Review: When You Dare by Lori Foster

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Book: When You Dare
Author: Lori Foster
Publisher: HQN Books
Release date: April 26, 2011
Source: Purchased for Kindle
Series: Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor #1

Summary: (from Goodreads) The tougher they are, the harder they fall . . .

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 kidnappedâ??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-fiancé 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.

First impressions: Hello, pretty cover. I’d ask how you are, but I think it’s fairly obvious. You’re doing great. So what’s going on back there, behind your beautiful abs of awesome? No, you’re right. I don’t really care.

Lasting impressions: A smart, strong woman meets a smart, strong man and somehow both are surprised they fall in love. I’m all about the slow burn, but with this one I was snapping my fingers hoping they’d move it along. I gots thangs to do.

Conflicting impressions: Dare is a mercenary, and a lot of time is spent talking about his job or watching him protect Molly, but we get snubbed when it comes to actually seeing his dare I say, daring rescue? I could pun all day with this guy.

Overall impressions: It took me probably three weeks to get through this book. I would read a few chapters, put it down, then not ever really get the urge to pick it back up. I was on board with a handsome mercenary who rescues a young woman, then falls in love while trying to track down her kidnappers. If only that was the book I got.

Instead, I got a really boring but handsome rich dude who says he’s a killer mercenary but in reality is just dull and likes dogs. A LOT. He calls them “his girls” and I think that’s supposed to be cute but I thought it was weird. The author wanted to make us think he had daughters by using this vague phrase.

Yeah. We get it. Very clever.

The book starts after the main event, which annoyed me. Dare has just rescued this woman out of the goodness of his heart while actually in Mexico to rescue his friend’s sister from human traffickers. There was this extra American lying around so he just scooped her up and put her in the bin with the others. It’s a good thing Lori Foster doesn’t try to make Molly feel indebted to him for going out of his way to save her because that would be super extra annoying.

But no. Molly feels indebted not because Dare rescued her, but because she hasn’t paid him. She spends the rest of the book worrying about the expenses Dare is racking up in order to get her things like food, clothing, and shelter (the nerve!) and is so overly apologetic about being scared and seemingly weak that she drives Dare (and us) crazy.

The secret is that Dare doesn’t think she’s crazy for being scared. He thinks she’s actually handling things really well and is so impressed with how awesome and strong she is that he wants to smooch her. Instead of going all Moonstruck and slapping Molly while Cher-ily telling her to “Snap out of it!” he just dives in and plants a kiss on a shell-shocked recovering kidnapping victim who was beaten and starved in a Mexican shack for almost two weeks.

Surprisingly, Molly reacts by wondering if she can get some more of that smooching. That pain in your eye? That’s called an eyeroll sprain. You may want to go put some ice on that.

The single most frustrating part of this book was that despite the somewhat forgivable back-and-forth nature of the characters’ escalating feelings, the plot itself didn’t really go anywhere. We come in after the exciting rescue and then spend a few hundred pages watching Molly try to build her life back up to normal, then spend the last 50 pages finding out whodunnit and watching Dare take them down in a very brief scene. Where was the danger I was promised in the summary? I wanted way more action than I got, and was disappointed with how slowly the book moved.

Our main characters spent most of the book telling each other the same thing over and over again, highlighting their mutual admiration. “You’re perfect.” “No, you’re perfect.” “You’re so strong.” “No, you’re so strong.” “I secretly love you.” “No, I’m the one in love with you secretly.” Ad nauseam. If you can stomach the slow pace and just want to follow the romance, this is for you. If you’re looking for some excitement or surprises, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Want a different perspective? Read these well done reviews by Ruby’s Reads and The Unread Reader.