Dare Me by Leigh Ellwood is my first keeper of the year. It is published by Phaze, a epub that was the recently featured at Dear Author . I decided on Dare Me on a whim. I couldn’t put this book down once I had started reading it and while I would love for everybody to read this book, it won’t appeal to everybody.
Dare Me is a sequel of sorts to Truth or Dare. The protagonists of Truth or Dare—Ellie and Brady make their obligatory appearance but they are only there to move the plot along. The story centers around Cal Briscoe, a secondary character from Truth or Dare. A fifty-year old bass guitar player who is still trying to live wild and free and is in the best shape of his life. We first meet Cal when he is “otherwise engaged” to singer Trisha’s private parts. The shit hits the fan when Trisha’s husband shows up unexpectedly. Trisha immediately shoos Cal to the balcony that is several stories high; damn near making escape near impossible.
However, Cal gets an incentive to jump for it when the scantily clad, elderly neighbor down below spots him on the balcony. Picture the lady with the saddle bag sun tan from There’s Something About Mary.
“You, my friend were set-up,” the old woman replied.
“Your kidding.” Cal replied.
“She told me about it a few months ago, at a party I had here. She was drunk, and oy, the things she said.” The woman stuck the lighter between her lips and inhaled. “They have this role playing thing. She picks up some unsuspecting horny jackass like yourself for some coffee and hair pie and Hubby ‘accidentally’ arrives home unexpected.” Finger quotes accentuated the explanation.
“She gets the dope out on the balcony, she and Hubby fuck, then he ‘pretends’ to discover the other guy and drags him back inside, where he proceeds to ram his giant cock into the guy’s blowhole as ‘punishment.’
Cal eventually jumps off the balcony to save his blowhole. Eventually, Cal heads to his best friend’s house after an uneventful evening. It’s the last place he wants to be since he has a serious crush on his best friend’s girl, Ellie. He later learns that they are to be married and this puts him in a funk and Ellie forever out of his reach. The happy couple recommend that he take a break. Get out of New York. So, Ellie gives Cal the key to her cottage in Dareville, Virginia.
Enter Sue who has a established career as a photographer in Dareville. She is also house sitting for her friend Ellie at the cottage and taking care of her cat, Typhoid. One day, her best friend, Lauren, comes to her for help. Lauren is trying to hook up with a widow named Jake, whom Lauren still considers “virile” whose in his sixties. Clearly this is a set up for the next book in the Dareville series. Lauren decides to ask Sue to take racy photos of herself to get his attention and Sue reluctantly agrees.
Cal gets to Dareville in the middle of night and ends up sleeping with someone whom he mistakes for Ellie. Previous events lead up to that ‘moment’ to explain the mistake. The next morning has all kinds of surprises in store for Sue and Cal as both have been “set up” by their friends and after two weeks of annoying each other, they finally get to know each other and this is where the book really shines.
I thought the romance was somewhat realistic in that the reader gets to be emotionally involved in the story and root for the couple’s happy ending. We get to see why they both fall for each other. The romance was a refreshing read. And I found it believable when Cal has finally set aside his feelings for Ellie to friendship and finds that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Sue.
Sue has doubts about her life, her body. She isn’t comfortable with how she looks and has insecurities but Cal helps her with those insecurities. Cal supports her career, gives her advice. A real nice guy. He’s never underhanded with her or trying to get her into bed. There’s no mental lusting going on here. Just two adults who are making the most of a situation and developing a tentative friendship that turns into love.
Cal has his insecurities too and Sue is there to comfort him and inspire him. The music world think he’s a has-been washed up musician and he’s still sensitive about his failure to make it big as a solo artist. He had success being apart of the band that Brady put together but he really wanted a solo career of his own. After spending time with Sue, he finds himself able to write music again. Also, as he realizes that he is in love with Sue; however he’s worried about her not wanting to leave Dareville with him knowing how hard she’d worked to establish herself here. Cal and Sue share their “story”; Cal shares some of his wildest memories about groupies, etc. They share a memorable, intimate moment that I enjoyed reading very much.
Then there are the love scenes which are hot. I loved reading this book and would read it again. As mentioned before, this story won’t appeal to everybody especially if you are easily offended by some recreational drug use, three-somes and there’s a scene where Sue has an erotic dream about Lauren, the best friend who wanted racy photos of herself. That’s about it.
At the heart of the story this is a romance. I strongly recommend this story to those who enjoy a really good love story. A memorable story. My grade: A-.
Must note that I am chargrined at the fact that Phaze has a link to Playgirl. Why any site would be want to be affiliated with porn is beyond me.