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

The Deal (Off-Campus Series, Book #1) by Elle Kennedy | Review on

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This is one of those books that was shockingly fantastic. I thought it would be good, but it turned out to be way much more than I anticipated. This book will be told through both the Hannah & Garrett’s POV.

Let’s begin with our wonderfully written female lead, Hannah. She is a music major at Briar University, in her junior year. When she was just 15 years old, she was violated in the most heinous of ways, she was raped. We find this out pretty early in the book, but it’s not until later in the story that we learn the details, so I won’t go into those. She is currently one of the very few students in her Ethics class who happens to not only be passing the class, but acing it. She also has her eye set on a football player by the name of Justin, who has yet to notice her. All of this will lead us to Garrett Graham.

Garrett is the star/captain of the Briar University hockey team whose position on the team is being compromised because of his current grade in his ethics class, the same ethics class that Hannah is breezing through with flying colors. Garrett happens to get a glimpse at her midterm, the same midterm that has put his position on the hockey team in jeopardy and comes to the conclusion that he needs to convince Hannah to tutor him. With his track record with women (which is good) he feels that this will be a piece of cake, however he has never come against the likes of a woman like Hannah.

After multiple attempts in trying to convince Hannah to tutor him and multiple times being told no, all it takes is a little frat party for Garrett to find Hannah’s weakness. Once Garrett realizes that Hannah has her eyes set on Justin, he is able to convince her that if they pretend to date, then she will pop up on Justin’s radar. So reluctantly, Hannah agrees to tutor Garrett for just a week. But one week is all it takes.

Once into the tutoring, the “deal” gets interesting. First, Garrett’s theory that Justin will begin to notice Hannah is pretty spot on. Hannah’s concern is, since the rape, the only way for her to orgasm is by her own hand. This is the reason her last relationship didn’t last. So, she may be tutoring Garrett in the subject of ethics, but she is going to have Garrett “tutor” her by giving her an orgasm, if anything to prove that it can be done by someone other than herself. And it works, he is able to do it (no pun intended) and the great thing about it is, he is very slow in the process of achieving her orgasm. I guess I should go ahead and say that she comes clean with him regarding the rape, which is where the reader learns the details of that night. So when Garrett sets out to help her, he is very respectful of her boundaries. 

In typical bad boy/athlete fashion, Garrett doesn’t do girlfriends or at least he doesn’t think he does. All of that changes with Hannah. The chemistry between Garrett and Hannah is beautiful and the great thing about it is, it starts off as a friendly relationship. The quips between the two of them are super funny, there was just no awkwardness between the two of them at all. So when they figure it out, it’s wonderful to see. Now, unfortunately, their brand new relationship does not come without issues.

So besides the main storyline here with Garrett and Hannah there are several underlying ones. Like I mentioned previously, Hannah is a music major and has a showcase coming up for a chance to win scholarship money. She made the decision to team up and sing a duet with another student and this proves to cause her some stress and problems. Obviously the rape is a central issue in the book, but there is also the effects the rape had on Hannah’s family as well. There is also another storyline with Garrett and his hockey star dad. So with all of this happening, there isn’t a dull moment in this book.

Here is what I love about this book, well, one of the things anyway. The author choosing to make Hannah very strong and very outgoing even after everything that has happened to her. She could have easily had intimacy issues, but doesn’t. She is so determined to not allow something tragic control her future, which sends such a strong message.

The supporting characters in this book really round out the story. The relationships between Garrett and his teammates are not just strong, but they’re family in every sense of the word. Allie is Hannah’s BFF and before Garrett, Allie was the only other person on campus who knew Hannah’s story. And while she never pushes Hannah, she definitely offers her the encouragement she needs sometimes to make decisions that push her out of her comfort zone. Of course, there are many other characters that are going to just add to the wonderfulness that is this book.

The sex scenes here were done really well, especially considering Hannah’s background. They certainly added an element of hotness while adding another layer of chemistry between Hannah and Garrett, really solidifying their “meant to be” status.

This just so happens to be a book I came across and decided to give it a try and am so happy I did. It was wonderfully written, super captivating, and kept me engaged. It was difficult to put down and I love a story that with every chapter is a new layer. The next book in this series is going to give us Logan’s story, which should be just as engaging as Hannah and Garrett’s.

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Elle Kennedy

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