USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen returns to her Brooklyn Bruisers series with Hard Hitter, a sizzling, slow-burn romance between a hockey team captain striving to maintain his career under grueling physical demands and the team’s new massage therapist, who is looking for a fresh start.
Patrick O’Doul is a veteran hockey player, and at the age of 32, the hard hits on the ice have begun to take their toll. For years, he has kept his pain to himself, not wanting to express the emotional and physical impacts of the sport. But when a hip injury draws the attention of his trainers and coaches, Patrick is sent to the team’s massage therapist to help get him back on the ice. But there’s just one problem with Patrick’s new health regimen: he hates to be touched.
Ari Bettini is searching for a new lease on life. After ending her long-term relationship, she’s on her own for the first time in a long time. She has her own place and is eager to throw herself into her work, helping the Bruisers stay in shape in some rather unconventional ways. The fledgling team, though, will take whatever help it can get, even if that means going to yoga and using technology to track their exercise and appointments.
Patrick and Ari are opposites in personality, though both are going through changes in life. Ari is a strong and caring heroine, and it was heartwarming to see her patience with Patrick, doing whatever she can to get him to warm up to her. Patrick is the perfect broody hero, worried that any sign of weakness will jeopardize his career or his spot as captain. Plus, the moments of massage between Ari and Patrick are hot enough to melt ice.
Hard Hitter is a standout romance, with two people learning to trust each other while dealing with their own fears regarding their futures. A strong contender for one of the hottest romances this year, Patrick and Ari’s love story is full of everything readers love: tension that pops and crackles off the pages, heart-pounding action on the ice and plenty of humor to leave a smile on your face.