by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Publisher: Big Dog Books, LLC
Book #9 in the Arizona Vengeance series
Number of pages: 268
Source: Amazon Purchase
Contemporary Romance/Sports M/F
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.
I don’t come across many of them, but it’s nice to read a romance where the couple is already married. In this case, Jim (Steele) and Emma have been separated for a bit. But they’re still married and neither has really done anything to move their separation forward to an actual divorce.
From previous books in this series, we’ve seen Steele mope around a bit but keep to himself about his marriage and what actually went wrong. In the last book, Kane, we see him finally jump into action. Like a smack upside the head, seeing Ella out on the town with another man had Steele realizing that she is serious about moving on from him. It seemed he felt she would eventually ask him to come back home with him not having to do any work at all.
To be fair to Steele, once he realizes he has to fight for Ella he fights hard. Not just by putting himself in her path more and even trying to sabotage her dates. He also takes a hard look at himself as a husband and understands he was lacking. Not only that, he works to change those inadequacies. Steele is actually a good guy, he was just clueless. He got married young and, being a doted on pro hockey player, never really matured into the role of husband. He didn’t put his marriage first, he put hockey first. He didn’t truly listen to Ella when she tried to tell him she was not happy. Just because you are desperately in love doesn’t mean you are happy. Something Steele had to learn the hard way.
These two gave me so many warm-fuzzies and I was all in on them getting back together. Of course, I wanted Ella to be seen in their marriage. I didn’t want them together if she was just going to disappear again. She deserved so much more than a part time husband. Thankfully, Steele was able to give her that in the end.
As usual when it comes to this series, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. There were many gut-punch moments while Steele and Ella worked their way through their issues. All evened out by the very obvious love they had for one another.