DARE TO LOVE
When it comes to family, Ian Dare gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. Until one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him dealing his half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget.
Riley Taylor believes herself immune to domineering men – until charismatic Ian Dare turns a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and she discovers she likes his brand of control in the bedroom. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined. But Riley’s past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian’s dominance might just cost her everything. (love story, contemporary romance, alpha heroes, beach reads, sports heroes, bad boys, billionaire)
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She let herself into her building, walked up one flight to her apartment, and was startled to find someone waiting outside her door. Even in the dimly lit hall, she recognized Ian Dare’s tall frame, dark hair, and handsome features. Excitement bubbled up inside her, followed by wariness.
“Finally,” he said, leading her to believe he’d been standing there awhile.
She fought against her rapidly beating heart. “What are you doing here?”
He pushed off the wall and strode toward her. “Do you realize I walked into the building without being buzzed in? I just followed behind a couple who were too busy groping each other to pay attention to who was entering behind them.”
He didn’t have to further sum up his point. Riley already knew the argument well from Alex and her stepmom. “It’s perfectly safe. I carry mace and I’m careful. And you still haven’t answered my question.”
Ian ran a hand through his hair, taking the time to tamp down on the anger that had been brewing inside him as he waited for her in this tiny hall that, despite her claim, was far from safe.
Not for a woman with her full breasts and curvy hips. Not for a woman with that mass of untamed hair and wild beauty, dressed in a short denim skirt with a ruffled edge and black sleeveless top that bared a hint of her stomach.
He fought for control over his libido and the desire to take her in every way imaginable. “I realize I didn’t return your call, but I’m here now.”
She met his gaze, brave and unwavering. “Go home. Whatever I needed from you, it’s too late now.”
His eyes narrowed. “That’s what Alex said, but he refused to elaborate. He said it was your business, so I came to the source. I was busy this week. I had meetings for the draft, and I couldn’t call you back.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Bull. I’m guessing there are a whole host of reasons why you didn’t get back to me. At the top of the list is that you hate Alex.”
“I don’t hate him.” He clenched his hands and released them again, searching for focus. “Riley, you left me a message. Just tell me why.”
“It’s too late.” She walked toward him as she spoke.
She passed him by, heading for her door, key in hand. “I already lost my job,” she said as she slipped inside her apartment.
The door slammed closed behind her, leaving him basking in her scent.
“Son of a bitch.” He knocked hard.
When she didn’t answer, he tried again.
Worst-case scenario, he’d settle into the hallway for the night and wait to catch her when she left again in the morning. Unwilling to do that, he banged on the door again.
In the middle of his knock, she swung the door open wide.
“Fine. Come in,” she said, her eyes narrowed and wary.
He stepped inside. Once enclosed in her small apartment, her luscious scent wrapped around him once more. His cock took a definite hit as desire filled him along with that burning need only she inspired. Knowing those feelings wouldn’t be welcome, he took in her space. Bright colors on the walls, eclectic pieces of furniture, and a warm feel. She knew how to take a tiny area and make it feel like a true home.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she asked.
“No. I just want to know what happened.”
She expelled a deep breath, causing her breasts to rise and fall beneath the flimsy material. He glanced down, trying not to ogle her cleavage because that made him want to test the weight of her breasts. And once he started touching her, he wouldn’t be able to stop. Instead, he noticed her toenails were painted a bright orange, one toe surrounded by a thin silver ring. Even her fucking feet were sexy.
“I worked for Blunt Sporting Goods,” she said, unaware of his train of thought. “I was head of their distribution and sales department. The company was sold; the new boss is an ass and began laying people off. I pulled a Hail Mary and told him I had an in with you, that I could get some of our products distributed to the team. He gave me until Friday to get back to him with something substantial. I called. You didn’t. End of story.” She strode over to the door and swung it open, obviously eager to get rid of him.
He stared in stunned surprise. “You told him that after meeting me for the first time on Saturday night?”
She raised her chin. “Yep.”
“After our kiss.”
Her cheeks turned a healthy pink. “Mmm-hmm.”
“After you walked away from me without a second glance.”
She blinked up at him. “I looked back,” she said softly.
Ian Dare is as alpha as they come, determined to have control in all areas of his life. The no-nonsense buttoned-up image that he projects lets everyone know that he is in charge. Riley Taylor has had enough of overbearing men. Escaping from an abusive past has left her determined that only she will call the shots in her life.
Ian does not believe in romantic love, but has a healthy appetite for the physical side of things, so when he first spots Riley, there is no question but that he will make her his. The only problem? She’s there with his half-brother Alex. To say that there is bad blood between the two men is an understatement. Once he finds out that Alex and Riley are not romantically involved, Ian cannot leave her alone. Riley, typically very much in charge of herself and her feelings, likes ‘safe’ men, men that won’t try to domineer her. But from her first meeting with Ian, she is absolutely unable to control his hold over her, and is swept up in the chemistry that is flaring between them.
Carly Phillips is a favorite of mine. Her stories are always guaranteed to be hot and satisfying, and typically end up just the way I want them to. ‘Dare To Love’ is no exception. Ian, for all of his take-charge attitude and his refusal to surrender control, is really still harboring the hurt that comes from feeling abandoned by those that he loves. If he doesn’t give in to the more emotional side of things, then he can’t be hurt, or so he believes. Riley’s past has left her hurting, too, and she is afraid to let anyone else hold the reins when it comes to her relationships. Watching the two of them work through their obstacles in at turns hot, entertaining, humorous, and emotional, but it is never anything less than satisfying. The added bonus of all the great supporting characters (the large Dare clan, with all their quirks and great personalities) make ‘Dare To Love’ a solid 4-star read for me, and I look very forward to reading more books about this family.
DARE TO DESIRE
Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all — an all-star football career and his choice of willing women — until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows what it means to have-not. She isn’t impressed by Alex Dare’s wealth or charm. Not since she fell hard for him once before, only to discover she was just one of his too-easy conquests.
This time around Madison refuses to succumb to Alex so easily. But Alex wants Madison. And if there is one thing Alex does well, it’s to get what he wants. Can he convince Madison to take a risk and dare to love?
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“How did you get so smart?” He toyed with her hair, combing through the strands and twirling it with his finger.
She let out a sigh. “A lot of practice trying not to focus on bad things, I guess,” she said, surprised she was answering so honestly.
“I want to know more about those bad things. More about you. The things you don’t talk about,” he said in a low, soothing voice.
She knew what he wanted. It was a story she rarely told. Someone had to earn her trust and her heart before she’d even consider admitting that neither of her parents had wanted her. Saying it out loud made her vulnerable, and Madison normally didn’t allow many people that close. She’d kept Alex at a distance the first time they were together, even as she’d known how hard she was falling in such a short time. Because she knew he wasn’t a forever kind of guy, and the truth went to the deepest hurt she nursed in her heart.
But she could no longer hold back from this man. She didn’t want to. He’d been asking for her trust, and if she was going to try, as he seemed to be doing, she had to let him in.
She sighed and said, “My mom left me and my dad. She said she was going to work one morning, and she never came back. When he realized something was wrong, he called her job, her friends, but no one had heard from her.” She shrugged. “We didn’t have any other family that I knew of, so it was just me and him.”
He began to stroke her hair, long, soothing touches this time, keeping them connected as she spoke.
“How old were you?”
“I was twelve, and it was horrible. My father worked really long hours in construction and came home really late. Looking back, I know he went out drinking before coming home. I would let myself into the house after school, make myself dinner with whatever I could find in the fridge or the pantry, do my homework and … cry myself to sleep.”
“Fuck,” Alex muttered.
She was glad he couldn’t see her face and appreciated the strength of his arms wrapped tightly around her. “One day he said we were going clothes shopping. I was really excited because, one, we never ever bought new things, and two, my clothes were getting tighter. I’d started developing and … you know.”
She pulled in a deep breath, the lump in her throat so big it actually hurt. “You’d think this would get easier.” She buried her face against his side.
“Take your time, Angel.” His voice was warm and soothing, but she felt the tension emanating from him.
It wasn’t an easy story to tell. It couldn’t be an easy one to hear. Riley had cried when Madison had told her, and Madison had only given the other woman the bare bones.
My father dumped me at the mall, never to be seen again. The cold, clinical version. And even then, Madison hadn’t wanted to face her friend after the revelation, but Riley had already inserted herself in Madison’s life and wasn’t going anywhere. She, more than anyone, had taught Madison what a true friend really was.
She lifted her head and drew a deep breath. “So we went to the mall. My father bought me a soda, and we wandered around the stores for a little while, and then he asked me if I needed to use the bathroom.” Her body shook despite Alex’s secure hold, the day coming back to her in vivid detail. “I went to the ladies’ room, came out…” She couldn’t say the words. To her mortification, a sob came out instead.
“That bastard,” Alex said, his voice tight, anger evident beneath the surface.
He embraced her with his entire being, holding her close, but fury vibrated in his big, muscled body. Anger for her. She knew it without him having to explain, and the thought that he cared for her enough to feel that kind of emotion undid her completely. The protective walls that had always kept her apart and distant crumbled around her, and she felt things. Things she never wanted to experience again.
“No more,” he said into her hair. “Don’t relive it for me.”
She normally didn’t relive it at all. Didn’t allow herself to remember the intense and all-encompassing pain and loss of that day and every one that followed. But now the dam had broken, and the memories flooded back, along with big, heaving sobs.
She’d walked out of the mall bathroom, looked around, and her dad had been nowhere to be found. She hadn’t panicked. Not at first. She’d checked all the stores they’d been in. The men’s stores. The food court. Finally she’d returned to the bathroom thinking maybe he’d gone back to find her. Some good Samaritan must have noticed the little girl sitting on the floor outside the restroom crying and called mall security. The rest was a blur, along with the ensuing years of her life spent in foster homes.
Alex didn’t know how long she sobbed. From the way she cried, he figured it had been forever since she’d let her emotions free, and she exhausted herself in the process. The heavy sobs quieted first. Long after she grew silent, Alex held Madison in his arms, his heart beating hard in his chest. He’d wanted her to trust him, not unleash this kind of grief. Nausea filled him, along with pain that reached to the depths of his soul.
He stroked her hair, aware of the smallest hiccup or sound she made. Soon her breathing evened out, and he hoped to God she’d fallen asleep. A dreamless, memory-free sleep. She deserved as much.
Alex Dare has it all. He’s the star quarterback of a pro football team, has his pick of the ladies, with his wicked sense of humor and his sexy as sin looks, and has a big family that he loves (well, the family thing is complicated, but it’s settling down). Madison Evans is a social worker, a product of the foster system. She knows what it’s like to go without, and is determined that she will not ever depend on anyone else to give her what she needs.
Alex Dare is at the top of his game. He’s got a career he loves and the woman that he wants. And then, in an instant, everything changes. A career-ending injury forces him to re-evaluate everything in his life, and he retreats into himself, pushing away those that he loves, including Madison, the woman that has been sharing his bed. Hurt by Alex’s dismissal, Madison refuses to let herself feel anything more deep than the physical, and is absolutely resolved that she will not put herself and her feelings into his care again.
Dare To Desire is the second book in the ‘Dare To Love’ series. The cast of characters that we met and loved in ‘Dare To Love’ are back, and as endearing as ever. Carly does a great job of writing a story that paints a picture of damaged people (even if they don’t recognize it!) who push past the limitations of their backgrounds and find their way to each other. I always enjoy reading her books. They’re emotional, well-crafted, and infinitely easy to read, and I am looking very forward to reading more about the wonderful Dare family.
Dare To Surrender
After ending a relationship to a cheating, domineering man, Isabelle Masters takes off in her leased Mercedes, only to be arrested for grand theft auto and hauled to a local police station. To her surprise, she is rescued by the most unlikely person possible, Gabriel Dare, a man she’s been attracted to for far too long. Gabe offers Isabelle freedom along with an invitation to Eden, an exclusive island resort where everything and anything is possible.
Although Gabe yearns to possess Isabelle, he knows all too well he must fight his primitive need to bind her to him, and instead help bring out the independent woman she yearns to become – or risk losing her for good.
A woman who needs to run her own life. An Alpha man who needs to exert control. Can she surrender to his demands without losing her sense of self once more?
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It’s not enough that Isabelle Masters has been cheated on by her rich boyfriend. When he can’t persuade her to come back to the lie that they’ve been living, he has her arrested for grand theft auto. Left with nothing and no one, this night isn’t shaping up to be the best Isabelle has ever had. Luckily for her, Gabriel Dare just happens to be related to the arresting officer. Like her very own knight in shining armor, he’s there to save the day, offering her a place to stay until she can figure things out. The problem: Isabelle and Gabe have been attracted to each other for a LONG time, and it’s like an electrical storm of desire whenever they’re around each other.
The ‘Invitation To Eden’ series is a collection of novels by different authors that revolve around the mysterious Eden resort. This is the second book in the series that I’ve had the opportunity to read, and I really enjoyed it. Carly Phillips always writes a good book, with characters that have back stories that are often angsty and less than perfect. ‘Dare To Surrender’ is no exception; both Gabe and Isabelle have had much to overcome from their pasts, and this has left a mark and made them both reticent about giving themselves to another person. Gabe is a serious alpha male, and doesn’t like anything to stand between him and what (or whom, in Iz’s case) he wants. Isabelle wants to be independent, to prove that she can stand on her own merits, and not have to rely on a sugar daddy to take care of her. Deep down, though, they want the same thing: someone to love and to take care of. And, did I mention that Gabe and Iz are super-hot for each other? The sexy times are off-the-charts here; the passion is sizzling, and certain to melt some panties, so have extras on hand. Check out ‘Dare To Surrender’ (it’s a 4.5 star read for me) and the rest of the ‘Invitation To Eden’ books, too. They’re like the book format of a sexy mix tape, and should not be missed.
Dare To Submit- Coming September 8, 2014
Decklan Dare knows about the unexpected loss of loved ones and for this reason, he values control in all areas of his life. Amanda Collins enjoys the freedom she finds in casual encounters without the emotional connection a relationship brings. They meet and their physical attraction is mutual but both experience feelings that could run deeper – if they drop their guard and let each other in. Decklan is first to trust, but when he discovers the secret Amanda’s been hiding, will he forgive? Or will he rebuild every wall before she has a chance to explain?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips has written over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels that today’s readers identify with and enjoy. After a successful 15 year career with various New York publishing houses, Carly is making the leap to Indie author, with the goal of giving her readers more books at a faster pace at a better price. Her Serendipity books will still finish up in January/February 2014 via Berkley as planned. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.
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