Review – “When You Dare” by Lori Foster

For fans of Harlequin Intrigue, Category romance or Tara Taylor Quinn.

Half way through When You Dare, I raved to my friends about the great book I was reading. By page 236 I had correctly identified the villain and their motivation, knew without a doubt the H/H were in love, and was ready for the author to wrap it up. That didn’t happen for another 213 pages. The remainder of the book was “filler” or superfluous scenes. Unfortunately, it detracted from the emotionally charged, well written first half.

This is still a good book. Just not as good as it could have been had it been published in category length. This sometimes happens with Harlequin. They insist on (or tolerate) the addition of jumbled scenes so a 60k word manuscript can fit into a single title category. Often it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Dare Macintosh is a delicious alpha male hero – tough and sexy on the outside, soft on the inside. And oh, so patient and understanding of heroine Molly’s fragile physical and emotional state. I was hooked by Dare’s actions during the first few pages and remained there throughout most of the book.

After being kidnapped by a group of sex slave traffickers, Molly Alexander has a lot to be grateful for when Dare shows up to rescue a friend’s sister. The mercenary refuses to leave her behind even though she’s not part of the bargain. The author painstakingly paints a picture that filled with horrific experiences. I was cheering when Dare decided to help her out, much as I would if he rescued an abused pet.

But Molly has a lot more internal issues going on than just her injuries. We’re given bits and pieces to pique our interest. In the same manner, Ms. Foster builds an excruciating level of sexual tension between Dare and Molly. I love a good character driven book and this definitely offers all the elements to make the reader care about the hero and heroine. They’re realistic, likeable and together the chemistry is hot and sexy. Rather than rush the characters into sex, the author builds the relationship to the point where it “feels” right when they finally consummate their union. And consummate they do. Phew! Hot, steamy, scenes chock full of sizzling details but tastefully written. Ms. Foster writes love scenes that teeter on the brink of erotica for those who prefer more heat but won’t embarrass less adventurous readers.

The author also displays a real knack for layering in back story without taking the reader out of the story. Colorful secondary characters add dimension to the story. If you’re a pet lover (I am), the two Labradors belonging to Dare are just as endearing as the main characters and add a wonderful touch to the storyline.

On the peevish side, I must cite a couple of minor infractions. I felt the reaction/actions of Molly’s father toward his daughter were a bit contrived. And I was mildly annoyed by the number of times Molly started a sentence with “Dare?”

Other than that, I honestly enjoyed this book. I can heartily recommend Lori Foster as an author to watch. Or better yet read.