DARE TO DESIRE
(Dare To Love #2)
by Carly Phillips
Released: April 10, 2014
My rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
One moment he is on top of the world with a successful career and more attention than he knows what to do with, the next quarterback Alex Dare finds himself in a hospital bed wondering what the hell he is supposed to do next. Bitter in the face of his career ending injury, he alienates anyone who dares come close and proceeds to close himself of for the next six months. Until his half-brother Ian extends him an opportunity he can't refuse, even if it means facing the woman he kicked out of his hospital room half a year earlier.
Taking a chance on the wealthy and charming playboy quarterback was not something that had come easy for social worker, Madison Evans. But the close connection through friends had put the constant temptation in front of her until she finally gave in, took the leap, and had her heart broken. Growing up in foster care, rejection was a tender point for Madison, and once pushed, the effects lingered hard and long. So when her boss, Ian, proposed teaming her up with Alex on a new project, she had to steel herself for the inevitable onslaught of emotions seeing him would surely bring on.
Alex has had a lot of time to consider his life before and his actions since his injury and he is not the same man he was before, but that is not something everyone is ready to accept. Especially not Madison, the woman he has not been able to get out of his mind since he sent her packing. He is determined to have another chance with her and works to slowly break down the formidable walls she has thrown up. But not without taking some serious risks of his own...
YES!!! Carly Phillips.... I love this new edgier side of you!!!
Oh a man's pride is a fickle thing. Strip him down to where all that is left is just him, without the name, the fame, the ego, the game......and he is lost. Alex simply has no clue who he is or what he wants from life without his beloved football. Such narrow vision. Such short-term ideals. Feeling he is nothing without the fringe..... Ironically overvalueing himself when on top of the heap, and severely underestimating his value when he has nothing holding him up. And isn't that kind of typical??
And Madison, so keen on protecting herself from the pain of rejection, she has almost forgotten to live in the moment. Always consumed by thoughts of "what if?", infusing every potentially uplifting experience into a nailbiting descent into insecurity. Phenomenally talented in erecting an aloof and professional persona around the unsure, frightened and craving emotional turmoil that lives inside. Self-defeatist? Perhaps...... Recognizable? For sure! Once burned, twice shy....
Loved seeing the exploration and subsequent breakdown of each of their emotional barriers at the hands of the other. The tentative trust given consciously, even when their bodies were light-years ahead of them, instinctively knowing.
I also enjoyed revisiting the complicated Dare Family dynamic and seeing it slowly develop in the background. The cast from Dare To Love are very involved in this book, making it helpful to read these stories in sequence, although technically I would consider them standalone novels.
I have to say, I am in awe of a writer like Carly Phillips, who with so many years of great success, manages to find a new level of writing - taking a bit of a risk exploring a slighter darker and edgier side with a distinctly more carnal flavour - and pulling it off very successfully. I for one, wouldn't mind seeing even darker and edgier!!
✨A book with so many soulful, stirring and spicy layers!✨
**Copy provided in return for an honest review.**