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Tacker

Arizona Vengeance, Book 5
Written by: Sawyer Bennett
Narrated by: Stephen Dexter, Lucy Rivers
Series: Arizona Vengeance, Book 5
Length: 8 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: Romance, Contemporary
3.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

I am not okay. 

Fifteen months ago, my life was turned upside down when the plane I was piloting went down. Injured and trapped in the wreckage, I had to watch my fiancée die a painfully slow death, which is something that can really mess with your head. 

Since that day, I’ve had little desire to do much of anything. Except play hockey, that is. Because that is the one place where the bad memories are banished and I can escape my pain. 

But off the ice, I’m spiraling out of control. Losing the grip on my life and putting myself and my career in danger. Now, thanks to a string of bad decisions, I’ve been ordered to complete therapy in order to stay on the team. 

The problem? Nora Wayne, my beautiful and somewhat unconventional therapist. I can’t buy into the brand of happy-clappy crap this woman is feeding me. What could she possibly understand about the type of loss that I’ve suffered? How does she know anything about finding happiness after losing the most important person in your life? 

Turns out, I’ve got a lot to learn, and she’s just the person I need to break through those walls I’ve erected. 

I am not okay.
But for the first time in a long time, I know that I will be.

©2019 Sawyer Bennett (P)2019 Sawyer Bennett

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • bookbruin
  • 2019-11-12

Tacker's story was worth the wait!

I have been waiting for Tacker's story since meeting him at the start of the Arizona Vengeance series. His heartbreaking story and downward spiral after MJ's death had me anxiously awaiting the day when he would finally get his own happy ever after. Sawyer Bennett did not disappoint and Tacker was just as emotional as I knew it would be. Though this is book 5 in the series, it can be read as a standalone. Characters from the previous books do appear, however, and the book would be best enjoyed if read in order.

Death of a spouse or loved one is always a difficult trope for me to get behind. I often have a hard time believing in the new love connection since had that not happened, our character would be happily married/in love. Sawyer Bennett did a wonderful job of making this work in Tacker, however, and it was easy to root for Tacker to find love again. Tacker and Nora's evolving relationship isn't without its issues and ethical concerns, but I did feel that they made a genuine connection that healed both of them. There isn't any unnecessary OW/OM drama and I loved that the story focused on healing and learning to live again. The tension and build up was amazing and the sexy times were off the charts HOT! I lost count of all the times Tacker made me swoon. Even when a deflating air mattress tries to create an obstacle, Tacker makes it clear (in the sexiest way) that he doesn't need any of that to get the job done.

I loved catching up with all the previous couples in the series and there were two awesome updates that left me smiling ear to ear for Erik, Blue, Legend, and Pepper. The book adds more fuel to the fire for team owner Dominik and Willow's book and also introduces us to Tacker's BFF, Aaron Wylde, who will also be getting his own book.

Listening to the audiobook of Tacker definitely heightened the emotions and experience for me. Stephen Dexter was wonderful as gruff and closed off Tacker. His deep voice was a great fit and I found both his male and female voices enjoyable. Lucy Rivers complemented Stephen Dexter's narration well, but I did find her a little monotone/robotic at times. Overall, a terrific listen and a fantastic way to enjoy Tacker's story.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • LexiMuse
  • 2020-01-01

This much anticipated story was good but not great and is not a stand-alone.

While there was finally some resolution with Tacker’s emotional health, this just didn’t flow as well as some of the other books in the series. The dialogue dragged some and the narration for some of the emotional parts sounded whiny. Plus there was just something too understanding and bland about Nora. Since both Nora and Tacker appear more self contained, loners, the story seemed more forced in terms of the larger series narrative. Also some things made little sense such as continuing to live in the unsafe dump with no furniture. It seemed to reflect on his state of mind and the air mattress scene was entirely too predictable. When his best friend comes to town and when his girlfriend lives 40 minutes away why would he not move somewhere between the ranch and stadium as part of improving his way of life?
Tacker’s interactions with his teammates and especially the wives and girlfriends were great when they occurred and the introduction of Arron Wilde was fun. Looking forward to his story.
The chemistry between Nora and Tacker was predictably slow given Tacker’s issues but there relationship could have been more exciting or interesting and less of a snooze-fest. Also the 2nd therapist suddenly becoming relatable was a big stretch without more detail. Looking forward to more of Willow and Dominic and was very disappointed not to have more interaction between Willow and Nora. The ending was sweet but very abrupt an uninteresting.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • SmutLovinWife
  • 2019-12-03

Loved the author

Love this author, she is AMAZING and writes stories that truly make you tell. I wasn’t thrilled with the female narrator.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephanie B
  • 2019-12-02

Another good book from Bennett

I waited a really long time for this book. Bennett took the storyline in a bit of an unexpected direction. I highly suggest that readers pick up the previous books in this series. This can be read as a stand-alone, however the glimpses into Tacker’s story makes all of the difference in this book. Seeing the interactions change within the story compared to other books in this series makes the difference. Can’t wait until January to see what Sawyer comes up with next!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. Kelly
  • 2019-11-26

Finally Tacker's Story!!

This is book 5 in the Arizona Vengeance and I would absolutely read the previous books before reading this one or you won't understand the backstory of what happened to Tacker or certain events that are spoken about in this book. Tacker is having a harder and harder time dealing with the death of his fiance and after what happened in the previous books, this is his last chance in order to change things around. He has to either stick with the terms laid out for him by the not only the owner of the team but the coach or he will just keep sinking and not even have hockey to distract him. Nora is a therapist who has known her own loss but has come to terms with it. Now she spends her time trying to help others in need in her own unique way. The attraction between them is there from the beginning but can either of them accept what they could be for each other, or will they let what should be the "rules" hold them back along with their own pasts.

I have been extremely impatient for Tackers story since the very first. And I absolutely loved it!! Tacker has so many things to work through-and when you hear the exact story of what happened? It will break your heart! I can't even imagine what he went through and was still going through. Nora also went through something completely traumatic that I never even expected. But it made her this beautiful soul who finds the beauty in every day things. They are perfect for each other. Not only does Nora show Tacker that it is ok to still live and have a life but they are just on the same wave lengths in general. This story was excellently written! Stephen Dexter was the perfect voice for Tacker for me. His tone of voice and just the emotion he can convey was perfect. I had a little bit of a problem with Lucy Rivers narration though. It just seemed like there was no emotion or depth to it. Her tones were fine-it just seemed to be more of a monotone than anything. All in all though, a very enjoyable listen!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Unenanond
  • 2019-11-19

Horrible male narration

If you’re a fan of SB’s work in audio-version you’ll be disappointed with this one. I have listened to so many SB’s stories that I put my blind trust in the narration. Never again. Greatly. Disappointed. The lady’s voice was ok but the man’s was not. Please don’t narrate again.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Avephoenix
  • 2019-11-14

4.5 Stars - Absolutely outstanding!!

4.5 Brilliant Stars!!

I absolutely loved and enjoyed this unforgettable page-turner that will bring you to tears, that will have you wishing for Tacker and Nora's HEA.

Tacker is beautifully well-written, and evokes such emotion, that makes you feel as if you're part of the story. OMG, that really was such a heartbreaking story that will touch your soul in so many ways. Tacker and Nora's journery was absolutely outstanding, and worth following.

Nevertheless, I recommend that you listen to this amazing story. Stephen Dexter did such an extraordinary work bringing Tacker to life, and performing both male and female voices. He was just freaking brilliant. Lucy Rivers, is equally amazing, however, I couldn't got used to her male perfomance. Still, I did enjoy her performance. She still is one of my top favorite narrators.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kara Hildebrand
  • 2019-11-11

Tacker is everything!

Tacker is the fifth book in the Arizona Vengeance series. Sawyer Bennett is one of my go-to-authors for everything, especially hockey. I've read every one of her books and she still amazes me every time.

Story:
Tacker has suffered a hug loss. He's so caught in is own grief he's been spiraling out of control and he let down his team. But they are more than a team, they are family and he has a chance to make it up to them. Go to therapy. Nora knows the only way to help Tacker is to open up about her own life. Sharing her past and her grief. The bond that forms takes them both by surprise. Once Tacker realizes talking about MJ and the accident is actually healing, he can't stop the lightness that finds him. Sometimes facing your pain opens up your chances of finally finding happiness. It's not easy, but it's necessary to move on especially when you find the person meant for you. I loved this story! Yes, it was emotional and very sad. But it was also healing! Watching Tacker finally talk, listen and let go made me so happy. I've been invested in Tacker and his story since the very beginning and my heart it happy and full now!

Audio: Stephen and Lucy did a great job narrating Tacker and Nora. Lucy's male voice sounded a little off to me, but otherwise I enjoyed her narration. Stephen's deep voice was the perfect Tacker!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Monica
  • 2019-11-11

The perfect balance of hope and despair

Arizona Vengeance center Tacker Hall’s life has been spiraling for the last fifteen months—since the plane he was piloting went down and he got stuck in the rubble leaving him no choice but to helplessly watch his fiancée die a slow, painful death.

A series of bad decisions led him to getting an ultimatum from team management—go to counselling or he’s off the team.

Therapist Nora Wayne is no stranger to the pain of losing loved ones. She and Tacker grow closer as she helps him heal and make peace with his past, but how close is too close?


Tacker’s story has been built up from the very beginning of the series (though I’ve only listened to books 1 and 2 so far) and I was expecting to be gutted by what he went through, but the story has the perfect balance of hope and despair. I also like how the ethical issue of counselor-client relationship was handled.


The narrators complemented each other well. Stephen Dexter was excellent as Tacker. There were instances where Lucy Rivers sounded robotic, but she also did a great job for the most part.


Tacker is a slow-burn, contemporary sports romance written and narrated in dual first person POV. It’s a standalone that ends with a HEA. No cliffhanger, no cheating.

I received this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this unbiased review.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Grace Vette
  • 2020-02-29

Oh Tacker !

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 Tacker so 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.