A sexy new standalone from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.
You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.
For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.
When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.
Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?
Never Odd or Even…
This Palindrome seems a bit contradictory because doesn’t it have to be one or the other? There doesn’t really seem to be a middle ground in this idea, which should illustrate its impossibly but strange enough, this saying seems quite perfect for the hero and heroine of Sarina Bowen’s latest release, Brooklynaire.
I’m no stranger to Sarina Bowen’s writing, but I am new to her Brooklyn Bruisers series, and I know it might seem odd to jump into it three books in, but I didn’t feel like my lack of insight from the other books deterred my understanding or love of everything hockey, nerdy, and a bit odd. The fact that Book 4 is the Brooklyn Bruisers’ owner’s story may have made the transition easier on me, but it also put me in a conundrum because now I need to find the time to read all about the hockey players’ stories that came before this one!
I’m a huge fan of friends-to-lovers’ stories, especially when everyone around the hero and heroine recognize the attraction and the feelings that seem to be between them while they continue to be oblivious, partly so they can cope being around one another and partly because the main characters just don’t seem to understand how amazing they are despite their insecurities.
I can’t begin to explain just how much Nate Kattenberger is my kind of hero! I mean, come on, a hot brainiac with a magnetic personality and an awkward quirkiness that proves just how normal he is…what’s not to love??? Sarina Bowen easily captures the true personality of this math geek and numbers’ guy, and while Nate struggles with a personal life due to the nature of his work, his bank account, and his cheating ex, it’s clear that Nate has a lot more to offer a woman besides his ability to create palindromes and multi-task like a beast!
Rebecca Rowley is definitely a heroine I can relate to…she’s a girl who always finds a way regardless of the situation or the pressure and she’s strong in a quiet way that sometimes has people wondering just who she is and what she’s had to endure. I truly don’t know how she manages to help run the Brooklyn Bruisers while also keeping her family in check since her sister, her sister’s boyfriend, and her sister’s baby all live with Rebecca in her tiny two-bedroom apartment and let’s not forget that on top of the chaos at home, there’s even more craziness on the job because the team depends on her for everything, which throughout most of the story is a bit difficult due to a rather strange injury and the financial strain of medical bills and therapy appointments.
I have to admit that I really didn’t understand Rebecca’s hesitation when Nate finally acts on his feelings for her; she really puts him through the ringer, at times, with her hot/cold demeanor, and while I understood the whole ‘awkward work thing,’ Nate being Becca’s ‘dirty little secret’ really didn’t sit well with me. BUT… Bowen does provide readers with significant insight into Becca’s ‘running scared’ conflict, and once Nate and she are honest with each other and the expectations seem to be spelled out and a plan gets put into place, it eases the tension between them, for the most part, which made me a much happier fan of things working out between this adorably awkward pair.
Never Odd or Even…even though this palindrome leads me to believe that it is either one way or the other, Nate and Becca figure out a way that works for both of them and allows them to keep the work that they love and the person who has become EVERYTHING to them, and that’s all anyone could ask for!
4.5 Poison Apples
I grab a towel off a waiting stack of them and toss it onto the edge. “You can sit and put your feet in.”
She’s wearing a short little knit dress that’s been making me crazy all evening, so it would be easy enough for her to strip off those stockings, sit on the towel, and drop both feet in.
And that’s what she does. She eases one stocking down over a smooth knee and tugs it off.
I don’t want to stand there staring like a middle-school boy. Okay, I do want to. But I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. So I go over to the sound system instead, and I set my phone on the speaker and cue up a really old playlist. One she’ll recognize.
When I turn around again, she’s seated on the towel, both legs hanging down into the churning water. “Ah. Wow.” She looks up at me, her eyes sparkling. “Nice place you got here.”
“Isn’t it?” I toe off my shoes and kick them to the side.
The first song comes on, and it’s a Macklemore tune that we used to play far too often in our first office. Rebecca laughs immediately. “You didn’t! I haven’t heard this playlist in forever. But I’ll bet I still know every transition. Lady Gaga is next.”
“She sure is.”
Rebecca kicks her feet, making a splash. “I have a little confession to make.”
“What’s that?” I loosen my tie and slide the knot out.
“Well…” She grins up at me. “I used to have a crush on you. Back in the early days.”
My hands freeze on the tie silk. “Get out of town. You did not.”
“No, I really did.” Her cheeks are pink. “That first year especially. But you were taken, and you were my boss. Those two things made it pretty easy to tamp down, when you’re a practical girl like me.”
I walk over and drop down beside her, my back to the water, though, because I’m still wearing trousers and socks. “So how does that work, exactly?”
“What?” She gives me a sidelong glance, but then looks away again and won’t meet my eyes.
“How do you stop wanting someone? I’m a practical person, but I don’t see how that makes it any easier. Nothing seems to mute the raging attraction I have for you.”
Her chin turns quickly toward me, and I seize the opportunity to kiss her. And it only takes one kiss—one slide of my lips over hers, and I’m on fire again.
We’re facing opposite directions, so it’s awkward as hell. But I don’t even care. I take greedy sip after greedy sip of her mouth, until she pulls back to stare at me. Her color is high and her eyes are bright and happy. “This is like Twister.”
“It’s better,” I correct. Lady Gaga comes on, just as Becca said she would. “Are we getting into this pool or what?”
Becca kicks a foot in the water. “I’m tempted. But I don’t have a bathing suit.”
She smiles and shakes her head. “Are you really getting in?”
“We don’t have to.” I’m never going to pressure her.
Her fingers trail across the surface of the bubbling water. “But this is an adventure, right?”
“Right.” I stand up and remove my socks. She’s watching me. And I can’t read her expression. “What?”
“Just wondering what else you’re going to take off.” She smiles.
“Come here.” The order rolls off my tongue.
But Rebecca doesn’t blink. She gets up and turns toward me, curiosity in her eyes.
“You tell me. What am I taking off?”
She puts two hands tentatively on my chest, and I make myself be patient. Everything I ever wanted is on the other side of this moment. I just need us to break through this awkwardness—the “will we or won’t we” tension.
Her fingers find the top button of my shirt. “I’m not getting in the water unless you are.”
That’s a compromise I can live with. I find my lower shirt buttons and work upwards, until we meet in the middle. She pushes the two halves of my shirt apart and runs a hand down my bare chest.
My inner caveman stands up and cheers.