COVER REVEAL + RE-RELEASE + SALE
The sexy, stand-alone romance from USA Today Bestseller Rebecca Shea
Two fleeting smiles.
A dare that will change my life.
That’s all it takes to send me plummeting into the arms of the mysterious Holt Hamilton. Behind his crystal blue eyes is a secret, one that screams danger but calls to me anyway.
My name is Saige Phillips.
I never walk away from a dare.
“Lucia’s Kitchen?” Saige’s eyes widen in surprise as I pull into the valet drive.
“You’ve been here before?” I ask, curious.
“No. I’ve heard it’s amazing but impossible to get a reservation.” She twists her hands together in her lap.
“It is,” I admit. “But my buddy Mark owns the restaurant. Lucia is his daughter’s name.”
She blinks at me. “You know the owner of Lucia’s?”
“Figures,” she says under her breath.
The valet opens the car door to help her out, and I jog around to meet her. Pressing my hand to the small of her back, I guide her into the fancy new restaurant in Old Town. It’s just down the road from my house and one of the neighborhood’s trendiest new restaurants.
“I thought we were just doing drinks,” she says, raising her eyebrows at me.
“We can’t very well have drinks without having something to eat. I saw the way you stumbled out of Bar 51 last night.” I smirk and she blushes.
“Mr. Hamilton, your table is ready,” the hostess says, and Saige falls quickly into step behind her.
The table I requested is private yet overlooks the outside dining area below us so it doesn’t stand out as isolated. The restaurant is dark with dim overhead lights and accent candles on the tables providing the only sources of light. The atmosphere is modern and upbeat, yet still mysterious.
“Would you like a drink? Perhaps a lemon drop shot? That’s what I saw you indulging in last night, correct?”
Her lips twist into a smile she’s holding back, and she shakes her head. “Uh, no thank you. I’ll take a vodka martini, extra dirty, please.”
I damn near choke when she says “extra dirty,” but the waiter nods his head and looks to me. “Jameson reserve. Neat.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Hamilton. I’ll be right out with your beverages.”
“Reserve?” She questions.
She puckers her lips, and I can tell she wants to say something, but she refrains.
“So I’m curious,” I begin and rest my elbow on the table. I know it goes against all forms of proper etiquette, but I honestly don’t care. “Why are we here, Saige?”
Her eyes widen, but she doesn’t hesitate. Good. “Because this is where you chose to bring us,” she deadpans.
I throw my head back and let out an exuberant laugh. She’s beautiful, smart, and funny. Everything I knew she would be and more. Our drinks arrive in record time, and I give the waiter a look to which he quickly catches on and leaves us alone. Saige picks up her martini glass and presses the rim to her bottom lip. Her tongue brushes just over the rim, easing the cool liquid into her mouth.
Her lips. That tongue. Fuck.
“So back to the question at hand,” I say, picking up my own drink. “Why are we here?” I pull a quick taste of the smooth whiskey into my mouth, letting it settle on my tongue before swallowing.
“It’s embarrassing,” she says innocently, her eyes falling to her lap.
“Tell me,” I demand with a smile. “I’m curious why Saige Phillips asked me out for a drink.”
She winces after taking another sip of her martini and pats her chest as she swallows the bitter liquid. “It was a dare,” she admits with a grimace. “It sounds childish, but we were sitting at the table and Emery decided we should play Truth or Dare, and they dared me—”
“To ask me out,” I finish her sentence. I laugh to myself, although I don’t know if I should be flattered, offended, or horrified. Truth or Dare? I scoff internally.
Saige looks absolutely mortified. She lifts her eyes and finally looks at me, answering quietly. “Yes. It’s an app that Emery has on her phone. It’s a drinking game.” She looks as horrified as I felt a moment ago. I smile as she fumbles around nervously with her explanation.
I can barely contain my laughter, and I see her visibly relax. “You asked me out on a dare?” I shake my head.
She nods and grips her martini glass for dear life.
“So what would’ve happened if you didn’t take the dare?” I ask, taking another sip of the smooth whiskey.
“I would’ve taken a shot.”
I study her expression. She’s telling the truth, but why wouldn’t she just take the shot? Seems the much easier choice rather than asking out the boss. “Didn’t look like you had any problem taking shots before you asked me out for drinks,” I quip.
“I had already had a shot,” she fires back at me. “And how would you know if I was taking shots?” She asks defensively.
I study her for a moment. “I was watching you, Saige. I enjoy watching you.” I admit boldly.
She audibly gasps, her chest rising and falling with each quick breath she takes.
I fix my eyes on hers and continue, “And I saw you watching me.”
Her upper lip twitches as she thinks of a sarcastic comeback. I can see the vein in her neck throbbing with the beat of her pulse before she finally whispers, “We shouldn’t do this.” She pulls a green olive off the toothpick floating in her martini, then she pops it into her mouth. The green olive matches her eyes perfectly.
I watch her shift uncomfortably in her chair for a few seconds before I respond, “Why not?”
“Because you’re my boss.” So naïve, sweet little Saige is.
“I’m actually not,” I tell her.
She frowns. “You own the company I work for; same thing.”
I clarify, “I’m part owner of the company you work for.”
She sighs. “Holt, this is just drinks. That’s all.” But her eyes tell me she wants more.
I lean closer to her. “It’s never just drinks, Saige.”
“Okay, but just so you know, I’m not going to fall in love with you, Holt Hamilton. It’s never going to happen. We can end this here and chalk it up to a night of crazy drinking. We can walk away with no expectations for more, and no hard feelings….So if you’re looking for a girlfriend that turns into a fiancée that turns into a wife, we’d best just end this here, because that’s not me. I’m not that girl.”
It starts with a dare. Because, what self-respecting woman says no to a dare? The thing about a dare, though, is the consequences. And those can be far different than what’s expected…
I was intrigued by the idea of DARE ME by Rebecca Shea from the moment that the blurb was released. I love a little bit of mystery with my romance, and this book seemed like it would deliver in spades. And deliver, it does, in every possible way.
Saige Phillips has had more than her share of drama and heartbreak in her life. Losing her father at a young age has left Saige afraid to open her heart again, fearful of the vulnerability of giving everything to another person, only to be crushed. When a night out with her friends results in a dare that she just can’t refuse, Saige isn’t about to get attached. But Holt Hamilton, her boss and the object of the dare, isn’t so cavalier.
“Holt, this is just drinks. That’s all.” But her eyes tell me she wants more.
I lean closer to her. “It’s never just drinks, Saige.”
Because Holt has had his eye on Saige, and he’s in it for more than a casual hook-up. But Holt is keeping secrets, ones that he can never share with Saige, because finding them out would mean the end of anything between them.
Holt Hamilton is not the average book heartthrob. Besides being sexy, intense, and driven, he’s also a man of integrity, a man that wants to give Saige the love and the peace that has been missing from her life for so long. Yes, he’s got secrets that he cannot reveal to Saige, but everything he does, he does out of a sense of responsibility for her welfare. I really enjoyed seeing him and Saige work out their relationship, watching each of them evolve in ways that they had not anticipated. I love, too, that Rebecca has written Saige as a self-sufficient, if sometimes vulnerable, heroine, recognizing her flaws and owning up to them. That she has dealt with so much at such a young age, and is still fighting to find her sense of self, her peace, is hopeful.
DARE ME is full of spark and steam, coupled with deep emotion and resilience. I was hooked from the moment that I turned the first page, and sped through it like it was my favorite dessert. Rebecca has given us a book that is an easy 4.5 stars, and one that I will savor for a long time to come. Don’t miss out on this one; take the dare, and bump it to the top of your TBR.
Signed Paperbacks of Dare Me & Fault Lines
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CONNECT WITH REBECCA
Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven), the Bound & Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies) and two stand alone novels, Dare Me and Fault Lines. She has also co-written two books with her friend, A.L. Jackson, The Hollywood Chronicles: One Wild Night and One Wild Ride
She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working full-time and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters.
When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.