by Elle Kennedy
Book 2 in the Briar U series
Everyone says I’m a bad girl.
They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.
And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.
I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.
For every fake date…he wants a real one.
Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.
That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy New Adult Sweet & HOT
The Risk is the second book in Elle Kennedy's spin off series Briar U, and centers around Coach Jenson's daughter, Brenna, and Jake, the star player of Briar U's main competition this hockey season. Brenna is feisty, and does what she wants. There is a line she won't cross though - she won't hook up with the enemy. Jake Connelly is dominating college hockey, which makes him just that - her enemy. When Brenna's interview goes bad, she namedrops Jake - and it works. Problem is, now she needs him to play along, in hopes she gets the internship. Jake is all too willing to play, with one stipulation. For every fake date, he wants a real one. And with every encounter, it gets harder and harder for her to resist him.
Okay, this is more like it. This brought me back to the Off-Campus series. I love the whole enemies to lovers, forbidden romance angle, and this book is full of it. The shining star of this book is the characters. Brenna is a fun read, as she is feisty and badass, and doesn't take shit. She owns the room. And Jake is also a fun read. A bit more serious than the other players, but still entertaining and best of all - sweet. It was a bit predictable. I figured out pretty quickly what had happened in Brenna's past that caused a divide between her and her father, but it doesn't subtract from the story. If anything, along with Brenna's relationship with Jake, I was just as invested in Brenna's relationship with her dad.
Honestly, if you liked the other books in Off-Campus and The Chase, you will also enjoy this one. It has the popular enemies to lovers and forbidden love tropes, has two bad ass characters falling for each other, and has enough spice in it to make you feel all the things. I hope you enjoyed it as much as me.
Brenna finding Jake and his buddies at his favorite bar, and playing with his teammate
Rupi wanting an introduction to Mike Hollis, and the girls giving her his number as a prank
Brenna telling Jake about telling her interviewer that she was dating Jake
Summer telling Brenna about Rupi forcing Mike to go on a date with her - picking out his outfit and everything
Jake and Brenna kissing at the bar
Brooks obsession with his bubble butt
Jake and Brenna having sex for the first time.
Brenna telling Jake the truth about her past
Jake lending Brenna his good luck charm before she goes to talk to her dad
Brenna's heart to heart with her dad
Brenna getting Hollis and Rupi back together
Fitz and Hollis going to talk to Jake
Brenna and Jake getting back together
Jake: "Stop fucking around with McCarthy. Tell him you're not interested and don't see him again. The end." I mock-pout Brenna: "Oh, Daddy. You're so strict." Jake: "I'm not your daddy." His lips curve again. Jake: "Though I could be if you want." Brenna: "Oh gross. I'm not calling you 'Daddy' in bed."
Jake: "Did you come here to yell at me, Hottie? Because that's not going to bring poor, sweet McCarthy back." I'm goading her. Mostly because it's fun to see her dark eyes smolder with anger, like two hot coals burning in a fire pit. Brenna: "You're right. I'm not going to get McCarthy back. So I guess it's time to find a replacement." Her fingertips reach the hand Coby placed on her hip. She laces their fingers together, and I frown when I glimpse her thumb rubbing the inside of his palm. I think he might actually groan. The music muffles the sound, but his tortured expression tells me he's not unaffected. I glower at him. Jake: "Focus, man. She's just playing a game." Brenna: "It's not a game. I think your boy here is hot. What's your name?" Coby: "Coby." Oh fuck. We're in trouble. He's looking at her as if she's already naked. Hell, I think everyone in the bar is. Brenna: "I'm Brenna. It's so nice to meet you." Coby: "So nice." Brenna grins at me, and then unlaces their fingers and slides her palm up Coby's beefy chest. She presses it to the Harvard logo that's decaled onto his gray sweatshirt, her palm flattening over his left pec. Brenna: "Your heart's beating so fast. Is everything okay?" Coby: "Everything's just fine." He's completely under her spell. From beneath heavy eyelids, he admires the curves of her body. Then he shifts in his chair, probably because he's sporting a massive hard-on. Jake: "Focus on me, Chilton. Don't let her lure you to the dark side." Brenna: "Don't listen to him, Coby. I mean, do you really want Connelly to run your life? He's such a buzzkill. Who likes a buzzkill, right?" She snuggles closer to him. Brenna: "So what do you like to do other than play hockey? Do you like to dance?" Coby: "Love it." His gaze is glued to her chest. I know for a fact he's got zero moves. Jake: "Coby, don't fall for this. She's not interested." They both ignore me. Brenna: "We should go dancing sometime. We'll have so. Much. Fun." She strokes his pec before gliding her hand up to his bearded chin. She strokes that, too. Brenna: "I'd bet having our bodies so close like that would make your heart beat even faster."
I scowl at Coby Jake: "She's teasing you. This is payback for my perceived crimes against her." Brenna smirks defiantly. Brenna: "Actually, I happen to find Coby incredibly appealing."
Jake: "I'm sure you do." To the dumbass whose lap she's on, I offer more encouragement.
Jake: "You can do this, man. Crawl out of the darkness." When he finally speaks, the words are strangled, as if they're being pried out of his mouth by force. Coby: "Sorry, Jake. I think I love her." She laughs, easily sliding off his lap.
I'm honestly starting to question evolution. We went from cavemen, to homo sapiens, to this incredible society of great minds - Alexander Graham Bell inventing telephones, Steve Jobs inventing ... everything. And now we're devolving. We've travelled back to cavemen, only nowadays we call them fuckboys. Evolution has come full circle and that's a real bummer.
She stops at the bar and hands the waiter a twenty-dollar bill. Brenna: "That should cover his beer, too." She glances over her shoulder. Brenna: "Say thank you to your sugar mama, Jakey." Jake: "Thank you. Daddy loves it when you take care of him." Brenna sighs. Brenna: "I hate you."
Jake: "Dropped my name, eh?" Brenna: "Shut up. It made me sick doing it." Laughter spills out. THis chick is really something. I'm so used to girls throwing themselves at me that it's almost refreshing when one does the opposite. Brenna: "I did more than drop a name." Jake: "Okay. What'd you tell him?" She mumbles something under her breath Jake: "What's that?" Brenna: "I told him you were my boyfriend." I stare at her for a second. When I realize she's dead serious, I'm hit with another wave of laughter. Jake: "You fucking didn't." Brenna: "I did. And you promised not to gloat." Jake: "Sorry. Promise broken." I can't stop chuckling. Jake: "This is too fucking good. That was so much more than a name drop. It was like ... like Human Centipede level of kiss-ass." I wipe tears from the corner of my eye
Brenna: "Are you joking? You want to go out with me?" Jake: "I know, right? It caught me by surprise, too."
Jake: "You look weird." Brenna: "Weird how?" Jake: "You're wearing lip gloss. And it's pink." Brenna: "So?" Jake: "So I don't like it." Brenna: "You don't? Oh no! Let me run home and choose a makeup palette that's more to your liking!"
Jake: "Want to make out some more before we go?" Jake's tone is boyishly hopeful. Brenna: "Nope." His gaze turns devilish Jake: "How about a blowjob?" Brenna: "Aw, I appreciate the offer, but I don't have a penis."
I pill her
Brenna: "What are you babbling about now?"
Hollis: "Summer told me what you assholes did to me."
I give him a blank look
Hollis: "My stalker? I know you encouraged it."
Summer: "She's not stalking you."
Hollis: "Are you serious? She's called me every single day sine we went out to dinner."
Summer: "You went out on Thursday. That was literally two days age. Which means she's called you twice. Chill the eff out."
Hollis: "Twice? I fucking wish! She calls at least three times a day."
Summer: "Yeah, and you pick up every time, and talk to her for an hour, sometimes more."
Hollis: "I talk?"
He rakes his hands through his hair.
Hollis: "She talks! That chick doesn't shut up."
Brenna: "I assume we're talking about Rupi?"
Hollis: "Of course we're talking about Rupi! She's an insane person, you realize that, right? Are you sure she didn't escape from a mental institution in Bali?"
Hollis: "She said that's where her mom is from. She's some movie star in Bali."
Summer: "A Bollywood star. That means India, not Bali."
He thinks it over, then shakes his head.
Hollis: "Nope, that doesn't make it better. She's still nuts."
Brenna: "How did the dinner go?"
He twists around to glare at me.
I blink politely.
Brenna: "Not well?"
His face is cloudy
Hollis: "She talked the entire time, and she wouldn't even let me kiss her goodnight."
Fitz: "Wait, you're saying you wanted to kiss her goodnight?"
Hollis: "That's exactly what I'm saying, Colin. Just because she's crazy doesn't mean I don't want to make out with her."
Brenna: "Classy. You're a real romantic at heart."
He waggles his eyebrows
Hollis: "Hey, the Hollis store is still open. Pop in whenever you want, Jensen."
Brenna: "Pass. Anyway, so no kiss, huh?"
He looks outraged.
Hollis: "She doesn't kiss on the first date. She's making me wait! Until date three."
Fitz doubles over in laughter.
Fitz: "Hold on a sec. You're going out with her again?"
Brenna: "Two more times?"
Hollis: "I don't think I have a choice."
Hollis: "Apparently I'm taking her to a movie on Tuesday."
Fitz: "Nice. It's half-price on Tuesdays. You should go see the new Marvel movie."
Hollis: "I don't want to see the new Marvel movie, you jackass. I don't want to go out with this girl. She's too young and too annoying and -"
He startles, then sticks his hand in the pocket of his sweatpants. He produces his phone and blanches at the screen.
Hollis: "Oh my God, it's her."
Brenna: "You saved her in your phone?"
Hollis: "She did. She grabbed my phone in the middle of dinner and created a contact for herself. She saved it as Rupi with the heart-eyes emoji. She's in my phone with heart-eyes, for fuck's sake."
I roll onto my side and quake with silent laughter.
At the desk, Fitz is shaking his head in amusement.
Fitz: "You know you can change that, right?"
Hollis is too busy answered the call. He barely gets out a 'hello' before excited chatter pours out of his phone.
Fitz and I exchange a grin. I have no idea what Rupi's saying, but she's talking a mile a minute, and the horrified expression on Hollis's face is priceless. This is the most entertainment I've had in years.
Jake: "So are we allowed to talk hockey?"
Brenna: "What about it?"
she asks suspiciously.
Jake: "Well, we're playing each other soon. It's a big game."
Brenna: "It's a big game."
Jake: 'Which raises the question - who will you be rooting for when you're sitting in those stands? Your school or our new boyfriend?"
I flash a cheeky smile over my shoulder.
It's her turn to double over in laughter.
Brenna: "You're not my boyfriend."
Jake: "That's not what you told Mulder ..."
Brenna: "Mulder is a prick, and I don't feel bad lying to him. Bow turn around and bowl, Jakey. I want to check out your ass."
Brenna: "We did other stuff. There's always other stuff."
Jake: "Is there?"
Brenna: "What, no one's ever told you that you can come without having sex?"
Jake: "Nah. I didn't know that."
I blink with the utmost innocence.
Jake: "Can you show me?"
Brenna punches my shoulder. Light and teasing.
Brenna: "You wish."
Jake: "I do wish. I don't want to alarm you, but please direct your attention to my crotch."
Despite her amusement, she does what I ask. Instantly, her gaze sizzles.
Brenna: "Oh my. Thinking about McCarthy gets you hard?"
Jake: "Like stone."
I pull her onto my lap, eliciting a squeak of surprise.
But she recovers quickly, and soon she's rubbing that sweet ass all over me as she tries to get comfortable.
Brenna: "Tell your boner to stop stabbing my butt."
Jake: "Hey, you're the reason I even have a boner."
She moans again. At first I think it's from pleasure, until I register the note of misery.
Jake: "What's wrong?"
Brenna: "I can't believe I'm letting a Harvard player touch my boobs."
Coach Jensen: "I don't know what's going on with that kid."
Brenna: "Maybe it's girl trouble. I heard he's going through the puck bunnies like hotcakes."
Coach Jensen: "Women. Always the root of this shit."
Brenna: "Actually, I meant that Hunter was being obnoxious one and using the bunnies to deal with his own issues. But, cool, blame everything on us, the evil demon women."
Summer: "Who's a prick?"
Brenna: "Brooks Weston. You know, your best friend."
Summer: "He's not my best friend. We just went to high school together."
Hollis: "You partied with him a couple of times this year."
Hollis: "See this, folks? This is the face of disloyalty."
Brenna: "Who's he talking to? Are we the 'folks'?
Nate: "I think so?"
Heath: "What's a bubble butt?"
Coby: "It's when your ass looks like two globes."
Brooks: "See! He knows what I'm talking about! Do I have that?"
Jake: "Dude, I hate to disappoint you, but I haven't spent much time staring at your ass. I also haven't spent much time examining other dudes' asses, and since I don't know what a bubble butt looks like, I can't tell you if you have one. So for the love of Jesus, can we talk about something else?"
Apparently not, as Brooks is already marching toward one of the laptops on Coach's desk. He clicks the track pad a few times, and a web browser appears on the big screen behind him.
Brooks: "Okay, so ..."
He types the words "bubble butt" in the imagine search
Two seconds later, rows and rows of thumbnails appear on the screen, all featuring some very sexy female behinds.
Brooks: "Ugh, sorry, no, I don't want to look at girls."
Brooks alters the search to say "man bubble butt."
The first image that pops up is one of a fully clothed grown man in an actual bubble.
Coby: "The fuck's that dude doing in a bubble?"
Guy: "Maybe he's got that bubble disease. You know, where you need to be shut away from the rest of the world."
Dmitry: "The bubble isn't the disease. The bubble is the solution to the disease."
Brooks: "Why is it so hard to find pictures of male asses? All right, boys. Brace yourself."
Jake: "Weston. Whatever you're about to do, please don't."
Unfortunately, there's no stopping Brooks when he goes on a tangent, especially when it's related to his appearance. The man is vain as fuck.
When a porn site appears on the screen, I'm quick to issue another warning.
Jake: "You better get out of there before Coach comes in."
Brooks: "We have ten minutes, and he's never early. Coach is an on-the-dot kinda guy."
Brooks clicks the search bar and keys in "bubble butt", and we're not surfing porn anymore. We're surfing gay porn. Awesome.
Brooks: "There! This is what she says it looks like!"
He clicks on a thumbnail labeled: bubble butt gets pounded.
Coby: "Bro, I don't want to see this shit."
But Brooks pauses the scene before the sex gets underway. In fact, there's still only one dude in the frame, a tall Nordic blond who decides to take all his clothes off in a jiu-jitsu studio because that's what real people do.
Brooks zooms in on the guy's behind. And okay, I'm not going to lie - his butt cheeks do resemble two bubbles. The best of his body is lean and ripped, so those tight globes really to attract the eye.
Coby: "It's the first thing I notice when I look at him. My eyes go right to the ass."
Jake: "Mine too. That's weird, right?"
Brooks: "Is this me? Because if it is, I'm pissed. Look at it. It's completely disproportional to the rest of his body."
Jake: "Dude, we just told you, we don't pay attention to your butt. We can't compare."
Brooks: "Fine, here."
He turns around and drops trou.
At the same time Coach Pedersen enters the room.
Coach stumbles to a stop. His gaze travels from the naked man on the screen to Weston's bare ass. Then he scowls at the rest of us.
Coach: "What the hell is wrong with your idiots?"
Brooks: "It's not what it looks like."
Coach: "Really? Because it looks like you're trying to compare your ass to the one up there, and the answer to that is, yes, they're identical. Now zip up your goddamn pants, turn that garbage off, and take a seat, Weston."
My teammate appears genuinely devastated as he pulls up his pants.
Brooks: "I have a bubble butt, you guys. I feel like my who life has ben a lie."
Jake: "His girlfriend pointed out his bubble butt and now he has a complex about it."
Brooks: "She's not my girlfriend."
Jake: "Fuck buddy?"
Brooks: "I'll accept it. Okay, Jensen. Look at this."
My idiot roommate shoves his sweatpants down to his ankles, presenting his bare ass to me ... girlfriend? Fuck buddy? I honestly can't fill in that blank.
I see Brenna's lips quivering in the candlelight, as if she's trying so hard not to laugh.
Brooks: "Well? Thoughts."
Her gaze focuses on his backside.
Brenna: "You've got a nice butt, Weston. I wouldn't worry about it."
He hauls up his sweats.
Brenna: "Seriously. It's a great ass."
A grin stretches his face.
Brooks: "Say that again."
Rupi: "I was just telling everyone that our anniversary is coming up."
Confusion washes over his face
Hollis: "We have an anniversary?"
Rupi: "Yes. Our one-month anniversary."
Hollis: "It hasn't been a month."
Rupi: "Well, it's been almost a month -"
Hollis: "Two weeks!"
Rupi: "Twenty days! That's almost three weeks. When is our anniversary, Mike?"
I lean back in my chair and enjoy the show
Rupi: "When was our first date?"
Hollis: 'Why would I know that?"
Rupi: "Because you were there! You didn't write down the date? What's wrong with you?"
Hollis: "What's wrong with me? What's wrong with you? Who writes down the date of a date?"
Rupi: "It was our first date. Are you telling me it wasn't worth remembering?"
Hollis stands too. At six-one, he towers over five-foot Rupi. And yet any bystander can see who really wields the power.
Hollis: "You showed up here and dragged me to dinner. I didn't even know who the fuck you were."
Rupi: "I really wish you wouldn't curse at me."
Hollis: "Well, if wishes were horses we'd all be equestrians."
Summer lets out a high-pitched laugh.
Daphne looks utterly fascinated.
Daphne: "What on earth does that mean?"
Brenna: "That's not a real saying."
Hollis: "It's a real saying. My father uses it all the time."
Summer: "Oh my gosh, Mike, your father is as incomprehensible as you are."
Brenna: "Where do you think he learned it from?"
Rupi: "I can't believe you don't care about our anniversary. I need to reflect on this."
A moment later, we hear her stomping up the stairs.
Hollis turns to me and Summer
Hollis: "Why did you do this to me?"
Summer: "We like her."
Hollis: "Of course you do. Of course you fucking do."
Jake: "I want to keep seeing you. Do you want to keep seeing me?"
There's another delay. Then she sighs.
Brenna: "Yes. I do. Now get out there so we can kick your ass."
Jake: "You wish, babe."
She saunters over, and even in a pair of plaid pants and a T-shirt, she's so sexy that my body instantly responds to her. Or at least it does before I notice the Briar hockey logo on her chest.
Jake: "That's blasphemy."
I say, pointing at her shirt.
Brenna: "No, that's blasphemy."
she replies, pointing at my shirt.
I glance down and remember I'm wearing a gray tee with the Crimson logo over the left breast.
Near the counter, Kayla makes a disparaging sounds.
Which spurs Brenna to twit around and beam at her.
Brenna: "Aren't we so cute? We're like Romeo and Juliet!"
For a second, the blonde looks like she's going to kiss for real. Instead she flashes a mocking smile.
Kayla: "Uh-huh, you two are the cutest."
Brenna: "Aw, thank you, Kaylee."
Jake: "Feels nice."
Brenna: "Just nice?"
Jake: "Very nice."
Brenna: "Just very nice?"
Jake: "Jesus Christ, babe."
Her laughter heats the tip of my cock.
Brenna: "I'm kidding. Sorry. Summer pulled that on me earlier and I told her she was a brat."
Jake: "Mmm-hmmm, and then you decided to do the same thing to me?"
Jake: "And men are the stupid ones?"
Brenna: "Are you calling me stupid when I'm giving you a blowjob? Because to that I say, I rest my case."
Dammit. She's right. Men are dumb.
Jake: "Forgive me."
Brenna: "Are you sure you want to meet my skeletons?"
Jake: "Oh boy. You totally killed someone, didn't you?"
Coach Jensen: "I couldn't look at you after because I was scared. I almost lost you, and you're the only thing I have in the world that I give a damn about."
Brenna: "What about hockey?"
Coach Jensen: "Hockey is a game. You're my life."
Brenna: "Listen, I know he's always calling you crazy, but coming from him, that's actually a compliment."
Hunter snickers again
Rupi: "Explain yourself."
Brenna: "Have you met him? He's crazy. And from the sounds of it, his family's crazy, too."
Hollis: "Hey! I wish you wouldn't bring my family into this."
Brenna: "If wishes were horses we'd all be equestrians. So really, Rupi, when he calls you that, it's because he's recognizing a kindred spirit."
I wink at Mike.
Brenna: "He sees his soul mate."
A breathy gasp floats out of the phone.
Rupi: "Is that true, Mike?"
He scowls at me, slashing one finger across his throat to signal that he's going to kill me for throwing out the term "soul mate."
Hollis: "If you want to come up with nicknames, we'll come up with nicknames. My first suggestion is kitten."
Rupi: "I don't know if I like that one for me."
Hollis: "No, it would be for me."
Fitz: "His brain operate on a level us mortals can't comprehend."
Hollis looks pleased.
Hollis: "Dude, that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
Brenna: "My dad's here, too."
Jake: "Seriously? Aw fuck, why'd you have to tell me that? Now I'll feel extra pressure to perform."
Brenna: "Don't worry, Jakey. I speak from personal experience when I say I've got nothing but confidence in your ability to perform."
Jake: "Thanks, baby."
Brenna: "Oh, and don't let this freak you out even more, but he wants to take us to dinner after the game."
Jake: "Don't let this freak you out even more? Jesus Christ. Just leave, babe. Leave now before you do any more damage."
Brenna: "Love you."
Jake: "Love you too."
Check out the rest of the Briar U series