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…
Other Books in the series
I’ve been meaning to put off reading this series because I heard it’s a three-book series and I planned to binge when the last book goes out but by some miracle, I got accepted to review an early copy from the publisher and I couldn’t be more grateful!
I’ve never read any sports romance from the author yet and I wasn’t really expecting anything so to finish and to like Hard Hitter featuring the ice hockey Bruisers’ captain and the team’s massage therapist and yoga instructor was surprising.
Patrick O’Doul had this connotation from his teammates of being such a snob and kind of cold but he didn’t seem to be that much in the book. In my perspective, he was just lonely because of his past that was delved right and not in the unbelievable kind of way and he’s just waiting for the right woman to come along. As a captain/enforcer of the team, his character was pretty much on point and took his responsibility seriously. He’s dedicated, loyal and trustworthy. Also grumpy because he’s not very fond of massages. LOL. (Though I didn’t really why there had to be fights in hockey–that’s just my stupid self, by the way, for not schooling myself to any sports-related things.) He kind of had a slip in judgment once, earlier in the book which made me bite my nails and kept me on the edge because it was suspenseful.
Ariana Bettini couldn’t seem to understand why Patrick wouldn’t attend his massage appointments to her. It’s not like she’s bad at it. If anything, most of the team members are ready to marry her as long she keeps on touching/massaging them. But Patrick? Nah. However, she’s a girl on a mission and she’d do anything so she can help him heal that hip. I really admire her character. She’s not annoying, she knows her yoga and is patient with Patrick.
It took me a while to get in to the hang of the story in the beginning because the pace was kind of slow and boring but once the heat started to burn, I couldn’t put it down anymore. Though I don’t think there really was that intense chemistry between Patrick and Ari, it worked out nicely because there was a little hint of friends-to-lovers. Patrick started to trust Ari with his body pain and Ari opening up to him more. Their banter turned to be so easy and fun after they got pass the awkward and the steam was hot! I didn’t hate nor love them both because I didn’t really connect with them at all. The suspense of Ari’s ex and Patrick’s involvement with him was fine and believable, though the conflict after that was too easy to predict. The secondary characters were very interesting so I’d be on the lookout for the next book. Hopefully, there would be a another one for Nate and Becca because they’re like a riddle I can’t wait to unravel!
Overall, Hard Hitter is not only sports romance but also slow-burn and sexy with a dash of mystery.
I’d like to commend the author for her easy-to-understand yoga lingo because I’m a yoga noob and the language didn’t make me feel confused at all.