Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen (Brooklyn Bruisers #3)


Note: This ARC was provided by Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“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.”

Can I just put on record that I think Sarina Bowen is an absolute genius when it comes to second-chance love stories? Pipe Dreams, the third novel in her Brooklyn Bruisers hockey romance series from Berkley Sensation, isn't the first one Bowen has written with the second-chance romance trope, and it isn't the first one in this series nor in a hockey setting. And yet, she's been able to make each one of those second-chance romances of hers stand on their own merit, distinguishing every single one enough that you don't think to yourself, "Ugh! This again?!" With her newest release, it was a matter of finding true love but not being able to hold on to because of extenuating circumstances. Fast forward two years later, and our protagonists are thrown together once again. He wants another chance, and this time he intends to prove to her it's forever; she, on the other hand, is still angry and hurt.

Thirty-one-year-old Lauren Williams loves her job and has a soft spot for her boss, but when he has her taking over temporarily for an injured co-worker, Lauren wishes she'd refused. She has spent the last two years moving forward with her life after the man she loved and believed she was creating a life with coldly shut her out after returning to the wife he was on his way to divorcing. Lauren went as far as to distancing herself from the sport she had always been a fan of--hockey. Now, she's forced to suck it up, at least until the person in charge makes a full recovery or whenever the Brooklyn Bruisers post-season ends. But as the team moves forward through each round, Lauren realizes that being around her ex, Michael Beacon, is a reality she'll just have to live with for the next few weeks before she returns to Manhattan. Only, Mike has plans of his own and this goalie is ready to win his girl.

Feeling anything negative towards Mike was an impossibility. The man was truly a kind soul. He was a devoted father to his teenage daughter Elsa and a dedicated team player. Yes, the way he mishandled his break-up with Lauren had me shaking my head in disappointment, but he took ownership of what went wrong, and then went on to make amends. How he thought he was doing the right thing for Lauren makes me wish there were some sort of crash course men would go through in order to realize how silly some--A LOT--of the stuff that goes on in their heads can be. But again, Mike was a good man, with me wanting to stand up and cheer during one point in an important game his team was playing. He's probably my favorite Bruiser, followed closely by Leo Trevi (not that I don't love Patrick O'Doul, mind you!), because he's just an all-around humble, honorable, yet very human person.

I adored Lauren! She was smart and sassy and very independent. What Mike did broke her, but she put herself back together and lived her life on her own terms. I'm glad she stuck to her guns for as long as she did but remained honest to herself about her still being in love with Mike. I liked how she was with Elsa, which could have turned nightmarish had she mismanaged the situation, which was already touchy to begin with. And then there was her subtle nudging of Nate Kattenberger into finally doing something about his not-so-secret feelings for his office manager, Becca Rowley. I know I've been hoping for, at the very least, a novella for Nate and Becca, but if it doesn't come to pass, I'm okay with the turn of events here in book three. Of course, if they do get their story told (fingers crossed), I'll be snapping it up in a hurry! Heck, I'd be a happy camper if the series continued indefinitely!

There were a number of times throughout this novel that I felt my heart clenching in my chest in empathy for what Lauren and Mike were going through, both as individuals and as a-not-quite-there-yet couple. Their challenges didn't end when they did decide to give their relationship another shot. Being with someone who has a child from a previous relationship is not easy and vice-versa, and I'm glad that Sarina Bowen chose to show readers all sides of the story instead of painting one party as the bad guy. While Rookie Move is special because it was the spin-off of Bowen's new adult Ivy Years series, Pipe Dreams is my favorite in the Brooklyn Bruisers series, and it's probably second only to The Year We Fell Down as my favorite M/F read from the author. When it comes to hockey romances AND second-chance love stories, no one comes close to Sarina Bowen. Five-plus stars go to Pipe Dreams. ♥

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Read my reviews for the Brooklyn Bruisers series:


Rookie Move (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review

Hard Hitter (book two) - five stars - My Review

Pipe Dreams (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)

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Release Date: 02 May 2017

Date Read: 01 May 2017

Learn more about Sarina Bowen.

Purchase Pipe Dreams on Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo.

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