Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review of Love Me If You Dare by Kate Laurens

Some things change.
It’s been three years since Kaylee Sawyer has been home—home to the alcoholic mother she can’t handle, home to the painful memories of her sister Ella... and home to the guilt she’s carried for years. About to enter her final year of college, she is determined to come to terms with the mess of her past—and to ignore the guy whose single kiss has been tattooed into her mind forever.
Some things stay the same...
Dylan McKay is still golden haired and dangerous, the flame Kaylee was always afraid to touch for fear of getting burnt. But despite the damage that’s been done, she finds that she still can’t stay away from the one person who accepted her the way she was.
Some things are meant to be.
Kaylee is no longer the innocent girl she once was. Though tragedy ripped them apart before, one look from Dylan brings all of the old feelings rushing back. Torn between her past and her future, she’s not sure if a person can ever truly go home again.
But Dylan doesn’t plan to let her go without a fight.


Courtesy of the previous book in this series I've now become a fan of New Adult reads and was greatly anticipating Love Me If You Dare.  The first book in the Safe Havens series introduced us to a group of young women dealing with childhood issues as they go forward into adulthood amidst intense emotions.  The emotions are running just as high this time around with grief, loss, and guilt being just a few of the emotions Kaylee carries with her as she returns home for a visit after being absent for years.  She's not the same girl she once was and these changes aren't necessarily for the better no matter how hard she tries to convince herself and others.  The only thing that hasn't changed is her affection for bad boy Dylan.  Growing up she was the good girl, the daughter who kept the family going, the girl who had her whole life planned out and never deviated from that path.  The one night she decides to walk on the wild side by going out with Dylan ends in tragedy and an event that changes everyone's futures.

Kaylee's good girl days are long behind her as she's now living for the moment, partying and meandering through life just like her sister once did.  Her friends at school think this is the real Kaylee but going home shows her the truth about herself and why she's lost sight of her goals.  It also reacquaints her with Dylan as they slowly start a relationship that's burdened with misunderstandings.  Kaylee's strong-willed but has been hiding from the truth, truths that Dylan and her mother force her to see.  She thought her actions were honoring the one she lost but it's actually herself that got lost.  As a child she thought she could fix everything but being an adult shows her that you can't control others.  She can only control herself but slowly realizes that she's out of control and taking on traits that she's always been critical of.  These eye-opening revelations lead to a wiser Kaylee who's finally going to live her own life as we head towards a HEA that hints at happiness but leaves her and Dylan still at the cusp of a relationship.

Dylan grew up on the edge and found Kaylee's sister Ella the perfect partying partner but felt nothing romantic for her.  Those feelings he reserved for the quiet and studious Kaylee who he finally made a move on one night that ended in tragedy.  That moment irrevocably changed him and put him on a straight and narrow path where he's now a serious hardworking man who's still super sexy and makes women melt with a smile.  He still senses the sexual tension between him and Kaylee and wants to see where things can now go even though she still feels he belongs to Ella.  His charm soon wins her over as their burgeoning relationship forces Kaylee to let go of unnecessary guilt and take back some of the traits that he admired in her as teens.  Only when they let out years of mutual grief can they finally let go of the past and move forward together.

Along with main characters who put each other, and us readers, through the wringer through misguided guilt and non-stop sexual tension comes a colorful cast of small town secondary characters.  The most notable being Jax whose sexual orientation is very much left in doubt.  His friendship is definitely NOT in doubt though as he's the catalyst for bringing Dylan and Kaylee back together.  Jax is charming and loyal and his love life is about to become complicated and I'm definitely left breathless waiting for his story to be told.  While not as profoundly heartbreaking as the previous installment in the Safe Haven series I still found myself fully immersed in Kaylee and Dylan's heartache.  Ms. Laurens has created yet another satisfying story that keeps me invested in this series and the New Adult genre.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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