Title: Hard Hitters
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #2
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: 3 Jan 2017
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
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…
Patrick is an enigma, his entire world revolves around his NHL career. A loner by choice, it is immediately obvious that Patrick is lonely but his emotional issues are so firmly entrenched from his upbringing Patrick doesn’t know how to break free of his bonds or even if her wants to. Being assigned to Ari for massage therapy turns Patrick’s world upside down. Patrick’s background story is revealed little by little through the narrative, all issues are divulged as it is confronted as a means to move forward with his life, a life he hadn’t envisaged until Ari.
Ari has her own set of issues stemming from a bad break-up involving an incident of domestic violence. Shaken by the experience and embroiled in her ex’s dubious activities has left Ari questioning her own judgement. Although she instinctively knows how to interact with Patrick and give him exactly what he needs.
I loved how Patrick was with Ari almost from the very beginning of their interactions. His character development throughout Hard Hitter is phenomenal and I cheered him on every step of the way. Ari’s influence enriched Patrick’s quality of life beyond measure. Patrick feels very proprietary and protective of Ari from the start, he definitely has a bit of a hero complex where she is concerned and it is very swoon-worthy 😉
The thriller elements within the plot add to the tension in the narrative but also serve to escalate the emotions between Patrick and Ari, it’s a case of life is short and you need to seize your moments when you have them.
Hard Hitter shows that for all the bad decisions and questionable judgement we may have you have to keep faith that your instincts will guide you and opening yourself up to trusting others can improve your life dramatically.
While Ari and Patrick take the spotlight in Hard Hitter, the other characters are cleverly progressed laying the foundation for future stories. I cannot wait to see the ice-queen, Lauren, thaw and I am shipping Becca and Keen so hard ♥