The only reason I didn’t do a DNF when I started this book is because I requested it from NetGalley and I felt obligated to write a review. So I kept on reading and thankfully, when I was about 50% of the book, it turned into the wonderful love story that I always expect from Sawyer Bennett. I have been a fan of Ms Bennett for some time and have read A LOT of her books and loved them all, so one dud is not a bad thing. I’m pretty sure the book was fantastic for other readers. So I will explain below.
Simone Fournier arrived at her brother’s house, with suitcases, uninvited. She dropped out of college where she was one semester away from finishing pre-med in an Ivy League University. She realized that studying medicine was her father’s dream, not hers, so she dropped out and appeared on her brother Lucas’ doorstep. Lucas lived in a very small house with Van, another player in the Cold Fury hockey team. The house only had two bedrooms and neither of the guys ceded her his bedroom, so she claimed the couch for sleeping. She met Van and she liked what she saw and she decided she wanted him. Thus starts a sexual harassment campaign. She relentlessly pursued him, no holds barred, offering sex, dressing provocatively, in a pushy and constant manner. No matter that Van told her he didn’t want to get involved with her, she didn’t heed his warning and kept pushing, to the extent that Van had to keep away from the house or hide in his room. I can understand that a woman has a right to own her sexuality but if this were coming from a man, it would be called sexual harassment, but coming from a woman, she called it seduction??
Finally Van succumbed to so much temptation, and the sex was stratospherically good. So they agree to a sex only rule, no further involvement. Van has powerful reasons for not wanting to get involved with women, and he’s kept a wall around him all his life. His father was a sociopath, convicted of raping and murdering women. He lived the scandal of the trial and conviction and the aftermath was so vicious for a little boy that he learned to hide within himself and not let anyone in. Until Simone and her pushy ways got into him.
So, once Simone and Van are involved, they were great for each other. After the fact, I realized that if Simone hadn’t been so pushy and corralled Van the way she did, he probably would have kept closed off and never come out of hiding.
Simone had some growing up to do, she needed to figure out what to do with her life and return the money that her parents had invested in her career. I didn’t have a lot of admiration for Simone at first, except that once she had Van, she was a fantastic girlfriend, supportive and understanding. She helped him a lot in overcoming his issues.
Van was opening up, letting people in and getting involved with what was happening around him. They both needed to grow as a couple, since this was new territory for both.
Once Simone was in a committed relation with Van, she turned into the good girl that everyone said she was. The vibe I got from the book was that she was sex-starved, given the insistence with which she pursued Van. Also, her choice of work and attire. It just did not jibe with the image of a good girl. Nevertheless, once the book got going with Van and Simone as a couple, and they started mingling with the Simone’s brothers and sisters in law, we get to see a Van learning the ropes of social interplay, trying to let people in and wanting to please Simone. He did a lot of growing up, even though he was always afraid of turning into a monster like his father later in life.
A scandal happens, and it will test them as a couple and their commitment to each other.
Apart from the beginning and the distaste I felt for the way Simone pursued Van, it was a great book, like all the other Sawyer Bennett books. Great reading, great hockey family, great pace. In this book, I loved the male character. It was like seeing a guy who was socially stumped, go baby steps into opening his self and slowly approaching happiness.