Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #2
Genres: Contemporary, Sports
Published by Berkley Publishing Group
Hard Hitter is the second novel in the Brooklyn Bruisers series by Sarina Bowen and I have to admit after reading the previous book I was hooked not only on the cast of characters Ms. Bowen created but her story telling capabilities. The more I read of the Brooklyn Bruisers series the more my love for hockey in general grows.
Team captain Patrick O’Doul grew up in the foster system and while he has had relationships with women in the past they are few and far between and just about sex. He has been ordered by his team to start getting massages to help loosen up his previous injuries and it just so happens Ari will be making sure he is in tip top shape for the games. As Ari and Patrick become closer he knows she is different but when a mistake he made in the past comes to light he has to wonder if he will lose Ari before their relationship has really begun and if his team will forgive him after he has started to let them in. A lot is on the line for Patrick but he isn’t giving up without a fight and it just so happens now he has more to fight for than ever before.
Ari Bettini has decided to put all her energy into her work since she threw out her longtime boyfriend, but he just won’t go away no matter how hard she tries. Being on the road with the guys and teaching them yoga is truly a blessing and a wondering distraction from her life. After getting Patrick on the table, little by little he starts to open to her and before they know it they are hitting the sheets. Ari doesn’t want to get in trouble for crossing the line so they agree to keep it a secret but when Ari’s ex starts to makes waves not only with her relationship but putting her job at risk she has no choice but to trust the people she has become close to, including Patrick.
Ari and Patrick were really great characters and had a lot in common but also their different personalities brought out the very best in them not only as a couple but as individuals. While Hard Hitter contained some drama it was just enough to keep me engaged with how these issues effected them. From the very beginning I liked Ari and couldn’t wait to hear what her story was and boy did Ms. Bowen give her a lot to handle but she was strong and willing to fight for her new life and what she wanted. Patrick being a loner really touched me more than I thought it would. At first I couldn’t understand how a guy surrounded by teammates felt the need to be this way but it just showed he never got past what had happened to him and he doesn’t start to until Ari becomes more frequent in his life.
Hard Hitter was an enjoyable romance whose characters stood out from the very beginning. The plot was direct and I love how Ms. Bowen took the time to not only tell readers about Ari’s ex but tie it off in a manner that was believable. I found the love scenes steamy, detailed and they showed Ari and Patrick’s connection that was growing deeper over the course of their story. I really enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Patrick’s teammates were a real hoot and have me looking forward to reading some of their romances in the future.