That’s all it takes to change your life.
Undeniably sexy, Commanding, and Off Limits…
Meet Holt Hamilton in Rebecca Shea’s DARE ME.
Danger, mysterious pasts, and passion come together in this new standalone contemporary romance novel from USA Todaybestselling author, Rebecca Shea. Can Saige and Holt get over the past in order to have a future? Pick up DARE ME today and immerse yourself in the unforgettable moments where one dare spirals out of control and changes lives.
I dare you.
Two fleeting smiles.
A dare that will change my life.
That’s all it takes to send me plummeting into the arms of the mysterious Holt Hamilton. Behind his crystal blue eyes is a secret, one that screams danger but calls to me anyway.
My name is Saige Phillips.
I never walk away from a dare.
– EXCERPT –
Six lemon drop shots line the center of our table, and we’ve all refreshed our drinks and have fresh glasses of ice water.
“Ready?” Emery asks, and looks around at everyone, a hint of a challenge in her eyes.
“Let’s do it,” Zay says and rubs his hands together, ready to begin.
Emery beams with delight. “Okay, so we’re going counterclockwise. Rowan goes first, then Saige, then Zay, then Kinsley, and I’m last. We’ll ask you Truth or Dare. If you pick truth, we’ll use the questions from the app. If it’s a dare, we’ll come up with one as a group. Rules though, friends.” She looks pointedly at each of us. “It has to be safe, but it has to push boundaries.”
The guys grumble.
“I refuse to kiss Rowan,” Zay teases.
“You’re not my type,” Rowan jokes back.
“So, Ro.” Emery grins at him. “Truth or Dare?”
Rowan rubs his chin and ponders his two options for a minute. “Truth.”
“I knew he’d go easy on us,” Kinsley says.
“Hey hey,” he chides. “Let’s start off nice and slow. Build our way up.”
Emery taps the app on her phone, and the questions scramble. “Okay,” she says and chuckles to herself as she reads the question before reading it back to us. “Have you ever cheated on a boyfriend or girlfriend?”
“Really?” Rowan raises an unenthused eyebrow. “That’s the question?”
“Yep.” She turns the phone to face him, and he turns up his nose.
“Yes,” he answers, sounding bored. “I’ve cheated on both.”
“What!” Kinsley screams across the table. “You’ve had a boyfriend and a girlfriend?”
“Yes,” he mumbles and takes a sip of wine. “It was a long time ago.”
She drops her head back in laughter. “I need to hear more about this.”
I glance over to where Holt stands with his guest, and we make eye contact again, sharing a brief but friendly smile before I quickly turn my attention back to my friends. Emery is smirking at me, which means she caught me looking.
“No, you will not hear more about this.” Rowan raises his chin in defiance, then snatches Emery’s phone. “Moving on. Saige, truth or dare?”
I glance around the table at my friends and, without much thinking, blurt out, “Dare.”
Oh, shit. My stomach twists into a giant knot as those words fall from my tongue.
Everyone begins hooting and hollering, and I can’t help but laugh along with them. “Remember, safe,” Emery reminds us. “And, friends, let’s be reasonable.”
“Reasonable,” Kinsley snorts. “Okay, let’s put our heads together, guys.” They lean in to the center of the small round pub table, and whisper-yell over the tops of empty drink glasses and finally all sit back in their chairs.
“Bad idea.” Zay shakes his head and purses his lips. “I don’t like it.”
“Well, if one of you disagrees, then maybe you should come up with something new,” I chime in and look at Zay, who looks irritated.
“Not in this lifetime.” Kinsley giggles. “You ready, Saige?”
I swallow hard against my dry throat. “No.”
Truth. Always choose truth. What was I thinking?
“Too bad.” She grabs a shot off the table. “You are going to go ask Holt Hamilton out for a drink.”
“What?” I snap at her. I look around the table like my friends have lost their damn minds. “I can’t ask him out for drinks. He’ll think it’s a date, and dating a superior is strictly prohibited per the company handbook. There’s this thing called ethics in the workplace, people. Have you all lost your minds? Are you all crazy? Are you trying to get me fired?” They all roar with laughter and my heart races.
“First of all,” Kinsley tips her head back and swallows the lemon drop shot, “it’s not against company policy to date a coworker. You cannot date your direct manager. Holt is not your direct manager.” She looks pleased, like she just solved a murder case.
“He owns the fucking company,” I bark at her. “That pretty much qualifies as my manager.”
“Pipe down, little one.” Rowan pats my hand. “It’s just a drink, and purely innocent.”
I glower at him. “You said you’d have my back. This is not having my back, Ro.” I wipe my sweaty hands on my skirt.
“It’s all in pure fun.” His eyebrows dance at me. “Tell him we dared you if you have to.”
My frown deepens. “So I look like a thirteen-year-old? Hi, Mr. Hamilton. My friends over there dared me to ask you out. Will you have drinks with me? No thanks.” I cross my arms over my chest in defiance. Then, realizing that I probably look like I’m actually thirteen, I uncross them.
Zay chimes in, “I’ll bet one hundred dollars she won’t do it.”
“Chicken, Saige?” Kinsley kicks me under the table.
“I’m not a chicken, you assholes,” I grumble. “I’m reasonable. This is not reasonable. I’d like to keep my job.”
Emery nudges me. “It’s all in fun, and I am dying to see the look on his face when you ask him.”
I glance at Holt, feeling anxiety building in my stomach. Suddenly, he turns in our general direction to find all of us watching him. His brows pinch together in a confused look, but he offers us all a polite smile and a little nod of his head.
Ugh… “Fine. I’ll do it.” I add my two whiny cents, “This is really stupid, though, and if I wasn’t already close to being three sheets to the wind, I’d just take the damn shot.” I fan my face. The heat from the alcohol or the stuffy bar is getting to me.
“Atta girl!” Rowan grabs my hand and helps me down from the tall barstool. My knees wobble, and I press a hand my cheek to cool the flush crawling across my face. Between my nerves and the alcohol, my stomach is twisting and turning.
“Just breathe,” Rowan whispers in my ear as he grips my hand tightly. “Just ask him if he’d be interested in grabbing a drink sometime.”
“And when he says no?”
“You just smile and come back to us.”
Zay clears his throat. “What if he says yes?”
I turn around to shoot him a death glare.
Emery answers, “Then just know that she asked out the hottest man alive, and he accepted. Win-win.” She offers me a reassuring smile.
“Hottest man alive?” Zay mumbles under his breath and pffts into his glass of beer.
“Yes!” Emery and Kinsley say simultaneously.
“I can’t do this,” I say, reaching for my chair. Nerves are getting the better of me, and my knees are literally knocking together.
“You can,” Rowan assures me. “Go.”
– REVIEW –
Saige Phillips’ life changes irrevocably on her thirteenth birthday. Despondent over his financial failures, her father commits suicide, and it is Saige who hears the gunshot and finds her father. Ten years later, Saige begins a new chapter in her life. Recruited by the firm, Jackson-Hamilton Aviation, Saige lands a dream job designing custom interiors for private aircraft owners. She loves her work, the posse of friends she’s made at the firm, and by all outward appearances, Saige seems to thrive. But by night Saige is haunted by horrific nightmares, and by day, Saige struggles to contain her growing attraction to her boss, Holt Hamilton.
Sigh. Meet Holt Hamilton — self-made millionaire, part owner of Jackson-Hamilton — Henry Cavill lookalike. Holt seems to have it all — looks, money, youth. He’s a master at self-control until he lays eyes upon his new designer, Saige. Familiar with her on paper, Holt finds himself besotted with Saige Phillips. But Holt has secrets of his own that conflict with any possible pursuit of Saige.
One night, acting on a dare, both Saige and Holt’s lives barrel towards their inevitable fate.
Rebecca Shea’s Dare Me may seem like a familiar plot, and in some instances, it does feel predictable. But there is a compelling twist to this story that kept this reader’s interest to the very end.
Saige Phillips is a damaged soul, and Shea does a fine job in getting the reader into the head of this wounded woman. While at times, it seemed to this reader that Saige’s behavior was erratic and contradictory, it could be said that it was in keeping with someone who suffers from PTSD.
The character of Holt is a little more opaque, but, again, there is purpose in that characterization. Although this reader found the comparisons to Henry Cavill a bit redundant, they prove useful during some very well written off-the-charts sex scenes. (So Thank You, Rebecca Shea!)
The secondary characters of Saige’s office gang are well crafted, and are crucial to the plot while providing some necessary comic relief. Their dialogue is sharp and witty, their interactions delightful and very reminiscent of Candace Bushnell’s Sex in the City gang. At one point, the character of Rowan actually tells Holt to “Go bring our girl home” (Kindle Loc. 3086 of 3604). Every appearance of these characters was welcomed by this reader.
Dare Me is difficult to characterize. Although the ancillary characters set an initially charming and comedic tone, this novel isn’t a light adult romance. The plot is filled with angst and a bit of horror due to a very graphic suicide scene. The sexual situations absolutely fall under the category of erotica, so mature audiences only.
Ultimately a satisfying read, be warned to buckle up — Dare Me is an emotional roller coaster ride.
*ARC received in exchange for an honest review.*
– EARLY REVIEWS –
“Sometimes you have to take that leap…or that dare…so you can learn to live and love again! Saige and Holt’s story had me on a rollercoaster of emotions…” – Crystal, Barnes and Noble
“This book hooked me instantly, and kept me interested throughout. I didn’t want to put it down! Another winner from Rebecca Shea!!” – Not Your Mama’s Romance
“I just couldn’t get enough. DARE ME took my breath away!” – Shayna Renee’s Spicy Reviews
– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.