This is the first book in Lori Foster’s series, Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor. I would advise reading them in order, although it is not mandatory that you do so. There is a novella related to this series that came out first called, The Guy Next Door, but it is not essential to read that first.
Dare goes to Mexico to rescue his partner’s sister from a sex slave operation, and in doing so frees Molly Alexander (who happens to be a romance author). We can tell that Molly is not like the rest of the victims and there was more than just a typical sex slave selling; this was personal. Dare agrees to help discover who in her life arranged her kidnapping and in doing so the two begin a relationship. Does Dare have room in his dangerous life for a committed relationship? Can Molly jeopardize her heart and trust someone else for once?
The character of Molly is one in which most women can identify. She is described as average in physical appearance and it was pleasurable that for once we are given a heroine that is not a flawless bombshell. I demonstrate with Chris’ insightful description of Molly:
But there was something about her, an aura of sensuality that he knew had Dare on high alert. Her gentle smile and sedate manner emphasized that natural sex appeal.
It is this inner quality, not just her physical description that is what is so alluring. Speaking as a woman who is not perfect to look at herself, this male awareness is heartening. What I also like about Molly is that she’s not bitchy or a whiner; there is no contrived personal conflict that keeps them apart until the end. There are safety issues, quality of life issues, but Molly is very confident in her needs and wants and is practical and logical.
I wonder if Ms. Foster identifies with her at all as some of her professional life parallels Molly’s. For example, Molly speaks of her readers not liking something that she wrote in one of her books and there was a large outcry. This reminds me of one of the Fighters’ Series books in which Michael all of a sudden is taken into the future to save the world. I never read it, but the reviews on Amazon speak of the “Jump the Shark” plot. I imagine that it is very difficult for any author to make every reader happy, it just can’t happen. So the sensitive way that Ms. Foster writes about this conflict from the author’s perspective (Molly) is revealing:
If the reader wasn’t so invested in my characters, it wouldn’t matter enough to get angry over it. Right?
The Alpha male lead in this book is Dare, and as is expected, he’s hot, buff, and captivating. But what I like about Dare is his unflappability, his cool under pressure attitude:
Somehow, Dare always took the most bizarre situations and made them feel…normal. Did nothing disconcert him?
He is kind and considerate; his sensitivity to Molly in her vulnerability is touching; yet he does not treat her like a vacuous object that needs to be put on a shelf:
It didn’t matter how hard the circumstances might be on him; until Molly got through this, until she regained some control over her life, he would continue to do what he could for her.
This book deals with the concept of a man who never thought he had a life that could handle having a good woman. He never thought that he was clean enough to get a good woman. On the other handle, Molly has never had unconditional love (perhaps her sister), she always felt that she could never measure up to what her father and step-mother thought she should do or act. In the end, this book finds them together, finding the ying to their yang.
What could be better?
The only negative thing I have to say about Dare is that if you are looking for a bad boy, this is not your man. I think Trace is more what you’re looking at in a hero then. To be honest, he’s not my favorite lead (I guess I like the tortured bad boy), but he is definitely truly a good guy, who just happens to kick ass!
I loved the character of Molly and could completely identify with her. Her dialogue was refreshing and smart. For once it seems in this reviewing blog, I got some perspective on the inner workings of the female lead and she actually gained insight by the end. The sex scenes are intense and lovely; I especially like the door scene when they get back to her apartment.
There is enough excitement to keep the book interesting, but not too much that you are rolling your eyes going, “really?” I would recommend this book with the caveat that the next two books are slightly darker than this first one.
Finally, how Molly describes her books really reflects my own personal philosophy in reading romance books:
Life has sex in it, and I write about life, about people who face hardships and in the end triumph through it all. Any really good triumph deserves a lasting love, don’t you think?