July 30, 2015

REVIEW: Dare to Desire (Dare to Love #2)

Dare to Desire (Dare to Love #2), by Carly Phillips
Publish Date: April 10, 2014
Publisher: self-published
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all -- an all-star football career with the Tampa Breakers and his choice of willing women -- until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. When he is offered a ground-breaking position with a rival team, he’s intrigued, but there’s a catch. He’ll be working alongside the same woman he hasn’t been able to get out of his head for too long.

Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows first hand what it means to have-not. She isn't impressed by Alex Dare’s wealth or charm. Not since she fell hard for him once before, only to discover she was just one of his too-easy conquests. This time around Madison refuses to succumb to Alex so easily.

But Alex wants Madison. And if there is one thing Alex does well, it’s to get what he wants. The playboy athlete must prove he’s got game in more places than on the field. He means to prove that he’s a changed man but no sooner does he begin to break through Madison’s defenses when a new opportunity comes knocking and threatens her new-found trust. Can he make Madison take a risk and dare to love?

The thing that I'm coming to love about Carly Phillips' Dare to Love series is the distinct lack of angsty drama. Don't get me wrong - super angst has its place. But, a lot of times - most of the time - I prefer a little bit of drama mixed with a whole lot of romance, and that's exactly what this series delivers.

Dare to Desire was a fantastic second chance love story. In most of these types of stories, years pass between interactions between the MCs. In Alex and Madison's case, it's only six months. But, it was a significant six months.

Alex's whole life was playing football, so he floundered a bit when an injury prematurely ended his career. At first, he was an outright asshole, which was when he permanently drove Madison away when she wanted to help. Six months later, Ian pairs the two of them together on a new program designed to help injured athletes. Once they're forced to work together, Alex is also forced to deal with how poorly he treated Madison and the fact that he might have driven her away for good.

I had mixed feelings about Alex in book 1, but I felt much better about him in Dare to Desire. He was man enough to know he let a good thing go when he drove Madison away. And he was man enough to admit it out loud.

To her credit, Madison didn't make it too easy on him, and thank goodness for that. He needed to squirm a bit. But, thankfully, it didn't go on too long, and we finally got to the sexy times. And there were lots of those. Madison and Alex had tons of chemistry and they used it well.

Madison was very much on edge the whole time she was with Alex. Her whole life, she's been made to believe that people leave her. Her parents left her, and her foster mother now has Alzheimer's. That broke my heart - the scenes with her foster mother. Now, her foster brother is taking Madison to court over his mother's decision to make Madison her power of attorney. Everyone Madison knows has turned away from her - Alex eventually will too, right? Especially if he has the opportunity to return to the limelight.

For a change, this couple actually communicates, and it was so refreshing. Madison was very forthcoming about her doubts and fears. When Alex had an opportunity to return to TV in some capacity, she told him she didn't think she could stay with him if he did it. It was so nice that secrets weren't a part of their relationship.

These Dare siblings are bound together by an awful family secret, and the more I read about them, the more I love them.

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