Book Review ~ The Deal, by Elle Kennedy

Cover Photo - The Deal, by author Elle Kennedy

Title:  The Deal

Series: Off-Campus Book #1

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Release date: 2/24/15

Synopsis

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.

My Review 

       

Honest. Refreshing. Funny. Poignant. Relatable.

Once I started thinking of words to describe The Deal, it was hard to stop.  I was drawn in by the premise – ‘jock meets scholar,’ ‘player meets skeptic’ — the synopsis lays out intriguing concepts with lots of salacious promise. I expected a lively storyline with  healthy dose of college humor.  I expected some steamy, explosive sexual encounters. I expected – and dreaded – a painful plot twist and an underlying current of drama.

I wasn’t disappointed.  This book has all that, and more.  It’s a story about erroneous assumptions. It’s a story about being careful what you wish for. It’s a story about the masks we wear and the painful emotional consequences of wearing them.  It’s a story about breaking the mold of expectations and becoming who you are meant to be – and as a result of that, the persons you choose to take with you – or not – on that journey.

Hannah and Garrett are funny, snarky, and smart, but also flawed and more than a little bit damaged – in other words, believable. You want them to realize their potential, separately and together. You pull for them to overcome the inevitable obstacles that crop up along the way. You pull for them to get their heads out of the sand, free themselves of their personal demons, and recognize that what they have – or what they can have – is well worth whatever it takes to have it.

You can’t ask for anything more from a book this effortless to read, but the story is only part of what made it ‘come to life’ for me. The rest was in the writing, particularly in the alternating points of view. I don’t always enjoy that device – it can be overused, or it can make a manuscript choppy and disconnected. But in The Deal, it works because it’s seamless, and it’s fun. You want to see this story through the eyes of both main characters, because you’d be left wondering otherwise.

I highly recommend The Deal, and I hope to be fortunate enough to go along for the ride when Elle releases book #2 of this promising series, The Mistake.

Excerpt

The second I walk into the room, six-foot-two and two hundred pounds of Garrett
Graham block my path.

“Wellsy,” he says cheerfully. “You’re the last person I expected to see here tonight.”

As usual, his presence causes my guard to snap into place. “Yeah? Why’s that?”

He shrugs. “I didn’t think frat parties were your scene.”

“Well, you don’t know me, remember? Maybe I’m partying it up on Greek Row every night.”

“Liar. I would’ve seen you here before.”

He crosses his arms over his chest, a pose that causes his biceps to flex. I glimpse the

bottom of a tattoo peeking out from his sleeve, but I can’t tell what it is, only that it’s black and

looks intricate. Flames maybe?

“So, about this tutoring thing… I thought we should take a moment to set up a schedule.”

Aggravation shoots up my spine. “You don’t give up, do you?”

“Never.”

“Then you need to start, because I’m not tutoring you.” I’m distracted now. Justin has
reentered the room, his long, lithe body moving through the crowd as he makes his way to the
pool table. He’s halfway there when a pretty brunette intercepts him. To my dismay, he stops to
talk to her.

“Come on, Wellsy, help a guy out,” Garrett begs.

Justin laughs at something the girl says. Same way he was laughing with me a minute
ago. And when she touches his arm and leans in close, he doesn’t back away.

“Look, if you don’t want to commit to the whole semester, at least help me pass this
midterm. I’ll owe you one.”

I’m no longer paying Garrett even a lick of attention. Justin leans in to whisper in the
girl’s ear. She giggles, her cheeks turn a rosy shade of pink, and my heart plummets to the pit of
my stomach.

I was so sure we’d been, I don’t know, connecting, but now he’s flirting with someone
else?

“You’re not even listening to me,” Garrett accuses. “Who are you looking at, anyway?”

I tear my eyes off Justin and the brunette, but not fast enough.Garrett grins when he notices where my gaze was.

“Which one?” he demands.

“Which one what?”

He cocks his head at Justin, then shifts it five feet to the right, where I notice Jimmy
talking to one of his frat brothers. “Paulson or Kohl—which one do you want to bone?”

“Bone?” He has my attention again. “Ugh. Who says stuff like that?”

“Fine, should I rephrase? Which one do you want to fuck or screw or drill or make love
to, if that’s your thing.”

I set my jaw. This guy is such an asshole.

When I don’t answer, he answers for me. “Kohl,” he decides. “I saw you dancing with
Paulson earlier and you definitely weren’t making googly eyes at him.”

I don’t confirm or deny it. Instead I take a step away. “Have a good night, Garrett.”

“I hate to break it to you, but it ain’t gonna happen, Wellsy. You’re not his type.”

Anger and embarrassment flood my belly. Wow. Had he really just said that?

“Thanks for the tip,” I say coolly. “Now if you’ll excuse me…”

He tries reaching for my arm but I bulldoze past him and leave him in my proverbial dust.
I do a quick search of the room for Allie, halting in my tracks when I spot her making out with
Sean on the couch. I don’t want to interrupt them, so I spin on my heel and head toward the front
door instead.

My fingers are shaky as I text Allie to let her know I’m taking off. Garrett’s blunt
assertion—you’re not his type—echoes in my mind like a depressing mantra. Truth is, it’s exactly what I needed to hear. So what if Justin spoke to me in the hallway? Obviously it meant nothing, because in the next breath he turned around and flirted with someone else. It’s time for me to face reality. It’s not going to happen with me and Justin, no matter how badly I want it to. It was stupid of me to come here tonight.

Meet the Author Here:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads Author Page

Reviewer Comments…

“Hannah and Garrett are funny, relatable, and their chemistry on the page is palpable enough to linger off of it. The Deal reminds me of all the reasons I love romance. Two capable, yet flawed people realize that living without the other is worse than anything else life can throw at them. I highly recommend it to fans of Easy by Tammara Webber or The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan. It’ll make you laugh, maybe even tear up, but most of all leave you with that warm good book feeling at the end.” 
– Jane Litte, Dear Author

Romance. The most adorable couple. The banter – omg the banter. The romance. The friends. The flirtation. The smiles it gave me. 

-Mandi, SmexyBooks

Elle Kennedy engages your senses from the very first sentence! Both deliciously steamy and heart-achingly tender, the Deal is an absolute winner!

​ NYT Best Selling author Katy Evans

Elle has masterfully captured the feelings, the romance and the unbridled sexiness of the New Adult genre with this book! You will swoon for Garrett! 

Alice Clayton, NYT Best Selling author of WALLBANGER

Add The Deal to Goodreads!

Pre-Order Links:   Amazon   ~  Kobo

 

 

Cover Reveal: The Deal, by Elle Kennedy

Cover Photo - The Deal, by author Elle Kennedy

Title:  The Deal

Series: Off-Campus Book #1

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Release date: 2/24/15

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

The second I walk into the room, six-foot-two and two hundred pounds of Garrett
Graham block my path.

“Wellsy,” he says cheerfully. “You’re the last person I expected to see here tonight.”

As usual, his presence causes my guard to snap into place. “Yeah? Why’s that?”

He shrugs. “I didn’t think frat parties were your scene.”

“Well, you don’t know me, remember? Maybe I’m partying it up on Greek Row every night.”

“Liar. I would’ve seen you here before.”

He crosses his arms over his chest, a pose that causes his biceps to flex. I glimpse the

bottom of a tattoo peeking out from his sleeve, but I can’t tell what it is, only that it’s black and

looks intricate. Flames maybe?

“So, about this tutoring thing… I thought we should take a moment to set up a schedule.”

Aggravation shoots up my spine. “You don’t give up, do you?”

“Never.”

“Then you need to start, because I’m not tutoring you.” I’m distracted now. Justin has
reentered the room, his long, lithe body moving through the crowd as he makes his way to the
pool table. He’s halfway there when a pretty brunette intercepts him. To my dismay, he stops to
talk to her.

“Come on, Wellsy, help a guy out,” Garrett begs.

Justin laughs at something the girl says. Same way he was laughing with me a minute
ago. And when she touches his arm and leans in close, he doesn’t back away.

“Look, if you don’t want to commit to the whole semester, at least help me pass this
midterm. I’ll owe you one.”

I’m no longer paying Garrett even a lick of attention. Justin leans in to whisper in the
girl’s ear. She giggles, her cheeks turn a rosy shade of pink, and my heart plummets to the pit of
my stomach.

I was so sure we’d been, I don’t know, connecting, but now he’s flirting with someone
else?

“You’re not even listening to me,” Garrett accuses. “Who are you looking at, anyway?”

I tear my eyes off Justin and the brunette, but not fast enough.Garrett grins when he notices where my gaze was.

“Which one?” he demands.

“Which one what?”

He cocks his head at Justin, then shifts it five feet to the right, where I notice Jimmy
talking to one of his frat brothers. “Paulson or Kohl—which one do you want to bone?”

“Bone?” He has my attention again. “Ugh. Who says stuff like that?”

“Fine, should I rephrase? Which one do you want to fuck or screw or drill or make love
to, if that’s your thing.”

I set my jaw. This guy is such an asshole.

When I don’t answer, he answers for me. “Kohl,” he decides. “I saw you dancing with
Paulson earlier and you definitely weren’t making googly eyes at him.”

I don’t confirm or deny it. Instead I take a step away. “Have a good night, Garrett.”

“I hate to break it to you, but it ain’t gonna happen, Wellsy. You’re not his type.”

Anger and embarrassment flood my belly. Wow. Had he really just said that?

“Thanks for the tip,” I say coolly. “Now if you’ll excuse me…”

He tries reaching for my arm but I bulldoze past him and leave him in my proverbial dust.
I do a quick search of the room for Allie, halting in my tracks when I spot her making out with
Sean on the couch. I don’t want to interrupt them, so I spin on my heel and head toward the front
door instead.

My fingers are shaky as I text Allie to let her know I’m taking off. Garrett’s blunt
assertion—you’re not his type—echoes in my mind like a depressing mantra. Truth is, it’s exactly what I needed to hear. So what if Justin spoke to me in the hallway? Obviously it meant nothing, because in the next breath he turned around and flirted with someone else. It’s time for me to face reality. It’s not going to happen with me and Justin, no matter how badly I want it to. It was stupid of me to come here tonight.

Meet the Author Here:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads Author Page

Reviewer Comments…

“Hannah and Garrett are funny, relatable, and their chemistry on the page is palpable enough to linger off of it. The Deal reminds me of all the reasons I love romance. Two capable, yet flawed people realize that living without the other is worse than anything else life can throw at them. I highly recommend it to fans of Easy by Tammara Webber or The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan. It’ll make you laugh, maybe even tear up, but most of all leave you with that warm good book feeling at the end.” 
– Jane Litte, Dear Author

Romance. The most adorable couple. The banter – omg the banter. The romance. The friends. The flirtation. The smiles it gave me. 

-Mandi, SmexyBooks

Elle Kennedy engages your senses from the very first sentence! Both deliciously steamy and heart-achingly tender, the Deal is an absolute winner!

​ NYT Best Selling author Katy Evans

Elle has masterfully captured the feelings, the romance and the unbridled sexiness of the New Adult genre with this book! You will swoon for Garrett! 

Alice Clayton, NYT Best Selling author of WALLBANGER

Add The Deal to Goodreads!

Pre-Order Links:   Amazon   ~  Kobo