RYKER by Sawyer Bennett: The Empress’ New Clothes


F1721_RykerBennett-238x238Book 4 in the Cold Fury Hockey series
by Sawyer Bennett
Published by Tantor Audio
Narrated by Cris Dukehart, Graham Halstead
Publication date Oct 28, 2015
Running time 7 hrs 23 min

Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


The stakes have never been higher for Carolina Cold Fury goalie Ryker Evans. With his contract running out, he’s got a year left to prove that he’s still at the top of his game. And since his wife left him, Ryker has been balancing life as a pro hockey star and a single parent to two daughters. Management is waiting for him to screw up. The fans are ready to pounce. Everybody’s taking dirty shots—except for the fiery redhead whose faith in Ryker gives him a fresh start.

As the league’s only female general manager, Gray Brannon has learned not to mix business with pleasure. And yet even this tough, talented career woman can’t help breaking her own rules as she gives Ryker everything she’s got. She hopes that their hot streak will last forever, but with Ryker’s conniving ex plotting to reclaim her man, the pressure’s on Gray to step up and save a tender new love before it’s too late.

Contains mature themes. https://tantor.com/ryker-awyer-bennett.html


My Take Oblong

There are things I like in this book and things I do not.

I loved how great a father Ryker is to his children whose mom decided to hook up with a former team mate and leave them all with Ryker.  He knows so much about his girls and is so involved with their needs. I also like how he is totally non-sexist in his actions involving Gray. He recognizes her career as just as important as his.  This is totally in conflict with the more cave-man side of his -personality where he beats is ex’s beau up for sleeping with is wife and in the way he defends Gray’s honor. I like how Bennett gave him this complex  personality.

I kind of like how Gray is not deferential to men; she doesn’t apologize and she doesn’t give up. And, I sure like how she and Ryker fall into their relationship through mutual respect and serious physical attraction!

When I entered  the management workforce in the 1980s it was often said that women were our own worst enemies. That is the first thought that came to mind as I read this story about, Gray, the first female GM of a hockey team and daughter of the owner, falling for the goalie in the same team. 

We hear all about her amazing education, her status as an Olympian and so on.  Yeah, folks she’s the second-coming of smartness and is using metrics to make sports team decisions! Oooh, statistics! what are those?

Then we hear how she is dressed and how she chose her outfit for impact.  We hear her clothes choices for meetings over and over again; to the point where I felt the author and character were more concerned with fashion than function.

Eventually I just started laughing when the clothing references came up.  As women we worry too much about how we look in our clothes, and what they say. Men just put their clothes on according to their dress code.  They might prefer a designer over another and may notice what another guy is wearing but it is not the first thing on their minds. They don’t depend on their clothes. 

Read a novel about business written by a guy — They do not regularly, I wore a so-and-so suit because it shows off my pecs and that will intimidate or impress the other people at the meeting/press conference. They might think – this suit looks better because I gained/lost weight, but the guys I know in business are not like this..

I think we hurt ourselves by focusing on clothes and appearance, versus skills and education.  And granted, society judges women on appearance more than it does men. But we feed that monster when the message in a book is” I have degrees and a an Olympic medal but what’s really important is what I am wearing. “

I felt like Gray was an athletic, well-educated Barbie doll.  Appearance is important, but while men wear their work clothes as a uniform in this book Gray wears hers as a statement, to impress or impact others with a show of her fitness, or a show – or not – of cleavage. 

Also, I didn’t think she was terribly smart in thinking she and Ryker could keep their relationship a secret, and in the end, it was an easy fix.  I guess this is a demonstration of how love and lust makes one temporarily less bright than normal.

I liked Ryker more than I did Gray. But this book bugged me because of the clothes thing. The heat and relationship parts of the story still resonate and Ryker is a great character!

Links Blue Horizontal

TANTOR: https://tantor.com/ryker-awyer-bennett.html

AUDIBLE: http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Ryker-Audiobook/B016P8SGN8?source_code=TANP0005WS071408

SAWYER BENNETT: http://sawyerbennett.com/bookstore/ryker/