Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1) by Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017 by Rennie Road Books
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports – Ice Hockey.
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
A great goalie always makes the save, even when he’s taken a shot to the heart…
Mike Beacon is a champion at guarding the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never gotten over 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 traveling with the team she used to manage and with the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go there 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.
Only one of Mike’s fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.
Pipe Dreams is the third installment to the Brooklyn Bruisers. It’s a story that truly highlights the highs and lows of a second chance romance. It’s not easy to open up your heart to the same person that shattered it and Pipe Dreams explores the harsh reality of that love. Yes, it can be beautiful, but you cannot ignore the aching longing, the loneliness, and anger that also comes with these second chances. Ultimately, this is a story of two people that are forced to fight for their love.
We briefly meet Lauren in Hard-Hitter, and you could feel the cold bitterness that oozed every time she came within proximity to the Bruisers organisation. At first glance, Lauren is not someone you would call a friend. However, beneath that cold exterior, we have a woman that is still healing from a wound so deep that she’s made her skin unpenetrable. The only person she feels she can rely on is herself. It’s easy to sympathise with Lauren, and even easier to understand her anger at Mike. What is admirable about Lauren is her work ethic. This is a highly intelligent woman that has had to work her way from the bottom to the top on her own. This is a woman that has honed her skills and established herself as an indispensable member of Nate, the Bruiser’s owner’s, team. While she may thrive in her work life, Lauren is also working on building her own family. It’s safe to say that she has a lot on her plate and the last thing she needs is to be thrown back into the same organisation that took the happiest years of her life and shattered them.
Now, Mike. Where do we begin? In the previous installments of this series we learn that Mike is a widower and single father. He’s also the Brooklyn Bruisers goaltender. We find out early on that he left Lauren so that his teenage daughter could spend a few more moments with her mother before her passing. Being a single parent to a teenage girl is hard enough, but being one to a grieving teen is even harder. His life is centered on hockey and his daughter, believing that he will never get the chance to win back Lauren’s affections. However, fate, and Nate seem to have other plans and with Lauren temporarily back with the Bruisers organisation, Mike sees an opportunity to right the wrongs in his life. In the beginning, it did feel like Mike didn’t fully understand just how deeply his actions affected Lauren, which made it feel like she gave in to his advances a lot sooner than expected. However, as we get passed the physical connection between them and explore that emotional connection, it’s easy to see and feel just how deeply devoted they are to each other. There’s no justifying the harshness Mike’s choice, but you can see how he felt like he was caught between a rock and a hard place, despite the fact that he had more options than the ones he gave himself.
The romance in this book was breathtakingly painful and while it was easy for Lauren and Mike to rekindle the passion in their relationship, the emotional journey is a lot more complicated. Lauren is not going to give Mike her heart so freely, she needs time to rebuild that trust in him, and to make matters more complicated, we have Mike’s teenage daughter. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the baby daddy/single parent trope, thankfully said teenage daughter was not as insufferable as I thought she’d be.
Pipe Dreams is an example of a perfect second chance romance. It’s not all hearts and flowers. It is a tangled web of messy and complicated emotions. However, there is no denying the connection and depth of the devotion between Mike and Lauren. These are two individuals that have to fight for their love, and in doing so, they strengthen and harness that love into something unbreakable.
What are your thoughts on second chance romances?