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The Deal (Off-Campus #1), by Elle Kennedy

The Deal______________________________________________

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.

“Tiny butterflies of happiness take flight in my stomach and dance around my heart.”

That’s pretty much how I felt when I finished reading this book. It made me think a lot of The Hook-Up by Kristen Callihan. I loved this book so much. It was awesome and I had such a blast reading it.

“Hannah takes a breath. “We studied. We watched TV. I went home late. That’s what happened. Got it?”
I fight back laughter. “As you wish.”
“Did you really just
Princess Bride me?
“Did you really just use
Princess Bride as a verb?”

I loved this story. It was funny, it caught my attention from the first page until the last and it was incredibly sexy. I loved the plot, the characters main and secondary. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much of anything from this book. Just your regular college and sport romance. But in the end, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. And yes it’s a bit cliché but I really enjoyed the hot-hockey-player-falls-for-geeky-girl romance. I mean, admit it, it has its charm.

“Yes, Hannah and I are friends. In fact, she’s the only female friend I’ve ever had. And yes, I want to keep being Hannah’s friend. But…I also want to sleep with her.”

First things first: I’m a complete sucker for fake relationships even though it is the farthest thing from an original plot line. But what can I say, seeing Hannah and Garret slowly falling for each other was so sweet and it brought a silly smile to my face. And a big bonus here is that there’s no insta-love or insta-lust in this story. The banter and sarcasm between those two was just hilarious. I think that’s what got me so into their relationship.

“Just out of curiosity,” she says, “after you wake up in the morning, do you admire yourself in the mirror for one hour or two?”
“Two,” I reply cheerfully.
“Do you high five yourself?”
“Of course not.” I smirk. “I kiss each of my biceps and then point to the ceiling and thank the big man upstairs for creating such a perfect male specimen.”

I loved Garret. Okay, I know I say that about pretty much every male character in the books I read so I guess this comment about Garret doesn’t hold much weight here. But this guy really has a something special to him that makes him…. I don’t know, special (I know, I’m being amazingly eloquent here. I swear I’m trying, but Garret has my brain cells completely fried right now).

“Ha! I knew you were into him! Oh my God! Hold my juice—I think I need to break out in a happy dance! Do you know how to do the running man? If so, can you teach me right now?”

He was funny and swoony and witty and so caring and, even though he was a bit of a manwhore toward the beginning of the book, once he realized he was falling for Hannah, he was so loyal to her. From that point on, he never once looked at another girl and I found that quite refreshing and so sweet. I loved how protective of Hannah he was and how he would just drop everything for her.

“I never expected her. Sometimes people sneak up on you and suddenly you don’t know how you ever lived with them. How you went about your day and hung out with your friends and fucked other people without having this one important person in your life.”

But what I loved most was the fact that throughout the whole book and even when they were together, they were best friends above all. I loved the banter between them and that they were dorky and sarcastic even when they realized their feelings for each other. Every moment they were together was better than the last and I couldn’t help but falling for their relationship and the bond between them.

“For almost two months, Hannah. I went two months without knowing your name.”
“Well, we didn’t know each other.”
“You knew my name.”
I sigh. “Everyone knows your name.”
“How did I go so long without noticing you, damn it? Why did it take seeing a stupid A on your midterm to make me notice?”

I liked Hannah’s character a lot too. I liked that she wasn’t impressed by Garret’s status and that she challenged him so much. I liked how natural things were between the two of them and how in denial of her attraction to him she was. And I really liked that she wasn’t you’re regular seductress when they got involved. She was so good at being a mood-killer it was hilarious.

“You’re not talking.”
“I don’t want to scare you off.”
“Dude, you’re standing there naked in front of me with your dick in your hand. If that doesn’t scare me, I doubt anything you say will.”

Now I know so far this review paint a picture of The Deal as a completely and totally fluffy book, and in some ways, it felt that way sometimes. But both Garret and Hannah have and are still dealing with some serious stuff that happened in their past and even though some will roll their eyes at what they went through, I still though it made them feel more real and human. And the way they talked about what had happened to them and how they dealt with it was, in my opinion, well done.

“Living well and being happy is how we get over the shit in our past.”

But the only thing that put a little damper in my enthusiasm with the book was the teeny tiny bit of micro (useless) drama Hannah created. You know, I actually thought this book was going to be part of those stories that avoid the useless and avoidable drama. To the point where I was constantly counting the percent before I reached the end of the book. And then it happened. Hannah created a mess (not big but a mess nonetheless) that could have been avoided by a tiny little discussion between her and Garret that would have spared them the unnecessary hurt and heartache they went through. But fear not, because this tiny slip on Hannah’s part is quickly solved. It certainly didn’t make me like the story less.

“Other women don’t entertain me as much as she does. I suddenly wonder how I ever made it through life without Hannah Wells’ sarcastic barbs and annoyed grumbles.
“Stop grinning,” she snaps.
I’m grinning? Didn’t even realize it.”

I really enjoyed this book, to the point where I had to buy the paperback version so it could join the other books on my shelves. It’s not often I enjoy a book to the point when I want to re-read it right after finishing it. And I’m really looking forward to Logan’s story after seeing him struggle with his crush in The Deal.


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