Review: Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin! @DianeAlberts

Dare to Run (The Sons of Steel Row #1)
by Jen McLaughlin
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Signet
The New York Times bestselling author of the Out of Line Novels takes readers to Boston, where one gang of criminals knows how being bad can be so good…
She knows what he’s like on Boston’s mean streets. Now she’s going to find out if he’s got some heart.
Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble.
Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one.
Karia’s thoughts…
First: The cover is not correct. Lucas has no tattoos visible below the t-shirt arms…thus the great joy for both Heidi and me was discovering a chest full of tats and a nipple ring! Like unwrapping an awesome present that only gets better and better. Not that I am going to complain too much about the guy on the cover, but Lucas’ appeal was that he actually looked “almost normal” if it weren’t for the air of badass dangerous MF that rolled off of him in waves.  
Second: I love men…men of all kinds, but I do have a soft spot for the hint of red in the hair, beard and especially chest…again the guy on the cover looks more like the “black” Irish look instead of the gentle ginger that was Lucas.
Third: I expected Lucas to swear more. Call me crazy, but the “mean streets” of Boston seemed like a place where industrial language would run a plenty…but Lucas was quite staid and eloquent actually in his linguistics. Also, the lack of any old girl/previous hook-ups was a welcome change, but I kinda expected at least some since Lucas had grown up in Steel Row and was now one of the Kings of Steel Row fresh from prison….just a thought that I kept expecting.
Fourth: I loved the relationship between Heidi and Lucas. Both were attracted to each other from the get go…but the heat didn’t turn up until they began to get to know each other…that was actually really genuine and realistic. While the relationship did move fast (essentially the book takes over the span of one week), they talked, ate together and worked together a lot. That much “togetherness” really forged a true bond and made the words and actions that each did totally believable.
Fifth: I am totally reading The Sons of Steel Row #2…I don’t know if it will be Tate the crime boss or Scotty Lucas’ brother or another gang member…but the writing is good, the edge is just enough and the smexy parts of this one were spot on. 


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