Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ARC Review: Dare to Surrender (minor Spoliers)

Dare to Surrender (Dare to Love #3)

by Carly Phillips


After ending a relationship to a cheating, domineering man, Isabelle Masters takes off in her leased Mercedes, only to be arrested for grand theft and hauled to a local police station. To her surprise, she is rescued by the most unlikely person possible, Gabriel Dare, a man she’s been attracted to for far too long. Gabe offers Isabelle freedom along with an invitation to Eden, an exclusive island resort where everything and anything is possible.
Although Gabe yearns to possess Isabelle, he knows all too well he must fight his primitive need to bind her to him, and instead help bring out the independent woman she yearns to become – or risk losing her for good.
A woman who needs to run her own life. A man who needs to exert control. Can she surrender to his erotic demands without losing her sense of self once more?
Themes: Bondage, contemporary
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
 What a strange and interesting view of a relationship that borders on Dom/sub without ever actually labeling the relationship that way.  It is obvious from the beginning that Gabe is a man that likes to be in control and Isabelle is the type of woman that flourishes with the love and care of a man who can fulfill all her emotional needs, without completely taking over all aspects of her life. This is technically the third novel in the Dare to Love series, though it is a rather loose connection, with only a small mention of the Dare siblings that have starred in previous books.  It also belongs to a large group of books (Invitation to Eden) with several authors including novellas all in some way connected to the Private resort called Eden (or so I understand as this is the only one I’ve read).  While I enjoy all Carly Phillips novels, Her newest self-published Dare to Love Series is certainly one of her steamiest set of books and I find myself drawn to them inexplicably and unable to resist them.  I am looking forward to reading the rest of the Dare siblings and cousins’ stories and perhaps getting a chance to read more of the Eden novels as well.
Gabe has watched Isabelle from a far for a long time, unwilling to poach on another man’s woman, but unable to resist her pull on him.  When he stumbles on her, handcuffed to his brother’s desk, and discovers she is no longer unavailable, he jumps immediately to the conclusion that this is his only chance and he can’t squander it.   Offering her sanctuary in his luxury apartment until she is able to find her feet again, he immediately starts a sensual assault on all her walls, determined to convince her to stay with him forever and let him care for her.  Isabelle fights him at every turn, though she knows she has fallen for him deeply, she is determined to stand on her own two feet.  After the debacle of her last relationship she refuses to let any man take over her life again and knows with every fiber of her being that Gabe is the type of man that will completely take over her life if she lets him.  When she leaves him behind, breaking both their hearts, in an attempt to make her own way, there is no denying that she hungers for him and regrets her choice to leave him behind.  When Gabe’s sister offers her the business opportunity of her lifetime, she reluctantly agrees to travel with Lucy Dare to the private island resort of Eden to serve as designer on the new nightclub the Dares are opening there.  But when Gabe returns to her life with a bang, there is no way in hell she’ll let him go a second time…as long as they can compromise and find a way to be together without losing their identities at the same time.
Damn that Gabe is seriously sexy and a man whose sexy voice and wicked thoughts could lead any woman down the path of sensual exploration. Though he has lived his life for the last years keeping all emotions from his relationships with women, there is no way he can keep himself from falling for Isabelle. He is sexy in his determination to keep her happy, sweet in how he cares for her, and always seems to be there when she really needs him including emotionally. I loved seeing him take charge in their lives, especially the bedroom, but it was obvious he had very little experience with the softer side of his emotions or hers.  It was nice to see Isabelle pull him out of his shell and remind him that she is perfectly capable of making a life for herself without him, but that having him in her life makes it infinitely richer and worth the risk to have their HEA.  Isabelle was a strange mix of innocence and experience, strength and vulnerability, self-consciousness and bravado.  Once minute you can see just how much her past has left her broken emotionally, and the next we see her picking herself back up and refusing to give in the her weaknesses.  It was nice to see her as she blossomed with the compliments from Gabe and the honest desire he displayed for her so readily. This was a story of her coming in to her own as much as finding her love and finally allowing herself to fall for a good and honest man.
I really did enjoy this story very much, though I can say with all honestly I hated the fact that the portions of the story directly pertaining to Isabelle were written in first person.  While it was well enough done, I just don’t like reading romances in this writing manner, especially when the portions from Gabe's POV were in third person.  It was a bit confusing when jumping around, but I guess it can deal with it for such a great story.  Gabe was the quintessential Dare man—sexy, controlling, demanding, sexy, sensual, sweet, caring, sexy and loving, nuff said.  While he was obviously resistant to letting Isabelle into his heart and especially his past, he demanded she give him all of herself, which made him seem a bit of a hypocrite at times, but thankfully he comes around and gives her all of him too.  Isabelle is the kind of woman I can relate to;  she has insecurities like any other woman, and sometimes makes mistakes in her life, but she always deals with the consequences of her choices and is determined not to let Gabe stand in front of her in their life, instead having him at her side is her goal.  The passion between them exploded every second, and he spoke dirty to her or even just used his commanding voice, I felt ever word in my own body, which is the sign of a great author if you ask me. I am dying to see what comes next for the Dare family, but I do hope that the rest of the novels revert to Carly’s standard third person writing style.

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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