ARC Review | Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen | Brooklyn Bruisers #2
Contemporary Romance
Published on January 3rd, 2017
ARC from Netgalley



Book Blurb: 

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…

| Book Review |

This was my first read of the year and let me tell you something, my friends. If this is any indication as to what my reading life is going to be like, I am thrilled to get on with 2017! I almost didn’t pick this book up. I am a huge fan of this author, but I wasn’t crazy about the first book in the series. I’d decided maybe it wasn’t for me. But then I got real – was I really going to let a Sarina Bowen book go by without at least trying it? The answer to that was a resounding no. And I am so glad I picked this one up. Ari and Patrick’s story captured me from the very first page; I could hardly put it down to deal with life. It was Patrick I was most drawn to. His past was mysterious. Not in the way that it was some big secret – just that it hadn’t come up yet. And it hadn’t come up in a way that made the reader very curious. There were little personality quirks he had that you knew were shaped from something terrible in his past, you just didn’t know what yet. Of-course it came out at just the perfect time and made me feel for him. And bonus – it drew him closer to Ari. I always say that I love heroes who are romantic with their actions without meaning to be, but Patrick was the exact opposite of that. He was very purposeful with his intentions – sweet and thoughtful – and he had some creative ways of coming up with ideas that had me hooting with laughter. His fun flirty nature was so unexpected. I also loved the ways he fined the team and where the money went – when you finally find out his past, it just pulls things together and makes you realize how he’s overcome the odds to become such a good guy. And I love that this is a man who learns from his mistakes.

I really liked Ari, too, and her friendships with Becca and Georgia were one of the highlights of the story for me. I wish she had been more forgiving with herself. I could see where she was coming from; I just hate that she kept beating herself up over something she couldn’t change. I will say that I thought her issues for not wanting a relationship were flimsy to me, and that could have been a huge issue for me. EXCEPT that the author recognized this, Ari’s friends recognized this, and they addressed it:

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Ari insisted. “I can’t have one of those right now. I think I need to remember how to be alone.”

“I remember!” Becca cried, raising her hand. “And it blows. So forgive me if I don’t think your argument holds any water.”

I loved the sexual chemistry in this one, and Ari being adamant about keeping things serious and private at work. She was serious about her career, and I love how she was able to maintain a level head at work. The pacing of this story was perfect, and I’m happy with how the author has made the entire hockey team and administration prominent players. They’re in the story a lot, but I don’t feel like they overtake the bigger picture of what’s going on between our main couple. If anything, it’s made me want more of these people – especially Becca and Nate. I fear if we don’t get their story, fans of SB will band together and take action of Misery proportions. (But with all the new-fangled dungeon stuff, I don’t think any ankles will need to be broken, so that’s a positive.)

I really loved Hard Hitter, and I am anxiously awaiting the next installment of the Brooklyn Bruisers, Pipe Dreams! Bring on the hot hockey players!

| Rating |



Series: Brooklyn Bruisers

rookie-move hard-hitter pipe-dreams

Snippets I loved:

 The concentration yoga required was the best part—if the pretty lady in the pink sports bra was trying to twist your body into a New Age pretzel, there was no time to worry about the opponent you had to face down in five hours.

divider - elegant - pixabay

Ari watched the Detroit game from a seat behind the visitors’ bench. O’Doul was back in tonight, and she spent much of the game watching him. I need to know how he uses his core muscles during a game, she told herself. But if she was truthful, the more she knew of O’Doul, the more compelling he was to watch. On the ice he was flashy and confident. But up close in person he was one of the more cautious souls she’d ever met.

divider - elegant - pixabay

Ari had told him once that when two people touch, they touch with their whole soul. And her soul was clinging pretty hard to his right now, her long fingers clasping his hand as if her life depended on it.
divider - elegant - pixabay
Just like that, he had her hovering on the precipice. She gripped the quilt with two hands as his tongue continued its wicked work. Someone was begging, and she was pretty sure it was her.
divider - elegant - pixabay
“Patrick and I attacked each other like horny rabbits last night,” she blurted out. “But it’s never happening again.”
Becca’s eyebrows shot up, which was especially distracting because there was a barbell through one of them. “Wait. Patrick? As in … O’Doul? You call him Patrick? Nobody calls him by his first name.”
“Really? That’s what you find shocking about this?” She carried the food into the kitchen, trailed by Becca. “My life is a train wreck, and I just made it worse by screwing a client.”
“Let’s not be hasty. Was he good? Maybe it’s worth it.”
divider - elegant - pixabay
She pressed her face into his neck, and he closed his eyes. He brought himself fully into the moment and focused on the way her soft lips felt against his skin. With his whole body, he measured all the places of their connection. The weight of her curves in his lap, and against his chest. The texture of her soft sweater against his forearms. He rubbed her back and took it all in.

22 thoughts on “ARC Review | Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

Add yours

    1. I will not heckle you about trying some of her other series. But only because I’ve already done that. LOL Yes, Patrick and Ari were so hot together. I just loved Patrick.

      Thank you! 🙂


    1. Thank you! To be honest, it wasn’t really a new format; it’s just the last two books I read really inspired me to want to share quotes. But the book I’m reading now is, too, so I think I may stick with it. 🙂


  1. I just finished this one the other day. It was my first Sarina Bowen book and obviously my first in the series. Just wow! I do love how she wrote the characters and romance. Patrick, sigh…
    I will definitely be going forward with the series. And yes, with you on needing that Nate and Becca romance thing itched though I guess I’ll settle for Lauren and her goalie. 🙂

    Great review, Angie!


    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, Patrick was a definite heart-stealer. I’m so excited for Pipe Dreams! Hopefully it brings us one book closer to Nate and Becca.

      Oh, you are in for such a treat if you haven’t read HIM yet. It was a phenomenal read. And The Understatement of the Year – though you want to read the books before it as those are amazing, too.

      Thank you. 🙂


  2. Great review! I was a big fan of both of the books in this series so far — and let’s be honest, anything Sarina writes — so I’m definitely looking forward to Pipe Dreams!


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