This is the second book in Carly Phillips’ Dare series about the dysfunctional Dare family of siblings connected by a father who chose to have a secret family. With all the secrets finally out of the closet, the adults are trying to figure out how they fit in each other’s lives. Each is a stand alone story, but I found it helpful to read the previous book to get a handle on the Dare family dynamics.
Alex Dare enjoyed his fast life as the big pimpin’ star quarterback for the Tampa football team with all the glitzy trappings it brought. Then, a nasty hit on the field put him into the hospital and effectively ended his career. Alex finds himself angry and floundering with the loss of the one constant that had defined his life since a young age and pushes away everyone, including the one woman who he one thought he could get serious about.
Madison Evans understood she was taking a risk when she got involved with Alex. Although she set out to keep the relationship with the notorious lothario purely sexual, the heart has a way of getting what it wants. For a hot second, Madison believed that Alex wanted more out of their relationship too. Then, Alex got hurt and dumped Madison by the wayside without a second thought.
Fast forward six months… Alex has had time to come to terms with not being able to play football but is still trying to figure out his next steps. He decides to take up his brother Ian’s offer to come to Miami to work on an outreach program for players and is pleasantly surprised to learn that his partner is none other than Madison.
Once they begin working together again, Alex owns up to how shabbily he treated Madison but wants another chance. Madison accepts his apology but isn’t willing to be burned a second time. This just gives Alex the incentive to prove to her that he can be dependable and is in it for the long run.
I liked both Alex and Madison. Both characters struggled to overcome issues that were central to their being. Madison’s back story was the more heartbreaking. She suffered from abandonment issues stemming from a childhood spent in foster care when her parents ditched her. No one could blame her for being gun shy with Alex the second time around. When the focus of football was taken away, Alex had to have a come to Jesus moment with himself about the superficial life he was leading and the way he treated all the people in his life. Yet, when he had his epiphany, he was steadfast. The love scenes I could take or leave but that was due to Alex’s near constant dialogue during sexy times. I just wanted him to stop saying ridiculous clichéd things because it was taking away his hotness.
There are heavier themes they are just lightly touched on. The lingering family issues amongst the Dare family continue to be an intriguing arc and one of the most interesting parts of the series. On the whole, this series is a sexy light reading for fans of straight up contemporary romance.
*ARC provided by Rock Star Lit PR
Click to purchase: Amazon
Dare to Desire
by Carly Phillips
Release Date: April 10, 2014