Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #3
Published by Berkley Books on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…
Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.
Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.
Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.
One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.
I love Sarina Bowen. And I love this series. So much so, in fact, that I pretty much stalked both Sarina and her publicist around RT waiting for a copy. Which I did eventually get. And read in one sitting.
If you’re looking for a sweet second chance love story, this is it. If you’re looking for a more standard, angsty Sarina Bowen story, this probably won’t satisfy you. There was really no angst or drama here, not even a standard romance novel final-third breakup. Once Lauren and Mike decided to be together, they were together. There was a slightly bratty teenager, but somehow Sarina Bowen even made me ok with her.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this story; Lauren has been so cold and unfriendly through the first two books in the series, there had to be something there. She was quite vocal about her hatred of hockey, which makes her job working as the assistant to the owner of a hockey team a little unexpected.
Mike Beacon is the Brooklyn Bruisers goalie, a veteran of the team, but not one on the verge of retirement. This is one of the only sports romances I’ve read that didn’t involve a potential transfer or retirement as a backdrop. He seems pretty solid in his position, even with a new backup coming up from the minor leagues. I was a little torn on Mike. I liked him, at least this version of him. The 2016 version of Mike. I’m less sold on the 2012 version of Mike we saw in the (thankfully few) flashbacks. He found himself in an untenable spot, stuck between the life he desperately wanted and was finally getting, and the life he had moved on from. I don’t think he necessarily made the wrong decision, but I do think he royally fucked up with how he handled everything. I mean – seriously everything. Even once he finally explained his thinking and decisions to Lauren, I wasn’t completely on board with it. He genuinely understood how he screwed up, and his acceptance of the blame and his genuine apology went a long way toward making him a more sympathetic character. And I certainly don’t expect my romance heroes (or heroines) to be perfect, but sometimes one of them makes a decision and all I can do is gape at the sheer stupidity of it. This was that type of thing.
Lauren certainly made him work to get her back, but she wasn’t unnecessarily cruel. She was very concerned about protecting her heart from him, knowing full well the damage he could inflict, but didn’t go out of her way to treat Mike badly. She had some other things going on in her life that made her waffle in her decisions as well, but those all seemed to be resolved pretty quickly.
There was a minor side story showing how nasty gossip follows and affects men and women differently. I wish there had been a little more of that. Mike giving a big speech about what bullshit it was certainly wouldn’t have changed anything, but it would have been nice for him to at least acknowledge how the talk around the team and even in the offices affected Lauren deeply and left him unscathed. When she first mentioned it to him, he was genuinely shocked that there had even been any gossip, which was ridiculous. It must be nice to be blissfully unaware of gossip that’s being generated by your own actions and causing another person to suffer. The one time he witnesses it, he goes to make sure Lauren is ok, which was nice of him, but I would have liked to see him take the nasty gossiper down a peg or two first.
I know everyone is waiting for Nate and Becca’s book, and I think it’s coming, but not any time soon. I really like how their story is unfolding in the background of these books, though. Don’t get me wrong, I will read the hell out of that book, but I’m ok if it’s not the next one. It’s lovely to see it play out as it is.