Sunday, October 8, 2017

Book Review: 'Dare You To' by Riley Hart

California author Riley Hart states she is a hopeless romantic, ‘a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.’ She has written (and contributed to) more than 15 novels to date.

DARE YOU TO serves as a prequel to Riley’s series ‘Wild Side’ and she cautions us that the Austin and Dare are not the main characters in that series (though they will have bit parts) but the bar – Wild Side – is the focal point. Being a prequel the book is shirt – 70 pages – but the action is tight and the springboard for her upcoming series has great thrust.

One of Riley’s fine attributes is her ability to create credible characters as is obvious in the opening pages of this book – ‘Dare kept Austin on his toes. If he was being honest, he didn’t know how they were such good friends because they didn’t have much in common. Austin was a youth counselor at an LGBT center. Dare owned a bar. Austin liked to spend his spare time reading; Dare definitely hadn’t gotten his name from books. He loved doing anything thrilling. He loved extreme sports and taking risks, and Austin left that up to Dare and the characters in his books. Despite all of that, Dare was probably one of the best friends he’d ever had— minus the probably. Dare walked over and ruffled Austin’s dark red hair like he was a kid. “Stop it.” Austin jerked his head back, and Dare laughed— deep and sincere, with a husky edge to it. He had the happiest laugh Austin had ever heard— full of life and energy. “You know you love me.”

The synopsis provided winks at us with the essence of the story: ‘Austin Thompson spends most of his spare time reading or logging in extra hours at the LGBTQ youth center where he works. His only standing “night out,” if you can call it that, is his weekly movie night with his best friend, Dare Nichols. Between work and Dare, it’s hard to find time for much else, so when he does try to date, it ends in disaster. Dare thrives on living life on the wild side—surfing, mountain biking, skydiving. If it’s extreme, he’s game. Between sports and spending his evenings at his West Hollywood bar, Dare never sees a dull moment. Still, with all that excitement, most of his favorite times are when he’s tucked away in Austin’s apartment. Probably because he’s the best friend Dare’s ever had. Then the kiss happens and the men realize they don’t want to stop there. As they explore this new adventure in their relationship, Austin realizes the excitement he’s been looking for has been right there all along, and Dare must decide if he can conquer his only fear by risking his heart.’

Very fine writing here and a refreshing experience to read how a woman can intuit male/male romances. She does it VERY well. Grady Harp, January 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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