Feb 19 2015 3:07pm

First Look: Elle Kennedy’s The Deal (February 24, 2015)

The Deal by Elle KennedyElle Kennedy
The Deal (Off-Campus #1)
Elle Kennedy / February 24, 2015 / $4.99 digital

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.

Elle Kennedy's New Adult debut, The Deal, addresses some serious subject matters with heartfelt emotion, drama, romance, and humor. I’m a huge Elle Kennedy fan, and was delighted to hear she was writing New Adult in addition to her adult erotic romantic contemporaries. Fans of her previous work will not be disappointed with this outing. Kennedy's gift is her appealing voice and her ability to make her characters realistic and three dimensional. While we do see some drama and angst, it’s not overwhelming or used as merely a plot device. She digs beneath stereotypical behavior and gives us the real story behind it.

Witty dialogue, dynamic scenes, and a well plotted swoon-worthy romance serve to make this story an unforgettable read. The hero, Garrett Graham, is the MAN on campus. A senior and captain of the hockey team, he’s sexy, funny, smart, and very cocky. There isn’t a man who doesn’t want to be his best friend or a woman who doesn’t want to play “hide the puck” with him. When he finds out he’s failing his Philosophical Ethics class and could lose his eligibility to play hockey, he knows he needs to find a tutor right away. A chance encounter with a fellow student in the class gives Garrett hope, but she doesn’t want anything to do with him. For the first time in his life, a girl he wants doesn’t want him. But Garrett isn’t a quitter. He needs her help and is willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

She’s not getting rid of me that easily. Clearly Hannah Wells hasn’t been around many athletes. We’re a stubborn lot, and the main thing we all have in common? We never, ever give up. God help me, but I’m going to convince this girl to tutor me, even if I die trying.

Hannah Wells is a junior and a music major. Intelligent, pretty, and very talented, she isn’t a popular student on campus, though this isn’t a huge deal for her. A tragedy from her past has left her spending the last five years standing on the sidelines, watching the world go by but choosing not to take that final step to re enter the fray. A crush on a star football player has her at a loss on how to make him notice her until a “I won’t take no for an answer” certain hockey player offers her a trade: if she tutors him and helps him pass, he’ll help her catch her crush.

Normally I pride myself on having a good head on my shoulders and making sound decisions, but agreeing to tutor Garrett? Stupider than stupid. I’m still cursing myself for it as I make the drive over to his house the following evening. When he cornered me at the Sigma party, I had every intention of telling him to fuck off and leave me alone, and then he’d dangled Justin under my nose like a carrot, and I caved like a cheap tent. Great. And now I’m mixing metaphors.

Kennedy builds the romance slowly between Garrett and Hannah, starting with a slightly antagonistic friendship that deepens and grows at a realistic pace. Humorous dialogue, intriguing sexual tension, and some baseline emotional angst to allow for the gradual reveal of the main conflict(s). Kennedy uses the characters' personalities and personal lives to show us that even with their different backgrounds, they are more similar than we first imagined.

Though the developing romance is a heavy aspect of the storyline, Kennedy intertwines it with external plotlines, using them to further elevate the romance and guide it along the path to love.

“Stop grinning,” she snaps. I’m grinning? Didn’t even realize it. She narrows her eyes as she fumbles for her clothes. My T-shirt hangs to her knees, emphasizing just how small she is.

“Don’t you dare tell anyone about this,” she orders.

“Why not? It’ll only boost your street cred.”

“I don’t want to be another one of your puck bunnies, and I don’t want people thinking I am, understood?”

Her use of the term makes me grin harder. I like that she’s picking up the hockey lingo. Maybe one of these days, I’ll even convince her to come to a game. I have a feeling Hannah would be a great heckler, which is always an advantage at home games. Though knowing her, she’d probably heckle us and give the other team the advantage.

Elle Kennedy has certainly surpassed my expectations by writing an exceptional new adult love story that takes readers on heartwarming journey filled with love, laughter, growth, and romance.


Learn more about or order a copy of The Deal by Elle Kennedy, available February 24, 2015:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

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Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. wsl0612
oh yay! This looks really good - Elle Kennedy writing NA, I am so psyched!!
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
My kinda plot setup! Looking forward to checking this out, thanks.
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