Release Date: February 18, 2019
*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review
*CW: drug abuse/addiction
Elle Kennedy has done it again. If you haven’t read her Off-Campus Series yet, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. Elle’s new series focuses on the same school (Briar University), exploring new characters. I wasn’t in love with the first book in this series, The Chase, but this one has completely won me over. It may be, dare I say, her best book (in my opinion) right up there with The Deal, because let’s be honest, that book is unbeatable.
The Risk explores the relationship between Brenna Jensen, Summer’s best friend and daughter of the Briar hockey team’s coach, and Jake Connelly, the number 1 college hockey player in the country and star of Briar’s greatest rival team, Harvard. The Risk is another steamy, hot, tension-filled romance that will have your toes curling. The two are introduced in The Chase, and sparks were flying in the very few tense encounters shown.
Brenna Jensen might be one of my favorite female characters Elle’s ever introduced. She’s stubborn, snarky, confident, and always wearing red lipstick and leather jackets (the epitome of a bad girl). Jake Connelly might just be my favorite male character she’s ever introduced (under Garrett, of course). He’s cocky, flirtatious, seductive, cool, and hotter than hell (which he knows). They both have the “no bullshit” attitude and don’t care to hide their snide remarks and coy teasing. Jake’s not one to back down from a challenge, and Brenna’s not about to let him win anymore. But, there’s more to each character as Elle delves into their childhoods and personalities.
This book has both of my favorite tropes combined in one: fake dating AND enemies/rivals to lovers. There’s nothing I love more than steamy tension between two characters. Brenna makes a deal with Jake, and the two find out they are in way over their heads when it comes to the other person. The story follows the rivalry between Harvard and Briar, especially with the Championship just around the corner. It follows Brenna’s struggle with figuring out her plans for senior year and her terse relationship with her father and it follows Jake’s rise to stardom and his plans for when he joins the NHL next year. My only issue with the book is that it centers quite a bit on Brenna’s background/history in high school with her ex-boyfriend who is now an addict. I do not believe the intention was to make it seem like addiction was solely his fault, but it came across that way at some points. There were other ways to give her a “bad” ex-boyfriend without making him an addict.
Obviously, this is a romance book and centered heavily around Brenna and Jake’s relationship. The sexual tension between them is palpable with every encounter they have. There literally isn’t one interaction they have that’s not sizzling with desire on both ends. They explore more than just their attraction to each other, both falling for each other as more time passes though neither of them planned on it. Their constant sneaking around behind everyone’s backs slowly builds throughout the entire book as they continue their “forbidden” relationship. This is definitely my favorite relationship she’s introduced right next to Garrett and Hannah. SO! MUCH! TENSION!
The Risk is now live on Amazon!