At this point I’ve read quite a number of books by Sarina Bowen, so it wasn’t hard to pick up Shenanigans (2022) as soon as it became available. Bowen has written romance novels on many different topics, but her hockey books are my favorite.
Many of Bowen’s hockey books center around the fictional NHL team, the Brooklyn Bruisers, and Shenanigans is no different. In fact, the male protagonist, Neil Drake, is a player on the team. He also comes from a super rich family that makes swanky private jets for the rich and famous. Charli is also a professional hockey player in Brooklyn, but she plays for the burgeoning women’s league. Her life is very different from Neil’s. She had a tough upbringing and has struggled her entire life. Even now that she’s a professional athlete, Charli has to deal with difficult family members and somehow survive in New York City when her hockey gig only pays $12,000 per year.
When Neil and Charli are in Las Vegas for some kind of sports awards (or something), they both get very drunk and wake up together. In a short time, they are both horrified to discover/remember that they had taken advantage of what Vegas had to offer and got married. They are both eager to get the marriage dissolved, but they have to hightail it back to New York to make it to practice.
With a number of plot devices of iffy believability, Charli and Neil agree to pretend to stay married for a couple of months. Charli moves in with him for the short term and attends a swanky charity event with him. The same attraction that got them married and into bed in the first place comes back with a vengeance. Charli has to deal with her family, her past, and her unwillingness to trust Neil. Neil has to deal with his own family.
Like most of Bowen’s books, I enjoyed this one. Charli and Neil were fun, the story was interesting, and I was willing to forgive the sometimes farfetched plot. However, Shenanigans is probably not my favorite of the Bruiser’s books. I could see where it was going and wasn’t quite as emotionally attached to the characters as I have been in the past.
You can find all my reviews on my blog.