Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dare to Stay by Jen McLaughlin

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 chance encounter leads him to the perfect safe haven - the home of a girl from his childhood, Molly Lachlan. Before he has fully considered what it would mean to involve her in his mess, he lets her take him home.

For Molly, letting Chris into her house means also letting him into her life. Danger and desperation are coming off of 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....

Series: Sons of Steel Row Series #2| Publisher: Tantor Audio | Narrators: Joe Arden, Maxine Mitchell  Makena  | Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: Won | Ratings: 4 Cup

Challenges Read For: Bad Boys of Romance Challenge

Okay, not going to lie, I went into this book expecting to hate Chris. I was 90% sure I was going to DNF this one before I even started it because I just couldn’t see how Chris was going to redeem himself given what he did in the first book. Then, something unexpected happened; I fell in love with Chris. I kid you not; the guy I hated ended up melting my heart.
Here’s what’s going on. After betraying his best friend/blood brother, Chris has hit rock bottom. So, when Molly, the girl next door, finds him battered and bleeding in a drugstore and offers to take him home and mend his wounds, he lets her. It’s the perfect place to hide out but he knows he’s putting her in danger. Molly knows exactly what gang life can cost a person, yet she’s always been drawn to Chris and will do whatever she can to help him. Even if that means letting him into her heart
So this one wasn’t as gritty as the first one because most of it takes place in the safety of Molly’s world. There’s a few times when the danger and violence of Chris’s world bleeds through, but the majority of the time it has a mainstream feel and I was okay with that.
What pulled me into the story was Chris. He had so much anguish and regret inside him over what he did and he knows he’ll never be able to make amends but he’ll do this best to try. I could feel the constant war he was waging within himself and, sometimes, his actions surprised me. What I enjoyed about Chris was how layered he was and it was fun watching him reveal who he really was.
Molly really wasn’t my cuppa tea. She was too na├»ve for my liking and some of her actions were just plain stupid. Honestly, I’m surprised she wasn’t carjacked and murdered. And she definitely fit that TSTL category.
While there was an attraction from the start, the actual romance was slow building and I enjoyed that. They totally had the bad-boy/good-girl thing going on and they had to figure out how they were going to fit in each other’s lives.
Once again, this was a dual narration and it worked. Joe Arden’s narration of Chris was spot on. He had that sexy dangerous sound that had me eager for more. Maxine Mitchell Makena’s narration made Molly sound more interesting than she really so and it made her parts easier to listen to.
Overall, this was a nice continuation to the series. Apparently, the heroes are the stronger characters and the ones I seem to like more than the heroines in this series.
Series Alert: While each book could be a standalone, I strongly advise you to read the series from the start. To fully understand Chris, the first book must be read.

Sons of Steel Row Series

Dare to Lie

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