Title: Hard Hitter
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #2
Release Date: January 3, 2017
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…
Sarina Bowen returns readers to the world of the Brooklyn Bruisers with Hard Hitter, Patrick and Ari’s sweet and captivating hockey romance. From the very beginning I fell hard and fast for this phenomenal couple. While they seemed worlds apart in some ways, they shared an underlying need to be loved that sparked something powerful between them. As much as I adored Ari and Patrick’s obvious chemistry, it was this deeper, undeniable connection that intrigued me so much with these two. Filled with explosive interludes, breathtaking moments of raw emotion and plenty of surprises, Hard Hitter was hard to put down and impossible not to love. I was easily enchanted by the sarcastic exchanges, witty banter and emotional upheaval of Patrick and Ari’s story and I wasted no time in allowing myself to be totally consumed by their beautiful journey.
“I only want you, Ari. For this and all things.”
Ari was such a fun heroine to explore. I absolutely adored how original and full of heart this character was. From her profession to her passions in life she was an individual through and through and that made her someone I just had to get to know better. Ari’s intelligence, loyalty, kind heart and delightful sass kept me grinning and I found myself rooting for her in no time at all. Sarina Bowen didn’t pull any punches, putting Ari through the emotional wringer more than once while carefully unraveling her for readers to explore. Ari’s heartache and fear rang loud and clear and I truly felt for all that this character was being forced to endure. Her confusion and insecurities were easy to relate to while her hesitancy to start a relationship and strong need to be independent left me wholly invested in Ari and Patrick’s happily ever after.
“He’s softer when you’re around. Like his rough edges are worn away.”
Although he definitely took me by surprise, I loved the kind of man Patrick revealed himself to be in this book. At first he was very much the strong, silent and brooding type so I was shocked by his fierce feelings and unexpected tenderness when it came to Ari. Patrick quickly proved himself to be every bit the ideal book boyfriend with his protective nature and unexpected thoughtfulness. Throw in his incredible loyalty, delicious good looks and stick handling skills and I was a total goner. Not only did Sarina Bowen write such an impressive hero, but she also expertly utilized Patrick’s relationship with Ari to give his character substantial emotional depth. As much as it broke my heart, I enjoyed delving into Patrick’s past and solving the mystery of the man who didn’t like to be touched and kept everyone at arm’s length. There was a strength inherent in Patrick’s vulnerability that made me fall even harder for this character before all was said and done.
“Good and evil are for movies, Ari. Nobody is ever that tidy.”
Sarina Bowen writes with a palpable passion, her love of hockey and devotion to her characters shines through ensuring that this novel absolutely sparkles. Hard Hitter is polished, well paced and teeming with emotion – the kind of book that is all too easy to get lost in. While I’m generally not a big fan of third person narration, the author had me firmly hooked with a voice that was absolutely enthralling and utterly addictive. I loved how different Hard Hitter felt from the first book in the series and yet, that overall team spirit, easy camaraderie and comforting sense of family was just as potent. Hard Hitter stood out and on its own while also managing to fit seamlessly within the series as a whole. Sarina Bowen has really done a phenomenal job at delivering a story that is uniquely Ari and Patrick while also continuing to develop the Brooklyn Bruisers franchise. Hard Hitter left me eager for more of this unforgettable couple and anxious for the next novel in this must-read series!
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers #1)
Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3)