In Review: Dare to Run (Sons of Steel Row #1) by Jen McLaughlin

Posted February 12, 2016 by Kim in 4 Stars, In Review / 4 Comments

In Review: Dare to Run (Sons of Steel Row #1) by Jen McLaughlinDare to Run by Jen McLaughlin
Series: Sons of Steel Row #1
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Signet
Format: ARC, 384 pages
How I got it: From the publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
My rating:

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.

Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.


In Review My Thoughts

Several months ago, Jen contacted me and asked if I would be interested in beta reading part of her new anti-hero novel. I jumped at the chance. (An author I love writing something totally different? An anti-hero? YES.) It was only a few chapters, but it was enough for me to realize I HAD TO HAVE the book. When I got my hands on a review copy, I wanted to do cartwheels. I couldn’t wait to see how the story turned out for Lucas, Heidi and everyone involved. I didn’t get to jump into Dare to Run as early as I wanted to, but once I did? I couldn’t stop reading. I was totally wrapped up in this new-to-me side of Boston that Jen created.

The characters and their interactions truly drove this novel for me. I loved the complexity of Lucas. Here’s this tough, ex con who has done a ton of unspeakable things, but there’s something totally different underneath. There’s a lot happening beneath the surface of his tough exterior in this book. First, someone is trying to kill him. Given his line of work, this isn’t really something new… but this time the threat seems to come from the inside. Then he saves local bartender/owner Heidi from being raped by a group of men, leading them to believe he’s her man, so you can add a fake relationship on top of everything else. So now he has more enemies and a fake “girlfriend” who is inspiring some very real feelings in him. Just what he needed, right?

But yes, Heidi was exactly what Lucas needed. I can’t imagine either of them paired up with another character. She was a wonderful, feisty, tough heroine. I love finding a woman this strong in romantic suspense. She’d spent some time on the streets and dealt with a world of crap in her past, so it was no wonder she didn’t exactly back done from a fight. It didn’t take long for these two to begin to really feel something for each other and it was real and hot and I loved them together. They complemented each other perfectly and made one hell of a team.

Everything wasn’t as it seemed in this book, so prepare for some twists along the way. There’s a hefty dose of action and suspense along with the smokin’ hot romance in Dare to Run. Lucas and Heidi’s story ends in this book, but the series continues and, I gotta tell you, I CANNOT WAIT to get the next book in the series. Dare to Stay is Chris’ book. It’s gonna be an interesting one! I’ll be sitting over here in the corner with grabby hands until August. 😉

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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“Your halo may be tarnished, yet you still saved me. That means more than if you were the hero type.”

“I told you, I’m not fucking ‘nice.’ Don’t call me that. I’m the villain in the fairy tale, not the hero.”

He was this hardened, jaded soul, but with me… well, he wasn’t. And it was only with me, so that meant something. He made me feel as if I was the only person on earth that mattered to him. The only one he showed this soft, sweet, lovable side to. It made what we had, no matter how temporary it might be, all the more special.

It was useless. Around her, I’d always be breathless. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


About Jen McLaughlin

Jen McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She writes steamy New Adult books for the young and young at heart. Her first release, Out of Line, came out September 2013. She also writes bestselling Contemporary Romance under the pen name Diane Alberts.Since receiving her first contract offer under the pen name Diane Alberts, she has yet to stop writing. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, a cat, and a Senegal parrot. In the rare moments when she’s not writing, she can usually be found hunched over one knitting project or another. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.


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