Summary for The Risk (Briar U #2):
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.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Since one of my reading goals for 2020 is to read more romance, I kicked off my 2020 reading with a sports romance! Elle Kennedy is one of my favorite new adult and sports romance authors, having loved the Off-Campus series last year. I read the first book in the Briar U series, The Chase, in October and now have of course finished the second book in the series, The Risk. The Risk is hands-down my favorite Briar U book!
The Risk follows Brenna Jensen, daughter of Briar University’s hockey coach, and Jake Connelly, the Harvard hockey team star player and Briar U’s biggest rival. Brenna and Jake have a somewhat hate-to-love romance that is more on the side of forbidden romance. Coming from two sides of a huge college hockey rival, Brenna and Jake can’t reveal their attraction for one another to basically anyone, let alone their fake relationship. Brenna is up for an internship at a male-dominated sports company and the only way that she can capture her potential boss’ attention is by telling him that Jake, an upcoming NHL rookie, is her boyfriend. As Brenna and Jake spend more time together ‘fake’ dating, the lines between fake and real begin to blur.
One of the reasons why I loved The Risk so much is that I genuinely loved Brenna and Jake as characters. Brenna is definitely one of the most bad butt female leads in the Off-Campus and Briar U universes. I really loved her personality and growth throughout this installment. While the books do take on a lot of college or college life stereotypes, Elle Kennedy really adds some social commentary surrounding women in a variety of scenarios. In The Risk’s case, Brenna wants to work in sports broadcasting, an often male-dominated field that doesn’t leave a lot of room for female employees. Although Brenna should’ve have of course had to lie about Jake being her boyfriend, the fake dating added a lot of humor to the story and of course really began their relationship. We also get into Brenna and her father’s not-so great relationship. After being in a bad relationship in high school that affected her behavior, Brenna feels that her father is often ashamed of her. While everything seems okay on the surface, Elle Kennedy really takes the time to explore their strained relationship.
Jake is also one of my favorite male leads. Like Brenna, we really get a sense of his character and backstory outside of their relationship. Jake does have some slight family issues, in the sense that his parents aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about hockey as he is, but his personal arc has more to do with leading his team to a championship win and preparing for his NHL career.
In addition, The Risk had one of the best balances between sports and romance in all of the Off-Campus and Briar U books. The book is set against championship season for the Harvard and Briar U teams. There are two notable games that I absolutely could not let go off. I literally kept my hand covered on to the next page in fear that my eyes would drift over and find out the final score before finishing the scene. I also loved being reunited with many of the Briar U hockey players from The Chase, from moments at the Briar U hockey house to the ice. Hollis and Fitz remain as two of my favorites. I’m interested to see if Elle Kennedy would write a book featuring Hollis’ perspective or at least a novella about his own budding romance.
Regarding romance in sports romance, Elle Kennedy absolutely delivers on the romance scenes and their overall relationship. Jake and Brenna’s chemistry is instantaneous from the moment they meet in this installment. The romance scenes don’t really appear until the latter half of the book, but throughout, readers will find their flirting, banter, and developing feelings for one another. They’re definitely one of my favorite couples in the Off-Campus universe.
Overall, The Risk balances so many elements I love in new adult fiction: relationships, romance, personal growth, friendship, and sports of course. I’m excited to move on to the third book in the series, The Play, this year. I’m hoping Elle Kennedy announces that she is working on more sports romance titles or even more books set at Briar U!.
Have you read The Risk or any books by Elle Kennedy? Share in the comments!