The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

The MistakeWhy I read it:  I preordered this one. I loved The Deal so much it was a no-brainer.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I had a lot of fun reading this book. While it didn’t have quite the same “omigodIlovethis” factor as The Deal, it was still a great read. Logan is a swoony hero (sure, he’s not Garrett, but he’s a close second) and Grace is pretty awesome too. 

In The Deal, Logan appeared to have a crush on Hannah (aka Wellsy), Garrett’s girl.  That didn’t stop him hooking up with just about anyone who showed any interest.  He was very much the manslut and things haven’t changed when The Mistake begins.  The Briar hockey team has won another Frozen Four championship and there’s plenty of reason to celebrate. Parties and pretty girls and bathroom blowjobs are all part of the fun. Hanging around with Garrett and Hannah has become painful for Logan so he goes to parties he otherwise might not attend, just to get away from their lovey-dovey happiness which rubs him raw.

Heading to a party, he gets the address wrong (and he’s forgotten his phone) so he ends up at Grace Ivers’ dorm door to either locate the party or a phone to call a cab and go home.  Grace is in her PJs watching Die Hard 2 and is definitely not expecting visitors.  Certainly, she wasn’t expecting super hot John Logan to be at her door.   Logan soon recognises the awesome that is Grace because she is watching Die Hard 2.  Rather than go home and suffer through the Garrett and Hannah show, he elects to stay and watch the movie.  By the end of the night, they are making out but it is only Logan who gets his happy ending.

19 year old Grace is shy and reserved and also a vrigin. It’s not a life choice; she just hasn’t had the opportunity/found the right guy. She did have a boyfriend in high school so she’s not totally inexperienced.  Freshman year has been a bit of a dud for her socially.  She shares a dorm room with her best friend since forever, Ramona.  Ramona is Grace’s opposite: loud and extroverted and not-a-virgin.  Grace feels like a bit of a hanger-on and has realised that all of the people she’s hung out with all year have been Ramona’s friends but not her own.

When gorgeous Logan gets off without her doing so too, she is too shy to tell him (when he asks).  But Logan is not stupid and he works it out.  Then, he feels like a failure and wants to remedy the situation.  My sense was that this was, in some ways, an excuse for him to see Grace again.  Logan doesn’t believe he’s a relationship guy so if there’s no sex involved, what reason would he have to see Grace again?  But part of it was also a ridiculous sense of competition which was kind of funny.  And hey, Grace got an orgasm out of it so I counted it good.

Things progress but Logan begins to feel incomfortable. He really likes Grace but he’s messed up over Hannah and doesn’t feel he can offer Grace what she deserves.  Unfortunately he blurts this out to Grace in far-less-than-ideal circumstances and she is left feeling humiliated and hurt.

Logan’s timing is really bad because very shortly after this occurs, he has a revealing conversation with Hannah and works out what’s really been going on with him.  I liked how this was addressed in the book.  It made sense and it wasn’t a cop-out.   I won’t spoil the reasons, but suffice to say, that Logan realises that he does want a relationship and not only that, he wants one with Grace.  Only problem is, Grace won’t return his calls.

All through the summer, Logan pines for Grace.  He feels shitty for how he made her feel and he wants to apologise.  But he also wants her.

Grace, for her part, goes to Paris for the summer to visit with her bohemian artist mother.  She gets a bit of a makeover (a cheer-me-up makeover, not a plain-to-beautiful makeover) and comes back to Briar for her sophomore year determined to own it.  She’s ditched Ramona (for good reason) and she’s going to make her own friends and basically make sophomore year her bitch.    New year, new attitude – no-one’s going to walk over her or treat her as less-than anymore.

Logan is determined.  He spent enough time with Grace before the end of the previous semester to know she’s something special. She’s gorgeous and smart and funny AND she likes action movies. He thinks he could have something special with her.  He’s also decided to take his senior year of college and suck the marrow out of it.  But his definition of a great year has changed from what it was the year before.

Logan’s parents are divorced and his mother is remarried to a boring accountant in Boston who nevertheless makes her very happy.  Logan’s dad is an alcoholic who’s been on and off the wagon many times.  The most recent period of sobriety ended after a bad car accident crushed his legs.  He turned to drink to numb the pain.  Logan’s older brother, Jeff, made a deal with Logan – Jeff would look after their dad and the family garage until Logan graduates college.  Then, they’d switch so Jeff gets some years of freedom with his longstanding girlfriend, Kylie.  In the summers, Logan helps at the garage and thus gets a taste of what his life will be like after college.  He’s desperately unhappy.  He knows he will miss his window to play pro hockey – something he’s talented enough to do.  He will likely be 25 before Jeff returns and by then it will probably be too late. Logan really thinks his life will basically be over after graduation. He has nothing to look forward to except grinding toil and cleaning up his old man’s vomit and urine after the daily blackout.  Logan’s feelings for his dad are complex and realistic.  He hates the effect alcohol has had on his dad but he understands alcoholism is a disease.  When his dad was sober, he was a great dad. So those happier memories factor in too.  It’s not as simple as cutting him off and letting him stand or fall (mostly fall) on his own.  Logan feels like he doesn’t have a choice but he’s not happy about it.

So the book picks up again at the beginning of the next school year with Logan trying to win his way back into Grace’s affections.  She’s not a pushover anymore and she makes him work for it. One of the joys of this series is the banter between the guys in their off campus rented house and there was plenty of it in The Mistake. I cracked up at this:

That’s right. I said it. List. The little brat texted me not one, not two, but six tasks to complete before she agrees to a date. Or maybe gestures is a better way to phrase it.

I get it, though . She doesn’t think I’m serious about her and she’s worried I’ll screw it up again. Hell, she probably believes this list of hers will scare me off and we won’t even get to the dating part.

But she’s wrong. I’m not afraid of six measly romantic gestures. Some of them will be tough, sure, but I’m a resourceful guy. If I can rebuild the engine of a ’69 Camaro using only the parts I found in Munsen’s crappy junkyard, then I can certainly write a sappy poem and produce “a quality collage showcasing the personality traits of Grace’s that I find most bewitching.”

“I just have one question,” Garrett starts.

“Really?” Tuck says. “Because I have many.”

Sighing, I put my pen down. “Go ahead. Get it out of your systems.”

Garrett crosses his arms. “This is for a chick, right? Because if you’re doing it for funsies, then that’s just plain weird.”

“It’s for Grace,” I reply through clenched teeth.

My best friend nods solemnly.

Then he keels over. Asshole. I scowl as he clutches his side, his broad back shuddering with each bellowing laugh. And even while racked with laughter, he manages to pull his phone from his pocket and start typing.

“What are you doing?” I demand.

“Texting Wellsy. She needs to know this.”

Once they start dating, Grace and Logan are great together and there is little conflict between them.  They enjoy each other’s company and relate on a number of levels.  He tells her about his family and she shares her difficulties with Ramona (who is trying to make up for her previously shitty friendship).  Grace thinks it ought to be criminal that Logan is giving up his future for his dad.  But, through talking with Logan and her own experiences with Ramona, she comes to understand that it’s just not as simple as just up and walking away.

I admit I was a little afraid of a deus ex machina but the resolution to Logan’s problem was believable and realistic within the context of the book and the characterisations of the various players. I appreciated that very much.

There was a bit of the slut shaming when it came to the “puck bunnies” unfortunately.

What else? Grace’s and Logan’s relationship wasn’t as high-angst as Garrett’s and Hannah’s and it took me (just) a little while longer to get into the story.  That said, Logan was a lot of fun.  Yes, he did change his manslut ways rather quickly, but I was prepared to go with it for the sake of the story.  Besides, he wouldn’t deserve Grace if he just kept fucking around, right?  I also liked the side plot of Grace coming into her own. It was understated and not flashy but I liked how she decided things were going to be different and then she stuck to it.  It didn’t change her core personality but it also meant that she stood up for herself more and that’s always great to see.

There’s plenty of fun sexy banter and romantic intimate moments.  The Deal blew me away so it was never likely The Mistake could completely live up to it. Even so, it’s a lot of fun and a definite recommend.

Grade: B/B+



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