by Colleen Charles
“Bender” is the fourth book in the ‘Vegas Venom’ series of hockey romances by Colleen Charles. The whole series has been excellent, but I have to say this is my favorite book so far! It can be read as a standalone story. However, if you had the pleasure of reading the books that came before it, you’ll recognize the main characters and appreciate their love story even more.
Marco was a professional hockey player in Italy who received the opportunity of a lifetime to play in the NHL. He’s a great guy, and a talented hockey player, but struggles to keep up with the level of talent found in the National Hockey League in America. He also struggles with the nuances of the English language. Madison is the younger sister of one of his teammates. Marco initially met her in her previous book and was dumbfounded by the beauty of the professional plus sized model. It’s taken a lot of effort, but she’s comfortable with her appearance and herself, and has a successful career. She finds Marco’s earnest awkwardness charming and is as attracted to him as he is to her. The relationship that develops between Marco and Madison feels authentic and is extremely containing.
The connection between the main characters is wonderful, as are their individual personalities. I thought the dialogue and banter was well written, frequently funny, and sometimes surprisingly emotional. The secondary characters add a lot of additional depth to the story. The plot went in unexpected directions more than once, which made it even more compelling. Once I started reading, I truly couldn’t put this book down. The steamy escapades between Marco and Madison are intense, and so are the dramatic developments in the plot. I laughed really hard multiple times while reading this book. It’s tempting to give you specific examples, but I don’t want to ruin anything for you – believe me, you want to read it for yourself. This is an emotional story, but at the end the author left me with warm, fuzzy feelings and a content smile.