The Score (Off-Campus, #3) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #3
Also in this series: The Deal, The Score, The Goal
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: January 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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He knows how to score, on and off the ice
Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.
It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over
Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.
Dean wasn’t my favorite character in the previous books in this series. I didn’t dislike him, but I wasn’t dying for his story. I had mixed feelings when I saw this was to be his story, though that didn’t stop me from diving right in when I received the ARC.
Though he still isn’t my favorite character from the series, Dean really came to life for me. I loved how unapologetic he was about who and what he is. He grew up extremely rich, but there was no dysfunction in his family. They’re a tight-knit group who love and respect one another. He’s a playboy, sure, but it isn’t because he’s got some deep, dark secret lurking in his past. He just likes to bone. He’s had a few heartaches and frustrations in his life, but only a few. He’s laid back in the extreme and isn’t really passionate about anything. He liked hockey but had no plans to go pro, and honestly didn’t seem like he’d be too upset if he suddenly was unable to play. He did well in school and planned to attend law school like his father and older brother, but he wasn’t really invested in the idea. He was sort of just skating, and was totally content with that.
Of course, the downside to his causal approach to life was his lack of consideration for the trials and tribulations of others. Having never really been touched by hardship, he didn’t understand or accept it well.
Allie just ended a 3 year off-and-on relationship with Sean. She really loved him, but his refusal to support her dreams for the future made her realize how ill-suited they really were. She’s struggling with that to do with her future as is – focus on television and movie work in Hollywood or on-stage, more serious work in New York – and she doesn’t need the added stress of a boyfriend who doesn’t support her. She isn’t interested in casual sex, but she ends up having rebound sex with Dean the weekend she breaks up with her boyfriend. She’s filled with shame and self-recrimination over it and vows to never do it again. I really liked that Allie knew she wasn’t cut out for casual sex and chose not to indulge. I found her desire to be in a caring relationship realistic and, honestly, kind of refreshing. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m all for sexual liberation however that comes. I think women should be able to be as sexually free as men, with the slut-shaming that often follows. But there are women out there who aren’t interested in casual sex, and I’m glad to see that portrayed here. Allie wasn’t repressed or a prude. She was more than willing to get freaky and try out new kinks, she just wasn’t interested in trying those out with casual partners.
I found the main conflict to be a bit disappointing. I saw it coming from the very beginning, but I’d hoped Kennedy would take the story in a different direction. Though I understand it was necessary for his growth as a character, I would have liked to see that happen in a different way.
There was a good amount of humor in this book and I found myself laughing out loud more than once. On particular scene made me giggle like a schoolgirl, and I’m still snickering over it. There was also a good amount of depth and emotion.
I was surprised – and saddened – by the event that is the catalyst for Dean’s conflict (I’m trying not to spoil it). I’m not going to lie, I totally teared up.
Allie’s inner strength impressed me, and Dean’s slow slide into commitment was very satisfying indeed.
4 out of 5