The Dare by Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Elle Kennedy Inc.
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Sports
Pages: 352
Format: e-ARC
Source: the publicist
Rating:

College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can't say no. The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class. Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He's the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don't give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop–rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we're getting busy. Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it's fun to pull the wool over my frenemies' eyes. But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I'm realizing there's much more to Conor's story than his fan club can see.

And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

I think I’ve said this about every single book in this series and I must say it again about The Dare…I loved, loved, loved it!  This book had me turning the pages so fast that I know I have to reread it again very soon because it’s likely I missed something in there.  OK…truth be told, I want to reread it because I loved everything about Conor and Taylor’s story.  This installment tore at my feeling and left me spent.  These two characters bared their souls to me as a reader and I couldn’t get enough.  Everything about this book was equal parts soft and wonderful and gritty and raw.  These two, with their baggage and their insecurities, were perfect for each other…and the ultimate ending to a wonderful series.

I can’t even express how much I loved Conor.  He’s a guy who’s life hasn’t always been easy and who’s made lots of mistakes, but he’s also a guy who wants to be worthy of more and who, when push comes to shove, will put others ahead of himself, especially Taylor.  I adored the way he handled her worries with such care and his willingness to put himself on the line to make things better for her from the very first time they met.  Theirs was a fake relationship that he knew early on he needed to make real.  Conor’s got a good heart and a gentle soul on he inside…even if he’s a dirty talker and smooth with the girls on the outside.  Taylor prefers to be in the background, to hide in the shadows, and it’s hard for her to believe that this larger than life guy with the quirky smile and the big personality could actually fall for her.  For those of us who have insecurities and who deal with them by building a wall around ourselves, she is someone we can really connect with.  Don’t get me wrong, she’s strong and intelligent but, sometimes, it’s easier to hide than to fight.  But, as this story progresses we learn quite quickly that these two are meant to fill in the gaps for each other…to make each other better…to help each other grow.  And so they do.  With wonderful banter, amazing chemistry, tough decisions to make, and some mistakes along the way, these two discover that sometimes you can be a strong person and still need someone to lean on.

This story captured my heart.  It had everything I wanted – angst and drama, romance and sexy times, struggles and sadness, villains and redemption.  I don’t know how Elle Kennedy does it but in each of her characters I find a piece of myself, something I can relate to and hold on to as the story progresses.  It’s her magic sauce…it’s what makes her books stand out as being among my very favorites.  And it’s the reason that there will never be an Elle Kennedy book that doesn’t end up on my Kindle.  If you haven’t met her yet, or if you haven’t read the Briar U books, run don’t walk…you’re missing something special!

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