Series: Cold Fury Hockey #1
Published by Tantor Audio on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Sports Romance
Narrator: Graham Halstead, Cris Dukehart
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Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn't afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn't so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy... not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people--like Alex, who's been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team's effort to clean up his image. What she doesn't expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn't one to cross professional boundaries--and besides, Alex doesn't do relationships... or does he? The more she sees behind Alex's bad-boy facade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.
Alex is the first book in the Cold Fury Hockey series. I’ve read some of the other books and enjoyed them, so I decided to go back and start from the beginning. Unfortunately, Alex was a disappointment on two fronts: the story and the narration.
I didn’t like Alex. He and Sutton both come from difficult upbringings that are extremely similar. Whereas Sutton’s past fuels her generosity and desire to help others, Alex just broods. He gets off on being a total jerk and making everyone just as miserable as he is.
The book starts out strong, with intriguing introductions to Sutton and Alex. Alex’s prick-like behavior is understandable initially. However, I got tired of him pushing Sutton away even though she’s clearly the only person who truly “gets” him. Sutton becomes a willing doormat, which was incredibly frustrating.
The story barely scratches the surface of the community service/ PR image angle, and it eventually peters out. It’s a missed opportunity that could have added more interest to the plot. The dialogue is pretty cliché throughout, but I must admit that there’s one chapter towards the end that is super swoon worthy.
As for the narration, I wasn’t particularly fond of either vocal performance, but I had the most issues with Cris Dukehart. Her delivery is stiff, and her voice is higher pitched and too proper. It made me cringe during some of the bedroom scenes when she talks dirty. My biggest issue by far is that she voices Alex with a southern accent. Yes, the Cold Fury team is based in North Carolina, but Alex was born and raised in Canada. Why would he have a southern accent? Let’s just say there was a good reason why the Canadian suddenly became a southern belle. Wouldn’t Graham Halstead narrate Alex with a southern accent also? Apparently not. This inconsistency highlights an unprofessional lack of attention to detail.
I’m still a fan of Sawyer Bennett’s. This particular book just fell very short of my expectations. I’ll continue reading the series, though, since I know it keeps getting better.