Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin #Review

Posted February 2, 2016 by Shari in Reviews / 18 Comments

Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin


Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin

She knows what he’s like on Boston’s mean streets. Now she’s going to find out if he’s got some heart.

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.

Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

The Delight

Dare to Run starts out quite rough showing you life isn’t to so easy for Lucas after prison. Heidi is trying to eeking out a living from her run down bar. Circumstances bring them together, but it was hard to find common ground for me to love this story. It moved slowly at times and made you question if this was going to end badly.

~~~ Shari the Delighted Reader


Sooooo….I started this book with the wrong assumption it was a MC romance. It’s not. It is a mobster/mafia story about a man whose life was troubled and he is looking for a way out. Lucas has recently gotten out of jail. Not much is said about why he was in prison other than you know it has to do with the Sons of Steel Row. We open up to Lucas overseeing a “shipment” where he has to prove his alpha role in the movement of goods. Right off, I wasn’t in love with Lucas and thought about putting the book down as this isn’t a genre I do well reading.

Lucas goes to the Patriot, a bar across from his car shop and apartment for a drink. A sexy young bartender catches his eye, but life is kind of in Hell right now and he isn’t looking for a hook up. Heidi isn’t looking for a hook up either, but the guy at the end of her bar draws her attention. Heidi has had a hard life and inheriting the bar from someone who took her in is all she’s got. When she is brutally assaulted on evening, Lucas comes to her rescue, causing problems with a rival gang.

Now a can of worms have been opened up and someone wants Lucas dead. Add to that that Heidi has been marked for a kill. The two only have each other as they don’t exactly hide in his apartment, but it becomes their safe place. Slowly (relatively), they start off arguing, but extremely attracted to each other. Lucas as an escape plan for one to another country. He can’t just go off and leave Heidi for a kill, but he also can’t stay and be killed. Heidi won’t take his escape plan as she has busted her butt to get where she is in life. She’s not giving up the bar and she is not going to leave Lucas set up to be killed either.

Most of the story is kind of a downer as you wonder how the Hell they are going to get out of off this and even if you care at some point if they do. Several times I put this book down and wanted to walk away from it. I just wanted Lucas to find some frickin’ peace and for Heidi to sell the bar and move away from Steel Row. Neither were listening to me much.

The great bright point is how Lucas treats Heidi. At some points he seems indifferent, but when they are together he is the gentlest most caring guy with a lot of style. He just won’t let anyone kill him and he will kill for the littlest thing. Heidi for her part is a strong woman who loves deeply if she can get past the untrust. She also doesn’t know when to back down and go for safety. Standing up has its good points, but sometimes it just isn’t going to work.

The ending worked for me, but left me not wanting to continue with these men and the women they are going to meet. The life they have is brutal and just to reality based for my liking. I recommend this one for anyone who likes a more reality based story of mobster/mafia type romances who aren’t squeamish about really bad guys getting what they deserve. The loving is good and the dreaming even better, but the story isn’t about roses, so you have to plant the seeds of the dead to get those roses.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin #Review
Dare to Run

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: The Sons of Steel Row #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Signet
Released on February 2, 2016
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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Literary Pickers: Dead Bolt
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About Jen McLaughlin

Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of sexy books with Penguin Random House. Under her pen name, Diane Alberts, she is also a USA TODAY bestselling author of Contemporary Romance with Entangled Publishing. Her first release as Jen McLaughlin, Out of Line, hit the New York Times, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal lists. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal-clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and four cats. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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  • Okay, I get that he’s a RB, but if there’s not much actual play-by-play of the game, it should be titled something else. I would have wanted this simply for the football aspect. I loves my football players, especially running backs. Hmm, not sure about this one.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I love this series so I picked it up not caring who it was for and wasn’t totally upset it didn’t have much football. I just couldn’t fall in love with the characters.

  • Wow, I can see why it fell short for you. I would want to smack him for jumping to conclusions like that and to persist at it for so long. At least the series as a whole is a hit.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I wanted Josiah’s story really bad, but he took too long to get over it. He was the kind of guy that wanted love and forever. Had no commitment problems, just she wasn’t his dream girl. She kept too many secrets. At first her idea for non-profit and another that really got me early on that was wrong.

      • Oh, yes, that does make his issues not as bad. I’ve read those where the character stubbornly held out for their ideal and if she was keeping secrets then that would be frustrating, too.

  • I do think I have tried her works, but I cannot remember what I thought

    • Shari Delighted Read

      She has written a book about a high school football coach and a tennis coach. That was my first book by her. Then there was a military trilogy. And then there is the boxing military series as well.

  • RO

    The title captivated me initially, but when I read that she has an “almost ex”, I was a little confused, because I was wondering how that was resolved. It’s always the pits when someone you’re hanging out with is drawing some crazy conclusions, too, so I’m not sure this would be a keeper for me. Loved your review!

    • Shari Delighted Read

      She has been split from her husband for a long while and he won’t sign the papers for the divorce. That is what irritated me. She should have come clean before she got involved with Josiah. No matter if she felt single, she wasn’t by law and he had a right to know that.

  • I don’t know anything about football, although usually romance novels don’t get into the nitty gritty of the sport!


    • Shari Delighted Read

      I am a huge football fan. I can leave most other sports behind, but never football!

  • I am sorry this one wans’t as good as you’ve come to expect from this series. I don’t like the sound of how she keeps a secret from him and I usually don’t like that in books. So I can see how that made you like the book less. And Josiah really sounds like an ass for most of the book, that always makes it hard to feel the romance when one of the characters act like that. It does sound like a great sports romance series. Great review!

    • Shari Delighted Read

      This is the second book I have found where the woman had been separated for a while, but the husband wouldn’t sign the divorce papers. I don’t blame them, but they need to be honest about it up front before embarking on a new relationship. I just wished I could enjoy it as I love this series.

  • That was a lot of me for this one. He really could be a world class jerk and it did feel off compared to the rest of the series. Hopefully the next will be back to normal.

  • LOL! Yes, that would be a bit of a surprise if you were expecting something different. Yeah, this pair had me worried about how they were going to get out of their troubles alive.

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I didn’t think it would end well. It was an ok ending, but I really didn’t like the story.

  • I love the Godfather so there’s that. I’m not sure about adding romance to that set up though, I love the grittier, more political aspects of the mob than some dude finding romance in the middle of something like this…

    • Shari Delighted Read

      I don’t mind grittier stories, but I have a problem when both the hero and heroine don’t have any hope for a future and think they will be dead soon. Always living in fear just isn’t my thing.