I’m definitely not looking for love, but I need a date. A fake date for a wedding.
Jade owes me a favor. Because I rescued her from a dumpster—don’t ask. Jade might turn my crank, but she’s hands off when it comes to men. She’s perfect.
Well, perfect until we’re stuck together for the weekend, and I can hardly keep my eyes, or my hands, off her. I can’t go falling for my friend’s sister. What’s supposed to be fake starts to feel as real as the fire burning up the sheets between us.
Jade is feisty and a master at keeping me at a distance. Funny thing though. I don’t mind a challenge, and I’m not about to back down.
|Title:||If We Dare|
|Series:||Swoon (Book 6)|
Friends to Lovers
|Point of View:|
|Location:||Stolen Hearts Valley, Southern US|
|Release Date:||16th June, 2020|
Short, sweet and sexy
I enjoy J.H. Croix and her writing – you can always count on her to give you a sweet yet sexy story filled with the perfect amount of family, heat and heart.
This story contains a few of my favourite tropes – fake relationship, best friend’s little sister and forced proximity. And yet, it also really wasn’t any of those three in the end.
Our couple, Jade and Walker, going to the wedding of Walker’s best friend, Dave, actually takes up very little time in the book. So their fake relationship really only lasts a few chapters at most. In fact, the story fairly rattles through time with lots of stuff happening across days, weeks and months of Jade and Walker’s relationship. This is mirrored in the size of the chapters. Some are barely even a couple of pages long – and even the longest are relatively short. In some respects, that’s a great thing; it’s easy to keep reading just one more chapter. On the flip side, it also works against the book as it’s simple to pick it up and put it down without really spending enough time at each sitting to really become emotionally invested in the characters.
Speaking of the wedding – I was a bit annoyed at first about the Dave storyline (SPOILER: He has a heart attack on his wedding night. END SPOILER) It felt like it was a cheap plot device in order to postpone the physical relationship between Jade and Walker – especially since it was never mentioned again…. Until it was. Yes, the Dave storyline was brought up again towards the end, at which point I wished that it had remained a cheap plot device, as it was too much for me. (SPOILER: After cardiac surgery, Dave has a stroke and subsequently dies. END SPOILER) Sure, shitty things happen in real life. I do want characters in books to feel real – and do want them to have challenges on their way to happily ever after – but I’m really not up for reading about upsetting and heartbreaking situations, especially when I’m looking for something light, bright and up-lifting.
I enjoyed both Jade and Walker as characters even if they didn’t really fit with how I’d anticipated they’d be (totally on me, I know!). Walker was quiet and reserved – and yet he wasn’t really. He seemed perfectly amiable and chatty with everyone – Jade, his friends, people he didn’t know. And Jade was a bit of a badass – except when she continually seemed to bemoan the fact that her brother would get all in her business. I like an over-protective brother storyline but the way Jade dealt with it – always furiously stating that SHE was in charge of her love/sex life – made it seem very bratty and that she did indeed need someone to look out for her. She was a tad insecure and probably about 2% badass at most. But I liked her for the most part. She certainly wasn’t offensive or divisive in any way. And she matched her nail varnish to her outfits at the wedding – so I knew we would be friends in real life!
There’s also the storyline about Jade’s prior experience with men that has caused her to swear off dating and sex for good. (SPOILER: Her former friend had slipped her a date rape drug then presumably attempted, but did not complete, sexual assault. END SPOILER) I felt this was only briefly dealt with and not with any huge depth that made me feel overly uncomfortable – but I can only imagine that it would be triggering for those with experience of similar circumstances. As it was, in Jade’s case, it wasn’t ever an insurmountable barrier to being with Walker.
This was a bit of confusing book for me to review. It was short, sweet and sexy – it even had a few moments that gave me butterflies in the tum – but I didn’t feel that the story arc was strong enough to inspire me all that much. I kept reading, and I didn’t forget about the book at any point, but all the barriers to getting together and having a relationship were… well… they weren’t really barriers at all. It was more the story of how two people got to know each other and fell in love. That’s fine, but give them a few truly difficult roadblocks along the way that jeopardise their relationship/future together – and NOT in the form of external factors that don’t add to the story in some way.
Overall an enjoyable book and definitely one that will be snapped up by those who’ve read the previous Swoon series books. (This books stands alone but many couples, presumably from the previous books in the series, either pop up in this one or are at least name checked) It didn’t set my world on fire, and had a few issues from my personal perspective, but a decent 3 stars for a good read.
USA Today Bestselling Author J. H. Croix lives in a small town in the historical farmlands of Maine with her husband and two spoiled dogs. Croix writes steamy contemporary romance with sassy women and rugged alpha men who aren’t afraid to show some emotion. Her love for quirky small-towns and the characters that inhabit them shines through in her writing. Take a walk on the wild side of romance with her bestselling novels!