The Deal by Elle Kennedy has everything I love in a romance story (even though this is considered New Adult). It has hockey players! It has a college romance which I just happen to love. And it has two characters who have unbelievable chemistry. Add in Elle Kennedy’s talented storytelling skills and this book shoots and scores.
Hannah was raped during high school and unfortunately as it happens, she is blamed for the entire event. Hannah does just move on however. She takes care of herself, she goes to therapy and she tries dating during college. She finally meets a guy she likes but she just cannot force herself to talk to him and ask him out. That part of the dating equation is still difficult. There is someone waiting in the wings (bad hockey joke, I know!) who would be willing to help her as long as she helps him prepare for a big test. Garrett Graham is a hotshot hockey player at their school but unfortunately his playing time is in jeopardy because of a class that was supposed to be a cake-walk but is far from it. These two make a deal to help each other but nowhere in that “contract” does it mention falling in love with each other.
Whenever a new Elle Kennedy book shows up on my Kindle, I am a happy woman. I fell in love with her contemporary military romances (the awesome Out of Uniform series) and when she went in the direction of New Adult, well I had to follow along. I really liked the evolution of Hannah and Garrett’s relationship. They start off as classmates who barely know each other (Hannah knows of him, since he’s a big man on campus kinda guy–don’t let that turn you off though!) to two people who can’t imagine their lives without each other anymore. It has that pure romance angle that I love.
Hannah is a character I really liked. She appreciated her college education big time and knows her parents are doing the best they can to support her, but money is definitely tight. Hannah has some great friends and is in general just a character who felt real to me. She has her reservations and rules when it comes to going to parties but she is not closed off to opportunities with the right man either. Garrett definitely doesn’t seem like that man at first but he’ll get there.
Garrett is pretty much what you’d expect from a college hockey star, at least on the surface. His friendships with his fellow hockey teammates were some of the best scenes in the book. He definitely isn’t immediately in love with Hannah but his transition to that big AHA MOMENT was very well done and felt true to his character. Garrett really hasn’t had any meaningful relationships with college women so Hannah is a big change of pace for him.
There is a lot to love in this book (and hopefully the ensuing series). If you’ve held off this long on the New Adult wave, this would be an excellent book to try first. Elle Kennedy is a natural when it comes to love stories. I’m already anxious for a new book from her!
ARC received from author. Final copy purchased by me.