Review: Dare to Lie by Jen McLaughlin

Review: Dare to Lie by Jen McLaughlinDare to Lie by Jen McLaughlin

Series: #3 Sons of Steel Row
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Berkley on February 7, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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At last!  Yes, I have been waiting for Scotty Donahue’s book since that zinger of a last scene in Dare to Run.  Now with book three, comes Scotty’s story.  He walks the line between two dangers and lives a lie within a lie.  This may be a romance, but the story surrounding it is intense and a real page turner.

Dare to Lie is the third entry in the Sons of Steel Row series.  I suppose a reader could get by reading it out of order, but would miss out on Scotty’s intro in book one, the surrounding cast of characters, and a better picture of what exactly is going down in this one.

At this point, I’m going to pause and say that if you have any plans to read the series that though I will keep as much of the series spoilers back as I can, there is definitely one that I can’t avoid to do my review so you might want to put this on pause until you’re done with at least book one.

Dare to Lie begins close to when Dare to Stay leaves off.  Scotty, Chris, and the rest of the Sons of Steel Row gang are leaving the meeting house for a Sons’ funeral when they are hit by the Bitter Hill gang.  The Sons fight them off, but it is just one more chilling reminder that the rival gang really needs to be taken out before more killings happen.  Scotty’s pretty sure his handlers in the DEA would be all for taking out the other gang who deals in drugs, but he’s waiting for the day to come when the DEA does joint operations with the ATF and then he’ll have to choose.  His loyalties are divided.  The Sons gave him a chance to stay off the streets and be safe in the protection of the brotherhood, but his dream to clean up his Southie neighborhood of Steel Row is what made him choose undercover police work and he is not unaware that the Sons are no charity group.

Speaking of charity groups, Scotty is never more surprised in his life when his gang leader, Tate Daniels, informs him that he has a younger sister, but that he wants Scotty to go to her charity bachelor auction function in Tate’s place.  Tate makes it clear that Skylar is off limits to Scotty.  Only when Scotty arrives, he becomes a source of curiosity and then burning attraction and intrigue for studious good girl, Skylar.  Skylar believes she has a gift in reading people and what she gets from staring deep into the man her brother sent to take his place leads her to wanting something she shouldn’t.  Scotty makes it clear that he’s no good for her and she would get hurt, but she plunges ahead and goes on instinct instead of the smart choice for the first time.

Scotty’s secrets, Skylar’s identity as Tate’s sister, the escalating gang war, and a romance that should not be all make for a combustible situation that might leave everyone hurt and dying.

Alright, as I said, this was the book I wanted so badly I could taste it.  I was not disappointed in the way Scotty Donahue was portrayed or the situation with the gang and his undercover work.  He really is a man pulled so many directions at once and now his attraction and need for Skylar really amps that up.

Speaking of the romance between Scotty and Skylar, yeah, that first scene with them together almost had me setting the book down in the second chapter.  I am not a fan of how Skylar’s libido came rushing to the surface like a forest fire and became all-consuming just at the sight of Scotty and that special tingle that happened when they touched.  Fortunately, I wanted Scotty’s story badly enough that I ignored the first meet and settled in to enjoy what came afterward.  They are a passionate pair and a passion in a developed romance is always welcome.

Skylar is so much more than she seems at first glance.  This relieved me to no end because she had to have inner strength and the ability to understand and connect with a complex guy like Scotty.  She got hit with several shocks and a betrayal, but she stayed the course.  I loved these two together and particularly because Scotty needed something good to happen in his life.

And just when I thought that my need for more from this series had died down, the enigmatic Tate moves out of the shadows.  The Sons leader has been present since the beginning, but in getting to know Skylar in this book, Tate is revealed a little too.  Yeah, I’m going to need more Tate especially after that teaser ending in this one.

So in summary, this one delivered on the passion, danger, and overall story leaving me needing more of the Sons.  This one is for those contemporary romance and romantic suspense fans who enjoy hitting the hard streets in a gritty street gang romance series.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #30 RS
Literary Pickers #29 toothbrush
New Release #15
COYER #57

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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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Debbie Haupt

    Sounds good Sophia Rose Thanks! I haven’t read a biker romance

    • Oh, this one is a gang- undercover cop romance. It’s intense, Debbie. 🙂

  • So glad to see you enjoyed this one. There’s something very hot about forbidden romance.

    • Yeah, this one was firecracker hot, Angie. His gang boss’ sister while he was an undercover cop. Whew!

  • Glad to see this was an awesome read for you! I’ve been thinking of picking up this series! I love it when there’s a good tease for the next character’s book! Awesome review. Sophia Rose!

    • Oh, I hope you get the chance, Cyn. I won’t go so far as to say they’re amazing, but this series is still pretty good. And yes, I’ve anticipated each new book b/c of the way she sets it up at the end of the story with the next hero.

  • I just skimmed your review since I haven’t read this series yet, but I just requested book one from my library so hopefully I will get my hands on it soon. I do love a suspenseful romance.

    • I have a feeling these will be a good match for you, Renee. Gritty action, shades of gray characters, and spicy passion. 🙂

  • Disqus is tripping! I have no idea why it was logged into my other email and asking for verification. Anyhoo, this is another series that I need to start. I have the first book on my Kindle, but haven’t had the time or desire to really give it a try. These sound like some “Sons” that I need to meet. LOL!

    • Disqus does that to me now and then, too. Out of the blue I suddenly have to go back and log in on this account.

      Yes, these ‘Sons’ stories are dark and gritty and I’ve enjoyed each one. I hear you about sometimes not being in the mood even when a book appeals to me.

  • I quit reading at your warning and then went to Amazon to see book one. Then I saw that they are criminals? I will be honest I would hate that. But that’s just me. I am weird like that 🙂

    • You are not weird, Lorna. 🙂 You’re smart because realistically, it’s odder to enjoy a romance with gang members as heroes I think. LOL

  • Whew glad they were able to overcome that first meet for ya. I need to get back to book one. Just wasn’t in the right mood when I had it that first go. But a few of yall have really raved about these and have me interested again 🙂

    • I hear you about that mood thing. I’ve tossed a handful of books back up on the shelf to wait until I could try them again. I remember I wasn’t a hundred percent sold on the first book in this series either. The big stuff at the end is what gave me the push to keep going then book two worked well for me- and I wanted this one all along. 🙂