Wednesday, April 5, 2023

The Deal (Off-Campus, Book 1) by Elle Kennedy ~ Book Review with Excerpt


New York Times bestseller Elle Kennedy brings you a sexy Off-Campus novel that can be read as a standalone…

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

Prove it

A pink blush blooms in her cheeks. I love how quickly she goes from serious and sassy to shy and innocent.

“By the way, you can’t do that on Saturday,” I inform her.

“What, strip?” she says mockingly.

“No, blush like a tomato every time I make a lewd comment.”

Hannah arches one brow. “How many lewd comments do you plan on making?”

I grin. “Depends on how much I have to drink.”

She lets out an exasperated breath, and a strand of dark hair comes loose from her ponytail and falls onto her forehead. Without thinking, I reach out and tuck the errant strand behind her ear.

The instantaneous tensing of her shoulders brings a frown to my lips. “You can’t do that either. Freeze up when I touch you.”

Alarm flits through her eyes. “Why would you touch me?”

“Because I’m supposed to be your date. Have you met me? I’m a handsy guy.”

“Well, you can keep your hands to yourself on Saturday,” she says primly.

“Good plan. And then Loverboy will think we’re just friends. Or enemies, depending on how jumpy you get.”

She bites her lip, and her visible agitation only makes me tease her harder. “Oh, and I might kiss you, too.”

Now she glares at me. “No way.”

“Do you or do you not want Kohl to think you’re into me? Because if you do, you’ll need to at least try to act like it.”

“That’s going to be tough,” she says with a smirk.

“Bullshit. You like me lots.”

She snorts.

“I’m totally digging that snorting thing you do,” I tell her frankly. “It’s kind of a turn on.”

“Would you quit it?” she grumbles. “He’s not in the room right now. You can save the flirting for Saturday.”

“I’m trying to get you used to it.” I pause as if I’m mulling something over, but really, I’m getting a huge kick out of making Hannah squirm. “Actually, the more I think about it, the more I’m wondering if we should warm up.”

“Warm up? What the hell does that mean?”

I slant my head. “What do you think I do before a game, Wellsy? Just show up at the rink and throw my skates on? Of course not. I practice six days a week to get ready. Ice time, weight room, watching game tapes, strategy meetings. Think of all the advance prep that goes into it.”

“This isn’t a game,” she says irritably. “It’s a fake date.”

“But it needs to look real for Loverboy.”

“Would you stop calling him that?”

Nope, I have no plans to stop. I like how angry it makes her. In fact, I like pissing her off, period. Every time Hannah gets mad, her green eyes blaze and her cheeks turn the cutest shade of pink.

“So yeah,” I say with a nod. “If I’m going to be touching and kissing you on Saturday, I think it’s imperative that we rehearse.” I lick my lips again. “Thoroughly.”

“I honestly can’t decide if you’re messing with me right now.” She blows out an annoyed breath. “Either way, I’m not letting you touch or kiss me, so wipe all those dirty ideas out of your head. If you want some action, call Tiffany.”

“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.”

There’s a bite to Hannah’s tone. “Why not? You seemed pretty into her last night.”

“It was a one-time hook up. And stop trying to change the subject.” I grin at her. “Why don’t you want to kiss me?” I narrow my eyes. “Oh shit. There’s only one explanation I can think of.” I pause. “You’re a bad kisser.”

Her jaw drops in outrage. “I most certainly am not.”

“Yeah?” I lower my voice to a seductive pitch. “Prove it.”

*excerpt property of Elle Kennedy this and another excerpt can be found on her website here -

3.5 It's a Deal Stars

I can't believe it's taken me so long to read this book, it's been around for a while and I have heard great things about it but it wasn't until one of my Goodreads Groups (Shh… [Smut, Heroes & HEAs…]) was doing a buddy read that I made the time to read it.

Hannah Wells is a junior in college, she has a crush on an athlete but since her rape in High School she has trouble with intimacy and isn't great at dating. Garrett Graham is an athlete that is struggling with his GPA, hoping to get Hannah to tutor him he says that he will help her gain the attention of the guy she is crushing on. Now I need to point out it isn't as simple as that, it takes a LOT for Hannah to finally agree to tutor Garrett and that's because he constantly asks not to understanding when she says NO she means it, but like I said he constantly asks until he finally convinces her by making a deal with her.

While I enjoyed the book I really enjoyed the friendship that developed between Hannah and Garrett and their chemistry was great, but I think I would have preferred if only one of them had a traumatic past. It seemed like there was just too much angst between both of their pasts and what was happening in their current lives.

I would recommend this book to those that enjoy New Adult Romances, Slow Burns, College Romances, or Sports Romances.

Happy Reading!!!


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