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Jennifer Lane Books

Hi, I'm Jen, a psychologist/author (psycho author) in Columbus, Ohio. I write romantic suspense for adults and new adults. And I'm a voracious reader of romance and fiction. I love laughing, swimming, volleyball, and Grumpy Cat.

Currently reading

Standing at the Crossroads: Next Steps for High-Achieving Women
Patricia J. Ohlott, Marian N. Ruderman
The Space Between
Victoria H. Smith
Chasing Hope
Kathryn Cushman
Dare You To - Katie McGarry Dare to Break Free of Family Cages

I adored Katie McGarry's first novel in this series ([b:Pushing the Limits|10194514|Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)|Katie McGarry|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1322770025s/10194514.jpg|15093690]), so naturally I was eager to read book two. And Dare To You did not disappoint. The gripping elements of secrets, poverty, family dysfunction, and brilliant characterization of mismatched lovers weave a common thread through both books.

Beth Risk doesn't take risks with her heart. She's been burned too many times. Beth points to the past boyfriend who used her for sex as the source of her mistrust, but more likely it's her parents' abandonment, neglect, and abuse that have molded her dark view of the world. Beth's mother is a drug addict who keeps returning to her asshat boyfriend Trent despite his penchant for beating Beth and her mother. When Beth takes the fall for her mother and gets arrested, her long lost uncle Scott shows up to yank her out of the mess.

But Beth is far from grateful for living with her wealthy ex-pro-baseball-player uncle because now she can't make sure her mother stays alive. To add to her heartache, Uncle Scott wrenches her away from her friends Isaiah and Noah. Beth is miserable at her new school. Even the handsome star baseball pitcher Ryan Stone can't bring her out of her funk. Beth thinks his life is perfect, so why the hell would he be interested in her?

In reality, Ryan's life is far from the perfect image his parents project to the small town Kentucky community. When Ryan's older brother came out to his parents, his father disowned him. Now there's hidden conflict between Ryan's parents. Ryan has to decide whether to try to go pro or go to college on a baseball scholarship. His father doesn't care what Ryan wants to do--he cares only about appearances.

Beth's mother is some piece of work. I HATE her. Listen to what she tells Beth:

Mom throws her head back as she drinks. "You're right. I do blame you. Your father would never have left it it wasn't for you."

Wow. She gets my vote for worst mother of the year. Yet Beth keeps returning to her, which is frustrating but realistic. Beth continues to search for the love she never received.

Beth intrigues Ryan because she's so different from him. He follows all the rules. She breaks them. He strives to please authority figures. She couldn't care less. He can't get her out of his mind. How can she be so hostile? Why does she dye her beautiful blond hair black? (The reason is devastating). Is there any sense of vulnerability hidden deep down beneath that frosty exterior? As he describes it:

Like other predators, Beth can smell fear.

Ha ha! Ryan is a great mixture of strength and softness. As a sports fan, I loved the element of baseball in the story.

It's hard to pinpoint but there seemed to be a little lag in the pacing toward the end of the story, which was the story's only negative for me.

Katie McGarry opens the novel with this Chinese proverb:

"It is the beautiful bird which gets caged."

What a deft metaphor for this heartbreaking couple busting free of their respective families.