*I received a free copy of Zack from Loveswept via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Series: Cold Fury Hockey #3
Published by Loveswept on 9 June 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rising star Zack Grantham has been stuck in a downward spiral of grief ever since the car accident that left him a single dad and put his career on hold. Back on the road with the Carolina Cold Fury and still crippled by emotional baggage, he’s in need of some serious help with his son. But while the nerdy new nanny wins his son’s heart, Zack isn’t sure he’s ready for a woman’s touch—even after getting a glimpse of the killer curves she’s hiding under those baggy clothes.
Kate Francis usually keeps men like Zack at a distance. Though his athlete’s body is honed to perfection, he refuses to move on with his life—and besides, he’s her boss. Still, the sparks between them are undeniable, tempting Kate to turn their professional relationship into a personal one. But before she makes a power play for Zack’s wounded heart, Kate will have to open him up again and show him that love is worth the fight.
Wham! And my heart broke! Kate is so loving, tender, open-minded and amazing I fell for her almost as hard as I fell for Zack and his ornery ways!
My Zack review:
When I started reading Zack, I knew the story would be heart-breaking, what with him getting over Gina’s death, in a car-wreck where he was in the car as well. Dealing with the guilt, having to pick up his life and be a single father to Ben all the while working on getting back in top physical shape so he could play hockey again. Most of his team-mates don’t really know how to act around him, and he has no idea what he has to do to truly enter the land of the living once more.
Just before his sister has to leave to go back to work, she interviews live-in nannies for Zack, and he just lets her make the final decision because it’s really hard for him to think of another woman doing the things with Ben that Gina used to do. While he knows he has to have someone in the house with whom he can entrust his son, he doesn’t really want to deal with that person at all. When Kate shows up the first morning to work, all he can see is her huge glasses and baggy clothes; and all he can hear is her geeky humor and upbeat optimism. Ben seems to love her, though, so he manages to be slightly less grumpy than he had started out being.
Emotional, raw and showing that even when life is hard an everything seems bleak and filled with sorrow, Zack is a beautifully written story. I loved how he was able to make sure his son was OK, and then, little by little he became better himself as well. And when he realized that Kate was actually a truly beautiful person – both on the inside and the outside, he couldn’t stop fantasizing about her… even when he had decided he would not have an affair with the nanny. Kate proved to be quite hard to resist, though, especially because she agreed to Zack’s rules about having a strictly physical relationship between them – because he had no more heart to give.
As the story moves on, and Kate feels like there is much more to what she and Zack could have together than the sexy-times when Ben is asleep, things become more complicated. Both because Zack seems to be wanting more, while at the same time being very scared of more – he continues to feel as if he didn’t truly give Gina his all – and because Kate becomes friends with Olivia and Zack thinks she’s getting too tangled up in his Cold Fury family as well.
Written in alternating point of views both from Zack and Kate’s perspective, in present tense switching between first and third person, I really got a very good feel for the characters. And they both matured quite a bit during their story, the character development, as well as the hot and steamy scenes and the way Zack needed to move beyond the guilt made it a terrific read.
Some of my favorite Zack quotes:
I don’t say anything else, my mind already starting to shut down. I abhor the thought of culling through her final recommendations for a nanny for Ben. Because that means this is final… that Gina is really dead and Ben’s mommy is definitely not coming back. In my mind, it’s putting the final nail in her coffin.
She says all this without pausing to take a breath, and it’s done in such a singsong, joyous way, I can’t help but just stare at her. I have to wonder if is she exhibits this much happiness and enthusiasm all the time, and if so, will it make me want to strangle her at some point?
I could see that the pot roast was bringing up bittersweet memories, but I had to admire the way in which he refused to push them down, but rather celebrated them with Ben so he’d always keep something of his mom with him. I very much respected the way he acknowledged Gina’s memory and kept it existent for his son.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: