When You Dare
Grade : B-

As a fan of Lori Foster’s writing, I used to think that she could write anything at all and I’d be happy to read it. Now I’m not quite so sure.

Foster is a master at giving uber-alpha males personalities and translating their tight-lipped intensity into understandable guy behavior. This book is a model of her turning abs of steel into believable husband material.

When Trace Rivers’ younger sister is kidnapped, his friend Dare Macintosh, also a security op, goes into the Tijuana trailer where the white slavers are holding her and brings her out with the other five women who are also held captive. Dare is puzzled by one of the captives, however, a woman closer to her thirties than twenties and held apart from the others.

Romantic suspense author Molly Alexander has been drugged, beaten, starved, and chained in a corner, but not raped. As Dare carries her out and the other captives run to loved ones in their freedom, Molly is non-responsive. Trace’s sister says Molly fought her captors, often mocking them, but the sister has no idea why Molly was taken since she isn’t the slavers’ usual young naïve fare.

When Molly wakes in Dare’s SUV, she kicks him in the nose and tries to escape even though she is too weak to really do so. After he convinces her that he’s one of the good guys, she tells him that she was captured outside her apartment building and has no idea why. In fact, she can only think of three possible groups of people who dislike her enough to do something like this, but can’t come up with any reason why any of them would.

The first are her ice-hard businessman father and socially ambitious stepmother who have always belittled her career, even though she has become wealthy as a writer and there is a movie deal in the works. Another group is some of her fans who have been sending hate mail, especially after her last book in which one of the characters was redeemed from previously being an abusive brute. Finally, the last suspect, her former fiancé Adrian was furious when she wouldn’t spend money on him, especially after the movie deal was signed.

After someone attempts to recapture her and not knowing what else to do with her, Dare, who admires her fearless take-charge attitude, drives her to his home, an estate he shares with his personal assistant and friend, a gay man named Chris, and his two Labs. There they all get to know one another, and in the process Dare and Molly fall in love.

So far so good. I’m with Foster a hundred percent of the way. The mixture of romance and action is perfect as are the little personal details about he-man Dare (a neatnik and gourmet cook who sees his opulent surroundings as payback for the dangerous situations he’s been up against in the past) and level-headed Molly (angry that she’s gotten into this situation and more than willing to help figure out who has it in for her).

Then I hit the wall. There it was on page 294, the ultimate cheesy romance word. I couldn’t believe Foster had really written it. “Dare licked over her turgid clitoris.” Turgid! That was all it took to take me right out of the story. Turgid? Maybe it was a joke? But in the middle of a love scene? I don’t think so.

For the rest of the book, in the back of my mind, I was waiting to be ambushed by another awful romance word, the kind that put the word purple in purple prose and turned up regularly in romances in the last century. Fortunately, none did. But still, it only takes one shove to break the author-reader spell.

Now I’m a little more leery of Foster although I still look forward to her next book about Trace. I just hope I can get through it without another turgid blindsiding me.

Reviewed by Pat Henshaw
Grade : B-

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : July 4, 2011

Publication Date: 05/2011

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Recent Comments …

  1. Yep, that’s the long and short of it – I like her more as a contemporary writer because of this.…

Pat Henshaw

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