The awesome Lori Foster has a new book on April 26th--go and pre-order When You Dare today--I dare you, and I guarantee you will LOVE this read. I have a DOUBLE giveaway today as Lori Foster has generously donated one of her t-shirts for a giveaway AND I'm giving away a copy of the book. To enter, comment and tell me about the most heroic man you know. What do you think makes men like Dare so irresistible? Comment by Monday at Midnight (PST) for a chance to win. I'll be sending the t-shirt next week to keep you warm while you wait for the 26th and then the book on release day!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dare Macintosh is a hero who spends his life rescuing people from dangerous situations, going where traditional organizations can't or won't. Thus, when he's rescuing his friend's sister from human traffickers, and he discovers Molly Alexander, he rescues her too, without regard to how complicated his life just became. Luckily for all of us, Lori Foster is an author who excels at resolving complications like Molly for men like Dare.
Foster has been one of my very favorite authors all the way back to Mr. November (which is still one of my all-time favorite books), so I was super excited to get a chance to read an ARC of this title from Netgalley. Her last two single title releases, Back in Black and My Man Michael, while enjoyable were not my favorites from her, so I was eager to see if When You Dare would push her back into auto-buy territory for me.
And, I couldn't be more thrilled--Foster is back in the groove that brought us Hard to Handle, Jude's Law, Say No to Joe, and Jamie. One of my favorite Foster titles is Unexpected, a Kensington Single Title Romantic Suspense, and I always hoped she'd return to more action and suspense as she has a real knack for light suspense. When You Dare is a great example of light suspense--it's got a great overarching mystery, but Foster's trademark humor shines through, and it's the relationship that drives the story.
Dare is my favorite kind of Foster hero--a sensitive Alpha male. He cooks, he has nice decorating tastes, and he has two adorable dogs--I love it when Foster works animals into her stories as like Linda Lael Miller, her love of animals and empathy really enhances her characterization--the animals become secondary characters in their own rights, but also reveal key details about their owners--sometimes, especially in the case of Dare, more than the owners might choose to reveal themselves.
Dare is also deadly, unapologetic about it, and take-charge. Once he decides to help Molly, he handles the situation with the same efficiency that he carries to all his missions--however, unlike most of his missions, Molly keeps getting under his skin. The chemistry between them sizzles, but Dare is very sensitive to the ordeal that she has just been through. This was a pleasant change from many books I have read lately where the heroine goes through a horrific experience and the hero's main response is hot lovin'. Not that there's not hot lovin' here--this is a Foster book, and the love scenes are smoking as usual, but the sensitivity of the build-up made them more believable and that much more sweet.
Molly is a romantic suspense writer, and I have such a love/hate relationship with writer heroines and heroes--done right they are one of my favorites, as what aspiring writer doesn't love peeking into the lives of other (even fictional) writers? But done wrong, it feels a bit like the real writer's alter ego is walking around the book, transforming a fictional story to something more akin to wish fulfillment. Luckily, Molly is far from Foster's alter ego, and her profession is very much tied to the plot. Molly seemed completely her own character, free from the author intrusion and pitfalls that often accompany characters who are writers.
If I have one small quibble with the book, it's that this sensitive-yet-funny focus on the relationship sometimes overshadows the suspense. Especially in the opening scenes, I kept waiting to find out exactly what had happened to Molly, and later on, I felt like they were taking a bit long to confront the danger and to go check up on her life. However, I think Foster was portraying Molly as shell-shocked and needing the gradual awareness of the real danger she was in and what had happened to her. In this she succeeds admirably, and the relationship focus didn't detract from the pacing--this was a fast, fun read.
This is a highly recommended contemporary romance read, and if you've never read Foster, this is a great place to start. There's a reason why Foster is one the most beloved and bestselling contemporary romance writers, and this book is a key illustration of that. This is going on my keeper shelf, and I'm considering getting a paper copy just to have the amazing cover to gaze at from time to time. Foster must have been exceptionally good to the cover gods to get a trio of three of the best covers I've seen in a very long time. Book Two's cover is absolutely delicious. But, an amazing cover is worthless (not mention disappointing!) without an equally compelling story to fulfill its promise of an A+ read. Luckily, this series seems poised to deliver exactly that!