There’s something that I’m loving about two romance tropes at the moment. The office romance trope. And the falling for a billionaire one. The billionaire obsession makes total sense – it would be lovely not to have any financial worries. The office one… well, there’s something about pencil skirts and office politics that seems to make me intrigued and just a little bit excited. Phillips is completely hitting those two happy places spot on in this book.
I didn’t realise until I was partway into this book that whilst Dare to Resist is the first book in Dare Nation, there’s kind of some series that take place before it. Which means that although I couldn’t put this down… I had to reach for the first book in the Dare to Love series. I mean, that’s where all of the intense and slightly insane Dare family loves start… so you just have to start at the beginning… but I digress. Although there are a handful of other stories which take place before Dare to Resist, it is not really necessary to read these beforehand. This story stands alone brilliantly and joyfully.
I love how Quinn is able to seriously take a good look at her past and her past assumptions, and find a way to move on. She’s got some scars and frustrations that her family has created (like everyone’s families), Austin less so, but he’s still got a few. They both spend most of this book working through their internal crap to find their happily ever after. For me, in this book, it’s the assumptions that Quinn’s family have made and continue to make about her are the most compelling of these. The fact that it involves a baby and I’ve just had a baby – that just made it all that much more intriguing and eager for me to dive right in.
This was one of those really easy and simple reads that had me diving right in and not putting it down. It was incredibly easy to go cover to cover with my read through and just sink into the joys of the Dare family. It’s gotten me very, very intrigued to go right back to the beginning with Dare to Love and find out more about these lovely and beautiful dynamics.
There is a really fine line when writing romances with a dominant male – they have to be a little toe curling with their orders. But they also can’t be too overbearing. I’ve read some romances which the line between dominant and abusive feels seriously blurred and flirted with. Phillips doesn’t even come close to that line and discomfort. She is able to write Ian as an incredibly domineering and controlling man, but one that you really want to have in your life. One you want to reach out to and hug.
I also really enjoyed the fact that alongside this level of controlling, Riley also questions the dominant side of Ian. She even goes so far as to really delve into whether her submissions to him are dangerous to her independence, or just something enjoyable between two consenting adults. As I’ve said, some of the bodice rippers that I’ve read don’t really go near this line very well, and Phillips is completely able to do so. Which just made me love both Riley and Ian even more.
Ian’s history with his father and the existence of the “two families” is so tragic and difficult to comprehend. I can completely understand why the man has some pretty big baggage, particularly with his counterpoint in the other family. I like that as Riley and Ian are getting to know one another, Ian is forced to not only confront his own past, but also the family that he never really wanted to know. Now I can’t wait to see how Alex experienced this and what scars he’s been left with. Riley also has some serious trust issues that she spends most of the book working through. She might think that her childhood hasn’t scarred her like, but like everyone else, our childhood’s can influence who we are today and the way we maintain our relationships.
I love that both Riley and Ian have to confront their past and figure out how to trust one another in this story. it’s a great novel, and I do love a bit of the domineering sexuality that comes out. But it was the emotional turmoil and bonding that truly made me not want to put this book down. And, in fact, I pretty much didn’t – reading this all in one day.
I may not be entirely sure why this collection is called Hot Summer Nights. But it was definitely good fun. I had imagined that I would be reading four beach romance novellas. Or stories of summer flings. Not quite what I ended up with.
The majority of these stories have a fun and light small-town America feel to them. They’re cute and simple filled with interesting characters. Interesting characters that I want to meet again in some of the series that these novellas introduced me to. More books to add to the wishlist!!!
This was a wonderful collection that left me feeling content and happy. Exactly what you feel after reading a good romance. Or really, any good book in my case. Definitely one that I’ll be reading again.
Carly Phillips takes you back to the town of Serendipity, where overworked Alexa has an instant connection with a sinfully sexy football star on the dance floor. A one-night stand evolves into multiple nights when Luke decides to teach the good doctor about his own brand of fun. But when it’s time for him to leave town, will this “Perfect Stranger” be able to say good-bye for good?
Alright, this story did have slightly stalkers vibes. I mean, guy and girl dance I a club, she has to rush off to help a friend. He then… follows her? And yet, because there is that level of mutual interest and chemistry, it somehow becomes sweet. I’m not sure WHY that is. But I still thoroughly and seriously enjoyed this novella.
I loved that this is a story about usurping parental expectations and finding one’s own path. So many of my younger decisions were based on the idea of what my parents would and wouldn’t like. What was expected of me because I was intelligent. But, ultimately, happiness for me was completely against what my family had expected for me. And the same is obviously the situation I this story. Probably part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.
Although this is a romance, the part I enjoyed most about the “romance” was the fact that it was about finding one’s own happiness. And that most definitely happened here.