I have been so excited to read this book since Brenna was introduced in The Chase. I absolutely adored her character and her developing dynamic with Jake sounded so interesting that I have been waiting. And I’m so glad to have received this advance copy from the author. I know it’s just a few days before the release, but it’s a great feeling to review a book by one of your favorite authors early.
Brenna is the same badass, sassy, live wire protagonist we got to know previously. However, this book gives her a better opportunity to shine, and also show her vulnerabilities and insecurities, giving us a more rounded picture of her personality. She loves her hockey, has made some bad decisions in the past but has grown so much from the experience and is a very responsible person with clear aspirations for her career. I admired how sure she was of what she wanted to do in life and how she kept working towards it. On the other hand, Jake comes across as an arrogant cocky hockey god because obviously, he is the top college player in the country. However, he is also very focused on the game and his team, is a great captain and is actually a nice guy. When they are thrown together, sparks fly and I absolutely loved the scorching chemistry. Even though I might have enjoyed the fake dating trope if it was longer, I liked the way their love story played out. The banter is sexy and fun and eventually, the way their backstories are revealed is also handled very sensitively. I was completely invested in their relationship from the beginning and it definitely lived up to my expectations.
The side characters are usually important and well done in Elle Kennedy’s books and it’s nothing different here. We get to see Summer and Fitzy quite a bit and I liked seeing them all mushy mushy. Hunter is still pissed and behaving erratically, which doesn’t end well. I just hope he gets his head together soon. Hollis is hilarious and adorable and I really came to like him a lot in this book. We finally get to see Coach Jensen in close quarters after his lingering presence through so many books and I liked how the author handled the ups and downs in the father-daughter relationship. Jake’s teammate Brooks seems like an intriguing character and it’s possible we might get his story somewhere down the line. There were a couple of new female characters introduced whom I didn’t really like very much and I’m not sure if I want any of their books in the series, but let’s just wait and watch. I also loved the many many references to the boys from Off-Campus, especially Garrett. And the reference to Ryan Wesley brought such a big smile on my face, that I immediately want to read Him again.
I think this book may not live up to everyone’s expectations, especially if you are specifically looking for enemies to lovers, fake dating trope – while these elements are present, they are not prominent and it’s more like a slightly forbidden love story. However, Kennedy’s books always manage to make me smile and that’s exactly what I got here. And I really really hope we get Hunter’s book next.
PS: Thank you to the author for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are solely mine and unbiased.