Release Reviews: Code Name: Ghost: Sawyer Bennett

by - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sawyer Bennett
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Release Date June 30, 2020

I knew the risks of this job when I signed on with Jameson Force Security. Knew my time as a marine would prepare me for the danger I would face. But no amount of training could have ever prepared me for the helplessness of watching my teammates die, the agonizing mental and physical pain of torture, or the despair of captivity.

Returning home to Pittsburgh following a mission gone wrong, I am riddled with guilt and haunted by nightmares. I spend my days trying to regain the parts of myself I lost in that desert, the pieces that made me the Malik Fournier I once was. While the physical effects of my torture are fading, the emotional ones are proving much more stubborn and I find solace from the last person I should ever seek such comfort.

Anna Tate lost even more than I did in that mission. Now a widow and a single mom to the daughter she gave birth to shortly after her husband’s death, Anna offers me comfort I don’t deserve. As my feelings for Anna grow, I worry that once she learns the truth about what happened, she’ll turn her back on me.

I pull her to me just as tightly as I push her away. Hoping this forbidden love will save me from the ghost I’ve become. 
I have been waiting not so patiently for Malik Fournier aka Ghost's story. He is ex-Marine Special Forces now in private security. We already knew he was captured during a mission and now we get to see what actually happened to him.

Once he returns home, he has to transition back to real life. He is a bit lost, self-isolating, anxious, and guilt-ridden. He has some physical and emotional work to do in order to move forward. His team welcomes him with open arms, including Anna whose husband, Jimmy did not make it home from the mission.

Anna gave birth to her daughter after her husband died on the mission. She is smart, independent-minded, and determined to make a good life for her daughter. She is happy to be working admin at Jameson security to have a purpose and help the team that supported her and her husband.

Anna and Malik strike up a friendship, but due to circumstances, there seems to be a bond and emotional attachment as well. They have this inherent need to have the other be okay due to the circumstances. But the new attraction they are feeling may make things more messy and complicated, especially for Malik who has such guilt and inner conflict. And even if they can find a way to move on, they also will have to consider how others might take their increasing closeness. And Malik lives for risky missions and making a difference, while Anna has already lost a husband on an assignment.
Will love be enough to overcome the challenges of a potential future?

I actually loved Anna and Malik. They are mature, communicate effectively, and truly try to understand and respect the other. Their friendship is sweet and their chemistry is hot.  Her sibling type relationship with Cage is also fun. I enjoyed the return of the Fournier Cold Fury hockey family and the Jameson team. Even though the subject matter of this book could have made it a dark and extremely emotional or sad read, it is really not. There is humor, support, and friendship. It is hopeful and inspiring even after the most hopeless and difficult events. It does bring the feels and the swoon, but is not bogged down in negativity from the emotional situations. These two are survivors and there is this undeniable tether and true connection between them. It is more about overcoming the pain and trying to move forward. Malik totally stole my heart! This is my favorite book of this series.

I am looking forward to Cage's book, Code Name: Rook next. He is dealing with a situation of his own creation.
Malik has returned home after months in captivity, though he has a long way to go until he is back to his full strength. He was prepared for most of what he experienced during captivity, due to his Marine training, but he wasn’t prepared for emotions he’d face after he returned home. Now that he is back, he has to face the widow of one of his fallen teammates daily, as she is now working at Jameson.

Anna grieves for her husband, who died during a Jameson Force Security mission while she was pregnant with their daughter, but she has processed his loss and is settling into her new normal. Her mother doesn’t understand why she wants to do so much on her own, but Anna needs to feel like she can be independent. She just needs to keep busy, and working for Kynan at Jameson has her busy, earning her own income, and feeling the independence she is determined to show the world and her daughter.

Through the common bond of Jimmy, Anna and Malik form a friendship. Their friendship helps both of them, as Anna learns about Jimmy’s last mission and Malik can see the strength Anna has to overcome. As their friendship develops, they also begin feeling more: something that causes Malik to question his actions once again.

I was afraid this story would break me because of Malik’s ordeal, but I loved every moment of it. I was afraid that nothing that happened between them could make me believe Anna was already over losing Jimmy, or that Anna and Malik wouldn’t make a believable couple. I should never have doubted Sawyer Bennett or these characters. I loved the arc that had both of them healing, and encouraging each other. Through helping Anna, Malik saw a different side of the things he felt guilty for. Neither even played the weak link, instead they were the perfect balance of strength and vulnerability. 

I love seeing all the Jameson crew and hearing where their lives are. Because Malik’s brothers play for the Cold Fury, there is also a little crossover from that series as well. This is a group of people who become family through the work they do, and it’s always fun to see where familiar couples are in their own stories, but keeping the focus squarely on the primary couple. 

I have been anticipating Malik’s story for some time (especially after the mission that went sideways and landed him captured), and this did not disappoint! I loved the bond between Malik and Anna, the way they communicated their needs, and the support they showed each other through Malik’s return to work.

 Jameson Force Security Series
Click on covers for more info on Author's website
Series on Goodreads

Upcoming books

Prequel novella for Kynan and Joslyn
(Does not need to be read to enjoy Code Name: Genesis)
Wicked Force
(Wicked Horse Vegas #4.5)

 Audible (narrated by Aaron Shedlock and Virginia Rose)


New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Sawyer Bennett uses real life experience to create relatable stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From contemporary romance, fantasy romance, and both women’s and general fiction, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

A former trial lawyer from North Carolina, when she is not bringing fiction to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to her very adorable daughter, as well as full-time servant to her wonderfully naughty dogs.

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