Steele (Arizona Vengeance, #9) by Sawyer Bennett
Publisher: LLC
Publication Date: December 8, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Second Chance Romance, Sports
Format: e-ARC
Source: the author

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.

*Note:   This book was provided to The Book Hookup by the Author but that did not in any way influence this review!!

I love the Arizona Vengeance.  I enjoy reading about each member of the team and following them on their journey and I adore the fact that in each book we get a glimpse of what everyone else on the team is doing as well.  As always, this story drew me in and kept me engaged as I watched closely to see if Steele would be able to do what was necessary to get his wife back.  Of course, I was rooting for Steele and Ella the whole way but he certainly had a long road to travel – one that kept me turning the pages quickly!

I know what you’re thinking, that I’m going to say that what I loved most about the book was how swoony and wonderful Steele was.  And, yes, you may be a little right about that.  But, in reality, what I loved most about this book was the emotions it packed.  This was certainly a rollercoaster of feels.  Ella felt invisible to her husband and the hurt that that emotion brought about has not yet left her heart at the beginning of this story.  As she and Steele begin to try working on their marriage, there are a lot of broken pieces that have to be picked up and dealt with – her heart can’t just heal, it needs love and care.  Steele, on the other hand feels a sense of desperation and huge guilt over how and why their marriage ended.  And, even though he’s doing everything he can to close the gap between them, he still feels a great deal of uncertainty.  These two were an emotional mess but this story proved once again that love can heal wounds and bring happiness in turbulent times.  Their connection and chemistry was through the roof but their story needed more than that, their happily ever after needed some attention.

I’m not sure whether it was because I was emotionally connected to the story or whether it was because I desperately wanted these two to have a happy ending but, before I knew it, I’d finished the story.  As with all of Ms. Bennett’s books, I love the play between the main characters and the secondary ones.  I loved that there was growth and self-discovery on both Ella and Steele’s parts and I enjoyed that the road wasn’t easy but that these two didn’t give up.  Overall, this was another great addition to the Vengeance lineup!

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