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Monday, May 16, 2011

When You Dare by Lori Foster

When You Dare by Lori Foster
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense
Length: Full (448 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Review by: Poppy

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful estranged father? The ex-fiancĂ© who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all….

I love a book with alpha-heroes and plenty of action (in and out of the bedroom). This book satisfied all those needs.

I have to admit, I’ve never read a book by Lori Foster but have always meant to, since her reputation is so huge. So, when this book came up for review I pounced on it like a cat on tuna fish, and I gobbled it up just as readily.

The book has a great premise. Dare, our hero, is a mercenary of sorts who was hired to retrieve a woman kidnapped by white slavers and taken to Mexico. While there, he stumbles across another woman who’s been kidnapped, but clearly doesn’t fit the mold of the type of woman the bad guys would usually take. He does what anyone in his position would do – he rescues her, too.

Molly is older (thirty) and not model thin or conventionally pretty. She’s also been treated differently than the other women; beaten more, starved more, tortured more. I had a hard time identifying with Molly. She’s a successful novelist who’d been taken from the doorstep of her apartment, drugged, imprisoned and tortured. And, despite it all, she never really loses it. She has a little trouble sleeping, but that’s really about it. No tears. No panic attacks. No fear. She remains calm in every situation. She never even loses her temper ... not really.

Interestingly, these are all the reasons why Dare is drawn to her, but I kept waiting for her to be human. She really had no significant flaws, and sometimes just didn’t feel real. In fact, my first comment when finishing the book was that my biggest complaint was the heroine was too perfect.

Regardless, the rest of the book makes up for that. I loved Dare, I loved Chris and I was fascinated by Trace (and glad he gets his story next!). The “who” and the “why” of Molly’s kidnapping kept me turning pages. They’re sure it was done by someone close to Molly ... but who? Dare uses every resource to find out the truth, even though he knows it’s going to upset Molly. He’ll do anything to keep her safe.

Though this book was definitely more romance than suspense, I still enjoyed trying to figure out whodunit. I thought I’d gotten it figured, but kept changing my mind. I waffled, much like Dare did, when the facts started falling into place. I have to admit that I wasn’t terribly surprised by the villain, but I struggled with the reasons for the kidnapping. They just didn’t work for me. Really, though, it didn’t matter -- because the writing was that good. There is no denying the skill Ms. Foster has in her fingers.

Secondary characters were wonderful, too, and sometimes stole the show. Chris was especially great, and I hope he gets his own story someday ... I’d especially like to know the background between him and Dare. Even the dogs were unique and individual!

As a virgin Lori Foster reader, I came away from “When You Dare” quite satisfied. It may not have been perfect, but it entertained me which is what I expect from a good book. I never had a moment when I even thought about taking a break from it. I needed to know what happened to Dare and Molly. I was invested in them and in the rest of the characters who populated the book. When I wasn’t reading it, I wished I was.

Simply put, “When You Dare” is a good start to what sounds like an intriguing series, and I can’t wait to get started on the next book.

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