Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2), by Sarina Bowen
Publish Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4 STARS
(Synopsis) 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...
I loved getting back into the Brooklyn Bruisers world. Sarina Bowen has created a wonderful mix of sports and romance and all the behind the scenes shenanigans. I know before I even started Hard Hitter that I was going to love it.
From the glimpse we got of Patrick and Ari in book 1 they seemed very ill-fitted for one another. Patrick is the team's enforcer and a senior member of the group. He's there to play hockey - not make friends, and certainly not any other sort of relationship. He goes to work, gets the job done, and then goes home.
Ari, however, is the bright yoga instructor and massage therapist for the team. Touching others is part of her job, and she loves it. She was recently shaken up by a bad breakup with her boyfriend, and even though the dude just won't go away, she's determined to get on with her life and her work. And that means helping Patrick rehabilitate injuries sustained in his role as the team enforcer - no matter how much he doesn't think he needs her help.
As it turns out, despite their obvious differences, they each needed the other in different ways, and they didn't even realize it. Patrick desperately needed a lifeline back to the land of the living, and Ari was it for him. She gave him a safe place to work out all his hurts - both inside and outside - and through her he got to know his teammates better than he ever had before.
And Ari needed Patrick's strength as she continued to deal with her ex and the mess he got her into. Even though she wanted to be strong enough to handle everything on her own, sometimes you need the support of others, and Patrick was that for her.
Hard Hitter is told in dual POV and is full of tons of delicious sexy moments between Patrick and Ari. I'm loving this hot sports-themed series from Sarina Bowen!