Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dare Series Spotlight: Excerpt + Review: Dare to Love, Dare to Desire & Dare to Surrender by Carly Phillips

When it comes to family, Ian Dare gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. Until one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him dealing his half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget. 

Riley Taylor believes herself immune to domineering men – until charismatic Ian Dare turns a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and she discovers she likes his brand of control in the bedroom. 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. (love story, contemporary romance, alpha heroes, beach reads, sports heroes, bad boys, billionaire)


She let herself into her building, walked up one flight to her apartment, and was startled to find someone waiting outside her door. Even in the dimly lit hall, she recognized Ian Dare’s tall frame, dark hair, and handsome features. Excitement bubbled up inside her, followed by wariness.
“Finally,” he said, leading her to believe he’d been standing there awhile.
She fought against her rapidly beating heart. “What are you doing here?”
He pushed off the wall and strode toward her. “Do you realize I walked into the building without being buzzed in? I just followed behind a couple who were too busy groping each other to pay attention to who was entering behind them.”
He didn’t have to further sum up his point. Riley already knew the argument well from Alex and her stepmom. “It’s perfectly safe. I carry mace and I’m careful. And you still haven’t answered my question.”
Ian ran a hand through his hair, taking the time to tamp down on the anger that had been brewing inside him as he waited for her in this tiny hall that, despite her claim, was far from safe.
Not for a woman with her full breasts and curvy hips. Not for a woman with that mass of untamed hair and wild beauty, dressed in a short denim skirt with a ruffled edge and black sleeveless top that bared a hint of her stomach.
He fought for control over his libido and the desire to take her in every way imaginable. “I realize I didn’t return your call, but I’m here now.”
She met his gaze, brave and unwavering. “Go home. Whatever I needed from you, it’s too late now.”
His eyes narrowed. “That’s what Alex said, but he refused to elaborate. He said it was your business, so I came to the source. I was busy this week. I had meetings for the draft, and I couldn’t call you back.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Bull. I’m guessing there are a whole host of reasons why you didn’t get back to me. At the top of the list is that you hate Alex.”
“I don’t hate him.” He clenched his hands and released them again, searching for focus. “Riley, you left me a message. Just tell me why.”
“It’s too late.” She walked toward him as she spoke.
She passed him by, heading for her door, key in hand. “I already lost my job,” she said as she slipped inside her apartment.
The door slammed closed behind her, leaving him basking in her scent.
“Son of a bitch.” He knocked hard.
When she didn’t answer, he tried again.
And again.
Worst-case scenario, he’d settle into the hallway for the night and wait to catch her when she left again in the morning. Unwilling to do that, he banged on the door again.
In the middle of his knock, she swung the door open wide.
“Fine. Come in,” she said, her eyes narrowed and wary.
He stepped inside. Once enclosed in her small apartment, her luscious scent wrapped around him once more. His cock took a definite hit as desire filled him along with that burning need only she inspired. Knowing those feelings wouldn’t be welcome, he took in her space. Bright colors on the walls, eclectic pieces of furniture, and a warm feel. She knew how to take a tiny area and make it feel like a true home.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she asked.
“No. I just want to know what happened.”
She expelled a deep breath, causing her breasts to rise and fall beneath the flimsy material. He glanced down, trying not to ogle her cleavage because that made him want to test the weight of her breasts. And once he started touching her, he wouldn’t be able to stop. Instead, he noticed her toenails were painted a bright orange, one toe surrounded by a thin silver ring. Even her fucking feet were sexy.
“I worked for Blunt Sporting Goods,” she said, unaware of his train of thought. “I was head of their distribution and sales department. The company was sold; the new boss is an ass and began laying people off. I pulled a Hail Mary and told him I had an in with you, that I could get some of our products distributed to the team. He gave me until Friday to get back to him with something substantial. I called. You didn’t. End of story.” She strode over to the door and swung it open, obviously eager to get rid of him.
He stared in stunned surprise. “You told him that after meeting me for the first time on Saturday night?”
She raised her chin. “Yep.”
“After our kiss.”
Her cheeks turned a healthy pink. “Mmm-hmm.”
“After you walked away from me without a second glance.”
She blinked up at him. “I looked back,” she said softly.


When I first started reading this book I thought, "uh-oh, here goes another 50 Shades." But, I was so glad that it didn't end up that way. Ian was charismatic and domineering but he didn't push things to the extreme, and I liked that he allowed Riley to take over the reigns every now and again.

I really loved that this book was so much more than just a romance. It had plenty of depth, with a great family drama that carried throughout the story and really was quite heart-breaking. I could understand Ian's POV on the whole "other family" situation, and it explained why he was so controlling and a little closed off, but I was also hoping that he'd finally put the past to rest so that he could open up to Riley and accept that Alex was in her life.

Riley of course had her own demons and they came back to haunt her big time. I just wish she had more faith in Ian that she could have confided in him more. I was shocked, though, by Ian's behavior toward the end of the story, and I had to wonder if there was any hope for their relationship if he could be so self-centered.

If you love complex, stubborn billionaire bad boys you will love Ian. This was a great romantic story about acceptance and redemption. An exciting read that held me captive.


Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all -- an all-star football career and his choice of willing women -- until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows 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. Can he convince Madison to take a risk and dare to love? 


“Alex, I believe you know Madison Evans.”
Blindsided — and his half brother knew it — Alex strode up to her.  He inhaled her familiar fruity scent, which only served as a reminder of the hot times he’d spent breathing her in as his cock moved inside her body. Her effect on him was potent, and even the most common expressions failed him.
“Alex,” she said, her cool tone bringing his head out of the desire-filled fog he’d found himself in.
“Hey, Angel,” he said, using the endearment he’d started calling her during their brief time together.  Another sign he’d had it bad, whether he’d wanted to admit it or not.
Her head whipped up, her eyes narrowing and settling on Ian.  “This won’t work.”  She turned to go. 
Alex still had excellent reflexes, and he grabbed her arm before she could stride past him.
She glared. 
He didn’t look away, determined to win this battle of wills.  This potential job, which had interested him on an intellectual and emotional level initially, suddenly felt even more important, and she was the reason.
“We need to talk,” he insisted.
“I have nothing to say.”
“Ian’s proposition said otherwise.”
Madison looked over his shoulder in search of Ian and frowned.  “Well, the traitor is gone.  No big surprise there.”
Smart man, Alex thought.  “If I let you go, will you stay long enough to discuss this position Ian and Riley want me to take?”
She let out a frustrated puff of air. 
He took that as a yes and released her.
“Us working together is not a good idea, and somewhere in that thick head of yours, you know that.”
“Because we slept together? More than a couple of times?”
She set her jaw.  “That was a mistake.”
Ouch.  That hurt, he thought, and filed away the why to deal with later.  “I want to know more about this training program and what my role in it would be.”
“Why? You can’t possibly be interested.”
“It sounds more like you don’t want me to be interested.”
She rolled her shoulders back even farther, stiffening her posture.  “You’re right.  I don’t.  This is a serious project that could help a lot of people and have far-reaching positive repercussions for years to come.  I need a partner willing to go all in.  And let’s face it, I’ve seen your staying power.  It’s nonexistent.”
He winced, knowing she was really referring to him and relationships.  And she was right.  At least, that’s how he had been.  Six months with nothing to do but live in his own head, had brought changes she knew nothing about. 
Eyebrows raised, stern expression on her face, she glared at him as if he were something she’d scraped off her shoe. 
In the span of five minutes, she’d insulted him more than anyone had in probably his entire life.  So why was he turned on? He shifted his stance in a futile effort to adjust his cock and gain some sort of ease or comfort.  Not happening around her, and he knew it.
“I’ll give you that one insult because I deserved it.”
She wrinkled her nose in confusion. 
Good. He liked her off balance.  Much better than spitting mad.  “Any more and I’ll have to take action.”
She opened her mouth then closed it again, because as they were both intimately aware, he’d have no trouble following through on his threat.  
“Care to tell me what you have planned for this program?” he asked, deliberately all business.  He strode over to the chair at the head of the table and settled in.
She obviously realized he was serious because she headed for the stack of folders on the table and sifted through them.
Coming up with the one she wanted, she opened it and glanced down only briefly before speaking.  “Football players — anyone in training for prolonged periods of time — live a very regimented life.  From what and when they eat to their exercise routine to when to practice and attend team meetings, everything is laid out for them.  One injury and everything changes.”  She eyed him warily from beneath her lashes.
He was surprised she’d still worry about his feelings after how he’d treated her.  “Go on.  I can take it.” 
She nodded.  “Suddenly they can eat what they want, when they want, and they gain unhealthy amounts of weight that isn’t balanced out by the exercise they used to do.  Lack of education and preparation result in poor financial choices.  Most athletes run through any good money they might have made in a short amount of time.  Marriages crumble from the strain.  Not to mention, they get bored, and depression sets in.  I have statistics, but for now, you can just take my word for it.”
He didn’t have to.  He’d begun experiencing some of it himself. 
“What’s your solution?” he asked, impressed with the knowledge she already had regarding the problem they faced.
“Education.”  She tapped the folder on the table.  “All football colleges and universities need to have programs geared to post-career options.  It’s not enough to offer a finance or business major.  They need to target post-professional life.  From our perspective, that means we start from the ground up. We contact schools and propose just such an approach.  We hire ex-players willing to speak to the kids about the importance of thinking beyond football.  And at a team level, we begin to provide all sorts of counseling and training.  Nutrition, business classes, psychological counseling.  Another goal is to eliminate the stigma of retirement, and to do that, we need to prepare our players for the future.”  She finished her speech, her cheeks flushed pink and her eyes wide, her passion for the subject evident. 
Fuck, she was gorgeous.
He’d seen a similar look on her face before, right before he’d slid his fingers inside her and teased her to climax.  He closed his eyes, dragging in a controlled breath. 
Wrong time, wrong place.  Wrong everything.
He might want to return to where they’d been before he’d opened his big mouth and thrown her out of his hospital room, but she wanted nothing to do with him.  She didn’t trust him, and he didn’t blame her.  He needed to win her over before he could let himself even think about sinking back into her body.  She needed to see he’d changed, grown up.
And maybe he needed to prove the same thing to himself.
“I’m in,” he told her.
“Excuse me?”
“I’ll take the job.”
She pinched the bridge of her nose.  “Didn’t Ian tell you it’s up to me who to hire?”
Alex shook his head, silently cursing his manipulative brother.  “No, I think the plan was to throw us in here like gladiators and see who survived.”
To his surprise, she let out an amused laugh.
The desire to kiss the dimples on either side of her mouth was strong.  Beneath the table, he curled his fingers into fists, curbing his desire.  His frustration wasn’t as easily controlled.
“I really don’t think we can work together,” she said, sobering.

“Then I’ll just have to convince you otherwise.”


I couldn’t wait to read Alex’s story. I warmed to him in Dare to Love and with all the family drama I wanted to see things from his perspective, while getting to know him better. He came off as very confident and passionate about life, but in this book he was a little more broken, having been forced to leave the sport he loved so much due to his injury.


Luckily, Madison was there to rescue him, and in return he did the exact same thing for her. She certainly hadn’t had a cozy life, in and out of foster homes, and even though she had finally settled with a loving family, her foster brother was a real nasty piece of work. Bitter and vengeful he was hell bent on making things difficult for.


And if all the family drama wasn’t enough, Madison and Alex had to deal with their past, and a rekindled relationship filled with plenty of ups and downs. They had tons of chemistry and their romance was passion and very emotional.


Once again, Phillips has delivered a great romance read with sexy characters, and a story with lots of heart. I enjoyed every second.



After ending a relationship to a cheating, domineering man, Isabelle Masters takes off in her leased Mercedes, only to be arrested for grand theft and hauled to a local police station. To her surprise, she is rescued by the most unlikely person possible, Gabriel Dare, a man she’s been attracted to for far too long. Gabe offers Isabelle freedom along with an invitation to Eden, an exclusive island resort where everything and anything is possible.

Although Gabe yearns to possess Isabelle, he knows all too well he must fight his primitive need to bind her to him, and instead help bring out the independent woman she yearns to become – or risk losing her for good.

A woman who needs to run her own life. A man who needs to exert control. Can she surrender to his erotic demands without losing her sense of self once more?


I was sucked into this story from the first page. With an exciting introduction, this book continued in this fashion the entire way through, and never failed to deliver.
When I read the beginning of this story, somewhere between Isabelle’s arrest and when she asserted her independence, it felt like I was witnessing a modern take on Pretty Women, minus the prostitution of course; although Gabe did tease Isabelle about it at the police station.
I loved that Gabe was kinda a bad boy but with a golden heart, and I think he would have taken Isabelle in whether his interest in her was romantic or not. I also really loved that Isabelle refused to be a charity case. She had been a doormat for too long, losing herself and all of her dreams in the process, and it was great to see her bounce right back.
I was a little sad that she ran away from Gabe after the kindness he had shown her, but again, I had to admire the way he allowed her to follow her heart and he gave her the space she so desired. Once they were reunited there was no coming between them and they were one smoking hot couple. Passionate and romantic, they nearly melted my Kindle a few times.
This was a sexy romance, with great characters. I loved getting to know them and going on this journey of love with them.
DARE TO SUBMIT releases September 8th, but today I have the awesome trailer to show you'll!! Enjoy!!

Decklan Dare knows about the unexpected loss of loved ones and for this reason, he values control in all areas of his life. Amanda Collins enjoys the freedom she finds in casual encounters without the emotional connection a relationship brings. They meet and their physical attraction is mutual but both experience feelings that could run deeper – if they drop their guard and let each other in. Decklan is first to trust, but when he discovers the secret Amanda’s been hiding, will he forgive? Or will he rebuild every wall before she has a chance to explain?

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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips has written over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels that today's readers identify with and enjoy. After a successful 15 year career with various New York publishing houses, Carly is making the leap to Indie author, with the goal of giving her readers more books at a faster pace at a better price. Her Serendipity books will still finish up in January/February 2014 via Berkley as planned. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She's a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she's a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.

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