Review + Giveaway: The Risk by Elle Kennedy

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: February 18, 2019
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: eARC, from the author
Status: book 2 in the Briar U companion series
Links: The Deal review

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

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the author. This does not affect the content of my review.
I am completely OBSESSED with Elle's hockey romances. I first read The Deal back in 2015, and I haven't been able to shut up about it since. Plus now I get to eagerly anticipate each new installment of the adventures of the Briar University hockey team and those close to them. The Risk is actually the first of these books to not feature a Briar player. Instead our leads are Coach Jensen's daughter Brenna and a HARVARD player Jake Connolly (THE HORROR). Both are first introduced in The Chase so I do recommend starting with that one (or The Deal if you haven't read it), but it's not required. Each book in these series can be read as a standalone (but, like, why would you NOT want to REAL ALL OF THEM???).

The Risk was one of my most anticipated reads for 2019 solely because of Brenna. Meeting her in The Chase was absolutely incredible, and I knew I'd love her story. Being inside Brenna's head is utterly refreshing. She's straightforward and doesn't play games. Even though she has her own demons, she lives her life on her terms. She's also a total sassmaster.

I also really liked that The Risk explores Brenna's relationship with her dad, which is something often portrayed in YA but not as much in NA or adult romance. As someone who lived with their parents as an adult, I loved seeing Brenna clearly communicate boundaries with Coach Jensen. She tries to be respectful of his wishes, but she lets him know that she's an adult and won't change her life by not going out with friends or have a few drinks just to please him. Watching their relationship was, at times, cringe-inducing because it's obvious they have a lot of unspoken words between them, but the payoff is delightful. I have loved Coach Jensen in every single book (especially because of the locker room scene in The Deal!) because of his stern kindness toward his players, but it's cool to see the different side of him as a father.

Obviously I also love the relationship between Brenna and Jake. If you love Garrett Graham (or, you know, any of Elle's guys, but especially Graham), you're going to love Jake, even though he's not a Briar boy. Nothing and no one brings out Brenna's saucy side like Jake, and their quips will have you simultaneously giggle and sighing over the sheer dreaminess of their attraction. This book isn't exactly hate-to-love, but it definitely isn't heart eyes from the get-go. There's a lot of accidental run-ins, a mistaken kiss (lol "mistaken"), and then OH NO I ACCIDENTALLY NAME-DROPPED YOU AS MY BOYFRIEND SO PLZ GO ON THIS FAKE DATE WITH ME (me: smirks). But like Wellsy and Graham, there's this magnetic draw pulling them inexorably closer and an absolute fuckton of sexual chemistry. I mean that literally. I know everyone always talks about chemistry, but these two are like Nobel Prize levels of chemistry. It's incredibly steamy! *fans face*

I would have liked more of the fake dating in The Risk. Considering the summary presents it as a major plot point, I was surprised that the facade was dropped relatively quickly after just one fake date, one real date, and one hookup, but I guess that's part of Brenna and Jake being more open and honest with one another than your average romance couple. And also being hard-headed dumdums who take a smidge to get over their whole Briar/Harvard rivalry.

I really enjoyed The Risk, and I absolutely recommend it, as well as all of Elle's other contemporary romances. If you're looking for a fun, bantery, steamy romance to warm you up this February, The Risk is definitely that book. And if you read it, you and I can discuss who book 3 The Play will be about! (PS if you haven't yet read The Deal you ABSOLUTELY should. Plus, it's totally free right now on most e-tailers!)

Purchase Links:
Currently only available as an ebook. Pb is on its way!

About the Author:
A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

Author Links:

Open to anyone who can receive a kindle ebook. Entrants must be 13+. Giveaway is open until 12 AM CST February 21, 2019. Please enter via Rafflecopter below; winner will be chosen at random, and odds are determined by number of entries. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page. Good luck!

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  1. I really need to read all of these!

  2. I think The Kiss Quotient would be a great VDay book, but I actually read The Deal. I've had it on my Kindle forever and I don't know why I'm just reading it now.

    1. This is an EXCELLENT decision! And Kiss Quotient is amazing too!

  3. I didn't know that hockey romances were a thing! It sounds like this has a lot of believable relationships and characters!