ARC Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

3 Jan 2017

Book Title: Hard Hitter
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #2 - Standalone
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
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 the second book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series and focuses on the team "fighter" Patrick O'Doul. I have to admit, going into this, he wasn't my favorite character after reading the first book. He's a bit quiet and standoffish. A smile was something not many people see and he's painfully private- never inviting teammates to his loft. But with that provided a curiosity. What's his secret and who is it going to take to break down his walls? Surprisingly enough- for the guy who hates to be touched- it's the team masseuse, Ariana Bettini.

Ari is painfully aware O'Doul is in desperate need for massage therapy for an injured hip but getting him on his table is a challenge. One step at a time, can she get him to loosen up mentally and physically? Only when her hands start doing their magic do his walls start to fall and his tough psyche crumble.

I really embraced the slow build of this romance. Patrick was a fairly complicated guy and it took Ari and her magic to figure out what he truly needed as a player and person. Her life, behind closed doors, hasn't been the greatest lately and she finds solace in his company and protection in his brute fighter history. A true great fit at the right time. But can walls truly crumble to let love in?

A fantastic sports romance filled with a cast of characters that's not only a team of hard body hockey players but also a family of sorts. I love getting to know each teammate, hear their friendly banter, and watch the potential for future books form. I'm anxious for the spunky Becca to get her story. Soon, I hope! Each book in this series can be read as a complete standalone yet I highly recommend starting from the beginning and getting to know the cast of characters from the start.

Advanced copy received by author in exchange for my honest review.

Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction. She lives in the wilds of Vermont.

She is the author of The Ivy Years, an award-winning series set amid the hockey team at an elite Connecticut college. Also, the The Gravity series.

With Elle Kennedy, Sarina is the author of HIM and US.

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