Pipe Dreams - Sarina Bowen
(3.75 stars for the hockey)
I was really excited to start reading Pipe Dreams. Beacon wasn't my favorite player, but I was intrigued by Lauren. What was the deal with her, anyway? So cranky and contrary, there had to be a reason for her unpleasantness, especially when it came to hockey. She was obviously good at her job, or Nate would have ended her employment instead of promoting her. The girls in the Bruisers organization, however, had nothing good to say about Lauren, and I wanted to know why.
Oh. My. This woman had so much justification to be enraged any time she thought about hockey or was forced to do something for the team. After Becca's head injury in the previous novel, Nate abruptly reassigned Lauren to work in the team's front office. Again. And Lauren is not happy with the job task. But it's play offs, the team's prospects look good, and there is no way Nate is going to let her slide.
This is Lauren's second time working for the team. The first time, she worked for her father, then the coach, who was fired after Nate purchased the franchise. Lauren had a crush on Mike, but he was a married man, so she ignored her attraction to him. Then! Mike discovers that his wife had been having an affair with her tennis coach for a year. While he and Sherry hadn't had a happy marriage, he stayed faithful to his high school sweetheart. They married after he got her pregnant with their daughter Elsa, and though he was unhappy, he never strayed. Until the big discovery and the filing of the divorce papers.
During flashback chapters, we learn that Mike and Lauren hooked up, and after going out for a year and a half, Mike called things off. Literally. He called her on her cell and dumped her. While she was looking for an apartment for them. And then he refused to have anything else to do with her. Ignored her calls. Wouldn't speak to her. Didn't bother to explain that his estranged wife had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and wasn't expected to live long. To take care of Elsa and Shelly, Mike ended his relationship with Lauren.
Okay, I guess I can understand this. A little bit. But really, Mike? To not even explain to the woman of your dreams why you are tossing her to the curb? What a jerk. What a selfish, cowardly jerk. I did not like this guy. At all. And by not explaining anything to anyone, he made Lauren the husband stealing villain of the piece. No wonder she hates hockey.
Everything about Mike grated on my nerves. When he learns that Lauren is trying to have a baby through artificial insemination, he volunteers to knock her up. And I was like - what? You have already proven that you can't be trusted, you cowardly jerk. And when Lauren took him up on his offer? Ugh. The romance did not work for me. Lauren forgave Michael far, far to quickly. I didn't think there was any tension between them, and their relationship sailed into the sunset at an alarming rate. I didn't think Mike groveled enough, and I was disappointed that Lauren took him back so easily.
So, what did I like? The hockey! The play-off games were exciting, the action on the ice lightning fast. You could almost hear the players' skates tearing up the ice, and the puck being violently batted off of sticks. I don't think Detroit should have gone down so easily (or am I confusing that with the results of this year's play offs??). Sarina Bowen does a great job describing the game, as well as the background details of the players' game experience.
I hope Nate and Becca's romance is next, though I fear Becca will annoy me. There were times in this book that I wanted to strangle her, and she wasn't even the main character. Overall, I am enjoying this series, but the hero of Pipe Dreams didn't appeal to me.