The Goal by Elle Kennedy
She’s good at achieving her goals…
College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.
But the game just got a whole lot more complicated
Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.
One thing I love about the Off-Campus series is that even when you've seen characters in the other books, you don't really KNOW them until you get to their own book. Sabrina was most definitely that kind of character for me, the hints at who she was previous in the series, really didn't give me(readers) the full picture of the kind of woman she was, and I loved as I discovered so much more about the woman. I also loved getting to know Tucker better as he struggled through this book to be who Sabrina needed him to be, but also to be who he himself had to be.
Sabrina has never had it easy, the highlight of her life are the good grades she makes and the promise of a future. A future that involves only moving up and beyond her past. But to ensure that future, Sabrina comes off as unfeeling, as cold, as someone who is selfish, when the reality is, she knows she has to work twice as hard because getting out of the life she's been stuck in is of utmost importance and letting go of the grasp she has on the dream could be her downfall. I loved her dedication to her schooling, her strive for the future, and I loved her strength to work hard despite the struggles, despite the things she lived with that were not of her own choosing.
Tucker was such a sweetheart, I've always liked him, and I know after reading this book that he was obviously the only one who would be perfect for Sabrina. I loved how he took care to find ways to intersect into Sabrina's life, but not in to big of a way, never pushy. He knew he had to handle her with care, knew what she expected of him and others, knew why she'd run if he pushed to hard and too fast. And Tucker wasn't willing to let his child go with her.
The Goal was a wonderful addition to the series, delivering a powerful story that built on the past books in the series, but also was on a new level. Tucker and Sabrina had a lot of things to overcome, their own stubborness, the past, private shame, and an unexpected pregnancy that pulled them even closer. I enjoyed the journey these two characters took to find their way to each other, to find happiness with their perfect match and to bring the first family unit into the mix.
As always the side characters built on to the story, making me laugh, cry, and curious about future couples.