Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2)
Berkley / January 3, 2017 / $7.99 print & digital
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...
Hard Hitter is such a delightful book. I'm loving the Brooklyn Bruisers series. I like that the characters are dynamic and have flaws, but are such good people. The way Hard Hitter you really feel for Patrick. He's got such depth, but was so closed off. I really enjoyed every minute of reading Hard Hitter.
Patrick O'Doul is an unexpected sweetheart. Not to stereotype him by saying the enforcer can't be sensitive, but not even his teammates wouldn't have expected it. He's just not that guy. However, the way he courts Arianna is not only a adorable, it's vastly entertaining. I loved how he involved the whole team, and has such command of them. In a way, I felt Patrick was the one who changed the most, although it's Ari who has the biggest “lightbulb” moment.
While there is a lot going on in this book, it's never too much, and it all fits so naturally. You're never overwhelmed or bogged down, and yet it never distracts or detracts from Patrick and Ari's relationship. There's so much give and take here. He's never been open to one before. She just got out of a really long term one, and is determined to “live in single blessedness” - at least for a while. It's also interesting the many parallels they have, while also often being foils.
What's also great is that they have the same circle of friends. However, they also have independent and unique relationships with the people in the overarching group. It was nice to see not just characters with established support systems, but ones where the hero and heroine's intersect. They all already respect each other and get along, and it's just such fun.
One thing I want to note is that Patrick is 32, and Arianna is 29—amazing! Like spotting an extremely rare woodland creature. They're adults that are still figuring shit out, but not flighty. Both Patrick and Ari have their flaws, but are well adjusted and generally self aware. I found their characters eminently believable, and was really excited about their ages. (Clearly.)
I have to say I am d-y-i-n-g for Nate and Becca's book ... but whenever it happens, it'll be worth the wait. The excerpt of Piper Dreams, the next Bruisers book won me over. Go team Lauren! Meanwhile, I'll patiently wait for Nate + Becca ... and maybe re-read Leo + Georgia and Patrick + Ari. I also expect some truly epic level groveling from the next hero, Mike Beacon, considering what we find out about him. Basically, I'm all in. Throw me the entire Bruiser's team and staff. I'm here for it.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen, available January 3, 2017:
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Limecello: http://tartsweet.com - A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet