Ryker is the second book I have read in the Cold Fury series and Sawyer Bennett continues to deliver. I just have to say that I know nothing about hockey. I don't watch it and I'm not a fan. For that reason, I was a little reluctant to get into these books. Let me tell you, if you're a non-hockey girl like me, don't let that stop you from reading these books. The romance is so well depicted, the hockey is just icing on the cake. Not only that, Sawyer Bennett apparently bothers to research before she writes because the information in the book about hockey and the individual characters is so well done, you know she couldn't just write this stuff off the top of her head.
Ryker is the goalie for the Carolina Fury. We first met him in the last book in the series (which I also gave a 5 star rating and you should read). When this book picks up Ryker is a goalie at the top of his game. He was apparently recruited by Gray Brannon when she was a scout. In this book, however, Gray is promoted to the GM of the Fury when her Father who owns the team steps down. The setup for this book is awesome. Gray is the first female GM of a professional hockey team and that is met with all the sexist derision you might expect, especially from some of Ryker's teammates. So when Gray finds herself attracted to Ryker and vice versa, their relationship is a powder keg waiting to explode as soon as anyone finds out about it. If Ryker's teammates know, it could put him at odds with them since they are opposed to Gray. If the world at large finds out, Gray could be discredited in her career for sleeping with one of her employees. Add to that the fact that the mother of Ryker's young daughters decides she wants Ryker back and this book is full of delicious tension. I loved every second of it.
Ryker is a refreshing alpha male character. I say refreshing because Ryker actually doesn't do flings. I've read so many books where the male character "only does one night" and it just gets old. It's nice that Ryker was a guy who wanted more from the beginning. Ryker is also progressive in his thinking about women, completely supportive, a great Dad and sexy as hell. He's the book boyfriend every girl wants. Gray is also a great character. It turns out she's a genius who plans to employ some super involved statistical analysis to build her hockey team. I love the way she talks about her methods and the fact that we as readers can actually follow along with her reasoning. Even though Gray is Ryker's boss, there is never a role reversal feel to this book. Gray supports Ryker without weakening herself and vice versa and I absolutely love that..
The relationship between Ryker and Gray develops pretty early on and most of the book is about how they deal with the secrecy and external pressures. The story of Ryker and Gray is a really great one about how love can trump just about anything. If I had one criticism of this book it would be that I was a bit disappointed in the sex scenes. They were definitely better in the last book, here they were quick and a little vague. Obviously, I didn't hold it against the book because the story was so good and the characters so well developed, I was actually ok without the sexy sex. Read this book and the rest of the series if you haven't already!
**ARC provided by Publisher**