Review: Dare to Stay by Jen McLaughlin

DaretoStay
Dare to Stay
(The Sons of Steel Row #2)
By: Jen McLaughlin
Publisher: Signet
Release Date: Aug. 2, 2016
Genre: Romance
Rating:

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Bruised and bloodied on Boston’s mean streets, Chris O’Brien is reeling from the loss of his childhood best friend. But after barely escaping a hit placed on his head, Chris is desperate to live. A safe haven comes to mind – the home of the perfect girl from his childhood, Molly Lachlan. Before he has fully considered what it would mean to involve her in his mess, he finds himself on her doorstep.

When Molly agrees to let Chris inside her home, she realizes she’s also letting him into her life. Danger and desperation are coming off him like steam, and yet she can’t bring herself to turn him away. His bad boy charm always had a hold on her, but now there’s a soulfulness and sorrow in him that she’s never seen before. And despite the heart-stopping risk of helping him, she hopes against all reason that he’ll stay…

Bruised and bloodied on Boston’s mean streets, Chris O’Brien is reeling from the loss of his childhood best friend. But after barely escaping a hit placed on his head, Chris is desperate to live. A safe haven comes to mind – the home of the perfect girl from his childhood, Molly Lachlan. Before he has fully considered what it would mean to involve her in his mess, he finds himself on her doorstep.

When Molly agrees to let Chris inside her home, she realizes she’s also letting him into her life. Danger and desperation are coming off him like steam, and yet she can’t bring herself to turn him away. His bad boy charm always had a hold on her, but now there’s a soulfulness and sorrow in him that she’s never seen before. And despite the heart-stopping risk of helping him, she hopes against all reason that he’ll stay…

 

 

My thoughts…

Chris has definitely made some poor choices in life. The latest one was turning on his best friend and trying to kill him in order to move up higher in the gang they are in. Yeah, that didn’t go over too well and he finds himself bleeding out in an alleyway. Not only that but his neighbor, who he’s been admiring since he was a little boy, just so happens to stumble upon him and decides she has to help him. Letting her get close to him will only result in putting a target on her back as well as make him weak to his enemies… and man, does he have a lot of enemies.

In Dare to Run, we followed Lucas, Chris’ best friend. We got to see him interact with Lucas and we felt the betrayal when he attempted to kill Lucas. So, going into Dare to Stay, you already have this weariness with Chris. I wasn’t sure how the author could write a book about such a horrible character. I mean, he pretended to have his best friend’s back, a guy who always had his back since childhood, and then he just turned on Lucas and tried to have him killed. I wasn’t overly sure that the author would be able to make me feel anything but disgust towards Chris but she managed to pull it off.

Dare to Stay starts off with Lucas in an alleyway bleeding to death. He’s regretting the choices he’s made and is really having a self-loathing moment in the alley. Even though he seems to regret what he did to his friend, I still wasn’t sold on him being the Hero. Even when Molly takes him into her house to patch him up and let him heal, I still was weary. In all honesty, it took me a while to fully warm up to him. However, between him cooking her dinners, fixing things around her house, and curling up on the couch with her cat, he grew on me. Before I even knew it, I was rooting for him and hoping he could get his life on track. However, at no point did I forget how much of a cold-blooded killer he was. Especially since there were a few times where he shot and killed guys who were hunting him.

Molly was an interesting character. Her father was killed by a gang-banger and ever since then she’s been afraid to go out and make friends. She’s afraid of the danger and afraid of the pain of losing another person. So, she pretty much goes to work and then goes straight home. However, on her way home she comes across Chris and she can’t just leave him, no matter how much he threatens her to do so. Her father was the kind of person who tried to help the troubled youth. Not to mention, Chris has always made a habit of popping by the house when he’s in town and helping her do little things like painting shutters, mowing the lawn, et cetera. Which is why Molly takes it upon herself to bring Chris home, patch him up, and keep him in hiding at her place until heals. She’s not afraid of him but she is afraid of the life he means. That’s something that she battles with throughout the entire novel and that’s something that I really liked about her character. She didn’t just fall blindly in love with him. She loved the man, but she didn’t love what he did.

“Tonight, Chris had shared his limited medical supplies with me, and he had spent years doing things for me while asking nothing in return. I guess it was a case of like father, like daughter, because there was no way I was going to turn away from a guy in need. No way could I walk away from Chris. Not when this might be the moment that defined his future choices. All he needed was a little push from someone who cared enough to push. And, inexplicably… that someone was me.”

While Dare to Run can be read as a stand-alone, I think it’s best to read this series in order. Like I said, you meet Chris in the first book and you really feel his betrayal. I think for someone just starting out with this book, you go in with a clean slate and you don’t really see the huge change in Chris. Not to mention there’s some development with a side character who plays a pretty big role in this story. Not to mention that his story is next and it’s one I’ve been dying to read since Dare to Run.

One random thing I like about this series is the title of both the individual books and the series. So far, each of the Hero’s are from the Sons of Steel Row gang. As for the title, each one has “dared to…” in some way when it comes to said gang. Lucas dared to make a run for it and escape out of the gang, Chris dares to stay in in the hopes of taking the gang out and making the neighborhood safe again, and the next book is Dare to Lie. Which, makes perfect sense if you’ve read the previous two books, but I won’t go into that and give it away.  😉

If you are looking for a series that has some questionable Hero’s who fall in love and try to change their ways, then this is the book for you. I, personally, can not wait for the next book.

 

 

Favorite quote…

“In his arms, I felt special. Unique. One of kind. Like a princess. And he was my tarnished prince.”

 

Previous reviews from The Sons of Steel Row
Dare to Run

 

 

10 Thoughts on “Review: Dare to Stay by Jen McLaughlin

  1. I’m all for series with books that can stand alone. But it’s hard to skip volumes when the characters are all good! Like you really get invested in them so you wait in anticipation for their story.

    • I’m usually the queen of skipping around in a series of stand-alone books. However, since this one seems to showcase characters and build their stories in the books prior to theirs, I definitely feel like you need to read them in order.

  2. I love when books make you wind up loving a character you thought you wouldn’t enjoy 🙂

  3. ohh… Great quote. I am glad you enjoyed the book. I haven’t gotten into this genre of things.

    • It’s not for everyone but I’m a fan of the ultimate bad-boy turned good. Especially when the author is able to change your mind about him without you even realizing it.

  4. Oh good! I’m just peeking a little since I’m behind and haven’t done this one yet. Glad to see I’m in store for a good read 🙂

  5. I’m glad you enjoyed this one so much! I did, too. I wasn’t sure Chris could be redeemed, but damned if I wasn’t totally wrong. So darn good. I can’t wait for Dare to Lie. I think it’s going to be realllllly interesting. Great review!

    • I know! I didn’t think the author could pull it off but she really did. Best part was, I didn’t even see it coming until I found myself rooting for him.

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