Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Love Me if You Dare by Carly Phillips

When hostage negotiator Rafe Mancuso takes a bullet to save Sara Rios, his former partner, his actions make him a bona fide hero—and New York City's newest most eligible bachelor. Then Rafe admits that Sara is much more than just another woman he's rescued. Suddenly, a firestorm of gossip turns him into exactly what he doesn't want to be: the Bachelor Blog's newest hot topic. His only solution is to leave town and get himself out of the spotlight…and sexy, jaded Sara out of his mind.

NYPD officer Sara Rios has Rafe to thank for saving her life, and Rafe to blame for the media chaos surrounding her. She wants to throw herself back into duty at full throttle, but until her injuries heal, she's on leave and in search of her rescuer. From the moment she finds Rafe and meets his large, boisterous family, she's hooked. But mutual attraction doesn't always mean happily-ever-after, and these two have a long way to go to find their fairy-tale ending….
After reading Kiss Me if You Can by Carly Phillips and enjoying it, I knew Love Me If You Dare was a book I definitely wanted to read. I'm so glad I followed up because I liked this second book in the Bachelor Blog series even more.

Sara Rios and Rafe Mancuso are both cops and ex-partners. When Rafe is wounded while saving Sara's life during a hostage situation, the Bachelor Blog chooses him as New York's latest bachelor hero. Ralph inadvertently gives away the attraction he feels for Sara to a reporter as he's losing consciousness and their names are linked by the media.

Needing space to recuperate from his wounds and unable to fight both the media and his growing attraction for Sara, Rafe decides to leave the City and go back to his small town home. When the media can't find him, their focus shifts to Sara just as she's due to testify against a criminal and they inadvertently place her in danger. Sara's only recourse is to get out of the city and she can only think of one safe place, and that's with her ex-partner Rafe.

Phillips begins Love Me if You Dare with sexual tension between Rafe and Sara and carries it through to the end of the story. Rafe's feelings are strong and seem to get stronger as the romance is developed. Sara is also quite attracted to Rafe and is willing to have an affair, but she fights deeper feelings all the way. She is convinced that because her family of cops has always failed at marriage, her destiny is no different from theirs. I liked Rafe's love and passion for Sara, as well as his willingness to be both loyal and faithful. Sara was a tough cookie, though. I liked both her passion and loyalty, although at times her stubbornness and single mindedness were frustrating.

There are quite a few things happening in this story at the same time: Sara is in hiding from the press and criminals she's testifying against; Rafe's brother and sister-in-law are having marital problems and play secondary, supporting roles; plus Phillips incorporates the rest of Rafe's family into this story quite well. There's another amusing and highly enjoyable storyline that includes them. Poor Rafe. The man has to hear all about his aunt and uncle's sex lives and handles the fall out from that and more, and it all turns out to be a convoluted hoot... I laughed out loud more than once. Rafe was very sweet in his dealings with the sexy seniors and won me over.

Overall, I enjoyed Love Me if You Dare. This romance is well developed and Phillips maintains the sexual tension between Rafe and Sara, even through the angsty parts, with the steam carried through to the end. The secondary characters in the story provide a light and fun atmosphere that made Love Me if You Dare a fast paced, enjoyable read.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bachelor Blog Series, Book 2
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Source: NetGalley
Grade: Solid B

Visit Carly Phillips here.

13 comments:

  1. I agree with you that this book was better than the first one :) Overall, I did like Rafe and Sara a lot and thought they made a good couple. I think that Rafe pushed a bit too fast, especially knowing that Sara has a committment issue. I mean, he could have lull her into the relationship more. What annoys me though is that Sara just left while Rafe was sleeping. Nobody does that, seriously!!!

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  2. Nath, I liked Rafe and Sara too. :) Yes, I know what you mean about Sara, I thought her commitment issues were frustrating, especially toward the end. Rafe? Well, I thought that Sara was sending "mixed" signals, but he knew he pushed to soon and yeah... he made a mistake there, I liked them together though. But I liked that this book didn't drag and maintained a good pace with the romance and the rest. Do you know if there's a third one? I couldn't find anything.

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  3. Good to hear you liked it better than the first one. I liked Sara in book 1 so I'll be getting this one soon. Nice review Hils. :)

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  4. I haven't read a Carly Phillips book in ages. This sounds fun and worth looking for.

    Hey! We're still breathing. Barely. But our teams are still alive.

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  5. Leslie, I liked Sara in the 1st book and that got me to read this one too. I hope you enjoy it.

    Phyl, I enjoyed both the romance and light, fun atmosphere that the family storyline provided. I'll read the next one in the series, if there is one. :)

    And YES! Our teams lived to play another day. I had my fingers and toes crossed. One game at a time, Phyl... one game at a time.

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  6. I think the series was only 2 books. There might be something related in the future, but I doubt.

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  7. Ah. Thanks for letting me know Nath. Well, I'll look forward to her next release then. :)

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  8. I liked this one, too. Especially liked that recognizing that Rafe would eventually cheat on his fiancee if he stayed partners w/Sara, that he requested a transfer. Usually they just do it and regret it.

    I liked the mix of humor (Rafe's family) and tension.

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  9. Lori, I'm so glad you enjoyed it too. I loved those qualities about Ralph -- his faithfulness and loyalty. That choice you mentioned said so much about him as a man.

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  10. I haven't read Carly Phillips before. If I try one of her books, where should I start please?

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  11. Orannia, I'd recommend Love Me If You Dare. It was my favorite of the two. :)

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  12. Finished Serendipity and also got this book from the library. More on some of the scenes that I needed to know. I liked the characters and especially Nick and Angel. Vi was a little over the edge. I did like the idea that Sara was not perfect because of her knee and it made it more personal.

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    1. Leona, I hope you enjoy Love Me if You Dare. Did you read Kiss Me If You Can? I haven't read the Serendipity books yet! Thank you for giving me some clues as to the characters and the story. I really do need to get to that series. :)

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