I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I Dare You
Ilsa Madden- Mills
Sports Romance
April 26, 2018
254

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Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills kicks off a brand-new, sexy, heartfelt contemporary romance series with I DARE YOU!

Badass Athlete: I dare you to…
Delaney Shaw: Who is this?

The late night text is random, but "Badass Athlete" sure seems to know who she is…

Delaney Shaw.
Good girl.
Lover of fluffy kitties and Star Wars.
Curious.

His dare? Spend one night in his bed—a night he promises will be unforgettable—and she can solve the mystery of who he is.

She knows she shouldn't, but what else is she going to do with her boring Valentine's Day?

One sexy hook-up later, her mind is blown and the secret's out.

Maverick Monroe.
Bad boy.
The most talented football player in the country.
Just ask him.

Too bad for him Delaney's sworn off dating athletes forever after her last heartbreak.

But Maverick wants more than one night and refuses to give up on winning Delaney’s heart. She isn’t one to be fazed by a set of broad shoulders.

Will the bad boy land the nerd girl or will the secrets they keep from each other separate them forever?

“Just… wait for me.”

New adult romance and sports romance are not necessarily my top tropes, but Ilsa Madden-Mills is definitely a favorite of mine and so I trusted that her writing ability would make this book worth my while. I wasn’t disappointed.

Delaney Shaw is a bit of a geeky girl. Beautiful, but drawn more to Star Wars and cat videos than high heels and frat parties. However, she does have a love of “dares” and finds it difficult to turn one down. In completing a dare, she feels as if she is allowed to be someone different, even if only for a moment. And a dare that comes from a mysterious guy over text? She totally digs that.

Maverick Monroe is Waylon University’s golden boy. Football all-star and the guy every girl lusts after, he’s seemingly living the dream. But what no one knows is that Maverick can barely keep it all together. Supporting an alcoholic dad, a disabled sister and juggling classes and football practice has begun to wear on him. He needs money. And NCAA rules forbid him to be paid, or to work, as long as he plays.

The two meet at a freshman football party. Share one shiver-inducing kiss and then go their separate ways for two years. Maverick treads water trying to keep it all going and Delaney dates one of his fellow players, until she’s cheated on. But their friendship begins anew, both through anonymous texts and in person meetings. And as time goes on, their feelings for one another grow ever deeper. But Delaney wants it all. And Maverick is holding pieces of himself back.

Can they handle the truth when it comes out? Will full disclosure spell the end for them?

Ms. Madden-Mills’ characters dare to be different. They buck stereotypes and embrace their inner nerd. They have loyal friends who support them along the way, and arch-nemeses who try their hardest to trip them up. But in the end, victory is achieved, in the form of an HEA.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the interaction between Delaney and Maverick, both in their text flirtation and when they spent time together. I loved Mav’s bromance with Ryker, and Delaney’s soul sister, Skye. Even ex-boyfriend, Alex, provided some necessary plot movement.

I think the biggest issues for me were: the blurb seems completely different than how the story actually plays out, and the ending felt very rushed. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that the last several chapters seemed to happen very quickly, without time gaps being filled in. I was missing that sense of how decisions came to be made, how the relationship evolved, and how the characters grew in the face of what had gone down. The epilogue was lovely, but I wished there had been more detail about the intervening years. I’m hoping we’ll get some more about these two in the next book in the series, which I definitely look forward to reading.

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