It’s no surprise that I picked up another romance by Sarina Bowen, especially when it involves hockey players. Must Love Hockey (2022) is a short and sweet novella that is centered around the fictional NHL team, the Brooklyn Bruisers. Although it was too short to have much of a plot besides the two love interests getting together, I enjoyed reading it.
This book includes plenty of time with the hockey players, but the main character is James “Jimbo” Carozzi, and he is the equipment manager for the team. Emily Chen is at one of the games with her boyfriend, Charles. Charles just recently got out of college, and he’s obsessed with his new job that involves taking clients out once or twice a week. When Emily starts feeling off at the end of the game, Charles leaves her to go home, while he goes with his clients for drinks in Manhattan.
As Emily walks around the stadium looking for the subway entrance, she starts feeling worse and worse. She runs into James, who almost immediately realizes something is wrong. He takes her inside, and helps her out, eventually spending the evening in the emergency room with her. Emily is immediately attracted to James, but she fights it because she is loyal to Charles. James is very clear about his intentions and has the help of the entire team. Eventually it becomes obvious that Emily is not happy with Charles, and Emily frees herself to date James.
I had two nitpicks while reading. The first was that I thought Bowen made Charlie a ridiculously bad boyfriend. I guess she wanted Emily’s choice easy, and she succeeded. The story may have been more emotional if Charlie wasn’t so easy to disregard. Second, I am a first responder. If someone is having an allergic reaction and is having trouble breathing, just call 911! An ambulance can get through traffic at a sporting event. They do it all the time. It all turned out fine in the end, and James and Emily were able to stay together that evening, but it stressed me out in the moment.
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