Tag Archives: Sawyer Bennett

HOT New Release! Friction (Legal Affairs #8) by Sawyer Bennett *Review*

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Friction (Legal Affairs #8)
by Sawyer Bennett

A Contemporary Erotic Romance
From Montlake Romance
Released October 27th 2015

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At the powerhouse law firm of Knight & Payne, winning comes first and ethics a distant second. Leary Michaels uses her female charms to daze opponents, and it’s always worked well—until now. On her most personal case yet, she finds herself going up against a defense attorney just as skilled, shameless, and seductive as she is.

Reeve Holloway has never met a woman as sure of her own sexuality, or as ruthless in wielding it, as Leary is. But he won’t be toyed with. What Leary starts, he’ll finish—in the courtroom, the bedroom, or any-damn-place he wants. The sex is uninhibited, electrifying, and absolutely against the rules. Reeve’s job is to ruin Leary’s case…even if it destroys her in the process and costs him the woman he’s come to love.

 

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Review

4 stars

Right out of law school and her first day on the job Leary Michaels is ‘schooled’ in what she should do to be successful in her field and she hasn’t looked back since. No longer the insecure newbie at the office, Leary has a friends with benefits relationship with a fellow partner and it’s one of the most successful attorneys in town.

With a new case that’s of a personal nature, she’s more determined than ever to win and will use any trick she has up her sleeve. But what she wasn’t expecting was to meet her match in the courtroom and have him bring to the surface all kinds of emotions she’s not familiar with.

The last thing Reeve Holloway was expecting when he was assigned his latest case was to be going against a powerhouse of a woman that was as sexy as she was smart. He knows he can’t make a move, but he’s drawn to her in every way. He figures as long as the lines don’t get blurred they can have their fun in and out of the courtroom.

But soon they both find themselves sharing more than their bodies and flirty banter. Their careers and their hearts are on the line and neither one knows what the future holds.

Sawyer Bennett has fast become one of my favorite authors. I’ve enjoyed her Last Call and Cold Fury Hockey series, so it was a given that I would jump at the chance to explore this one as well. And I got to say, it was everything I’ve come to expect from her and more.

What I enjoyed the most about this book was the way the author mixed the legal and romance elements in a way that allowed the reader to get the full extent of understanding from the story. I was intrigued not only by the characters but by the legal case itself.

Of course, Reeve and Leary’s chemistry and emotional connection helped tremendously in my enjoyment of the story. I loved watching them give into their attraction and seeing their connection grow throughout. I also enjoyed their flirty banter and their bickering in and out of the courtroom. They truly had met their match in each other and the author didn’t miss a beat in bringing that to the page.

Keep in mind that although this is the eighth book in the series it can certainly be read as a stand alone. It centers solely on Reeve and Leary’s relationship while still bringing forth an engaging and intriguing storyline. Another winner for Sawyer Bennett.

All in all, a tantalizing and steamy read.

 

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About the Author

Sawyer

USA Today and New York Times Best-Selling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series. She will be releasing her third book in the Cold Fury Hockey Series with Random House Loveswept, June 2015.

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HOT New Release! Ryker (Cold Fury Hockey #4) by Sawyer Bennett *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Ryker (Cold Fury Hockey #4)
by Sawyer Bennett

A Contemporary Romance
From Loveswept
Released September 8th 2015

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The rugged men of the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team are winning hearts once again in another scorching novel from New York Times bestselling author 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 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 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.

 

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Review

5-stars

*sigh* I have loved each and every Cold Fury team member but I have to say that now that I discovered Ryker Evans I have a favorite.

This is Ryker Evans year to prove himself. With his contract up for negotiation and adjusting to being a full time parent, Ryker has his hands full and has no time for a relationship. But staying away from Gray Brannon proves to be more difficult than he anticipated. He is drawn to her fierceness, her smarts and her body. He wants her on his side and on his bed.

Gray Brannon has just been appointed GM of the Carolina Cold Fury team. She’s determined to make it on her own, so it’s a no-brainer that she should NOT get involved with one of her players. But Ryker’s charm, loyalty and sinful body has her in a constant state of doubt–career or romance. Which one should she pursue?

I have to say that this series continues to get better and better with every new book that comes out. With her flawless mix of humor, emotions and panty-melting goodness, Sawyer Bennett’s writing never fails to draw me in until I’m fully immerse in the story and its characters.

This time around we have a charming, funny and considerate sexy man paired up with a strong headed, independent woman. Ryker and Gray push each others buttons, make each other laugh and make a room sizzle whenever they’re together. I enjoyed watching them fight their attraction and ultimately giving into its power. They pondered, questioned and went to great lengths to ignore the attraction that existed between them. But it was futile. Their connection proved to be stronger than either one anticipated and their attraction to each other didn’t help one bit!

I admit I was surprised by Gray. At first glance, she appears cold and unyielding but once you get to know her you discover she’s easy going, unpretentious and funny–characteristics that complemented Ryker in every way. I loved her and I’m not so easily won over.

Ryker I loved from the very beginning. He was an awesome dad, a loyal teammate and sexy as hell. How can you not love him? I enjoyed his sense of humor, the moments spent with his daughters and his dirty talk. Yep, the perfect man all around!

As with other books by this author, I came to enjoyed the romance element the best. Although Ryker and Gray’s chemistry was instant, their romance was slow in coming. Ryker and Gray started as acquaintances and soon found themselves being drawn to each other. Small talks, some flirty banter and various heated exchanges soon had them both imagining something more and reconsidering their career goals.

Keep in mind that although this is the fourth book in the Cold Fury series it can be read as a stand alone. Although the story continues dealing with the goings-on of the Carolina Cold Fury, it centers on Ryker and Gray’s relationship. Of course, getting to see the other characters and getting to know some new ones was a treat for me too.

All in all, a fun and sexy romance and a great addition to the series. Hawke’s story is next and I can’t wait to see this party boy reigned in.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

“D-a-a-a-d,” Ruby shrieks from upstairs.

It’s a sound that once used to cause all the hair to stand up on my arms and on more than one occasion caused me to go tearing after the call of my youngest daughter thinking she was being murdered by an intruder. I’ve since come to recognize that particular shrill cry as one of excitement and wonder, and I can’t help but grin over what Ruby is possibly into now. At almost five years old, she refuses to accept the concept of a well-mannered, indoor voice and goes balls to the wall in everything she does.

“Is the house on fire, Rubes?” I call out.

Her little voice shouts back to me in a squawk. “No.”

“Have aliens landed?” I keep my voice just loud enough to carry up the stairs but still
decibels below her own.

“No,” she yells, and there . . . right there . . . that’s a little giggle from her.

“Did Timmy fall down the well?”

“No, Dad . . . but you have to come here,” she yells, and, to give her credit, it’s toned down just a bit. When I don’t answer her right away, she calls down in a sweet voice that makes my heart pitter-patter. “Please, Dad.”

Brilliant, little brat. Throwing in some manners to throw me off my game.

“I’ll be right there,” I tell her as I finish the last of Violet’s braid and manage to efficiently bind it with a hair elastic. Leaning over, I place a kiss on her head. “All done, dreamy dwarf.”

Violet leans her head back and gives me an upside-down grin. I love the sprinkle of freckles on her nose and it compels me to kiss her again.

“Do me a favor,” I tell her as I turn toward the living room. “Get the cereal and milk out for me while I go see what your sister needs?”

I don’t bother waiting to see what she does, because Violet has become my metaphorical right hand over the last few months. While she still loves for me to braid her hair and help with her homework, she’s also relished taking on a bit of a caretaker role since the girls moved in with me permanently this past summer.

They’ve been here almost six months and I actually feel like I know what the hell I’m doing now. It wasn’t always like that, and thank God for Kate’s help or I would have gone insane in those first few months of becoming a single parent of two little girls. Kate patiently helped me establish a routine and taught me how to braid hair, distinguish excited shrieks from cries of pain, and most important . . . how to conduct the perfect princess tea party.

I skirt my way through the living room, bending over to pick up one of Ruby’s dolls from the floor, and bound up the stairs taking two at a time. I find Ruby in the bathroom that she and Violet share, bent over the toilet and peering at something.

She shares the same dark hair and gray eyes as Violet, except her locks spring out everywhere in a mass of tiny curls. I have no idea where that came from, but assume it’s a rogue strand of ancestral DNA from either me or my soon-to-be ex-wife, Hensley. Both of us, as well as Violet, have fairly straight hair, so Ruby is definitely dipping into the family gene pool with her wild curls, but damn . . . they totally fit with her personality.

“What’s up?” I ask as I walk over to the toilet.

She straightens up, shoots me a grin, and points. “Look . . . a spider.”

I cautiously take a step forward and lean over, grimacing as I look into the bowl.

And holy shit . . . a spider the size of a T rex is floating on the surface, all eight legs spread out, bent and poised to look as if it’s ready to leap out and attach itself to my face. I suppress a full spinal shudder and reach a tentative hand toward the handle to flush it.

Two things happen almost simultaneously that take at least three years off my life.

The spider somehow manages to skitter across the water, the beast so large it actually creates waves, and Ruby shrieks at me, “No! Don’t kill it, Dad!”

It is with a major blow to my pride—as a man, as a dad, as a six-foot, six-inch professional hockey player nicknamed the Brick because I’m as big and tough as a brick wall—that I jump backward at least two feet from the monster-infested toilet and banshee-crying sprite, causing my hip to slam into the corner of the sink.

“Shit,” I curse loudly, and Ruby’s eyes go round, followed by her lips.

“Oh, Dad . . . that’s a bad word.”

No shit.

I smile at her as I rub my hip. That’s definitely going to leave a bruise. “Sorry, Rubes. I’ll put a dollar in the swear jar.”

She merely nods her acceptance of my apology and turns worried eyes back to the toilet.

“You have to save it,” she implores.

Yeah . . . that’s not going to happen. Not now. Not ever.

“Sure, baby,” I tell her as I take her by the shoulder and turn her toward the bathroom door. I swear the spider glares at me with a million red, evil eyes. “Go on down and get breakfast. Violet’s fixing your cereal. I’ll get the spider out.”

“Okay,” Ruby says as she pulls away from me, but continues to give me instructions. “But let it out the front door and I’ll bring it some food later.”

“Sounds like a plan,” I assure her as she disappears down the stairs. When I hear her feet hit the bottom landing, I turn toward the toilet, intent on a quick flush to put me out of my misery.

Except when I look in the bowl, the fucking thing is gone.

I’ll just go ahead and admit it. Spiders scare the living hell out of me. I have no clue why, and while I would battle the biggest, baddest monster to the death for my daughters, I’d much rather flush a little spider down the toilet.

I immediately scramble backward out of the bathroom, grabbing the doorknob and shutting it quickly behind me. My heart is racing a million miles an hour, the thought of that furry hell beast now loose in my house.

Just one more thing on the list of things I still need to do today.

Get the girls dressed and ready for school.

Take the girls to school.

Clean up the spilled laundry detergent.

Finish the laundry.

Arm myself with a can of hairspray and a lighter to torch the rogue spider in the bathroom.

Pick up my dry cleaning.

Work out.

Team practice.

Pick up the girls from Kate and Zack’s house.

Dinner.

Baths.

Story time and cuddling.

Go to bed because I’ll be exhausted.

Easy as fucking pie, and I’ll get up and do it all over again the next day with a smile on my face. I’m finding life as a single parent isn’t as daunting as I thought it would be and I’ve finally found my groove.

 

Cold Fury Series

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Alex (Cold Fury Hockey, #1)
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Garrett (Cold Fury Hockey, #2)
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Zack (Cold Fury Hockey, #3)
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About the Author

Sawyer

USA Today and New York Times Best-Selling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series. She will be releasing her third book in the Cold Fury Hockey Series with Random House Loveswept, June 2015.

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New Release: Wicked Fall (The Wicked Horse #1) by Sawyer Bennett *Review*

Wicked Fall Book Cover Wicked Fall
The Wicked Horse #1
Sawyer Bennett
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Big Dog Books
July 28th 2015
eGalley
NetGalley

 

Never in your wildest dreams could you begin to imagine all the filthy and depraved things that go on inside The Wicked Horse. Step inside and Woolf Jennings will make every one of your dirty fantasies come true.

He’s covered in a facade of deception. An enticing blend of multi-millionaire and hot-as-hell Wyoming rancher, those that think they know Woolf Jennings admire his abilities to preside as CEO of his family’s cattle and oil empire. But only a privileged few truly understand what fuels the glitter of depravity in those gorgeous blue eyes. Only a few know he’s opened up a sinfully erotic and private sex club named The Wicked Horse right at the base of the beautiful Teton Mountain range.

Sweet Callie Hayes has returned home to Wyoming and is looking forward to starting her life over again. After a night of impetuosity, she’s managed to put herself right in Woolf’s line of sight… the man who she foolishly offered up her virginity to years ago and was flatly turned down.

Now Woolf is seeing that Callie is all grown up and has a kinky side to her that leaves him as confused as it does turned on. Worse yet, both Callie’s dirty desires and sweet heart are getting under his skin, and making Woolf question everything he’s ever believed about himself.

 

 

My Review

2.50 stars

You know the book is not going to work for you when your attention is constantly drawn to one of the secondary characters. That half star is simply because of Bridger Payne. *sigh*

I’m sorry. I love Sawyer Bennet’s work. I’ve devoured her Last Call and Cold Fury series and was very much looking forward to reading this book. As a follower of Sawyer Bennet’s Last Call series, I had already met Woolf. At the time, I was intrigued about him so when the opportunity arose to read his story I jumped head-in…and fell flat on my face.

The thing is, (and I can’t believe I’m saying this!) there was too much sex. Yes, even I can’t believe I said that. The truth is that the scenes were hot, really, they truly were but the connection between Callie and Woolf got lost in between it all. There wasn’t as much as a glimpse into what connected them in the past, so to have them all over each other without having had a glimpse into that connection kind of threw me off.

And what was even more frustrating was the fact that Woolf’s decision to step away from the club was so easily resolved. If the ‘lifestyle’ didn’t mean as much to him, why bother opening a club? What did all those inner musings about ‘who he truly am’ all about? I believe in character development, but this was a huge decision he had to make and I felt like it wasn’t given the appropriate attention. Too easily solved.

By no means was this an awful story. I loved the concept and was intrigued by the characters. But I can’t help but think that the author lost her opportunity to showcase their connection. Instead of going at it like bunnies, I would have appreciated more dialogue and candid moments.

As the first in the series, Wicked Fall sure served to establish the what the series is all about. I’m especially curious about Bridger, but Cain intrigued me too–especially after that last chapter. I will definitively be on the look out for both of their stories.

All in all, a good start to a series but not the kind of romance for me.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

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About the Author

AuthorPicSmall

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series.

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Tour: Zack (Cold Fury Hockey #3) by Sawyer Bennett *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Zack (Cold Fury Hockey #3)
by Sawyer Bennett

Contemporary Romance
From LoveSwept (Random House)
Released June 9th 2015

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New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett goes for a hat trick with the latest romance in a sexy series about cool-as-ice hockey players and the women heating up their lives.

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.

 

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Review

5-stars

“GAH! Zack’s story!” This was my first reaction when I noticed this book on NetGalley.

As a follower of the series, I have come to love these hockey players and the women that tame them. This time around I knew a little bit more about Zack’s backstory and had an idea of what he would be confronting in this new chapter of his life. However, I was not prepared for how truly enjoyable Kate turned out to be.

While Zack was your typical brooding male, Kate was lively yet shy with a caring nature and a huge heart. She was also funny and protective of Zack and his son–a trait I came to admire about her.

Of course, Zack was also a great character. He was more complex than I had anticipated, which only added to my interest in him finding someone who inspired him to commit further down the road. It helped that he was a fantastic father and an amazing lover. Oh yes, that man had it going on in every aspect–if you disregard his fear of commitment. 😉

As expected, the writing was superb with the right mixture of emotions, humor and romance. I loved that the emotions were spot-on with whatever the situation called for and that the they ranged from the most subtle to the more intense. Of course, it only added to my enjoyment that all those emotions were well-balanced with Sawyer Bennett’s trademark humor–a bit sarcastic, a little witty and a load of fun!

However, what truly made this a five-star read for me was the romance element itself. I especially enjoyed the pace and how the romance developed. It was great to see Zack and Kate’s initial interactions and watching them transition into friends and later lovers. I loved watching as what started as a tentative friendship between employee and employer soon developed into something more intimate. It gave me a chance to get to know them as individuals before their emotions came into play.

It helped tremendously that Zack and Kate’s interactions were very entertaining. They ranged from the most candid–where their connection made itself known–to the most heated where the sizzling chemistry they shared had me anticipating their every move. But then there were also my favorite moments. Those honest, emotional ones where they allowed the other into their lives, which ultimately brought them even closer together.

And this why I’ve come to consider Sawyer Bennett one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. Her characters are easy to relate to yet complex and intriguing. Plus she always goes out of her way to show the couple’s connection in a way that allows the reader to believe that the relationship is viable and lasting. And I won’t lie, she rocks when it comes to sex scenes! Especially in her ability to infuse the physical attraction of her characters with true emotions. This in a nutshell is what keeps me coming back to her books and why I loved this Zack and Kate’s story so much.

Keep in mind that although this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. Although I must insist that those who have not read the previous books get them as soon as you can. Especially if you enjoy watching a rugged, sexy man unravel at the hands of the woman he loves. Y-U-M-M-Y!

All in all, a fantastic addition to the series and an amazing second chance story in its own right. It’s a fact, I want more Cold Fury men!

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

My heart feels like it’s going to leap out of my chest as I stand at the sink and wash the griddle clean. It’s actually kind of a pleasure to clean up in a kitchen like this. I’ve never been in a home this nice, and it’s hard not to stare around in wonder at all the shiny. His kitchen is übermodern, with sleek blond-oak cabinets and stainless-steel handles. The counters are done in black granite with flecks of gray throughout and the sink is a massive single bin made of some type of stone.

Zack sits at the table on the opposite side of the L-shaped kitchen counter with Ben as they eat their breakfast. His eyes remain pinned on me, a mixture of anger and confusion.

He clearly doesn’t like me and I have no clue why. I expect him at any moment to just fire me. I can see it in his eyes…That’s what he wants.

There was a moment when Ben hurtled his little body at me that I cut a glance at Zack, and I saw fury wash over him. It scared me so bad, I almost ran out of the house right then. But I didn’t because I really, really, really need this job. Without it, I’m just one bus ticket away from being forced to return home to live with Daddy in our dingy tin can of a trailer in the backwoods of eastern North Carolina. And I promised myself when I left home five years ago, as much as I adore my daddy, I would never let that happen.

So I pulled on all of my available confidence that I’ve built up over the years along with my sheer will to survive and promptly ignored Zack and his dirty looks and started to clean his kitchen. He didn’t say a word, just watched me as I worked and sometimes would make conversation with Ben.

I’m just wiping down the counters when Zack picks up the empty plates and walks over to put them in the dishwasher. When he’s finished, he turns to Ben and says, “Why don’t you go upstairs and play in your room a bit? I need to talk to Kate about a few things.”

“Can I watch TV?” Ben asks.

“Sure,” Zack says, and Ben jets from the table and pounds his way upstairs.

I rinse out the dishcloth in my hand, wring it, and then fold it over the faucet. Turning to Zack, I find him leaning a hip against the counter with his arms crossed defensively over his chest. His gaze is frosty when he says, “What exactly did Delaney tell you the job would consist of?”

Man, he intimidates the hell out of me. He towers over me, and even though he has the face of an angel with dark brown hair and whiskey-colored eyes perfectly supported by a strong jaw, so much animosity is radiating off him that I think he may be the devil.

I know all about Zack Grantham. That’s because I love sports. All kinds of sports, but in particular, Cold Fury hockey. When North Carolina got its first professional ice hockey team, I had just started sixth grade. But I remember sitting on the ratty green corduroy-covered couch in our trailer, and Daddy and I rooting for the Cold Fury. Of course, often he’d be drunk and passed out by the third period, but at least for two periods we’d have a good time bonding over our mutual love of the sport.

I’ve followed the team closely ever since. Of course, I’ve never been to a live game, that being an absolute luxury I could have never afforded, but because every game is broadcast locally, I rarely miss one unless I’m studying for an important test or something. And because I follow the team so well, I know exactly who Zack Grantham is.

He’s an amazing player and, truth be told, if I could afford a jersey, I’d probably get one with his name on it. Or maybe Alex Crossman’s. Or even Garrett Samuelson’s. About four months ago, Zack was in a terrible car accident that killed Ben’s mom, Gina, and caused him to be kept out of the first half of the season with a fractured wrist. That has apparently healed enough that he’s ready to return to the team, and thus the need for a nanny for Ben.

I was utterly stunned when I got a call from his sister, Delaney, for an interview. I had posted my résumé and qualifications on a website for nanny services, knowing it would be a long shot because most of my experience came from helping my sister, Kelly, with her three kids, and other various babysitting jobs. But at this point, I needed work, so I was applying to every place I could think of.

“Now you seem to have nothing to say,” Zack growls, and my body jerks over the derision in his voice.

“Sorry,” I mutter. “Um…Delaney said you needed a live-in nanny for Ben. That the position would be full-time until he started school in the fall, and then part-time after that. She said I’d be responsible for his care when you weren’t here and that I’d have to do basic household chores and stuff.”

Zack nods at me, unfurls his arms from across his chest, and rubs his chin thoughtfully. “Delaney thinks you’re right for this job. I’m going to have to trust her on that.”

“I am,” I tell him earnestly. “I’ll take very good care of Ben.”

“You’d better,” he growls at me so menacingly, I take an involuntary step backward. “If you harm one hair on my child’s head, I will make you regret it. Do you understand?”

The scared country girl inside me wants to curl into the fetal position and just shrink away from the threat in his voice. But I’m not that young girl anymore. I’ve pulled myself out of crappy circumstances and made a new life for myself. I’ve worked hard over the years to build up my self-esteem, and I’m not about to let this man tear it down.

Squaring my shoulders at him, I give him a stern look. “I appreciate your protectiveness of Ben, and I’d feel the same way about my own child. I can assure you, you have nothing to worry about. But I have to insist that you treat me with some type of respect for the position I hold. At the very least, you don’t want to teach your son it’s okay to threaten and intimidate women, do you?”

Zack stares at me, his amber-colored eyes turning almost a dark brown. He blinks a few times and shakes his head. “Are you always this blunt?”

“I’m always this honest,” I clarify for him.

Cold Fury Series

Alex Cover

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Ebook Cover

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

 

About the Author

Sawyer

USA Today and New York Times Best-Selling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series. She will be releasing her third book in the Cold Fury Hockey Series with Random House Loveswept, June 2015.

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Tour: Shaken, Not Stirred (Last Call, #5) by Sawyer Bennett *Review*

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Shaken, Not Stirred (Last Call #5)
by Sawyer Bennett

An Adult Contemporary Romance
Released March 17th 2015

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Casey Markham is a man-eater in a rut. Swearing off relationships may keep her heart safe, but she’s beginning to question if her casual flings will ever leave her satisfied. She’s wondering if it’s finally time to let go of the past and stop letting history control her future.

Bad boy biker, Tenn Jennings can’t get Casey off his mind. A chance encounter with the beautiful blond has left its mark, and now he’s determined to prove her wrong about everything she thought she knew about men.

It’s safe to say… Casey Markham has met her match.

 

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Review

4 stars

As a follower of this series, I’ve always wondered how Casey’s story would play out. I knew it was going to take a very, very special kind of guy to get to her since she appeared so adamant about love. *sigh* Tenn was perfect in every way.

Handsome and sexy with a bad boy attitude, Tenn was what I imagined and more. He was charming, charismatic, a dirty talker alpha male with a sweet and considerate side to him. He was immediately attracted to Casey’s independent personality but he found the challenge of being the one to unravel her fascinating.

Casey’s story wasn’t that unusual. She had suffered some heartbreak and preferred not to get close to guys so she can avoid getting hurt. Try as she might she couldn’t stay away from the handsome stranger. He pushed her every button and gave her as good as she got while still allowing her the chance to maintain her independence and sense of self.

I’ve loved all the books in the series, but I guess that my curiosity over Casey’s story made this book even more of a treat to read. I enjoyed the mix of humor and emotions, the sensual and the tender and the overall connection between Tenn and Casey. Sawyer Bennett did a wonderful job of pointing out the differences between the characters while still highlighting the connection they shared. Their moments ranged from the casual to the sensual all the way through the emotional and intense.

The chemistry Tenn and Casey shared was a force to be reckoned with. Their encounters were always packed-full of sexual tension even when just sharing a meal. I enjoyed their flirty banter, their heated bickering and their passionate scenes. I especially enjoyed how they each gave as good as they got. Tenn had the ability to bring out the softer side of Casey which only made an appearance when she dealt with the family.

Another aspect of the story I enjoyed was Casey’s growth throughout the story. I found her struggle to open herself up to be intriguing, especially since I knew she was capable of sharing herself with others. She treasured her family and loved them deeply, so seeing her so closed off from love had me confused. In any case, I loved that Tenn managed to get Casey to lower her walls enough for him to sneak inside. I admired his determination and his vow that he would make her his without her losing herself.

Keep in mind that although this is the fifth book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. However, I would recommend you pick up the other books in the series. There you’ll get to meet the people Casey calls family. You will also get to experience Casey in another way, which I think helped me to connect and relate to her more once I started reading her story.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

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About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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New Release: Garrett (Cold Fury Hockey #2) by Sawyer Bennett *Review and Giveaway*

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Garrett (Cold Fury Hockey #2)
by Sawyer Bennett

Contemporary Romance
From LoveSwept (Random House)
Released February 17, 2015

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New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett hits the ice with the story of a playboy athlete whose winning ways lead him to a beautiful woman with a lot to lose.

Carolina Cold Fury star Garrett Samuelson never wants to miss out on a single minute of fun. Whether he’s playing hockey, hanging out with friends, or walking the red carpet with a new date on his arm, he lives every day to the fullest. When he meets Olivia Case, he sees someone who’s exactly his type—confident, sexy, smart… his next fling. But the more he pursues her, the more Garrett shares a side of himself that other women don’t normally get to see.

Olivia has been keeping a secret. While Garrett lives for the next thrill, Olivia’s not sure she’ll live to see the next day. She’s undergoing treatment for some serious medical issues, and she doesn’t have time for a relationship with no guarantees—especially one with a hot-as-sin womanizer who won’t take no for an answer. But as she gets to know the real Garrett, Olivia can’t help falling for him… hard. To reveal the truth would mean risking everything—but you can’t score without taking the tough shots.

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Review

4 stars

When the opportunity came for me to read this story, I jumped at the chance immediately. Alex, the first book in the series, was very much my cup of tea what with the intriguing characters, the brooding hero and the connection between the couple. So of course, I thought this would be something along those lines.

Garrett was a great character to get to know. I liked that his history wasn’t anything angsty and dark. He was your typical bachelor not wanting to settle down until the right woman came along. For him it was Olivia. He just could stay away from her witty personality and her easy-going ways. She wasn’t drawn to him for his celebrity status and gave as good as she got–something that Garrett did encounter with any of his casual hook-ups.

I liked Olivia. It think she brought out the best in Garrett and ultimately showed him how he didn’t have to hide behind his celebrity persona. I did think that she could have handled the situation better there in the end, but then again people tend to behave erratically when they are scared. She had enough on her plate for me to understand the why behind her actions, even if I wanted to shake some sense into her at the time.

Sawyer Bennett has the ability of drawing the reader into the story and Garrett’s story was no different. I loved seeing him accept the connection that was growing between him and Olivia without being all broody about it. Their flirty banter and honest interactions cemented the fact that their connection was something more than the lust that had brought them together in the beginning. It helped that both Garrett and Olivia’s emotions jumped off the page too. I found myself laughing out loud at some of Garrett’s comments, grinning like a fool when they both let their guards down and misty-eyed when everything fell apart.

All in all, a great addition to the series. I can’t wait for the next book!

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

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About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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New Release: With a Twist (Last Call #4) by Sawyer Bennett *Review*

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With a Twist (Last Call #4)
by Sawyer Bennett

An Adult Contemporary Romance
Released January 6, 2015

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Wyatt Banks is ready to give one woman the world. Unfortunately, his job as a cop tends to interfere with other goals. When Wyatt is sent deep undercover to investigate a sex slave ring, he doesn’t have time to do anything but focus on staying alive in a dark and dangerous underworld.

Wyatt isn’t alone though in his quest to save the women that are being sold into sexual slavery.

His partner, FBI Agent Andrea Somerville, is immersed just as deeply as he is, and she’s the bait to lure the sex slavers out into the open, as she poses as an erotic dancer in an attempt to snare the enemy. But danger runs as high as the sparks between them, and now Wyatt is caught between the job he loves and the woman he wants.

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Review

4 stars

Wyatt has watched his friends fall in love and settle down and he yearns to do the same. But that will have to wait until after he completes his upcoming undercover job. He will need to keep his focus on the case and can’t afford any distractions. Unfortunately for him, he’s partnered up with a woman he can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Andrea has a dream and will do most anything to achieve it–even if it means accepting a dangerous case that has her doing something she thought she never had to do again. Although attracted to Wyatt, she just got out of a relationship and is not looking to get involved again. But then danger and unexpected circumstances throw Wyatt and Andrea together and they can’t help but give into their attraction. Neither one thinking of what would happen once the case was over.

Once again, I had to think back on the previous stories to realize who Wyatt was among the cast of characters. Once I remembered him, I quickly jumped into the story.

Wyatt was a great character to get to know. He was serious and competent at his job, but funny and laid back in his day to day life. I liked that he knew how to have fun and how close he was to the other characters. I admired his quick mind and his protective ways, but I loved the way he let himself go where Andrea was concerned more.

I found Andrea to be more complex and just as intriguing as Wyatt. I admired her tenacity at achieving her dream and how she handled herself during her undercover assignment. She had conflicted emotions about many things and I appreciated how she went about making her decisions. She was funny, strong-minded and the perfect partner for Wyatt.

I especially enjoyed the chemistry that simmered between Wyatt and Andrea. There were two scenes that stood out for me where their chemistry exploded– where they each let go for a moment and just felt. Of course, the subsequent scenes were great too, but it was those first two that motivated me to keep on reading. They were that HOT!

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy their more candid moments. Wyatt and Andrea not only shared great chemistry but the development of their connection was fun to see too. They had funny moments mixed with some emotional ones that brought them closer to each other. I enjoyed their banter and their easy camaraderie.

This time around I also got the chance to visit with the other couples. I’m still looking forward to Casey’s story, especially now that every one around her has hooked up and are living their happily ever after. I’m curious to see the type of person the author is going to pair her with. I’m sure the story will be intriguing if only because Casey is so reluctant to settle down.

All in all, a sweet yet hot little read.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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Tour: Alex (Cold Fury Hockey #1) by Sawyer Bennett *Review and Giveaway*

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Alex (Cold Fury Hockey #1)
by Sawyer Bennett

New Adult Contemporary
From LoveSwept (Random House)
Released October 14, 2014

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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 façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.

 

Alex Available Now
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Review

4 stars

Alex Crossman hasn’t earned the title of MVP lightly–on and off the ice. He’s a force to be reckoned with on the ice and he despises it. Somewhere along the line he lost his love for the sport and the more accolades he receives the more he hates it. After a rather disastrous moment, management makes him to clean up his act and volunteers him to be a part of an anti-drug campaign for at-risk youths. Little does he expect his life to be turned on its axis when he meets Sutton, the woman he will be working closely with while developing the program.

Sutton Price works as a social worker and couselor to teens. Her past and her struggles as a teen has made her determined to help teens in the same situation she once found herself in. So when the opportunity to develop a pilot program for at-risk teens presents itself she jumps at the chance head-on. She’s hoping the sport celebrity she’s assigned to work doesn’t derail her plans. But what she’s not expecting is to find herself fighting her attraction to Alex and losing her heart in the process.

I liked this story very much, especially because Alex and Sutton were such great characters to get to know.

Alex is sexy, rude and troubled. His past wasn’t an easy one and although he has come a long way in his career, he’s not happy. Alex doesn’t do relationships and women come and go without much interest on his part. So when he suddenly finds himself wanting something more with Sutton he struggles with feelings of inadequacy, which only serve to bring about the very emotions he has kept hidden since his childhood.

I loved Sutton. She had a great outlook in life even after everything she had been through. She’s content with her life and although she’s not looking for a relationship, she does yearn to find a man to fall in love with. Sure, she knows Alex is not that man, but her body and heart don’t pay any mind to that fact. She desires him just as much as she longs to comfort him, but Alex is a veteran at keeping everyone at bay and unless he deals with his past and the demons that haunt him she knows there’s nothing she can do to help him. She is supportive without being overbearing and loving without losing herself.

Sawyer Bennett did a wonderful job letting the reader get to know the ins and outs of Alex’s mind. I got to see how deeply affected he was by his past and how those events have turned him into the man he has become. I enjoyed having the chance to experience his emotions first-hand, especially since he struggled so much with them. His development as the story progressed was a treat to read. His growth was subtle and slow in coming but it felt real, primarily in regards to the man he was before he met Sutton.

Sutton and Alex had great chemistry, but it was their connection that truly sold me on their relationship. Their shared moments ranged from the flirty to the lustful and never wavered in their intensity. I loved that Sutton gave as good as she got and that she allowed herself the chance to see beyond Alex’s prickly personality. And believe me Alex was prickly!

This is the first book in the Cold Fury Hockey series and for me it worked in establishing the ground for further installments. The characters were intriguing, the emotions were real and intense and the chemistry was off the charts. I can’t wait for Garrett, the next book in the series. What I saw of Garrett intrigued me and I think his story is going to be as interesting as Alex’s was.

All in all, a great start to a series that will surely leave you wanting more.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

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About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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Make it a Double (Last Call, #2) by Sawyer Bennett *Review and Excerpt*

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Make it a Double (Last Call, #2)

By USA Today Best-selling Author

Sawyer Bennett

Releasing on April 21, 2014

An Adult Contemporary Romance

 

Brody Markham has endured a nightmare, spending the last five years in prison and losing everything that was dear to him. Now he’s back home, trying to survive in a world he doesn’t recognize anymore. While his family and friends desperately try to reach through to him, he shelters himself further and further away from their love.

Alyssa Myers has worked her entire life to distance herself from the luxurious and privileged lifestyle in which she was raised. Running her non-profit agency, The Haven, she is content to spend her days helping abused animals find sanctuary, which fulfills her in a way that money just can’t buy.

Maybe it’s that she recognizes in Brody some of the same characteristics she sees in her homeless wards, but Alyssa is powerless to stop her personal quest to make Brody whole again.

While Brody struggles to surface from the darkness, Alyssa tries to protect her heart in case he’s not willing to accept the light that she offers him.

*MAKE IT A DOUBLE can be read as a stand-alone*

 

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Review

4 stars
I remember wanting to know more about him since the first moment he was mentioned and appeared on his brother’s story On the Rocks. Thankfully, Brody’s story was everything I was anticipating it to be.

There was Brody–sexy, brooding and tortured by past events–attracted to the very type of girl he vowed never to get involved with ever again. To his surprise, Alyssa did not live up to the rich-girl stereotype Brody had placed her in. This attraction led him to conflicting emotions regarding the connection that was developing between him and Alyssa and an analysis of his life–past and present, and his plans for a future.

Sawyer Bennett did a great job in bringing Alyssa and Brody’s relationship to the page. They bickered, bantered and exchanged meaningful revelations that allowed them to get to know each other at a deeper level making their connection that much more believable.

I loved that they both hesitated, doubted and took a chance. It was great to see how they moved forward and how they each came into themselves, growing both as individuals and as a couple.

Needless to say that their chemistry was scorching hot. They each fought their attraction so hard that the sexual tension between them was a constant presence whenever they found themselves in the same room. Hell, that first kiss alone was worth all the anticipation I was feeling.

Keep in mind that although this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. So if you like your leading men to be conflicted, sexy without even trying and the alpha type when it counts, then I assure you that you will enjoy Brody’s story.

All in all, an emotional, sexy and romantic story…everything I was expecting for Brody’s story!

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

I put the last of my groceries away, fold up the brown paper bags, and tuck them in the space between my refrigerator and the kitchen wall. Turning around, I observe my little studio apartment. I see it all in just a quick glance, because it’s about the size of a postage stamp.

While I just helped Gabby move into Hunter’s house, I certainly didn’t need to ask them to reciprocate the favor. The only things I own are my clothes, and those were gifts to me from my mom. She had taken me out shopping the day after I got home from prison, outfitting me with an entirely new wardrobe. I mean… new as opposed to wearing prison garb for five years. I felt ashamed that my mom had to buy her twenty-eight-year-old son clothes because he didn’t have a dime to his name.

Past my clothes and some basic toiletries, I have no other possessions. The car I’m driving is courtesy of my parents… on loan, of course. It’s an old Chevy Malibu that had been sitting under a tarp, which Dad used to drive. They don’t use it, but it runs fine. Mom and Dad tried to give it to me, but I wouldn’t accept it. Instead, I capitulated only by agreeing that I was borrowing it until I could save up enough money to buy it from them.

Luckily, this studio apartment came completely furnished, and the kitchen was stocked with dishes, pots, pans, and utensils. I had all the basics that I needed to survive, because let’s face it… it wasn’t too fucking hard to boil some Ramen noodles for dinner, and that was a huge step up from the prison food I’d been eating.

So with my duffel bag filled with clothes purchased by my mom, I drove my old Chevy borrowed from my parents to the grocery store and stocked up on some basic provisions. Then it took me all of five minutes to move into my new home.

A knock on my door has me glancing down at my watch.

Right on time.

In three regular strides, I’m from one side of the apartment to the other and opening the door. There stands my parole officer, Jimbo Peaks. He is six-foot-six of solid muscle, his neck as thick as a tree truck, and his biceps the size of smoked hams. With skin darker than midnight, his light hazel eyes are spooky

as shit when he looks directly at you, in that contemplative sort of way I’ve come to know over the last two months since I’ve been home.

“What’s up, Brody?” he says with a huge grin on his face, sticking his hand out for me to shake.

I take his hand, and it freaks me out how mine is dwarfed by his. I mean… I’m not a small man myself, almost as tall as Jimbo, in fact. But when comparing my muscle mass to his, I feel downright puny and I kept myself in pretty decent shape while in prison. Other than reading, working out was about the only thing that was a resourceful use of my time.

“Come on in,” I tell him as I step back so he can enter.

Jimbo walks into my humble abode and turns around once. Yup… he’s seen everything. A small kitchen on one side that merges right into my living room that abuts one wall. A double bed takes up the other wall, and the bathroom takes up another. It’s four hundred and fifty feet of cozy living, situated right above Mabel Fisher’s three-car garage.

Miss Mabel is older than Methuselah but has been a friend of our family’s since I was a baby. She’s eccentric, rich as hell, and loves to thumb her nose at polite society.

And by polite society, I mean those people here on the islands that look at me in disdain because I killed someone.

Not Mabel though. She was at my parents’ house within forty-eight hours of my return home, giving me a hug and a papery kiss, then making me sit down while she drank tea and filled me in on all the Outer Banks’ gossip for the past five years. She’s a trip… a breath of fresh air, and one of the few around here willing to give me a chance. When she offered to rent this apartment to me for a ridiculously small amount, I couldn’t say no.

“Nice digs man,” Jimbo’s deep voice rumbles. “All moved in?”

“Yup. Bag of clothes and some groceries. I’m settled.”

Jimbo chuckles and moves to my small kitchen table that seats only two people. Sitting down, he motions to the other chair so I do the same. “How does it feel to be out of your parents’ house?”

I crack a small smile and tap my fingers on the kitchen table. “It’s good. I mean… I love my parents, but it was time for me to get my own place.”

“Heard that,” Jimbo agrees, and then transitions into his next question. “How’s work going?”

“Going great,” I tell him, because it is. I enjoy working at Last Call, and I’m thankful as fuck I have a job. Most parolees struggle to find work, or get shit jobs that scrape the bottom of the barrel. When they can’t find work because no one will take a chance on them, they go back to a life of crime. If I had a nickel for every repeat offender I met in prison, who was there just because they couldn’t make an honest living, well… I’d be buying Mabel’s house from her rather than renting this apartment.

Jimbo doesn’t seem satisfied with my short answer, so he delves a bit more. It’s his job to make sure I can acclimate to life on the outside, so I’m not bothered when he asks, “Any problem being around the alcohol?”

“Nah,” I tell him genuinely. “No desire to drink at all.”

“That’s good,” he says with a smile. “Seeing as how that’s a condition of your parole.”

“Look, man… doesn’t matter if it’s a condition or not, there is nothing on this earth that could get me to drink a drop of alcohol.”

“And why is that?” he asks, but he knows the answer.

I tell him anyway.

“Because it shattered my life. Because it killed a man. It left a mother without a husband and a little boy without a father. Need any other reason?”

“No,” Jimbo says quietly, staring at me with those light eyes. “That’s a good enough reason.”

I hold his gaze, waiting for the next question. We’ve had this same meeting on five other occasions since I came home, but today it’s being done at my new home so he can check it out. As a parole officer, his role is part jail keeper, part counselor. It’s his responsibility to keep me on the straight and narrow, but to also do what he can to make sure my head is clear when I’m making my choices. So that involves talking… a lot. Just to make sure that the emotional and psychological toll of reentering the real world doesn’t cast me in a downward spiral.

Yeah, I talk a lot to Jimbo. He knows more of my internal struggles dealing with life on the outside than my family does. For whatever reason, I’ve been able to open up to him—somewhat—in a way that I just haven’t with my family. I suppose that boils down to the simple fact that Jimbo asks me questions… asks me how I’m feeling and how I’m coping. My parents, my identical twin Hunter, my baby sister, Casey… while they love me more than the air they breathe, well… they’re just not sure what is open to talk about and what may be taboo. So they walk on eggshells.

“Tell me some of the problems you’ve had adjusting?” Jimbo leads in.

Heard this question before too, and my answer the last time was, Not anything to tell.

I start to tell him the same thing, but the look on his face stops me. It says, And don’t hand me any bullshit, either.

I suppose I can skirt the real issues only so long before Jimbo is apt to put me in a headlock and beat the information out of me. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, I decide to go ahead and lay it out. “I wake up at five AM every day, no matter what time I get to sleep the night before. It’s because I’ve been getting up at the same time every morning for the last five years… because I had no choice but to get up every morning at five AM. I don’t even know how to have a leisurely morning where I sleep in. When I go to sleep at night, I can hear metal cots squeaking and my cell mate rubbing one off while he tries to stifle his groans into the two-inch piece of flimsy foam that’s called a pillow. I hear the newbies crying, and I hear the lifers telling them to shut the fuck up. When I’m awake… out in the real world, I can’t walk around a blind corner without my palms sweating, because I’m expecting someone will be there waiting to jump me. I was always on alert… I’m still always on alert. The air smells too fresh, the food tastes too good, people talk too loud, and I’m having a hard time letting people touch me. It’s overwhelming and that’s just for starters, Jimbo. So yeah,” I say with some sarcasm as my eyes drop to the table. “I’m having a bit of an adjustment problem.”

“How does all of that make you feel?”

My eyes slowly rise to meet his. “I’m pissed off. All the time. I’m withdrawn, moody, and restless. I have all this wide-open space available to me, yet I’m having a hard time straying too far from the things that are safe to me. So I go to work, and I go home. That’s it.”

Jimbo gives me that contemplative look, and I can see the wheels turning inside his head. I’m prepared for him to launch into a pep talk, about how I have a chance to make something with my life… to atone for my mistakes and put the past behind me. Instead, he says, “You know… there’s something odd about you.”

My eyebrows shoot up and, for a moment, I consider being affronted by that statement, but then I just mentally shrug my shoulders. Odd is one of many things that I am.

“How’s that?” I ask.

“I’ve been doing this work close to twelve years now… and I can count on one hand the amount of parolees I’ve had that don’t try to convince me that they didn’t do it… or they were framed… or hell, even if they did do it, they blame a corrupt system for sending them away.” He pauses, his green-gold eyes flickering back and forth between mine. “But not you. You accepted responsibility and never once tried to blame someone or something else for your lot in life. It just makes you… odd.”

Shrugging my shoulders, I lean back in my chair. “No one to blame but myself.”

“That’s right,” Jimbo says with a nod. “No one to blame but yourself, and you’ve done a remarkable job accepting responsibility. In fact, you’ve done such a good job at it… some might say that it would help you have a clear conscience.”

“What’s your point?” I ask, genuinely curious as to where he’s going with this.

“My point is that if you truly took responsibility and had a clear conscience, then you should have some measure of peace.”

I scratch my chin absently, pondering his words. I did the time. I took my lumps and accepted my punishment. Should that give me peace?

Jimbo’s probably right. In those circumstances, maybe my soul should feel a little lighter… more free. If I truly was remorseful for what happened, and I truly had done my penance, I shouldn’t be struggling the way I am.

Except… my circumstances aren’t exactly the way Jimbo describes it. He sees my sorrow and guilt, but he doesn’t see past that. Because there’s a whole lot more that makes up Brody Markham’s fucked-up world than just the after effects of a few years in prison. My issues started before I even got sent away.

 

 

About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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Sneak Peek: Make it a Double (Last Call, #2) by Sawyer Bennett *Excerpt*

SNEAK PEEK into

Make it a Double (Last Call, #2)

By USA Today Best-selling Author

Sawyer Bennett

 

make it a double

Release Date: April 21, 2014

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

 

Brody Markham has endured a nightmare, spending the last five years in prison and losing everything that was dear to him. Now he’s back home, trying to survive in a world he doesn’t recognize anymore. While his family and friends desperately try to reach through to him, he shelters himself further and further away from their love.

Alyssa Myers has worked her entire life to distance herself from the luxurious and privileged lifestyle in which she was raised. Running her non-profit agency, The Haven, she is content to spend her days helping abused animals find sanctuary, which fulfills her in a way that money just can’t buy.

Maybe it’s that she recognizes in Brody some of the same characteristics she sees in her homeless wards, but Alyssa is powerless to stop her personal quest to make Brody whole again.

While Brody struggles to surface from the darkness, Alyssa tries to protect her heart in case he’s not willing to accept the light that she offers him.

*MAKE IT A DOUBLE can be read as a stand-alone*

 

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Excerpt

I put the last of my groceries away, fold up the brown paper bags, and tuck them in the space between my refrigerator and the kitchen wall. Turning around, I observe my little studio apartment. I see it all in just a quick glance, because it’s about the size of a postage stamp.

While I just helped Gabby move into Hunter’s house, I certainly didn’t need to ask them to reciprocate the favor. The only things I own are my clothes, and those were gifts to me from my mom. She had taken me out shopping the day after I got home from prison, outfitting me with an entirely new wardrobe. I mean… new as opposed to wearing prison garb for five years. I felt ashamed that my mom had to buy her twenty-eight-year-old son clothes because he didn’t have a dime to his name.

Past my clothes and some basic toiletries, I have no other possessions. The car I’m driving is courtesy of my parents… on loan, of course. It’s an old Chevy Malibu that had been sitting under a tarp, which Dad used to drive. They don’t use it, but it runs fine. Mom and Dad tried to give it to me, but I wouldn’t accept it. Instead, I capitulated only by agreeing that I was borrowing it until I could save up enough money to buy it from them.

Luckily, this studio apartment came completely furnished, and the kitchen was stocked with dishes, pots, pans, and utensils. I had all the basics that I needed to survive, because let’s face it… it wasn’t too fucking hard to boil some Ramen noodles for dinner, and that was a huge step up from the prison food I’d been eating.

So with my duffel bag filled with clothes purchased by my mom, I drove my old Chevy borrowed from my parents to the grocery store and stocked up on some basic provisions. Then it took me all of five minutes to move into my new home.

A knock on my door has me glancing down at my watch.

Right on time.

In three regular strides, I’m from one side of the apartment to the other and opening the door. There stands my parole officer, Jimbo Peaks. He is six-foot-six of solid muscle, his neck as thick as a tree truck, and his biceps the size of smoked hams. With skin darker than midnight, his light hazel eyes are spooky

as shit when he looks directly at you, in that contemplative sort of way I’ve come to know over the last two months since I’ve been home.

“What’s up, Brody?” he says with a huge grin on his face, sticking his hand out for me to shake.

I take his hand, and it freaks me out how mine is dwarfed by his. I mean… I’m not a small man myself, almost as tall as Jimbo, in fact. But when comparing my muscle mass to his, I feel downright puny and I kept myself in pretty decent shape while in prison. Other than reading, working out was about the only thing that was a resourceful use of my time.

“Come on in,” I tell him as I step back so he can enter.

Jimbo walks into my humble abode and turns around once. Yup… he’s seen everything. A small kitchen on one side that merges right into my living room that abuts one wall. A double bed takes up the other wall, and the bathroom takes up another. It’s four hundred and fifty feet of cozy living, situated right above Mabel Fisher’s three-car garage.

Miss Mabel is older than Methuselah but has been a friend of our family’s since I was a baby. She’s eccentric, rich as hell, and loves to thumb her nose at polite society.

And by polite society, I mean those people here on the islands that look at me in disdain because I killed someone.

Not Mabel though. She was at my parents’ house within forty-eight hours of my return home, giving me a hug and a papery kiss, then making me sit down while she drank tea and filled me in on all the Outer Banks’ gossip for the past five years. She’s a trip… a breath of fresh air, and one of the few around here willing to give me a chance. When she offered to rent this apartment to me for a ridiculously small amount, I couldn’t say no.

“Nice digs man,” Jimbo’s deep voice rumbles. “All moved in?”

“Yup. Bag of clothes and some groceries. I’m settled.”

Jimbo chuckles and moves to my small kitchen table that seats only two people. Sitting down, he motions to the other chair so I do the same. “How does it feel to be out of your parents’ house?”

I crack a small smile and tap my fingers on the kitchen table. “It’s good. I mean… I love my parents, but it was time for me to get my own place.”

“Heard that,” Jimbo agrees, and then transitions into his next question. “How’s work going?”

“Going great,” I tell him, because it is. I enjoy working at Last Call, and I’m thankful as fuck I have a job. Most parolees struggle to find work, or get shit jobs that scrape the bottom of the barrel. When they can’t find work because no one will take a chance on them, they go back to a life of crime. If I had a nickel for every repeat offender I met in prison, who was there just because they couldn’t make an honest living, well… I’d be buying Mabel’s house from her rather than renting this apartment.

Jimbo doesn’t seem satisfied with my short answer, so he delves a bit more. It’s his job to make sure I can acclimate to life on the outside, so I’m not bothered when he asks, “Any problem being around the alcohol?”

“Nah,” I tell him genuinely. “No desire to drink at all.”

“That’s good,” he says with a smile. “Seeing as how that’s a condition of your parole.”

“Look, man… doesn’t matter if it’s a condition or not, there is nothing on this earth that could get me to drink a drop of alcohol.”

“And why is that?” he asks, but he knows the answer.

I tell him anyway.

“Because it shattered my life. Because it killed a man. It left a mother without a husband and a little boy without a father. Need any other reason?”

“No,” Jimbo says quietly, staring at me with those light eyes. “That’s a good enough reason.”

I hold his gaze, waiting for the next question. We’ve had this same meeting on five other occasions since I came home, but today it’s being done at my new home so he can check it out. As a parole officer, his role is part jail keeper, part counselor. It’s his responsibility to keep me on the straight and narrow, but to also do what he can to make sure my head is clear when I’m making my choices. So that involves talking… a lot. Just to make sure that the emotional and psychological toll of reentering the real world doesn’t cast me in a downward spiral.

Yeah, I talk a lot to Jimbo. He knows more of my internal struggles dealing with life on the outside than my family does. For whatever reason, I’ve been able to open up to him—somewhat—in a way that I just haven’t with my family. I suppose that boils down to the simple fact that Jimbo asks me questions… asks me how I’m feeling and how I’m coping. My parents, my identical twin Hunter, my baby sister, Casey… while they love me more than the air they breathe, well… they’re just not sure what is open to talk about and what may be taboo. So they walk on eggshells.

“Tell me some of the problems you’ve had adjusting?” Jimbo leads in.

Heard this question before too, and my answer the last time was, Not anything to tell.

I start to tell him the same thing, but the look on his face stops me. It says, And don’t hand me any bullshit, either.

I suppose I can skirt the real issues only so long before Jimbo is apt to put me in a headlock and beat the information out of me. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, I decide to go ahead and lay it out. “I wake up at five AM every day, no matter what time I get to sleep the night before. It’s because I’ve been getting up at the same time every morning for the last five years… because I had no choice but to get up every morning at five AM. I don’t even know how to have a leisurely morning where I sleep in. When I go to sleep at night, I can hear metal cots squeaking and my cell mate rubbing one off while he tries to stifle his groans into the two-inch piece of flimsy foam that’s called a pillow. I hear the newbies crying, and I hear the lifers telling them to shut the fuck up. When I’m awake… out in the real world, I can’t walk around a blind corner without my palms sweating, because I’m expecting someone will be there waiting to jump me. I was always on alert… I’m still always on alert. The air smells too fresh, the food tastes too good, people talk too loud, and I’m having a hard time letting people touch me. It’s overwhelming and that’s just for starters, Jimbo. So yeah,” I say with some sarcasm as my eyes drop to the table. “I’m having a bit of an adjustment problem.”

“How does all of that make you feel?”

My eyes slowly rise to meet his. “I’m pissed off. All the time. I’m withdrawn, moody, and restless. I have all this wide-open space available to me, yet I’m having a hard time straying too far from the things that are safe to me. So I go to work, and I go home. That’s it.”

Jimbo gives me that contemplative look, and I can see the wheels turning inside his head. I’m prepared for him to launch into a pep talk, about how I have a chance to make something with my life… to atone for my mistakes and put the past behind me. Instead, he says, “You know… there’s something odd about you.”

My eyebrows shoot up and, for a moment, I consider being affronted by that statement, but then I just mentally shrug my shoulders. Odd is one of many things that I am.

“How’s that?” I ask.

“I’ve been doing this work close to twelve years now… and I can count on one hand the amount of parolees I’ve had that don’t try to convince me that they didn’t do it… or they were framed… or hell, even if they did do it, they blame a corrupt system for sending them away.” He pauses, his green-gold eyes flickering back and forth between mine. “But not you. You accepted responsibility and never once tried to blame someone or something else for your lot in life. It just makes you… odd.”

Shrugging my shoulders, I lean back in my chair. “No one to blame but myself.”

“That’s right,” Jimbo says with a nod. “No one to blame but yourself, and you’ve done a remarkable job accepting responsibility. In fact, you’ve done such a good job at it… some might say that it would help you have a clear conscience.”

“What’s your point?” I ask, genuinely curious as to where he’s going with this.

“My point is that if you truly took responsibility and had a clear conscience, then you should have some measure of peace.”

I scratch my chin absently, pondering his words. I did the time. I took my lumps and accepted my punishment. Should that give me peace?

Jimbo’s probably right. In those circumstances, maybe my soul should feel a little lighter… more free. If I truly was remorseful for what happened, and I truly had done my penance, I shouldn’t be struggling the way I am.

Except… my circumstances aren’t exactly the way Jimbo describes it. He sees my sorrow and guilt, but he doesn’t see past that. Because there’s a whole lot more that makes up Brody Markham’s fucked-up world than just the after effects of a few years in prison. My issues started before I even got sent away.

 

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About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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