Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Author Sarina Bowen pairs with hockey romance like white-chocolate-covered Oreos with rich, creamy, vitamin D milk. That is to say: perfectly and with much anticipation. (And dang it. Now I’m hungry!)
It’s no secret that I’m a long-time fan of the gay hockey romance series Ms. Bowen co-authored with Elle Kennedy (if you haven’t read Him, you’re missing out big time), but this new solo series—The Brooklyn Bruisers—is just as dynamite and hits a more diverse reader base. Whether you read New Adult or more adult-oriented contemporary romance, whether you love sensitive heroes or men with rough edges, whether you like your heroines spunky or classy—the Brooklyn Bruisers hockey romance series has something for you, and every story is teeming with heart and soul.
Pipe Dreams, the third story in the series, cuts right to the grab-your-chest emotion as the book opens on the high of the team securing a playoff spot, followed by the devastation of our heroine having to face the man she loved and lost and never forgave or forgot.
“Nathan,” she demanded in a low voice. “Why am I here?”
“Because the team needs your help,” he replied immediately. “And two years is a long time to miss out on hockey.”
“I was just fine without hockey,” she pointed out. Nathan raised an eyebrow, looking so smug she felt like strangling him. “No matter how often you say otherwise, you love hockey.”
Seriously? “Please tell me I’m not here right now because you were staging some kind of intervention. That’s fucked up, Nathan.”
His eyes went back to the surface of the ice, where the puck was in play once again. “It would be more convenient if you were afraid of me like everyone else is.”
“Good luck with that.”
He snickered. “Your boy is back in action.”
“He’s not my boy.”
The Lauren we knew from the first two books—the chic, fashionable, controlling ice queen who hated hockey and anyone associated with it—is nowhere to be seen in Pipe Dreams. This Lauren is actually friendly and vulnerable and likeable. Seems an apology goes a long way toward making things right. I loved the strength of character Lauren showed in this story. She’s determined, competent, and self-confident, with a killer fashion sense. I can easily see her as a VP of a Fortune 500 company. I kinda want to be her. Just saying.
“It’s not over between us,” he said suddenly. If it was over, he wouldn’t still feel like this—as if just standing in the same zip code with Lauren had his body humming with newfound possibility.
“What’s not over?” Leo Trevi asked, sipping a fresh beer.
“Beak wants his girl back,” O’Doul explained. “But he’s facing some pretty steep odds.”
“I waited six years to get mine back,” Leo said.
Shit. “I don’t have six years. I don’t even have six weeks. Once the play-offs are over, she’ll be gone. You assholes better put some goals on the scoreboard in Tampa. I need to take this thing all the way to the Cup.”
“That’s the weirdest motivation I’ve heard for wanting to reach the finals,” Leo said. “But whatever works for you, man.”
Mike is such a sweet, honest man, and his vulnerability punched me right in the heart. His backstory is brutal and sorrowful and beautiful. He’s a family man and a tough, career hockey player. And I’ve always had a soft spot for goalies. Mike is easily my favorite hero of the series so far, and every new obstacle, every new smooth (or panicked!) reaction to a crisis just endeared him to me more.
And writing a believable, likable 13-year old daughter is a daunting task. Ms. Bowen has penned a teenage character that perfectly compliments the stalwart, easy-going nature of her dad, and behaves exactly how I would expect from a youngster both grieving and growing into her changing body. Elsa is surprisingly relatable, and I can’t say that for many kids I read about in romance books.
He walked over to the bed and perched on the edge. “Baby, I dream about you more often than it’s healthy to admit. You’re the one, Lo. There’s nobody else.”
Seriously? “You had a hell of a way of showing it.”
“You own me,” he said. “I never wanted to let you go.”
“It’s not easy for me to believe in you,” she said quietly.
He looked up at her. “I know. But I’m going to change that.”
Oh. So. Many. Feels! You’d think hockey romances would be all caveman tough guy, but oh no, Ms. Bowen had to go and make me cry. You read through this story’s ending with dry eyes. Dare you to try! This story is so good. And you don’t need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy the emotional beauty of it. Although, if you do start with Pipe Dreams, there may be more than the usual amount of new characters to keep up with.
Another solid installment in the Brooklyn Bruisers hockey romance series by Sarina Bowen, and another recommended contemporary romance read here on GraveTells.
Pipe Dreams is recommended for readers who enjoy…
- Hockey romances
- Contemporary adult romances
- Second-chance romances that feature kids
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If love gay romance, are a fan of hockey romances in general, and want a guaranteed excellent read (as in 2016 RITA-winning excellent) with tons of feels, check out Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. Him was the 2015 GraveTells Book of the Year and still one of my favorite all-time romances. Read my review of Him here or snag it for your Kindle ASAP here*:
For the kinksters out there, Heidi Belleau has a sweet, edgy (and, okay, a little raunchy) New Adult gay-for-you romance—Straight Shooter—that features a college hockey jock and an adult film star in a D/s relationship. I loved this whole series (Rear Entrance Video), and it’s worth reading from the start, but if you want to sneak in for just this story, you totally can. Read more about Straight Shooter here (an interview with author Heidi Belleau) or grab your copy here*:
*Denotes GraveTells affiliate link