Release Reviews: The Goal: Elle Kennedy

The Goal (Off-Campus #4)
Elle Kennedy
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Expected September 26, 2016

She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change. 

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated 

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.
 Graphics from author's facebook page
Sabrina James is driven to succeed. Trying to leave behind a shameful past, she works 2 jobs in order to finance her education goals that will lead her to a successful career. With all that work though, she doesn’t have a lot of time for social activities. Her 2 best friends are her only fun. She doesn’t do relationship, only using men when she needs the release.

John Tucker is the “mom” of his group of roommates. He cooks, he cleans, he offers advice. Generally, he is the guy they turn to when they need help. He has a plan -- graduation, return to his small Texas hometown and purchase a business. But as graduation approaches, he still isn’t sure what kind of business he wants, and his plans lose some of their original appeal.

I loved the push and pull between these two. Sabrina is so set on her path that she doesn’t know how to react when it looks like it could be derailed. Tucker has the patience of the saint. As a believer in love at first sight, he has his work cut out for him chasing Sabrina. He quickly learns that if he pushes too hard, she’ll run, and he doesn’t want her to run at all.

Tucker has long been one of those guys I loved to watch in the background. Now that he is the foreground, his “darlin’s” and his nature had me falling even harder for him. His reactions to everything she throws at him were the perfect to compliment her reactions.

The story had great pacing. As with all the Off-Campus novels, there is a lot of back and forth between the two main characters. This one had me wishing I could read it straight through rather than having to put it down when I needed to get things done around the house.

There was great tension throughout the story, and the source continually changed. The timeline overlapped nicely with The Score, echoing parts of Tucker’s story that readers already learned in the previous book without making either book feel like you need one in order to understand the other. This one just cleared up all the sneaking around that Tucker seemed to suddenly begin during The Score. 

Told as a dual point-of-view, it was great to see both first person perspectives, especially as they went through the ups and downs of their relationship. Knowing what each was thinking kept me from being frustrated with either one of the characters as things went back and forth between them. 
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

John Tucker and Sabrina Jones share a hot hook-up that sends Sabrina running and Tucker wanting to chase. Their story takes place during the same time period as The Score and those that read that book already know a bit of what is going to happen with these two. But this time we get Tucker and Sabrina's dual points of view and here how it all went down before and after.

Sabrina is overworked, stressed out, and closed off. She's got high goals and needs to focus on her future in law school to change her current unfavorable circumstances at home. She does not think she has the time, brain power, or emotions to deal with relationships or distractions. But her work ethic makes people assume she is aloof or unfriendly.

Tucker is a hockey play at Briar and has his own goals for the future that include going home to Texas and investing in a business. But he would like to add Sabrina to his current TO DO list. He is a smart, sweet, protective, and thoughtful gentleman. But he's also hot, charming, and a dirty-talker. He knows what he wants and is not afraid of a challenge.

They've got great chemistry, but trying to keep her coming back for more takes some effort. But before they realize it, they end up with more than they bargained for. They've got some things to figure out and their futures do not seem to mesh. 

Will they ever be able to get on the same page at the same time?

I adored Tucker! He is so laid back, charismatic, and loyal. He is such a good, caring, generous guy and has the patience of a Saint. Sabrina is a little harder to like at first. She's opinionated, prickly, guarded, and has up big walls. But deep down she is vulnerable, scared, and desperate to succeed and have a new life. She is ashamed of her home life and has only ever had law school and success as her future goal. Tucker challenges that with his persistence, and he'll take whatever she'll give him. Each have to give a little at times, but it ends up being more than they ever expected. But there are definite challenges and complications.

I swooned every time Tucker murmured "darlin' " or supported her with hugs or words of encouragement. He knew he couldn't push too hard and had to give her time to learn to trust, get over fears, and admit feelings in her own time. He is the stable, sweet, swoon-worthy hero with a strong determination to win in the end.

But she has to deal with fears, insecurities, guilt, and struggles not to lose her independence or identity. She worries about how his future will be affected by her decisions. She is stubborn and has strong opinions, and is good at trying to avoid or keep him on the outside. But he is just as good at hanging in the background and being patient, or pushing in when he needs to. They are both strong-willed and it is a long road to figuring out their issues, true feelings, and priorities. There is a lot of push and pull, miscommunication, fears, and indecision along the way.

Goals are good and a way to push boundaries and  measure success, but sometimes life throws in surprises that can either block the path or create a detour. Goals can change or there can be more than one in the end. 

This is the story of two people navigating their goals, prioritizing, and forging their own paths. The characters have depth and the plot line has enough drama to keep it interesting. It has humor, passion, sweetness, and emotion. It is not as fast-paced, overtly funny, and antagonistic as some of the previous books, and is more of a slower relationship pace mixed in with some volatile chemistry and serious topics. I will admit at some times it seemed to drag a bit especially with all of the back and forth and difficulty communicating. But I really did like Tucker and Sabrina together, and I enjoyed their story. Tucker is probably the most endearing hero of the series for me, and I warmed up to Sabrina more than I expected to.

All of the old friends are back adding humor and a bit of drama. They all relive some upsetting events from The Score and we see how their lives are affected. Fitzy is featured so I hope we might see his book next. Sabrina's friends, Carin and Hope, also add to the fun. I love how this group has grown together since The Deal and how they are truly friends and a pseudo family. Elle Kennedy has brought this college group at Briar to life and all of the characters are unique, compelling, and likable or at least have the potential for redemption. This can be read as a stand alone, but I would recommend at least reading 
The Score  before this one, but the whole series is worth reading. I was impressed at how she was able to intersect points in this book with the last book and give us the other points of view of the same events and allow us to see differing reactions. 

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

The Deal (Off-Campus #1)
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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.

The Mistake (Off-Campus #2)

He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.

He knows how to score, on and off the ice

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands. 

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over 

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition,girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to befriends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love. 

New covers coming!

Elle Kennedy
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A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal 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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