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Review: Dare To Stay by Jen McLaughlin

by Jen McLaughlin
Series: The Sons of Steelrow #2
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Source: ARC received for review
Rating: ★★★
Amazon - Barnes & Noble
Bruised and bloodied on Boston's mean streets, Chris O'Brien is reeling from the loss of his childhood best friend. But after barely escaping a hit placed on his head, Chris is desperate to live. A safe haven comes to mind - the home of the perfect girl from his childhood, Molly Lachlan. Before he has fully considered what it would mean to involve her in his mess, he finds himself on her doorstep.

When Molly agrees to let Chris inside her home, she realizes she's also letting him into her life. Danger and desperation are coming off him like steam, and yet she can't bring herself to turn him away. His bad boy charm always had a hold on her, but now there's a soulfulness and sorrow in him that she's never seen before. And despite the heart-stopping risk of helping him, she hopes against all reason that he'll stay...

The stakes are dangerously high...and the passion is seriously intense. Follow the exploits of the Sons of Steel Row in Dare To Run and Dare To Stay.

Earlier this year, I took a chance on Jen McLaughlin's Dare to Run and had a really good time reading it and swooning over the hero. I knew from that first book that this would be a series that I'd enjoy through and through. While for me, Dare to Stay wasn't as good as Dare to Run, I still found the book to be entertaining.

After the stunt Chris pulled at the end of Dare to Run, I will admit to being just a bit nervous about reading his story. I wasn't 100% sure that Jen McLaughlin could redeem his character for me. So, I was very pleasantly surprised when I wound up liking him up to an extent. He was feeling very guilty at the beginning of this book, and was willing to make repairs to the damage he had caused his best friend. The author makes you sympathize for him here and it was really sad to see the kind of upbringing he had growing up in the gang, and being constantly abused by his violent father. Despite all that roughness around him, he could be a mushy and protective guy and we especially got to see that side as he interacted with his heroine, Molly. I liked Molly quite a bit too. She was more innocent compared to Chris. She had a gentle and kind soul that I thought was exactly what Chris needed in his life - she was a balance to his rough edges. Even though she knows that associating with him would endanger her life, she still doesn't back away from helping him out when the need comes up.

Chris and Molly have a lot of chemistry together in Dare to Stay, so much so that it's almost palpable. It's the kind of chemistry that has you eager to see the two of them finally fall for each other and give in to their attractions. They may have been from completely different worlds, but that they fit together beautifully was a no-brainer. The sexy times scenes especially in this book were on fire! Jen McLaughlin knows how to write sex scenes that are full of passion and heat. I loved watching them get to know each other and I loved how Chris wanted to be a better person just for Molly. The romance, overall, was sweet and very romantic. However, Chris really irritated me multiple times in the book with his constant acknowledgement that he wasn't good enough for Molly or that he wasn't deserving of love. It got very repetitive and tiring. I'm not going to lie, it took away from my enjoyment of the romance a little. He was so bull-headed about it that he wouldn't even give Molly a chance to make decisions about them as a couple and ask her what she wanted. He did eventually realize how stupid he was being, but I wish this behavior and thought-process of his wasn't as stretched out as it was here.

In the end, Dare to Stay isn't my favorite book in the series, but it was still a dangerous and swoony addition. Having seen more of Scotty here, I simply can't wait to get to his book in the next installment, Dare to Lie.

Have you read this series yet? What are some of your favorite romantic suspense books?
Let me know in the comments below!