Dare To Love series
New York Times Bestselling Author Carly Phillips turns up the heat in her newest sexy contemporary romance series, and introduces you to the Dare family… siblings shaped by a father’s secrets and betrayal.
Since finding out his father had another family on the side, Ian Dare swore to be the upstanding, responsible man his cheating parent had never been. When it comes to his relatives, he gives his all but in relationships he offers the bare minimum. But one glimpse of sensual Riley Taylor arouses his dominant and protective instincts and Ian is entranced. He will do anything to possess her … and does. But any future with Riley must include him extending an olive branch to the half-brother who is a constant reminder of the pain he’d rather forget.
Independent and always in control, Riley Taylor makes no apologies for choosing men carefully. Relationships have never been a priority and she believes herself hardened to domineering men – until she meets charismatic Ian Dare. He manages to turn a simple kiss into an all out assault on her senses and when he takes control in the bedroom, she’s stunned to discover she likes it. As their affair heats up, they soon realize they complete each other in ways neither imagined. But Riley’s past is closer than she cares to remember, and her struggles with Ian’s dominance might just cost her everything.
4.7 Star Review – Dare To Love
I recommend this book.
Dare will do whatever it takes to get her. He has to be in control. She is very independent and insists on doing things for herself.
Two headstrong people collide and the passion flares out of control pulling them both into a twisted relationship that neither of them might be able to control.
Love both of these characters. They are both funny and sweet together. Plenty of steamy scenes and plenty of chemistry.
Can’t wait for Carly’s next book in this series.
Once a year, the Dare siblings gathered at the Club Meridian Ballroom in South Florida to celebrate the birthday of the father many of them despised. Ian Dare raised his glass filled with Glenlivet and took a sip, letting the slow burn of fine scotch work its way down his throat and into his system. He’d need another before he fully relaxed.
“Hi, big brother.” His sister, Olivia, strode up to him and nudged him with her elbow.
“Watch the drink,” he said, wrapping his free arm around her shoulders for an affectionate hug. “Hi, Olivia.”
She returned the gesture with a quick kiss on his cheek. “It’s nice of you to be here.”
He shrugged. “I’m here for Avery and for you. Although why you two forgave him –“
“Uh-uh. Not here.” She wagged a finger in front of his face. “If I have to put on a dress, we’re going to act civilized.”
Ian stepped back and took in his twenty-four year old sister for the first time. Wearing a gold gown, her dark hair up in a chic twist, it was hard to believe she was the same bane of his existence who’d chased after him and his friends until they relented and let her play ball with them.
“You look gorgeous,” he said to her.
She grinned. “You have to say that.”
“I don’t. And I mean it. I’ll have to beat men off with sticks when they see you.” The thought darkened his mood.
“You do and I’ll have your housekeeper short sheet your bed! Again, there should be perks to getting dressed like this and getting laid should be one of them.”
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that,” he muttered and took another sip of his drink.
“You not only promised to come tonight, you swore you’d behave.”
Ian scowled. “Good behavior ought to be optional considering the way he flaunts his assets,” he said with a nod toward where Robert Dare held court.
Around him sat his second wife of nine years, Savannah Dare and their daughters, Sienna and Samantha, along with their nearest and dearest country club friends. Missing were his other two sons, but they’d show up soon.
Olivia placed a hand on his shoulder. “He loves her, you know. And Mom’s made her peace.”
“Mom had no choice once she found out about her.”
Robert Dare had met the much younger Savannah Sheppard, and to hear him tell it, fell instantly in love. She was now the mother of his four other children, the oldest of whom was twenty-five. Ian had just turned thirty. Anyone could do the math and come up with two families at the same time. The man was beyond fertile, that was for damned sure.
At the reminder, Ian finished his drink and placed the tumbler on a passing server’s tray. “I showed my face. I’m out of here.” He started for the exit.
“Ian, hold on,” his sister said, frustration in her tone.
“What? Do you want me to wait until they sing ‘Happy Birthday’? No thanks. I’m leaving.”
Before they could continue the discussion, their half-brother Alex strode through the double entrance with a spectacular-looking woman holding tight to his arm, and Ian’s plans changed.
Because of her.
Some people had presence; others merely wished they possessed that magic something. In her bold red dress and fuck-me heels, she owned the room. And he wanted to own her. Petite and curvy, with long chocolate-brown hair that fell down her back in wild curls, she was the antithesis of every too-thin female he’d dated and kept at arm’s length. But she was with his half-brother, which meant he had to steer clear.
“I thought you were leaving,” Olivia said from beside him.
“I am.” He should. If he could tear his gaze away from her.
“If you wait for Tyler and Scott, you might just relax enough to have fun,” she said of their brothers. “Come on, please?” Olivia used the pleading tone he never could resist.
“Yeah please, Ian? Come on,” his sister Avery said, joining them, looking equally mature in a silver gown that showed way too much cleavage. At twenty-two, she was similar in coloring and looks to Olivia, and he wasn’t any more ready to think of her as a grown-up, never mind letting other men ogle her – than he was with her sister.
Ian set his jaw, amazed these two hadn’t been the death of him yet.
“So what am I begging him to do?” Avery asked Olivia.
Olivia grinned. “I want him to stay and hang out for awhile. Having fun is probably out of the question, but I’m trying to persuade him to let loose.”
“Brat,” he muttered, unable to hold back a smile at Olivia’s persistence.
He stole another glance at his lady in red. He could no more leave than he could approach her, he thought, frustrated because he was a man of action, and right now, he could do nothing but watch her.
“Well?” Olivia asked.
He forced his gaze to his sister and smiled. “Because you two asked so nicely, I’ll stay.” But his attention remained on the woman now dancing and laughing with his half-brother.
Riley Taylor felt his eyes on her from the moment she entered the elegantly decorated ballroom on the arm of another man. As it was, her heels made it difficult enough to maneuver gracefully. Knowing a devastatingly sexy man watched her every move only made not falling on her ass even more of a challenge.
Alex Dare, her best friend, was oblivious. Being the star quarterback of the Tampa Breakers meant he was used to stares and attention. Riley wasn’t. And since this was his father’s birthday bash, he knew everyone here. She didn’t.
She definitely didn’t know him. She’d managed to avoid this annual party in the past with a legitimate work excuse one year, the flu another, but this year, Alex knew she was down in the dumps due to job problems and he’d insisted she come along and have a good time.
While Alex danced with his mother then sisters, she headed for the bar and asked the bartender for a glass of ice water. She took a sip and turned to go find a seat, someplace where she could get off her feet and slip free of her offending heels.
She’d barely taken half a step when she bumped into a hard, suit-clad body. The accompanying jolt sent her water spilling from the top of her glass and into her cleavage. The chill startled her as much as the liquid that dripped down her chest.
“Oh!” She teetered on her stilettos, and big, warm hands grasped her shoulders, steadying her.
She gathered herself and looked up into the face of the man she’d been covertly watching. “You,” she said on a breathy whisper.
His eyes, a steely gray with a hint of blue in the depths, sparkled in amusement and something more. “Glad you noticed me too.”
She blinked, mortified, no words rushing into her brain to save her. She was too busy taking him in. Dark brown hair stylishly cut, cheekbones perfectly carved, and a strong jaw completed the package. And the most intense heat emanated from his touch as he held onto her arms. His big hands made her feel small, not an easy feat when she was always conscious of her too-full curves.
She breathed in deeply and was treated to a masculine woodsy scent that turned her insides to pure mush. Full-scale awareness rocked her to her core. This man hit all her right buttons.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
“I’m fine.” Or she would be if he’d release her so she could think. Instead of telling him so, she continued to stare into his handsome face.
“You certainly are,” he murmured.
A heated flush rushed to her cheeks at the compliment and a delicious warmth invaded her system.
“I’m sorry about the spill,” he said.
At least she hoped he was oblivious to her ridiculous attraction to him.
“You’re wet.” He released her and reached for a napkin from the bar.
Yes, she was. In wholly inappropriate ways considering they’d barely met. Desire pulsed through her veins. Oh my God, what was it about this man that caused reactions in her body another man would have to work overtime to achieve?
He pressed the thin paper napkin against her chest and neck. He didn’t linger, didn’t stroke her anywhere he shouldn’t, but she could swear she felt the heat of his fingertips against her skin. Between his heady scent and his deliberate touch, her nerves felt raw and exposed. Her breasts swelled, her nipples peaked and she shivered, her body tightening in places she’d long thought dormant. If he noticed, he was too much of a gentleman to say.
No man had ever awakened her senses this way before. Sometimes she wondered if that was a deliberate choice on her part. Obviously not, she thought and forced herself to step back, away from his potent aura.
He crinkled the napkin and placed the paper onto the bar.
“Thank you,” she said.
“My pleasure.” The word, laced with sexual innuendo, rolled off his tongue, and his eyes darkened, an indication that this crazy attraction she experienced wasn’t one-sided.
“Maybe now we can move onto introductions. I’m Ian Dare,” he said.
She swallowed hard, disappointment rushing through her as she realized for all her awareness of him, he was the one man at this party she ought to stay away from. “Alex’s brother.”
“Half brother,” he bit out.
“Yes.” She understood his pointed correction. Alex wouldn’t want any more of a connection to Ian than Ian did to Alex.
“You have your father’s eyes,” she couldn’t help but note.
His expression changed, going from warm to cold in an instant. “I hope that’s the only thing you think that bastard and I have in common.”
Riley raised her eyebrows at the bitter tone. Okay, she understood he had his reasons but she was a stranger.
Ian shrugged, his broad shoulders rolling beneath his tailored dark suit. “What can I say? Only a bastard would live two separate lives with two separate families at the same time.”
“You do lay it out there,” she murmured.
His eyes glittered like silver ice. “It’s not like everyone here doesn’t know it.”
Though she ought to change the subject, he’d been open, so she decided to ask what was on her mind. “If you’re still so angry with him, why come for his birthday?”
“Because my sisters asked me to,” he said, his tone turning warm and indulgent.
A hint of an easier expression changed his face from hard and unyielding to devastatingly sexy once more.
“Avery and Olivia are much more forgiving than me,” he explained.
She smiled at his obvious affection for his siblings. As an only child, she envied them a caring, older brother. At least she’d had Alex, she thought and glanced around looking for the man who’d brought her here. She found him on the dance floor, still with his mother, and relaxed.
“Back to introductions,” Ian said. “You know my name; now it’s your turn.”
“Alex’s girlfriend,” he said with disappointment. “I saw you two walk in.”
That’s what he thought? “No, we’re friends. More like brother and sister than anything else.”
His eyes lit up and she caught a glimpse of yet another expression – pleasantly surprised. “That’s the best news I’ve heard all night,” he said in a deep, compelling tone, his hot gaze never leaving hers.
At a loss for words, Riley remained silent.
“So, Ms. Riley Taylor, where were you off to in such a hurry?” he asked.
“I wanted to rest my feet,” she admitted.
He glanced down at her legs, taking in her red pumps. “Ahh. Well I have just the place.”
Before she could argue, and if she’d realized he’d planned to drag her off alone, she might have – Ian grasped her arm and guided her to the exit at the far side of the room.
“Shh. You’ll thank me later. I promise.” He pushed open the door and they stepped out onto a deck that wasn’t in use this evening.
Sticky night air surrounded them, but being a Floridian, she was used to it, and obviously so was he. His arm still cupping her elbow, he led her to a small love seat and gestured for her to sit.
She sensed he was a man who often got his own way and though she’d never found that trait attractive before, on him it worked. She settled into the soft cushions. He did the same, leaving no space between them, and she liked the feel of his hard body aligned with hers. Her heart beat hard in her chest, excitement and arousal pounding away inside her.
Around them, it was dark, the only light coming from sconces on the nearby building.
“Put your feet up.” He pointed to the table in front of them.
“Bossy,” she murmured.
Ian grinned. He was and was damned proud of it. “You’re the one who said your feet hurt,” he reminded her.
“True.” She shot him a sheepish look that was nothing short of adorable.
The reverberation in her throat went straight to Ian’s cock, and he shifted in his seat, pure sexual desire now pumping through his veins.
He’d been pissed off and bored at his father’s ridiculous birthday gala. Even his sisters had barely been able to coax a smile from him. Then she’d walked into the room.
Because she was with his half-brother, Ian hadn’t planned on approaching her, but the minute he’d caught sight of her alone at the bar, he’d gone after her, compelled by a force beyond his understanding. Finding out she and Alex were just friends had made his night because she’d provide a perfect distraction to the pain that followed him whenever his father’s other family was near.
“Shoes?” he reminded her.
She dipped her head and slipped off her heels, moaning in obvious relief.
“That sound makes me think of other things,” he said, capturing her gaze.
“Such as?” She unconsciously swayed closer and he suppressed a grin.
“Sex. With you.”
“Oh.” Her lips parted with the word, and Ian couldn’t tear his gaze away from her lush, red-painted mouth.
A mouth he could envision many uses for, none of them tame.
“Is this how you charm all your women?” she asked. “Because I’m not sure it’s working.” A teasing smile lifted her lips, contradicting her words.
He had her, all right, as much as she had him.
He kept his gaze on her face, but he wasn’t a complete gentleman and couldn’t resist brushing his hand over her tight nipples showing through the fabric of her dress.
Her eyes widened in surprise at the same time a soft moan escaped, sealing her fate. He slid one arm across the love seat until his fingers hit her mass of curls, and he wrapped his hand in the thick strands. Then, tugging her close, he sealed his mouth over hers. She opened for him immediately. The first taste was a mere preview, not nearly enough, and he deepened the kiss, taking more.
Sweet, hot, and her tongue tangled with his. He gripped her hair harder, wanting still more. She was like all his favorite vices in one delectable package. Best of all, she kissed him back, every inch a willing, giving partner.
He was a man who dominated and took but from the minute he tasted her, he gave as well. If his brain were clear, he’d have pulled back immediately, but she reached out and gripped his shoulders, curling her fingers through the fabric of his shirt, her nails digging into his skin. Each thrust of his tongue in her mouth mimicked what he really wanted, and his cock hardened even more.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” his half-brother said, interrupting at the worst possible moment.
He would have taken his time but Riley jumped, pushing at his chest and backing away from him at the same time.
“Yeah. The guy who brought you here, remember?”
Ian cursed his brother’s interruption as much as he welcomed the reminder that this woman represented everything Ian resented. His half-brother’s friend. Alex, with whom he had a rivalry that would have done real siblings proud.
The oldest sibling in the other family was everything Ian wasn’t. Brash, loud, tattoos on his forearms, and he threw a mean football as quarterback of the Tampa Breakers. Ian, meanwhile, was more of a thinker, president of the Breakers’ rivals, the Miami Thunder, owned by his father’s estranged brother, Ian’s uncle.
Riley jumped up, smoothing her dress and rubbing at her swollen lips, doing nothing to ease the tension emanating from her best friend.
Ian took his time standing.
“I see you met my brother,” Alex said, his tone tight.
Riley swallowed hard. “We were just –“
“Getting better acquainted,” Ian said in a seductive tone meant to taunt Alex and imply just how much better he now knew Riley.
A muscle ticked in the other man’s jaw. “Ready to go back inside?” Alex asked her.
Neither one of them would make a scene at this mockery of a family event.
“Yes.” She didn’t meet Ian’s gaze as she walked around him and came up alongside Alex.
“Good because my dad’s been asking for you. He said it’s been too long since he’s seen you,” Alex said, taunting Ian back with the mention of the one person sure to piss him off.
Despite knowing better, Ian took the bait. “Go on. We were finished anyway,” he said, dismissing Riley as surely as she’d done to him.
Never mind that she was obviously torn between her friend and whatever had just happened between them, she’d chosen Alex. A choice Ian had been through before and come out on the same wrong end.
In what appeared to be a deliberately possessive move, Alex wrapped an arm around her waist and led her back inside. Ian watched, ignoring the twisting pain in his gut at the sight. Which was ridiculous. He didn’t have any emotional investment in Riley Taylor. He didn’t do emotion, period. He viewed relationships through the lens of his father’s adultery, finding it easier to remain on the outside looking in.
Distance was his friend. Sex worked for him. It was love and commitment he distrusted. So no matter how different that brief moment with Riley had been, that’s all it was.
One that would never happen again.
Riley followed Alex onto the dance floor in silence. They hadn’t spoken a word to each other since she’d let him lead her away from Ian. She understood his shocked reaction and wanted to soothe his frazzled nerves, but didn’t know how. Not when her own nerves were so raw from one simple kiss.
Except nothing about Ian was simple and that kiss left her reeling. From the minute his lips touched hers, everything else around her ceased to matter. The tug of arousal hit her in the pit of her stomach, in her scalp as his fingers tugged her hair, in the weight of her breasts, between her thighs and most telling, in her mind. He was a strong man, the kind who knew what he wanted and who liked to get his way. The type of man she usually avoided and for good reason.
But she’d never experienced chemistry so strong before. His pull was so compelling, she’d willingly followed him outside regardless of the fact that she knew without a doubt her closest friend in the world would be hurt if she got close to Ian.
“Are you going to talk to me?” Alex asked, breaking into her thoughts.
“I’m not sure what to say.”
On the one hand, he didn’t have a say in her personal life. She didn’t owe him an apology. On the other he was her everything. The child she’d grown up next door to and the best friend who’d saved her sanity and gave her a safe haven from her abusive father.
She was wrong. She knew exactly what to say. “I’m sorry.”
He touched his forehead to hers. “I don’t know what came over me. I found you two kissing and I saw red.”
“It was just chemistry.” She let out a shaky laugh, knowing that term was too benign for what passed between her and Ian.
“I don’t want you to get hurt. The man doesn’t do relationships, Ri. He uses women and moves on.”
“Umm, Pot/Kettle?” she asked him. Alex moved from woman to woman just as he’d accused his half-brother of doing.
He’d even kissed her once. Horn dog that he was, he said he’d had to try but they both agreed there was no spark and their friendship meant way too much to throw away for a quick tumble between the sheets.
Alex frowned. “Maybe so but that doesn’t change the facts about him. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t,” she assured him, even as her heart picked up rhythm when she caught sight of Ian watching them from across the room.
Drink in hand, brooding expression on his face, his stare never wavered.
She curled her hands into the suit fabric covering Alex’s shoulders and assured herself she was telling the truth.
“What if he was using you to get to me?”
“Because the man can’t be interested in me for me?” she asked, her pride wounded despite the fact that Alex was just trying to protect her.
Alex slowed his steps and leaned back to look into her eyes. “That’s not what I meant and you know it. Any man would be lucky to have you and I’d never get in between you and the right guy.” A muscle pulsed in Alex’s right temple, a sure sign of tension and stress. “But Ian’s not that guy.”
She swallowed hard, hating that he just might be right. Riley wasn’t into one-night stands. Which was why her body’s combustible reaction to Ian Dare confused and confounded her. How far would she have let him go if Alex hadn’t interrupted? Much further than she’d like to imagine and her body responded with a full out shiver at the thought.
“Now can we forget about him?”
Not likely, she thought, when his gaze burned hotter than his kiss. Somehow she managed to swallow over the lump in her throat and give Alex the answer he sought. “Sure.”
Pleased, Alex pulled her back into his arms to continue their slow dance. Around them, other guests, mostly his father’s age, moved slowly in time to the music.
“Did I mention how much I appreciate you coming here with me?” Obviously trying to ease the tension between them, he shot her the same charming grin that had women thinking they were special.
Riley knew better. She was special to him and if he ever turned his brand of protectiveness on the right kind of woman and not the groupies he preferred, he might find himself settled and happy one day. Sadly, he didn’t seem to be on that path.
She decided to let their disagreement over Ian go. “I believe you’ve mentioned how wonderful I am a couple of times. But you still owe me one,” Riley said. Parties like this weren’t her thing.
“It took your mind off your job stress, right?” he asked.
She nodded. “Yes and let’s not even talk about that right now.” Monday was soon enough to deal with her new boss.
“You got it. Ready for a break?” he asked.
She nodded. Unable to help herself, she glanced over where she’d seen Ian earlier but he was gone. The disappointment twisting the pit of her stomach was disproportional to the amount of time she’d known him and she blamed that kiss.
Her lips still tingled and if she closed her eyes and ran her tongue over them, she could taste his heady, masculine flavor. Somehow she had to shake him from her thoughts. Alex’s reaction to seeing them together meant Riley couldn’t allow herself the luxury of indulging in anything more with Ian.
Not even in her thoughts or dreams.