by Ella Kennedy
Book 1 in the Off-Campus Series
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.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy New Adult Sweet & HOT
TRIGGER WARNING: Storyline involves memories and trauma from rape.
The Deal by Elle Kennedy is the first book in her Off-Campus series, and centers around Hannah Wells, a twenty year old music major, and Garrett Graham, history major and Captain of the Briar's hockey team. When Hannah finds herself finally lusting after someone after a traumatic past, she finds it hard to come out of her shell around him. Enter Graham, who is having trouble in a class essential to keeping his GPA up, and to continue playing hockey. Although Hannah doesn't make it easy, when Graham offers to take her on a date in an effort to get her noticed by her crush, she finds she is unable to refuse. But as Graham and Hannah spend time together, more than tutoring starts occurring. When their building attraction to one another leads to them having the best night of their lives, Graham knows he wants Hannah. He just has to convince her that he is it for her. The Deal has been on my TBR for a while now, and I have seen it pitched on #booktok a few times. And because the series will fulfill more than one challenge, I decided to give it a whirl. And I am SO happy I did. Now, to be frank, the concept is not unique in this story. This is the third New Adult romance I have read in the past year that features a MC that has been raped. That being said - it doesn't lose points on originality. Why? Because while Hannah was raped, and it still affects her life in some ways - she is also healing. She got help. It's not the main obstacle between this couple, like it is in other books I have read, and I appreciate that. Instead, it's interwoven into his secret traumatic past, creating an obstacle that doesn't just become what it is because of one character, but multiple. For a book that I deemed predictable going in, it was delightfully unpredictable. On top of that, the story is fast paced and fun, and the characters are great! Seriously, the chemistry and banter between Hannah and Graham is top notch, and is one of the best elements of the book. And if you are looking for steam - this book has it. Elle Kennedy uses proper terms more often than not, which is SO REFRESHING in romance, don't you think? If you are looking for a sexy-yet-sweet romance, with an interesting plot, and great chemistry and banter, The Deal is for you. Now excuse me while I got start the next book in the series.
Garrett sending a pic of his chest to Hannah hoping to entice her
Hannah singing, and Garrett falling in love with her voice
The morning chub freak out
Hannah being dramatic entering a room after walking in on Garrett and a puck bunny
Hannah proving she is a good kisser
Garrett helping Hannah let loose by watching her drinks for her
Hannah telling Garrett the truth about the rape, and asking him for help
Them watching one another ... hot!
Hannah crying from happiness when Garrett gives her her first orgasm with a man
Their first time
Hannah going to Garrett's father's house with him because he couldn't bring himself to go alone
Car sex and One Direction
Hannah's relationship with her parents
THE LOCKER ROOM SMACK DOWN
Tucker: "Jeez. You've got some major trust issues, G."
Garrett: "Says the asshole who left a live raccoon in my bedroom on the first day of the semester."
Tucker: "Aw, come on, Bandit was fucking adorable. He was your welcome back to school gift."
I flip up my middle finger
Garrett: "Yeah, well, your gift was a bitch to get rid of."
My gaze darts to the window. Yup, I'm on the second floor and actually contemplating jumping out the frickin' window. That's how badly I want to avoid this convo.
Hannah: Well, nice chatting with u. Good luck on the makeup exam.
When several seconds tick by and Garrett doesn't respond, I give myself a mental pat on the back for successfully getting rid of him.
I'm about to walk out the door when a picture message meows out of my phone. Against my better judgement, I click to download it, and a moment later, a bare chest fills my screen. Yep. I'm talking smooth tanned skin, sculpted pecs, and the tightest six-pack I've ever seen.
I can't help but snort out loud.
Hannah: FFS. Did u just send me a pic of your chest?
Garrett: Yup. Did it work?
Hannah: In icking me out? Yes. Success!
Garrett: In changing your mind. I'm trying to butter u up here.
Hannah: Ew. Go butter up someone else. PS - I'm posting that pic on my-bri.
Garrett: Go for it. Lots of chicks will be happy to have it in their spank banks.
Hannah: Lose this number, dude. I mean it.
Garrett: "Hey there, Hannah. Fancy meeting you here."
Hannah: "Yeah, fancy. What can I get you?"
Garrett: "A tutor."
Hannah: "Sorry, that's not on the menu. We serve really good pecan pie, though."
Hannah: "Just out of curiosity, after you wake up in the morning, do you admire yourself in the mirror for one hour or two?"
Hannah: "Do you high five yourself?"
Garrett: "Of course not. 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."
Hannah: "To quote your annoying self, are you ready to do this shit?"
Sighing, I bring up the touch keyboard and start typing. Garrett protests and tries to seize the phone from my hand, but he's too late. I've already pressed send.
Hannah: "There. All taken care of."
Garrett: "I swear to God, Wellsy, if you ..."
He trails off as he reads the message
This is Garrett's tutor. You're annoying me. We're done in thirty minutes. I'm confident you can keep your pants zipped until then.
Hannah: "Just have to pee first."
Hannah: "People pee, Garrett. Deal with it."
Garrett: "What do you like on your pizza?"
Hannah: "Um ... mushrooms. And onions. And green peppers."
Garrett: "So pretty much all the boring toppings? We're getting bacon and sausage and extra cheese."
Hannah: "Why bother asking me what I like if you're not going to order any of it?"
Garrett: "Because I was hoping you'd have better taste than that."
Hannah: "Is this the part where I compliment you on your super hot bod?"
Garrett: "You think I'm super hot? Thanks, baby."
Hannah: "From what I hear, you only date airheads."
I smirk right back,
Garrett: "You're wrong."
Hannah: "Am I?"
Garrett: Yup. I only sleep with airheads. I don't date."
Hannah: "I'm single because I haven't found anyone I connect with, not because I'm anti-relationship. It's nice having someone to spend time with. You know, talking, cuddling, all that mushy stuff. Don't you want that?"
Garrett: "Eventually. But not right now. If I ever feel the need to talk to someone, I've got you."
Hannah: "So your airheads get the sex, and I'm the one who has to listen to you babble? I feel like I'm getting the short end of that deal."
I wiggle my eyebrows
Garrett: "Aw, you want the sex too Wellsy? I'm happy to give it to you."
Garrett: "As you wish."
Hannah: "Did you really just Princess Bride me?"
Garrett: "Did you really just use Princess Bride as a verb?"
Garrett: "Guess I'm not the dumb jock you thought I was, huh?"
Hannah: "I never thought you were dumb. I thought you were a jackass."
Garrett: "Thought? Does that mean you've seen the error of your ways?"
Hannah: "Naah, you're still a jackass. But at least you're a smart one."
Hannah: "Sometimes I think I'd rather be a songwriter. I enjoy composing music, so I wouldn't mind working behind the scenes and letting someone else do the whole star thing. If that doesn't work out, I could go into teaching. And if that fails, I could always try my hand at stripping."
I sweep my gaze up and down her body, making a big show out of licking my lips.
Garrett: "Well, you've definitely got the tits for it."
She rolls her eyes.
Garrett: "Hey, I'm just stating a fact."
Hannah: "I don't have to prove a damn thing. I happen to be a fantastic kisser. Sadly, you will never get to find out."
Garrett: "Never say never."
he answers in a singsong voice
Hannah: "Thanks for that, Justin Bieber. But yeah, not going to happen, dude."
Garrett: "I get it. You're intimidated by my potent masculinity. Chin up, it happens all the time. Fear is a fact of life. Don't let it get you down, Wellsy. Everyone experiences it."
He leans back on his elbows like a bigshot.
Garrett: "Tell you what, I'll give you a free pass. If you're too scared to kiss me, I won't make you."
Hannah: "Scared? I'm not scared, dumbass. I just don't want to."
Another sigh rolls out of his chest.
Garrett: "Then I guess we're back to self-confidence issues. Don't worry, there are a lot of bad kissers in this world, sweetheart. I'm sure with practice and perseverance, you'll one day be able to -"
Hannah: "Fine. Let's do it."
Garrett: "I'm totally digging the jeans and boots, but the shirt has gotta go."
Hannah: "What's wrong with it?"
Garrett: "It's too baggy. I thought we talked about how you need to show off your stripper tits."
A strangled cough comes from behind him.
Allie: "Stripper tits?"
Hannah: "Ignore him. He's a chauvinist."
Garrett: "No, I'm a guy."
Garrett: "Thanks for the save. She was either about to burst into tears, or kick me in the balls."
Hannah: "I'm sure the latter would've been well-deserved. Let me guess - you broke her heart."
Garrett: "No. But it turns out our amicable parting wasn't as amicable as I thought it was."
Hannah: "Ah. I see."
I narrow my eyes
Garrett: "So my favorite color is black, huh? What makes you think that?"
Hannah: "Because every frickin' shirt you own is black."
Garrett: "Maybe that's because black goes with everything - did you ever think about that? Doesn't mean it's my favorite color."
Hannah: "Fine, I'll bite. What's your favorite color then?"
I let out a sigh.
Garrett: "It's black."
She's gone from Disney Channel Miley Cyrus to Full-on Twerk Mode Miley, and it's officially time for me to put a stop to it before she moves straight to Let's Make a Sex Tape Miley. Wait - has Miley every made a sex tape? Fuck, who am I kidding? Of course she has.
Garrett: "Okay, here's the deal. I believe you're attracted to me. I mean - one, who isn't? And two, you moan like crazy whenever my tongue's in your mouth."
Hannah: "I do not."
Garrett: "Agree to disagree."
Hannah: "I'm broken, and I wanted you to fix me."
Hannah: "So ... how do you want to do this? Should I take my clothes off? Don't you dare ask me to do a striptease, because I'm nervous enough as it is and there's no way I can dance even remotely sexy right now."
Garrett bursts out laughing.
Garrett: "You have no idea how to set a mood, do you, Wellsy?"
The second I encounter his erection, my jaw drops.
Hannah: "Oh my God, are you kidding me?"
He looked startled
Garrett: "What's wrong?"
Hannah: "Are you taking human growth hormones' or something?"
I snatch my hand back, fighting another rush of nervousness.
Hannah: "There's no way that huge man monster is fitting inside me!"
Garrett's head abruptly drops in the crook of his arm as a shudder racks his body. At first I think he's pissed off. Or maybe even crying. It takes several seconds before I realize what's happening. He's laughing.
Scratch that - he's in hysterics.
His broad back quakes with laughter, causing the mattress to vibrate beneath us. When he finally speaks, his voice is wheezy and broken by loud guffaws.
Garrett: "Man monster?"
Hannah: "Stop laughing at me. I'm serious. I might have big boobs and a grabbable ass, but have you seen my hips? Tiny and narrow! Which stands to reason that my lady canal -"
A howl rips out of his mouth.
Garrett: "Lady canal?"
Hannah: " - is narrow too. You're going to rip me in half."
He raises his head and there are honest-to-God tears in his eyes.
Garrett: "I think that's the nicest thing a girl has ever said to me."
I know in that moment that I'm in trouble.
I agreed to help her not just because I'm her friend, but because I'm a man. And when a woman asks you to have sex with her and give her an orgasm, you don't think about it. You say hell yes.
Well, she got the orgasm. She did. And I know I'm going to get the sex. I will.
But right now, all I want is for this girl to smile at me again.
Allie: "BFFs are supposed to tell each other everything. I mean, you know everything about my sex life. You know about the time Sean and I tried anal, and you know how big Sean's dick is -"
Hannah: "Which is above and beyond TMI. I love you to death, but I never, ever wanted to know about the butt sex, and I definitely could've lived without you bringing out a ruler and demonstrating the size of your boyfriend's penis!"
Garrett: "As much as I appreciate the enthusiasm, I'm gonna have to slow you down, Wellsy."
Hannah: "But I don't want to go slow."
Garrett: "Tough cookies."
Hannah: "Tough cookies? What are you, my grandmother?"
Garrett: "Does she say tough cookies?"
Hannah: "Well, no. Nana swears like a sailor, actually. Last Christmas she dropped a motherfucker bomb at the dinner table, and my dad nearly choked on his turkey."
Garrett barks out a laugh
Garrett: "I think I like Nana."
Hannah: "She's very sweet."
Garrett: "Uh-huh. Sounds like it."
Hannah: "If you stop touching me, I'll punch you."
Garrett: "Naah, you'll just break your hands if you do that. And I happen to like your hands."
With a wicked smile, he takes my right hand and places it directly over his crotch.
The hard bulge beneath my palm is so tempted I can't help but stroke it. Garrett's features stretch tight. A second later, he quickly removes my hand.
Garrett: "Oh hell. Bad idea. I'm not ready for this to end yet."
Hannah: "Aw, is someone quick on the trigger?"
Garrett: "Shut it, woman. I can go all night long."
Garrett: "Say it."
Hannah: "Say what?"
Garrett: "Say Garrett Graham, you are a sex god. You have achieved what no other man ever has. You -"
I punch him in the shoulder
Hannah: "Oh my God, you're such a jerk. I will never, ever say those words."
Garrett: "Sure you will. Once I'm through with you, you'll be shouting those words out from the rooftops."
Hannah: "You know what I think?"
Garrett: "Women aren't supposed to think, Wellsy. That's why your brains are small. Science proves it."
I slug him again, and a howl of laughter flies out of his mouth.
Garrett: "Jeez. I'm kidding. You know I don't actually believe that. I worship at the shrine of womanhood. Okay, tell me what you think."
Hannah: "I think it's time I shut you up."
Garrett: "Yeah? How do you plan on -"
He kisses when I cup his package and give it a hearty squeeze.
Garrett: "You're evil."
Hannah: "And you're a cocky jerk, so I guess we both just have to deal."
Garrett: "You don't have to ... do that ... if you don't want to."
Hannah: "Huh. Then it's a good thing I want to, isn't it?"
Garrett: "Some girls don't like to."
Hannah: "Some girls are idiots."
Garrett: "So why'd you flake out on the party?"
Hannah: "I wasn't in the mood. I kept picturing you crying here alone and pity won out."
Garrett: "I'm not crying, jackass."
I point to the boring-ass milk documentary that's flashing on the TV screen.
Garrett: "I'm learning about pasteurization."
Hannah: "You guys pay money to subscribe to a gazillion channels and this is what you choose to watch?"
Garrett: "Well, I flipped by it and saw a bunch of cow udders, and, well, you know, it turned me on, so -"
I burst out laughing.
Garrett: "Oh fuck. Tell me about your grandmother again."
His voice comes out strained.
Garrett: "Yes, now, because I don't know if anyone has ever told you this before, but you are tighter than a - okay, nope, not gonna think about how tight you are. What's Nana's name?"
I make a valiant effort not to laugh.
His breathing grows audibly labored.
Garrett: "Where does she live?"
Hannah: "Florida. Retirement home."
Garrett releases a long, ragged breath.
Garrett: "Okay. I'm good. Permission to proceed."
Hannah: "Thank. God."
Garrett: "We don't argue. We bicker."
Hannah: "It's the same thing."
He rolls his eyes
Garrett: "No, it's not. Bickering is fun and good-natured. Arguing is -"
Hannah: "Oh my God, we're arguing about the way we argue!"
I reach the locker room door as one of t he players walks out of it.
Hannah: "Is Garrett in there?"
He looks startled to see me.
Guy: "Yeah, but -"
I bulldoze past him and grab the door handle.
The guy protests from behind.
Guy: "I don't think you should go in th - "
I burst into the locker room and -
Horror slams into me as I register what I'm seeing. Oh God. I've stumbled onto a penis convention. Big penises and small penises and fat penises and penis-shaped penises. It doesn't matter which direction I move my head because everywhere I look I see penises.
Hannah: "Don't you dare apologize. You have nothing to be sorry about. I'm the one who tried to be all heroic and broke up with you for your own good."
Hannah: "God, I can't even be selfless without screwing it up."
Garrett: "It's okay. At least your hot. And don't get me started on your stripper tits."
Garrett: "Why is your ex-crush in my living room?"
Hannah: "Because he's my friend, and I invited him. Deal with it."
Garrett: "You don't think it's kind of a dick move to invite him? I mean, the football team did shit all this season, and now he has to come celebrate with the hockey crows for making it to the semi-finals? And he has to be around the perfect specimen of manhood who stole you away? You're a terrible person."
Birdie: "Hey, I already told you I'm against this party. It's bad luck to celebrate before you've even won."
Garrett: "Naah, we've got this in the bag, man."
Garrett grins and leans in to smack a kiss on my cheek.
Garrett: "Besides, I've already won the most important prize of all."
I'm pretty sure my cheeks turn into a pair of tomatoes.
Natalie groans good-naturedly, but Birdie, to my surprise, just nods in approval.
Garrett: "See. I'm allowed to say stuff like that to Birdie because I know he won't make fun of me."
Hannah: "Well, he should, because that line was cheesy as hell."
Garrett: "Did you like the little gun-finger I flashed you after that goal? All for you, baby."
Hannah: "Sorry to burst your bubble, but you were actually pointing at the old guy a few seats over. He totally freaked out and started shouting to everyone that you scored that goal for him, and then I heard him ask his wife if maybe you knew that he was just diagnosed with diabetes, so I didn't have the heart to tell him who the goal was really for."
Check out the rest of the Off-Campus series below