Dare to Run (The Sons of Steel Row #1) by Jen McLaughlin
Releasing February 2, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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.
There was something about him, some- thing I couldn’t put my finger on, that made me hyperaware of his very being whenever he was in the same room as me. I didn’t know his name, but I knew he had danger written all over him. In permanent marker.
He watched me with narrowed eyes that did bad things to my equilibrium. I knew from memory that they were green. Like, really green. They looked clean and fresh and happy, but he was none of those things. He always came in wearing jeans and a muscle-hugging long-sleeved shirt, which he always rolled up to just below his elbows to show off his strong arms covered in a thin dusting of ne hair. I’d stared at those freaking arms way too many times. I’d never been one for arms, for the love of God, but on him? They just worked. Everything did. In truth, he looked raw, gritty, and dangerous. And he had the faintest hint of a Boston accent.
As if he hadn’t already been unfairly sexy.
He’d been in every night for the past week, but before then, I’d never seen him. When he came in, he barely spoke two words to me and mostly communicated with grunts and money. He wasn’t rude or anything. Just the strong, silent type.
The only personal thing I knew about him was that he ran the mechanic shop across the street. I wanted to know more, and there was only one way that was going to happen. Straightening, I made my way over to him. “Whatcha drinking tonight, Lucky?”
He shrugged out of his dark brown leather jacket— another item he was never without—and dragged his hands through his dark brown hair. Although it wasn’t completely brown. It had a tinge of red . . . not that I’d noticed, of course. Once he settled his jacket on the stool, he eyed me with those bright Irish eyes of his. “My name’s not Lucky.”
“Are you sure?” I cocked my head. “It fits. I mean, you practically scream Irish. Reddish hair, light eyes. Devastating charm.”
He cocked a brow. “Devastating charm, huh?”
“Sure.” I leaned on the bar. His eyes dipped south but shot back up almost instantly. “You come in here, scowl at everyone, and barely say a word. If that’s not devastating charm, I don’t know what is.”
“Then you need to get out more, Heidi.” He tapped his fingers on the bar and locked gazes with me. “That’s your name, right?”
My stomach clenched tight at the sound of my name on his lips. With his accent, it sounded almost musical. “Yeah. How did you know?”
“I pay attention . . .” He trailed off and gave me a charming—yes, charming—smile. “In between bouts of being lethally charming, that is.”
My heartbeat picked up speed, but I ignored it. I would not swoon over the guy just because he smiled my way. I would not. “Sure. Or you’re a stalker. One or the other.”
“Darlin’?” He leaned in. He smelled good. Like Dolce & Gabbana cologne, leather, cars, and a healthy dose of pure man. And when he said darling, with the hard r dropping off like that, it melted my insides into a puddle of hot want and desire. I bet he knew it, too. “I’ve been coming here all week. You of all people should know I don’t need to stalk women to get them to come home with me.”
I reared back and widened my eyes, doing my best to look offended. It wasn’t easy, because I was pretty much impossible to offend. “Excuse me?” I feigned. “Who said anything about me going home with you?”
For a second, he looked embarrassed. A brief, tiny second. Then the smirk slipped back into place and he tapped his fingers on the bar again. The leashed power behind such a simple gesture sent a shiver down my spine. “Oh, that’s just adorable. You didn’t have to say a thing. I’ve felt you watching me every night.”
Wow! Just wow! I’m hooked now! I’ll admit I chose to read this book based on the cover alone. It’s that hot. Jen MacLaughlin delivered an incredible story that lived up to the cover. I love the bad boy/ villain heroes and Lucas was just that. I fell in love with him while the heroine was falling for him. All that cocky Boston bad boy attitude with a protective streak had me swooning. The chemistry between Lucas and Heidi was off the charts. I loved their interactions and banter. Dare to Run was full of angst, suspense and smoking hot romance. It’s a little dark but not too dark. We get a look into the gang life without being overwhelmed with too much of it. It focuses on the love story. This series is now one of my book addictions. I’ll be stalking the next release and can’t wait to see what Jen MacLaughlin has in store for us next.
*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.
Kindle | Amazon PBK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks
*Reading in Pajamas is responsible for this giveaway.
Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of sexy books with Penguin Random House. Under her pen name, Diane Alberts, she is also a USA TODAY bestselling author of Contemporary Romance with Entangled Publishing. Her first release as Jen McLaughlin, Out of Line, hit the New York Times, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal lists. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.