As one of the league’s toughest enforcers, Van Turner is ruthless on the ice. He plays hard because it’s the only way to channel the rage boiling inside, and a reputation as an A-hole is better than everyone knowing the truth. Van has spent his entire life running from a secret that’s kept him from getting involved in relationships—or accepting lucrative deals with East Coast teams. Then the Carolina Cold Fury makes him an offer he can’t refuse . . . and Van meets a woman he can’t resist.
Simone Fournier is the stubborn one in her family—and that’s saying something, considering her brothers are two of the Cold Fury’s biggest stars. Simone gets what she wants, and what she wants is Van. Still, there’s a part of him Simone can’t reach, no matter how hard she tries. In private, he’s all fire and passion. In public, he freezes her out. Van may want to push her away, but Simone won’t let him go that easily. Because this time, she’s playing for keeps.
Praise for Van
“Easily read as a standalone. Trust me, you want to read this extremely hot hockey book!”—Red Cheeks Reads
“I swear that from the second I cracked open [Van] I was immediately in love with this book. . . . Sawyer Bennett knocked it out of the park with the newest story in the Cold Fury series. I couldn’t get enough!”—About That Story (five stars)
“Van by Sawyer Bennett will make you fall in love with the Cold Fury Hockey series all over again!”—Hypable
“A hot, fast-paced contemporary romance . . . with characters you want to get to know better, as well as a storyline to keep you invested.”—(un)Conventional Bookviews
“Van is a bold and lively addition to the author’s Cold Fury Hockey series.”—The Reading Cafe
The Carolina Cold Fury series from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett can be read together or separately:
And don’t miss her Arizona Vengeance series:
The Love Hurts series features sexy standalone novels:
SEX IN THE STICKS
And the Sugar Bowl series is one treat you’ll want to read in order:
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I know I should get up and hit the gym, but I’m feeling too lazy today. We’re in the home stretch of the regular season with the first round of the play-offs starting next week. Our practices have been light since we’ve clinched the top spot and the coaches want us as fresh as possible. I decide to apply that same reasoning to myself—staying fresh as possible. I’m a procrastinator by nature and I hate working out. It’s a necessary evil, but if I can get by missing one without feeling too terribly guilty, I’ll do it.
Lucas comes out of his bedroom and heads into the kitchen. I can tell by the subtle waft of cologne that follows him as he walks by the couch where I’m lying that he’s going out tonight. I assume he’s seeing that woman he met from the museum. He seems pretty taken with her, which works fine by me. He spends a lot of nights at her apartment, so I have this little house to myself much of time. This is good, because I don’t like to be around people that much.
Since Lucas and I both came to the team at the same time, the Cold Fury management asked us if we wanted to room together until we had time to settle into the area. This seemed like a good idea to me—Lucas as well—so we rented this little house for six months. It’s been good so far and we keep out of each other’s way. But I’d been straight up with him a few days ago when he was telling me about this woman he’s seeing—I think Stephanie’s her name. I’d told him I didn’t make a good friend, which is the truth, and since then he’s not shared anything personal with me.
It’s been all, “I’m ordering a pizza, want in on it?”
Or, “Dude, it’s your turn to take the garbage out. It’s starting to smell.”
Like I said . . . I’m a procrastinator.
I can hear Lucas rustling around in the refrigerator as I keep my eyes on the news. It’s one of the things I’m a little obsessive about, and if I’m around a television at 6 p.m., I’ve got the news on; first to catch the local, then to catch the national. It’s been a habit of mine since I was a little kid, and yes, I was a weird little kid, no thanks to my parents. It’s why I got my ass kicked so much in grade school.
There’s a knock at the door and I don’t even flinch. I’m being lazy, so I can only muster the strength to roll my eyes to look at Lucas. Yeah, he’s definitely got a date tonight. I can tell by the way he’s dressed and his hair is styled. He stares back at me, holding a water bottle in his hand.
“Are you going to get the door?” he asks before taking a sip of the water.
“Why me?” I drawl.
“Um . . . because you’re closer to it,” he suggests, and that’s true.
With a heavy sigh, I roll off the couch and take three strides to reach the front door. Like I said, this house is tiny, tiny, tiny.
I swing the door open, not knowing if it’s a neighbor, a Jehovah’s Witness, or perhaps even a crazed fan. Don’t give a crap either . . . whichever it is, they’re not getting my time.
My entire body seems to lock for a moment, though, when I take in the beautiful woman standing on the doorstep. She’s got several pieces of luggage on the porch at her feet, and I have to admit, this is the craziest stalker incident I’ve ever heard of.
Too bad she’s crazy, because she’s hot as hell. Long brown hair with lighter streaks of caramel, and hazel eyes that sparkle with intense curiosity as she watches me. I’m wondering if her fan crush is on me or Lucas.
But then it hits me . . . brown hair, hazel eyes.
Fuck, this is Lucas’s sister. I’ve seen the picture of his family on the entertainment unit that houses our living room TV and I recognize her.
Sweeping a hand from Lucas’s direction toward the woman on the front porch, I step back a bit so Lucas can see her and ask him, “Something you’re not telling me?”
“That’s my sister,” he says as he walks toward us.
Yeah, figured that one out on my own. Just not sure why she’s here at our house.
I turn to look back at his sister as Lucas approaches, and I’m momentarily startled by the way she’s checking me out. Eyes actually dragging down my body, and back up again with pure female appreciation. If I didn’t have such a hard shell in place, I’d actually be a little weirded out that one of my teammate’s family members would be so obvious, but truth be told, I just don’t give a crap.
“What are you doing here?” Lucas snaps at his sister as he comes to the door. I know he told me her name before, but heck if I can remember it.
She doesn’t even jolt at her brother’s harsh tone but lazily slides her eyes to him. She gives him a bright smile and then pushes right past me to enter the house. “I’m staying.”
As she moves by me, she pats me on the arm and says in a silky, purring voice, “Can you bring those in for me?”
Her touch is light, her scent is sweet, and I have no reaction one way or the other. Because I don’t let myself react to women like that.
“You’re not staying, Simone,” Lucas says with frustration. “You said you were going back to school.”
So her name’s Simone?
I suppose the name fits her. Goes well with her pretty French Canadian accent.
I turn to watch the siblings square off, still holding the door open in case Lucas throws her out.
“Changed my mind,” she says firmly, crossing her arms over her chest, staking her position. “And I can’t stay long term at Max’s because I’m taking up one of the boys’ rooms and he needs it back. I like this area, I love my brothers, so I’m staying.”
Lucas straightens, squares his shoulders, and says back just as firmly, “Not here you’re not.”
Rather than engage in a pissing contest with her brother, Simone turns to me and actually bats her eyelashes. I can’t help but notice how long and dark they are, framing those eyes that seem heated when she looks at me.
“You don’t mind, do you, big guy?” she asks me, her accent getting heavier, maybe a little silkier as she tries to flirt with me.
It does nothing for me, frankly, but I’m not getting in the middle of this.
I shrug. “I don’t give a crap, but you’re not getting my room.”
“You’re not getting mine either,” Lucas says quickly.
“It’s settled then,” Simone says with a bright smile as she walks with swaying hips to the couch. She drops down on it, and there go my hopes of watching the news. “I totally don’t mind sleeping here.”
I make a mental note to pull my bedroom TV out of storage. I hadn’t bothered with it, but looks like I won’t be enjoying the TV out here.
Lucas merely gives a frustrated sigh of acceptance, his head lowering in defeat. I feel a little sorry for the dude, so I do him a solid and bring the luggage in off the porch.
“Be a sweetie,” Simone actually purrs at me with another flutter of her eyelashes and a pursing of her lips, “and put those in Lucas’s room so they won’t be in the way.”
I don’t even spare her a glance, but merely drop her bags just inside the door, kicking it shut behind me. With a resigned sigh of my own, I figure I should just head to the gym for a workout. I push past Lucas to the small hallway that leads to the two bedrooms.
“I’m Simone, by the way,” his sister calls out to me. “Lucas’s little sister.”
I don’t respond, and I know it’s rude, but again . . . don’t care. I step into my bedroom and shut the door behind me. If there was a lock on the door, I’d turn it. Not because I don’t feel safe or secure, but because I can tell Simone’s a pushy sort of girl, and I wouldn’t put it past her to barge in and demand conversation.
The house is small, and even with my door closed, I can hear Lucas say, “What the heck are you doing, Simone? This is crazy even by your standards.”
I can’t help but smile at that. Apparently my original estimation that the woman on the porch was crazy holds true.
“He’s kind of rude, don’t you think?” she responds, talking about me.
This actually makes me snicker. It’s not the first time I’ve been called rude.
I’ve also been described as closed off.
As I rifle through my drawers for a pair of workout shorts, I listen without shame to their conversation, just a little curious why his sister is here.