Tuesday 5 February 2019

#CBR11 Book 4: "Pipe Dreams" by Sarina Bowen

Page count: 336 pages
Audio book length: 9 hrs 34 mins
Rating: 2 stars

Lauren Williams used to love hockey, but after Brooklyn Bruisers goalie Mike Beacon suddenly dumped her without warning, she stays far away from the game, and is very grateful that her boss, Nate Kattenberger, has her running his office in Manhattan, so she can focus on moving on and building a life for herself on her own. She's about to graduate from college, with a lot of bright career prospects in her future and she's planning on having a baby, by herself. She's none too happy when Nate's former assistant, Becca, who now helps manage the team gets a concussion, so Lauren has to help cover for her and brings her up close to the hockey team on a daily basis again.

Mike Beacon got married to his high school sweetheart after he knocked her up, and while he never regretted the daughter he got, his wife never really wanted to be married to a top athlete, and their marriage suffered. When they finally separated, he made his move on Lauren, who he'd dreamed about for years, but kept things professional with until it was clear his marriage was a thing of the past. Mike and Lauren spent a deliriously happy year together, but just as Mike's divorce was about to come through, he discovered that his soon to be ex-wife had terminal cancer, and the situation was unbearable for his little girl. Making the difficult choice to move back in with his wife and daughter, he didn't really tell Lauren the severity of the situation (he kept claiming to have a good reason for this - I never really got what the heck he was thinking).

Now, two years later, Mike is raising a thirteen-year-old and regretting screwing things up with Lauren. Since she appears to still be single, he decides to try to win her back, but he has his work cut out for him, both with Lauren, and his daughter, who because of malicious gossip from other players' wives believes Lauren to be some evil home wrecker.

I hadn't read any Sarina Bowen for a long time when I picked up Brooklynaire, which turned out to be a fun, if a bit flawed, read. Since I still had about a week left on my Audible romance deal, I decided to check out the previous book in the series, with a plot that clearly runs at least partially concurrently with the sequel. I was surprised at how much overlap there actually was, and if I'd read these in order, I probably would have rated Brooklynaire lower, since there were whole scenes that were more or less repeated entirely. I read them in the right order, though, as there is no way I would have wanted to pick up the sequel if I'd read this one first.

This was, to be honest, quite a slog. While I liked Lauren as a supporting character in Brooklynaire and she was a perfectly agreeable romance heroine in her own right, I didn't really care for Mike at all, nor his plot moppet adolescent with her temper tantrums and jealousy fits, even though her male nanny/live in violin teacher was pretty cool. His reasons for going back to his wife were noble enough, but the way he handled things with Lauren was abysmal, and he certainly didn't deserve to have her back in any way. I didn't care for the way he pretty much nagged his way back into her good graces, and her heart. If you see nothing romantic or attractive about the book's hero, the romance isn't really going to work. That was the case here.

MINOR SPOILER! Also, I never thought that I'd find something worse than the still frequently occurring "pregnancy epilogue". This book, however, ends with an actual, extended description of childbirth, which is no one's idea of a good time. That was pretty much the final nail in the coffin for me, and I think Sarina Bowen is on extended hiatus for me again.

Judging a book by its cover: You can tell that it's a book about hockey because the burly, muscular dude on the cover is holding a hockey stick. Of course, the hero of this book is a goalie, so should really be wearing a lot more padding. In general, this guy is wearing way too little for a hockey player, even in a friendly team practise, I would think going on the ice wearing nothing but some dark trousers would be inviting all sorts of injuries. But how could we tell it was a romance if there wasn't man titty on the cover?

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.