bad choices and had to deal with the consequences. Again it's the male MC in this story who has the TSTL moment (I revel a bit in that one since it's so rare). The side characters, some old, some new were lovely as always.
I am left with a warm feeling in my chest and look forward to getting Max' book. I wonder who his match will be and I kind of have an inkling that it might be a side character from this book.