Arizona Vengeance: Tacker
Ok, so I started this series by Sawyer Bennett after I had finished reading her "Cold Fury Series" and I thought how will this team compare to my cold fury guys? Well, they don't ! But in a good way. You know how some authors will take a theme and apply it to each book and character. Not Sawyer. Is this another hockey series? Yes. Are there are relationship challenges, unresolved issues and come to Jesus moments? Yes. Then how are they different? Each couple has a unique and current issue that applies to them that also you can relate to on a personal scale. I put off reading this book because I knew it would deal with a loss and guilt so soul deep for Tacker that I was afraid to take that journey with him. In the previous books you could see he was on a self destructive path and no one was close enough or comfortable enough to help him wrestle his demons. The rubber meets the road for Tacker in Book 4 Dax where towards the end of the book Tacker is injured in a drunk driving episode that could cost him his place on the team. Although, Tacker is considered a stand alone novel, I feel it would be much more enjoyable if read in order of the series. Tacker has been in a closed off state for the last 15 months since watching his finacee, MJ, die next to him in a plane crash that Tacker was the pilot. Tacker has never shared his feelings with friends or any professional counselor. He chose to use hockey as a way to cover up the pain of his loss. This caused him to be a reclusive, closed off and mercurial team captain. The members of the team were not willing to give up on Tackerso they tried some interventions by try to include him in team functions and bit by bit they begin to chip away at his protect outer layer. We see it chipping away with Blue's brother, Timmy, Legend's daughter, Charlie and finally Regan, Dax's wife. However, that was not enough to bring him out and as a result on the one day that Tracker could not hold back his guilt and pain over MJ's death any longer, he gets drunk and drives his truck into the barrier outside of the arena. At this point no one can over look Tacker's behaviors and emotional state so he is ordered into professional counseling or he will no longer be on team. This is where the beauty and heartbreak of Tacker's story is revealed. I don't want to spoil the ending if you have come this far and know that you should read this book. I will add that the type of therapy used on Tacker at the center was interesting it was called equine therapy. Working with the care and maintenance of the animals on the farm along with horses, their grooming, yep and shoveling manure. All which helped to breakdown barriers and build trust during the treatment. I cried multiple times while reading this book. The emotions and guilt that Tacker had bottled up were so engaging. Especially the story of Nora, one of the counselors who was a young child and the horrors she encountered as a victim of the war in Kosovo. All of this made it heart tugging, tear inducing, tissue using story that I would definitely recommend. Again, I would recommend starting from beginning of this series with Bishop. You wont be disappointed. Just 1 brown woman's opinion.