The Brooklyn Bruisers hockey series by Sarina Bowen is turning out to be, well, so far it’s mostly a hat trick for me! Each book keeps getting better and better. I was super excited for Mike and Lauren’s story because I really liked the excerpt at the back of the previous book (Brooklyn Bruisers #2 Hard Hitter). And the rest of the book definitely lived up to that excerpt for me.
Lauren and goalie Mike Beacon had a very serious relationship. They started off as friends when Lauren started working in the office of the Brooklyn Bruisers. That friendship was filled with longing until it finally exploded with passion. Mike leaves his wife after discovering she cheated on him. He plans on a divorce, tough as it may be. But then life throws him a major, major curveball with his wife’s health. Needless to say, Mike had to make some very tough decisions on short notice and that meant ending his relationship with Lauren.
Does he tell her this when it ends though? Well, if you’re thinking no, you’re right. One day they are planning to move in together, the next, Lauren is devastated. And now that the Brooklyn Bruisers are in the Stanley Cup play-offs, she is forced to be around Mike once again since the team owner’s usual assistant is suffering from a head injury. Lauren is not thrilled at all.
Mike however sees this as a chance to set things right with Lauren. But, like most men, he doesn’t quite realize just how difficult that will be. Lauren is almost done with college. She is a business woman to be reckoned with and her current boss, and Brooklyn Bruisers team owner, Nate, realizes this. He wants her to shine in his organization and put her new skills to use. I really loved seeing Lauren thrive as a professional. She has been working hard to build a career for herself and it is obvious she is respected at Nate’s organization, even if she is a bit abrupt with her coworkers sometimes. Lauren has a hard shell protecting herself, with good reason.
That being said, I really enjoyed seeing Mike put himself out there to woo Lauren back. He has big dreams of a happily-ever-after with her, FINALLY, and he is not going to sit back any longer. Seeing her again, traveling with her for games, he is reminded of one of the most painful decisions of his life, but also, that maybe he is being granted a second chance. Mike is not looking this gift horse in the mouth.
Mike is actually just an all-around nice guy. He is a single father now to a thirteen-year-old. He makes every effort to be part of her life and have her be part of his. But now he is ready to make some changes. Lauren is hesitant to let him back in again but I felt like she soon realized the reward was far greater than the risk. That being said, I really liked that she didn’t just jump at the second chance. Lauren knew a happy ending isn’t guaranteed but Mike manages to show her that this time around, nothing will stand in their way.
Couple this great romance with a great hockey team and it’s just a win-win all around. Sarina Bowen continues to write male characters and friendships that shine. There is camaraderie but there are of course quite a few scenes of the guys razzing on each other.
Pipe Dreams also lays out a few clues for Nate and Becca’s potential romance (I hope anyway!). It certainly whets the appetite for their story.
Pipe Dreams satisfies big time. This is my favorite of the series so far and I feel like everything really connected. The hockey scenes, the romance, the characters, it all felt cohesive and well done. Though there are quite a few secondary characters in this book (from the previous installments), I feel Lauren and Mike’s story shines through it all and provides a satisfying and deeply powerful romance. Any reader can pick this book up and fall in love with their story, whether they are new to the Brooklyn Bruisers team or not.
Pipe Dreams is available May 2!
ARC provided by publisher for review.