Title: Hard Hitter
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: A Brooklyn Bruisers Novel #2
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: 3rd January, 2017
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…
CLICK HERE FOR EXCERPT
Kindle Friends Forever: ★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse
There’s no doubt whatsoever that Ms Bowen is the queen of hockey novels. Her knowledge of this game never ceases to amaze me, her detailed account is as such that for someone like me who would love to see a live game felt as if she were there. It was actually like having a lesson in this sport’s ethics, too. I had a vague idea why there’s so much aggression on the pitch; however, I didn’t realise the importance team’s supporters give it. It seemed to me that more provoked violence there was, the more crowds were drawn in. I could quite understand how the female protagonist whose profession is tightly knit to the players felt while watching them get a good bashing!
I have to admit that I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but this didn’t affect my reading enjoyment at all. There wasn’t one moment when I felt out of my depth in the storyline’s fast moving pace and I easily became invested in all the characters. Ms Bowen also refreshed my memory regarding the sport’s vocabulary by explaining certain definitions to me. The importance of an Enforcer; a hard reputation to live up to and difficult to imagine. No wonder there are so many injuries in this sport since it is their job to impede or react to overly aggressive players. The high-pressure coming from all angles added angst to Hard Hitter and helped me comprehend how stressful it must be living up to this title. One thing is for sure, it’s only fitting for someone capable of taking on such a demanding responsibility. This person has to be built like a wall and take as much as he is given. This person is Patrick O’Doul.
“He has an ego the size of the stadium. If you have any trouble with him, I’m happy to play the bad cop.”
My heart went out to the captain of the Brooklyn Bruisers for more than one reason. Patrick is a lovely soul. A tad moody and quite the loner when it comes to his personal life, what I liked about him is he’s not at all full of himself! In fact, his concern for the game and attitude towards his teammates’ well-being I found humbling. Yet his handling of an unacceptable deed which was of his own doing, and his gullibility to trust those he shouldn’t have, really got me mad. In my eyes, it was the route of all evil. Nonetheless, how it panned out became a much-wanted twist and a half in the story. Although I tried to put myself in his shoes, for me, the whole situation was the be-all and end-all. I yearned for him to find a solution. In a nutshell, I was just as disappointed in him as he was in himself. Time is ticking away and he’s terrified that sooner or later the cat will be let out of the bag.
“He puts up an asshole front, and he’s kind of an egomaniac. But he’s got that whole macho honor code thing working. “
Henry, the team’s head trainer rubs salt in Patrick’s wound by ordering him to go to physio-sessions which he has no time or like for. How cool can a trainer be when all he wants is the best for his players! I really connected to this guy’s togetherness and had no option but to agree with him. He could do no wrong for me. And the press breathing down the captain’s neck helped little and added to my anxiousness. The new young owner of the hockey team who I might add, is gorgeous, appears to be the only one who has little to say in the matter but obviously wants results. Results. Always results. Companions will back him up without knowing the whys and wherefores because they have faith in him. And the plot thickens!
“Why, Patrick O’Doul.” “I’d almost think you liked this.”
To my delight, Ari Bettini saunters into the scenario like a breath of fresh air. This is her moment. Her chance to do something she loves and show them what stuff she’s made of. She also needs a break from her past and no way wants to mess it up. So, this change in her life couldn’t have come at a better time as you will see. Now it’s not going to be a bed of roses. She’s not only got to convince one of the players that he needs her expertise, but put to use her mental skills on the whole hockey team. After much cajoling, Patrick goes to her appointments and is grateful that she respects his personal space. I loved how Ari trod carefully and tended to his needs with utter professionalism and no favouritism. Once he realises that she could help him with his injury and fears, he’ll try his hardest not to miss his hour with her. There’s much more to Patrick than meets the eye though. On occasion, both he and I were confused by some of his out of character actions. Certainly, the likes of breaking rules weren’t on their agendas—thus, how they’d deal with them side by side makes for an heart-warming read.
“I wouldn’t ever touch a client inappropriately. It would violate the trust that you give me when you climb onto my table.”
The banter between Ari and Patrick is fabulous. Texts go back and forth as they feel their way in a relationship which boils down to trust. They made me cry, smile and brought out all my emotions. If it were ever possible, I could have given them a good talking to. At times, I had my doubts! Ari doesn’t want to let on about her past and O’Doul’s not forthcoming about his, either. What is plainly obvious is the sizzling hot chemistry between them. Ah, but if it wasn’t for her! The saying — ‘Behind every great man is a great woman,’ couldn’t be more fitting in this story. Because she is great. Can he be great by her side?
“Humor me. I’ve never had anyone to spoil before now.”
The author’s character development is as always, par excellent. Her storytelling technique in this book is unusual since dates mark a timeline above and beyond pucks, goals, love or sorrow. It is a story that melds perfectly into her concept of happenings and I can’t wait for PIPE DREAMS coming in May. Bravo Ms Bowen!
HARD HITTER IS LIVE!
BUY ROOKIE MOVE
PIPE DREAMS coming May, 2017
Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and New Adult fiction from the wilds of Vermont.
Her Ivy Years and Brooklyn Bruisers books are hockey romance novels. These two connected series began breaking hearts in 2014 with The Year We Fell Down. See http://www.sarinabowen.com for updates.
HIM and US are the bestselling, hockey LGBT novels co-written with Elle Kennedy. HIM is also a finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award.
For lovers of angsty snowboarders, Sarina also writes the Gravity series, featuring snow sports heroes.
Sarina enjoys skiing, coffee products and a nice glass of wine. She lives with her family, six chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
She would be honored to connect with you at http://www.sarinabowen.com.
Author’s social site media links:
Why not get in touch with Sarina? She’d love to hear from you!
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Title: Hate Story
Author: Nicole Williams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: 23rd December, 2016
Nina can’t let herself fall in love with the man she’s going to marry. Both of them have experienced the sting and sham of love and have no intentions of falling victim to it twice. Love is expensive—hate is free.
Three years. A million dollars. A solution to both of their problems. They planned it all, from the story of their first meeting to the date of their divorce. Nothing could go wrong.
But what they didn’t consider was chemistry, and Nina and Max have no shortage of it. After too many near-kisses, Nina convinces herself that hating Max is better than loving him, and the more she gets to know this soon-to-be-husband of hers, the more she discovers just how very much she truly, madly, and deeply . . . hates him.
This isn’t a love story. This is the other kind.
“Okay. So how do you think this is going?” Max tipped the broom handle between us. “You and me?”
My forehead pinched together. “You and me the plan? Or you and me the surprise?”
Max’s brow answered my question.
“And this topic is what you consider not-so-deep?” I nudged him and moved to finish stocking syrups.
“All I’m looking for is a simple estimation. Since we were just talking about school, give us a grade for how you think this is going.”
“A grade? Like A, B, C, D, F?”
“Exactly like that.”
I shook my head. “Did you have a rough day at work today? Lose an Olympic-size swimming pool of money or something? Are you needing your daily ego stroking to come from somewhere else today?” When I glanced back at him, I found Max leaning into the door he’d relocked, arms crossed and waiting.
“Our relationship is unique,” he said. “Intricate. I’m asking not because I need my ego stroked, but because I care. If I need to make some changes, I’m willing to. Anything you need, whatever you want, that’s what I’ll give you. But first, I have to know how I’m doing.”
If a man could get a woman pregnant from a piercing stare and a collection of words, I’d just gotten myself good and knocked up. With twins.
“You know how it’s going,” I said, trying to focus on the syrups instead of what—or who—I wanted to focus on.
“I know how I think it’s going. I’d like to know how you think it’s going.”
My mouth went a little dry. Having these kinds of talks was hard for anyone—they were next to impossible for me. “Well, you haven’t gone and confessed your undying love or scared the hell out of me by asking me to be your baby mama, so you’re keeping your promise to take it nice and slow.” When he gave a mini bow, I rolled my eyes. “Not to mention you aren’t too shabby in the sack, you don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and you share the remote well.”
Max’s face went flat. “Not too shabby?”
“Oh, please. You know how good you are. Stop fishing for compliments.” A flush crept up my neck as I thought of the most recent evidence to support that theory.
A slow, crooked smile spread across his face. “I want a grade.”
“Like comprehensive? Or broken down by category?” I was stalling, and Max knew I was stalling.
“You’re making this way too difficult,” he grumbled.
“An A minus,” I said abruptly. “I’d give you an A minus.”
“Why not an A plus?”
I kept my head turned so he couldn’t see my smile. Only Max Sturm would be outraged by an A minus. “Because there’s always room for improvement. And I wouldn’t want it to go to your head, that’s why not an A plus.”
The door creaked when he shoved off of it. He made no move to tame the way he was checking me out, leaning into the counter as I organized the syrups. “Something’s definitely going to my head.”
My gaze roamed his zipper region. “I was talking about the one north of your neck.”
“And I’m talking about the one at the end of my dick. My, at present, hard dick, thanks to you.” He came up behind me, fitting himself against my backside as his hands moved around to work on my jeans.
“Max,” I protested, my eyes closing a second later when his dick nuzzled deeper into my backside.
“Nina. I’m taking your body. Here. Now.” His chest pressed into my back as he lowered my zipper. “Accept that so we can move on to the next part.”
Kindle Friends Forever 5 ★ Review by Sharon Thérèse
The premise of this story is not new one. Nonetheless; Ms Williams managed to make this read especially hateful, downright lovable and totally unputdownable. I had no option but to put life on hold and do an all-nighter! So be warned; if you start reading it at stupid o’clock like me, you’ll most likely have to pay for the consequences the next day! This author never ceases to astound me with her writings. Her protagonists’ personalities and woeful stories quite honestly played havoc with my imagination. She made them come alive in such a way that at times I felt like I was intruding on their most personal space. In fact, talk about babbling to myself isn’t in it! If I gave advice to one, the other was getting a good talking to and vice versa! And did either of them listen to me? Nope!
“Better to worry too much and be pleasantly surprised than worry too little and get taken advantage of.”
As Nina Burton’s story panned out, she effortlessly got under my skin and I soon understood the predicament she was in. Solution’s seed was sown by Kate, her sassy and open-minded bestie who at all times, was in the background and had her back. I actually felt what Nina was about to do arguably debatable. Feasible, definitely. Morally correct…you’ll have to make your own minds up! Yet like Kate, I still thought if no-one was going to get hurt, this short-longish project of sorts might just work out regardless of Nina shying away from any kind of emotional relationship.
“You are clueless.”
“Yeah, and I’d like to remain clueless when it comes to that part of his anatomy, so scoot…”
Observing this young woman give as good as she gets and come over so strong blew the socks off me! Her dry wit creased me up and her no-nonsense fighter attitude I adored. However, as she’d willing stepped out of her comfort zone, the way she handled her emotions annoyed me a tad. Her consuming fears were like blinkers. She couldn’t see further than her nose when the man who inadvertently wiggled his way into her life consumed her. Always a lover of Shakespearean scenarios, tragedy seemed to be too close to home for my comfort.
“This isn’t an act. Maybe it was in the beginning. Maybe I wish it still were. But this—it’s not an act.”
Why then, did I support the heroine and blast the hero out of the astrosphere when his proposition was the perfect package? Probably because said package was indecently his to start with. Although my pain for Nina was fraught; in contrast, Max brought out even more conflicting feeling in me. Re: Hate Story! I truly wanted to give Nina a good wake up call, too. I found her icy attitude towards him incomprehensible seeing as he tried so hard to make things work under such unusual circumstances. I knew her trust issues were justifiable. Hurtful events going back as far as she remembers became my present torment and hers. . . they were always hers. Saying that, her future worries stem from this and are the crux of the matter. In her book, getting close to anyone was a no-no. Will that solid wall she’d carefully built around her heart protect her from Maximilian Hans Xavier Sturm?
“I’m good with my hands. I’ve got references should you need them”
“I’m sure the only reference who’d give a glowing recommendation is the region below your belt.”
Was making a deal with the devilishly gorgeous Max who wears a suit like his second skin, selling her soul? In my book, yes! He’s drop-dead yummy gals. . . but, and the huge but is how long it takes Nina to realise what she’d actually let herself in for. Believe me, all my feelings cried out aloud in that one unlawful clause written in ink that has a sell by date making me want to curl up and die. Signing on the dotted line was easy to envisage, difficult to fathom. . . do they abide by it or keep their promises?
“Is your silence a sign of agreement, disagreement, or indecision?”
Maximillian Hans Xavier Sturm. It’s been a long while since I have been able to invest in such a character as is him. He has personal reasons for his actions. Neither he nor I ever expected an outcome that would floor both of us. While writing this review, I sobbed my heart out. His stance regarding the situation Nina and himself were in was of his own doing. Only throughout the story did I see him grow and bend beyond my wishes showing me his true facets. In fact, I really hope the author doesn’t mind but I have to speak to him in first person. “Max, you did good. Your patience was your virtue.” Saying that, I lost my patience with Nina whilst she battled with her emotions.
“But one day at a time, okay? Don’t rush this. Don’t rush us.”
I really don’t want you to take these words of mine lightly. This heartfelt standalone is worthy of reading. The storyline was above my expectations, the secondary character development, par excellent. Family conflicts come to a head giving this read the spice I yearned for. As you might have observed in this review, I haven’t mentioned the bedroom scenes. I was actually prepared to give them second place since this story is so much more than this. Despite trying to ignore them, I simply couldn’t. Aptly woven into two beautiful characters’ to and fro, come and go or make it and break it, these precious moments grazed my thoughts just enough to make me smile. Conclusion, Max and Nina made me believe life’s struggles are worth it. And Nina’s secret is safe with me. Bravo Ms Williams!
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency
The highly anticipated third book from Nina Levine’s Sydney Storm MC is now available!
Are you ready to meet the flirty & dirty biker called Devil?
The Sydney Storm MC are back and war is coming.
Dating the sister of a friend is a bad move, but falling for the sister of your club’s greatest ally is the absolute worst move.
Especially when he makes it clear he doesn’t want a biker anywhere near her.
This story contains all the panty-melting sexiness and alpha goodness that Nina Levine books are known for.
This series is best read in order
Here’s a taste of Devil & Hailee
I decided to be completely up-front with my thoughts. “Are you just after sex here? I mean, if you are, I’m on board with that, but I’d rather know going in what this is rather than thinking it could be more when that’s not what you’re thinking.”
He smiled harder and leant forward so he could kiss me. His lips on mine blazed a line of hunger along my skin. Every inch of me wanted more. And he didn’t disappoint.
Parting my lips, he deepened the kiss, his tongue searching for mine. He took my face in his hands, and his body slid across the lounge towards mine until we were touching.
I wanted to crawl into his lap and never let him end this kiss.
I wanted to rip his shirt off and put my hands all over his body.
God, I wanted to do so many dirty things to him—things I’d never done to another man, but had dreamt of.
“Darlin’,” he rasped, pulling his mouth from mine, which made me want to cry out my disappointment. “We need to stop this now or else I’m not gonna be able to stop. I’d happily fuck you on this lounge if it’s what you wanted, but I doubt it is.”
I took hold of his face. “I need your lips on mine for at least another five minutes, and if you can’t control yourself, that’s on you.” My words came out on a huff of bossy breathlessness, because that’s what a kiss from Devil did to me. I could only imagine what sleeping with him would do. Hell, he might cause me to stop breathing all together.
His eyes widened a fraction before he grinned. “Jesus, you’re something else, woman.”
And then he gave me what I wanted.
And I knew what his answer would be about whether this was just sex or not.
This was never going to just be about sex.
CATCH UP ON THE SYDNEY STORM MC SERIES!
FIRST BOOK, RELENT, CURRENTLY FREE
Gypsy at heart.
USA Today Bestselling author who writes about alpha men & the women they love.
When I’m not creating with words you will find me planning my next getaway, visiting somewhere new in the world, having a long conversation over coffee and cake with a friend, creating with paper or curled up with a good book and chocolate.
I’ve been writing since I was twelve. Weaving words together has always been a form of therapy for me especially during my harder times. These days I’m proud that my words help others just as much as they help me.