on January 3rd, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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 teamÔÇÖs massage therapist.
After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, sheÔÇÖs decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the BruisersÔÇÖ 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...
HeÔÇÖs a fighter in the rink, but heÔÇÖs about to learn that playing nice can help you score…
Patrick O’Doul swept me off my feet. The Brooklyn Bruisers team captain and enforcer is simply the right combination of hard and soft (in all the right places –>I’m thinking of his soft heart of course). When he utters the word “sweetheart” to team masseuse and yoga instructor Ari Bettini, I simply melt. With Doulie, Sarina Bowen has created a distinctly contradictory romance hero and paired him perfectly with a heroine who challenges his sensibilities and manages to give him hope.
The focus of the story is on Ari desperately trying to rid herself of Vince, the ex-boyfriend that won’t stay away. Ari is vulnerable but intuitive which helps her cope with the drama surrounding Vince and his nefarious lifestyle. She’s also sassy and brave, taking chances that bring her closer to danger and closer to Patrick. Patrick himself is simply closed off. He’s well aware of his good fortune but all that grace also leaves him isolated and afraid to be touched. His developing relationship with Ari shakes all that up though and gives us an amazing story of friendship and romance.
As always, Sarina’s dialogue made me giggle and swoon. The banter between the teammates, the front office personnel and Patrick and Ari is thoughtful, witty and off the charts sexy. I was so drawn into the story and I found myself wanting to interject my own thoughts into their conversations on sports:
ÔÇ£You know who are a bunch of pussies?ÔÇØ
He hefted the weight, and Castro moved in behind him to spot. ÔÇ£Who?ÔÇØ
OÔÇÖDoul hefted the weight three times before he answered. ÔÇ£Football. Players,ÔÇØ he huffed, guiding the bar back into its restraints. It fell with a clang, and then he could speak again. ÔÇ£One game a week,ÔÇØ he said, sweat pouring off him. ÔÇ£And average time on the field is eleven minutes. You believe that shit?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£No, I do not,ÔÇØ Castro agreed. ÔÇ£LetÔÇÖem try to skate forty minutes in a game, three and a half nights a week. TheyÔÇÖd curl up in a little fucking ball.ÔÇØ
about friendship & romance:
ÔÇ£When I told him I needed a friend, he hugged me. And he smelled so freaking good I just wanted to climb into the collar of his shirt and stay there forever.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£That would get weird eventually,ÔÇØ Becca said, draining her cup.”
and finally, that internal dialogue that gives us something to mull over:
“AriÔÇÖs eyes felt suddenly hot.
ÔÇ£Be kind to yourselfÔÇØ was something she taught her yoga students, too. Why was it so hard to do?”
Sarina Bowen ushers in the new year with a sports romance story that manages to bring two very deserving souls to a unique understanding about themselves and each other. The Brooklyn Bruisers series is solidified as a favorite carryover from 2016. Pipe Dreams is already on my most anticipated list for the late spring and I’ve already started envisioning Becca (& Nates) story for a summer read (please, please, please). HH is my first 5++ star read of 2017.
~Review by Cyndi