Review Tour and Giveaway: The Deal: Elle Kennedy

The Deal (Off-Campus #1)
Elle Kennedy
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Released February 24, 2015

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.

College music student Hannah Wells has had a difficult history with guys. But now she has finally found a new man that has sparked her interest and she has a crush on football player, Justin Kohl. One little problem...he barely knows she exists. Hockey star, Garrett Graham has his own big problem...he needs a tutor very badly. And he has decided he wants Hannah to help him pass his makeup exams so he will still be eligible to play hockey. But unfortunately for him, Hannah does not want to have anything to do with the cocky athlete.

So he wears her down until she agrees to strike a deal. He will help her social status and make Justin jealous in exchange for her helping him pass.

I loved their sarcastic, feisty banter between Garrett and Hannah. What starts out as a annoyance and near stalking behavior on his part turns into an odd friendship that not only surprises them but everyone around them. But the closer they get, the more lines get blurred. 

He's smart, arrogant, outgoing, and popular. He is a  manwhore, and does not do relationships. He does not really let a lot of people in and has some painful issues in his life that he hides. He is under a lot of pressure to perform in hockey and school. But I fell for Garrett. Even in his really arrogant stage, he had me laughing. But when his layers were pulled back to see his vulnerable, sweet, protective side, he stole my heart. 

Hannah is talented, sassy, and intelligent, but lacks confidence.  Her past has limited her ability to enjoy relationships fully, but she wants to feel that spark with someone and thinks she has found him. She just needs a little help in order to snag him. But sometimes what you think you want might not really be what you need. And learning to trust requires patience and the right person to help.  I love how she gave it back to Garrett, but could also be sweet and nurturing. 

The dynamics between all of them are constantly changing. She is getting noticed more by the object of her affection and others. Then the deal mutates into something different as Hannah decides she wants Garrett to help her with something else too. But Garrett's got his own agenda as well. Is it  still just a deal, a game, or still just a play to make another guy jealous? 

This was a humorous, engaging fast-paced read that also had an emotional bite. It's mostly a romantic comedy with witty rapport, but also has a more serious side that deals with some hard topics and emotional issues. Both Hannah and Garrett have some pain to deal with in order to progress and move on. I loved seeing their growth individually and together. But they had a lot to deal within each of their lives. I truly enjoyed their story and getting both points of view. They really played off each other well and had great chemistry. And they proved that opposites sometimes do attract.

The writing style flowed easily. The characters were interesting, likable, and had depth. The main characters especially had layers they hid from others.  The cast of side characters had some hilarious friends and team mates, as well as some very unlikable antagonists This is the first in the Off Campus series. I am looking forward to seeing who will be the subject of the next book The Mistake. I am hoping for his poor love struck friend, Logan.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Hannah Wells does not date often. She is quiet and focused on her music degree. What she doesn’t expect is to do as well as she does on her Ethics midterm while also preparing for a major vocal performance, especially when most others in the class made less than stellar marks.

Garrett Graham has to pass Ethics and his failing midterm grade has him sweating his position as the captain of the hockey team. As the son of a professional hockey legend, the pressure is on him to perform to perfection both on and off the ice.

Both characters are hiding secrets that they don’t share. But as their friendship deepens, the pair finds they can share their secrets with the other.

Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived without them.

These two had great chemistry. They did not have a fast build, insta-love situation. Their relationship had the time to unfold naturally, with setbacks typical of the situations they face over the course of the book. The build-up was fun to watch and entertaining to see how it changed each of the characters.

This had some great twists that both surprised me and fit the story. While some pieces were not as original as they maybe could have been, the whole story was put together in a way that I couldn’t help but connect with the characters and love the overall story.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Elle Kennedy
A USA Today bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

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