by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Publisher: Big Dog Books, LLC
Book #4 in the Pittsburgh Titans series
Number of pages: 256
Ages 15 and up
CW: bullying, death of parents
Coen Highsmith was a league star, but he lost more than his team the day the Pittsburgh Titans’ plane crashed. Can he be saved from his downward spiral of guilt and regret to become the man he once was?
I had it all—a successful hockey career, the respect and adoration of the fans, a rotation of beautiful women warming my bed, and a feeling of self-worth and contentment with the direction of my life. But that all changed the day the team plane went down, taking my only chance of redemption with it. Now I’m left with the daily reminder of all my failures and my inability to correct them.
My new teammates are tired of my attitude and following my suspension, I hole up in a mountain cabin to get away from all of it. The isolation is exactly what I need to get out of my own head, and I’m beginning to think I could be content in this quiet forever.
Tillie Marshall isn’t the type of woman who would usually catch my attention, yet she manages to do so for all the wrong reasons. I’m here for the peace and seclusion but the quirky artist is hell-bent on destroying that by cutting down the trees that separate our properties so she can open a pottery studio. If it’s a fight she wants, it’s a fight she’ll get. I have the money and the time and no issues bringing her down through the court system. While I see flashes of steely determination within her, I’ve found that being a jerk comes naturally these days and she won’t be hard to intimidate.
Unfortunately, that gorgeous and somewhat odd neighbor who has been causing me grief is creating another type of feeling within me. And once that spark is lit, Tillie displays a faith in me that for the first time since the crash I desperately want to believe. Now it’s time for me to step up and become the man—no, a better man than I once was.
This story is very self-contained and takes place, for the most part, quite distant from the rest of the Pittsburgh Titans. With good reason. Ever since a plane crash killed all but a few players and the team had to rebuild, Coen has pushed everyone away. While survivor’s guilt is a very real and understandable thing, Coen was on a downward spiral that seemed to have its roots in more.
Coen has moved to a cabin in the woods in a small town. He’s enjoying his solitude and, while not ready to face his demons, he’s at least cleaning up his act a little bit. Then he gets a new neighbor and the sparks fly. Coen’s hair-trigger instinct to be a jerk is front and center when it comes to dealing with Tillie. But Tillie doesn’t suffer fools, or jerks, kindly. She gives as good as she gets and their little rivalry has some fun and turns.
As much as these two view the other as the enemy, they cannot stop thinking about the sparks that fly between them. What starts as an argument will quickly turn to a kiss, and neither can make sense of why they can’t stop. Then, as if he cannot help himself, Coen’s nice guy, the guy he was before the plane crash, starts seeping out. He may have a short fuse and not want to deal with people in general, but he also cannot stand to see people being jerks just for the joy of bullying. Soon, Tillie starts to get to know the real Coen and Coen starts opening up a little bit. In the meantime, they’ve called a truce and are burning up the sheets.
This story has fire, hope, love, friendship, and forgiveness. And while we don’t see a lot of the rest of the team, they make an appearance when it counts to keep Coen’s connection to them alive.
Great review, sounds like this pair had some good chemistry.
Oh wow! This sounds good. I haven’t read the series yet, but I’ve seen a ton of reviews for it that have caught my eye. I need to push it up my list. Great review!
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