Book 2, A Brooklyn Bruisers Novel
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From the USA Today bestselling author of Rookie Move comes the second novel in the series that’s hot enough to melt the ice.
He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...
As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.
After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...
From the Paperback edition.
I swooned for these broken characters who need each other!
3.5 stars. The second in the Brooklyn Bruisers hockey romance series, Hard Hitter focuses on team captain Patrick O'Doul and team masseuse and yogi Ari Bettini. O'Doul is the quiet, mysterious, stalwart team enforcer, taking hit after hit and entertaining the hockey crowds with fights each night. But now the team trainers are forcing O'Doul to get massage therapy because he's experiencing serious pain during the lead up to the playoffs.
Enter Ari, who has been through a terrible and recent break-up, and is trying to swear off men. Her touch and calm demeanor take a bit to get inside O'Doul's head, but once it does...their chemistry ends up being off the charts.
But there are some serious skeletons in the closet and Ari and O'Doul need to figure out how and if building a relationship will work... while their pasts threaten to tear them each apart.
I really enjoyed Patrick and Ari's story. Darker than Georgia and Leo's from the first book, Hard Hitter focuses on strong characters with a lot of baggage. I appreciated the amount of time Sarina Bowen committed to having them sort out all of their issues. The narrative is in third person, but each chapter alternates between Patrick and Ari's viewpoints, and they're both just...really good people who need each other.
Patrick's story is haunting and frustrating, and I loved how much of a contrast there was between his public persona and his private one. In particular, his views on fighting in hockey, and his opinion of himself just felt so authentic. Ari, meanwhile, is in a really really awful situation with her ex, who's essentially stalking her. She really questions herself and her opinions throughout the book, and I appreciated that Bowen allowed her to be that cautious and vulnerable.
I also adored the secondary characters - we get to see a lot more of Leo Trevi and Georgia Worthington from the first book, as well as Becca, Nate, Lauren and some of the other players on the team. I loved how naturally they all fit into Ari and Patrick's world.
Can we talk a little about the love scenes, because they are some of the most...interesting that I've read from Sarina. Let's just say that the characters take full advantage of the benefits of a character's occupation. It's creative and sexy.
There are definitely moments when Hard Hitter gets much darker than you expect it to - there are issues with drugs, addiction, domestic abuse and more that get dealt with. It's not a super light read. Yet the romance really works, and like the mysterious O'Doul himself, takes a bit to get to know. You'll be glad you did, though, because there are funny, sweet, kind, and sexy moments that will make you swoon...and make you wish desperately for the next book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series.
This is the 2nd book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series. This can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading the series in order.
Patrick has been hot for Ariana AKA Ari for a while. Every time she is near, he feels the heat turn up to scalding. The problem is she has not seemed to notice him in return.
Ari loves her job, and does not want to have to choose Patrick over the terrific position she has now. She is worried her boss would not approve of the employees connection. With all that she is still facing from past problems, she is afraid to try again.
This series is full of hot men! I found myself laughing and crying right along with the characters. I love how hockey can be hot and fun at the same time.
Bowen Scores Again!
It's getting hard to come up with original things to say since I've said everything before in reviews of all of Sarina Bowen's previous books! Once again Bowen does a fantastic job of giving us characters to love, hockey action to enjoy and even some suspense to put us on edge. Ari and O'Doul are great characters and Bowen does a great job of building their characters so the reader can understand their motivation. So many times an author doesn't invest in that and as a result the characters' actions seem forced or not understandable. That never happens with Bowen's writing. She is one of my favorite writers as a result. I know I will never be disappointed in the craftsmanship of the story.
I particularly liked the salute to the Ivy Years series in the mentions of guests at Leo and Georgia's wedding! All of the characters in Bowen's books become part of my circle of "book friends" who I wish I knew in real life!!
Only downside to this book is that I'm now jonesing for Book 3 and I've got too long to wait!! Highly recommend!