July 1, 2015

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Dare to Love (Dare to Love #1)

Dare to Love (Dare to Love #1), by Carly Phillips
Publish Date: January 10, 2014
Publisher: self-published
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Since finding out his father had another family on the side, Ian Dare swore to be the upstanding, responsible man his cheating parent had never been. When it comes to his relatives, he gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. But one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts and Ian is entranced. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him extending an olive branch to the half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget.

Independent and always in control, Riley Taylor makes no apologies for choosing men carefully. Relationships have never been a priority and she believes herself hardened to domineering men – until she meets charismatic Ian Dare. He manages to turn a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and when he takes control in the bedroom, she’s stunned to discover she likes it. 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.

Awhile ago, I was looking at some other reviews of audiobooks, and Carly Phillips' DARE TO LOVE kept coming up. It seemed that other bloggers liked it, and the best news was that, I could pick up the Kindle version and the Audible version for less than $6 total. That was an easy decision for me. I've been on a romance kick lately with my audiobooks, so I was ready to try out this new-to-me author. 

In Dare to Love, Ian Dare chances a relationship with Riley Taylor, the best friend of his estranged half-brother. Alex's disapproval was one strike against them - Ian's controlling ways was strike two. Riley doesn't allow domineering men to take over her life anymore. But, when she starts working for Ian's company, she starts spending time with him, and realizes there's a lot more to this alpha man than just the alpha.  

I loved Ian Dare. I loved how... male... he was. But, more than that, I felt for him. I felt so, so badly for him. He doesn't have a good relationship with his father, because when Ian was a teen, he discovered his father had been cheating on his mother for years and, in fact, had a whole other family he had been keeping a secret. And, time after time, his father had chosen his other kids over Ian and his siblings. That feeling of unwantedness and second-bestness has stayed with Ian his entire adult life. It ruined his relationship with his father, and it prevented Ian from having a relationship with his half-siblings. 

I don't blame Ian one single bit for his resentment of that family. I totally get it. And I wanted to hug him and punch all of them. Although Ian and his father do end up having a moment of sorts toward the end of the book, I was largely unsatisfied with it, because his father never groveled or made any effort to change how things are now. He never acknowledged the horrible way he treated his wife and his five kids by her and the profound affect he had on all their lives as a result of his callous and selfish actions. I wanted A LOT. More. Groveling. 

Ian meets Riley at a party, not realizing she was Alex's best friend. When he does, and Riley chooses to leave with Alex instead of Ian, Ian is second-best once again, and understandably pissed. So, when Riley calls him for a favor, he refuses to call her back. I get it. I agree with it. Go Ian. Except, he felt bad, and ended up getting in touch with her anyway. (See why I love this guy?). Thus begins a courtship that is hesitant, tenuous, and hot. 

As Ian got to know Riley, I warmed up to her. She really wasn't all that bad. Once she heard Ian's side of the story about his family, she was a lot more sympathetic toward him. As they continued to work together, and meet each other's families, and share histories and hurts and successes, they fell in love. They had a lot of really hot sex too, and Riley discovered that Ian's dominant ways aren't always a bad thing. 

I get that she has a history with Alex and that they will always be friends, but it seemed like she was hesitant to call attention to the moment in time when Ian became more important to her than Alex. Ian knew  it, which was why he asked her to always contact him first when she needed help or just to talk. It's sad that he had to ask her for that. 

The ending was satisfying, and it set things up nicely for book 2 in the series, which is Alex's book. Again, the Kindle version and the Audible version together are very inexpensive, so I've already bought them both. I'm looking forward to continuing the story of the Dare siblings. And, I intend to continue the audio version for the series too. I really enjoyed the narration. Sophie Eastlake gave a very good performance, and I'm sure I'll enjoy her in book 2 as well.

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