By Sawyer Bennett
Warning: The following contains spoilers from a cliffhanger in Garrett.
Rising star Zack Grantham has been stuck in a downward spiral of grief that has put his career on hold. Back on the road with the Carolina Cold Fury, still crippled by emotional baggage, and now a single dad, he’s in need of some serious help with his son. But while the nerdy new nanny wins his son’s heart, Zack isn’t sure he’s ready for a woman’s touch—even after getting a glimpse of the killer curves she’s hiding under those baggy clothes.
Kate Francis usually keeps men like Zack at a distance. Though his athlete’s body is honed to perfection, he refuses to move on with his life—and besides, he’s her boss. Still, the sparks between them are undeniable, tempting Kate to turn their professional relationship into a personal one. But before she makes a power play for Zack’s wounded heart, Kate will have to open him up again and show him that love is worth the fight.
In GARRETT, Zack was involved in a car accident that killed his long-time girlfriend, Gina, leaving him a single father to their son, Ben. ZACK starts four months after the accident and until now, looking after Ben hasn’t been an issue during the hockey season since he’s been recovering from a broken wrist caused by the accident. But now that his injury has healed and he has approval to start training and playing again, he needs a nanny, someone to help him out with Ben while he’s at work. While he knows he needs a nanny, he doesn’t want one. He doesn’t want some random woman taking over the motherly role for Ben. He’s still grieving and dealing with a lot of guilt, which he tends to take out on the new nanny, Kate.
And it makes me fucking hate her as she impinges on my memories of Gina. I take a deep breath, because my need to tear my son out of her arms and fling her out the door is starting to overwhelm me.
I did like Zack, but there were also times I thought he was a total dick. For one, he seduces Kate and while he’s still inside her after having sex for the first time, that’s when he decides it’s a good time to set up boundaries: that what they have is just sex, no emotional attachments allowed. I wanted to kick him in the nuts after reading that scene. And he knew he was sending mixed signals, he even admits he’s too selfish to care, because being with her makes him feel light and happy for the first time since Gina died. I did spend a good chunk of the book feeling very sorry for him, for what he’d been through and for what he was still going through.
I loved Kate. She’s smart, geeky, respectful, honest and beautiful inside and out. She might be a few years younger than Zack and have an innocent look about her, but she’s no doormat and she does stand up for herself when she needs to, which happens a lot when dealing with Zack. She understands the grief he’s going through, so when he’s rude and hateful towards her, she knows it’s the grief talking and is able to calm both the situation and Zack down. She’s very easy going, quick to forgive and she was absolutely wonderful with Ben.
I expected ZACK to be an emotional read, one that would rip my heart out right from the start. I thought I’d be bawling my eyes out, going through a mountain of tissues reading about his heartache, his grief and his guilt. But I didn’t cry at all and I’m feeling a little disappointed with that. I had a slight issue with some of the hockey talk, mainly regarding how the back-up goalie sits in the locker room for the entire game watching his team play on the TV. As a hockey lover, I watch a lot of NHL games and the back-up goalies are always sitting on the bench with the rest of the team for the entire game. But overall it was a great book and I loved it.
We get an introduction to Ryker and how he came to be a Cold Fury player, and it’s Ryker that gets his story next. I can’t wait.
Zack (Cold Fury Hockey # 3)
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