Carly Phillips is one of my favorite American authors. She writes addictive family sagas of which I can’t get enough of. Good thing is she has more than 10 books in her Dare Family series. For an idea of how big a family I am talking about, have a look at the Dare Family tree below. After historical fiction, I do love to read at least a couple of books from contemporary family sagas in a month. Carly Phillips and Katy Regnery are my go-to author’s when I need to just loose myself in a story and experience a load of different emotions. These ladies never disappoint.
Now about Dare to take, it is book 6 in the Dare to Love series and story of Tyler Dare and Ella Shaw. They are a clichéd pairing to start with but there’s more to them which will keep you glued to the story and might even motivate you to right some of your own wrongs. Without revealing any further technical details of the story, let me give you a brief and an Excerpt for that extra bit of push for you to Pre-order the book, it releases on 3rd of May, 2016.
About the Book:
She was off limits… But he couldn’t resist.
There are just some guys you don’t touch–even someone as innocent and inexperienced as Ella Shaw knows that. But when her brother’s best friend is up for grabs and willing, she can’t resist. After all, she’s wanted him for years…
On leave from the army, Tyler Dare was just looking for a little fun, but his best friend’s sister is off limits. Yet unable to deny how sexy and alluring she is, he finds it all too easy to succumb to a night of passion and heat that ends the next morning in the worst way possible.
Now years later, Ella is stranded on a tropical island with a hurricane bearing down, and only Tyler can save her. It’s his chance to make amends for the past and show the woman he’s never forgotten that he’s coming after her . . . in more ways than one.
Coming May 3, 2016
For other books in the Dare to Love Series, click here
Book 1 in the Dare to Love Series, Ian Dare and Riley Taylor’s story is Free, nothing stopping you to give it a try 🙂
Also, a video if you want to feast your eyes on some eye candy
Now for the Excerpt, to set the stage for you 🙂 Enjoy and don’t forget to Pre order, links at the end of the post.
Dare to Take – Tyler Dare & Ella Shaw [Dare to Love Series #6]
The sun shone overhead, the temperature neared ninety, and the humidity was hair-curlingly high, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, making it hard to believe a hurricane was coming soon. Ella Shaw glanced up at the blue sky, knowing it wouldn’t remain pristine for long.
The calm before the storm.
She pulled her hair into a high ponytail and headed out of her hotel, determined to hit the local gift shop she’d caught sight of on her way to the photo shoot yesterday. She’d seen long, draping blue beaded necklaces from the store-front window but she hadn’t had time to stop. Her boss was a stickler for getting the right shot in the exact light and they’d worked well past dark. By the time they’d wrapped for the day, the store was closed.
As an assistant for Angie Crighton, a fashion designer based in Miami, Ella was responsible for the little details involved in a photo shoot. And though Angie, the photographer and models had left the island this morning, Ella stayed to make sure the shooting site was clean, the hotel pleased enough to allow them back another time. And if she were honest with herself, she liked the downtime after the craziness of a photo shoot, the rushing around of the crew, the bossiness of some of the models and of course, of Angie, herself.
Ella appreciated the fact that she had time to souvenir shop for her best friend, Avery Dare. How ironic was it that the two girls from very different worlds, had met at all? But they had. And it was Avery who introduced Ella to the finer things in life, leading her to seek out a job with a haute-couture designer. Whereas Avery came from a wealthy family, Ella had been raised firmly middle class but the two girls had bonded instantly. They’d even shared an apartment until recently, when her best friend had moved in with her rock star boyfriend, Grey Kingston.
Yep, two different worlds, even now, Ella thought, wryly. But their friendship was solid. Which reminded her, she needed to let Avery know she might not make it back to the states tomorrow, as planned.
When Ella heard about the storm changing course, she’d tried to book an earlier flight out, without success. She shivered at the possibility of being stranded here alone during a hurricane, and knew Avery would like the news even less. Her best friend suffered from severe anxiety and Ella didn’t like to make her worry.
She’d just buy Avery an extra gift to make up for it, she thought, walking into the shop. She immediately headed to the turquoise blue beads she’d seen through the window. The shop keeper claimed they were Larimar beads. Even if they were fake, the beads, popular in the Caribbean, were said to have healing powers. Ella purchased two dozen, a mix of bracelets and necklaces, so she could share with the children at the cancer treatment center where she and Avery volunteered.
Avery had been nine, Ella ten years old when they met at a Miami hospital, both donating bone marrow, both there at the behest of a parent. Neither of them really understanding what was happening. All Ella knew was that she was doing a favor for her father, helping the step-mother Ella didn’t like all that much to begin with. Even at a young age, Ella had been a good judge of character, a better one than her father, obviously, because shortly after Janice got well, she left Ella’s dad. And both her father … and Ella’s life had gone downhill from there. Ella shook off the thoughts of her past before she could go deeper and darker, and focused on the pretty jewelry.
She spent some time choosing a thick turquoise bracelet for Avery and a similar one for herself, before paying for everything, and waiting for the shop keeper to wrap things up.
Bag in hand, she started back to the hotel, cutting through side streets and looking into the windows of the store, soaking up the culture along the cobblestone streets, before heading back to Miami tomorrow. At least, she still hoped she’d be home. Knowing she couldn’t change the outcome, she pushed her worrisome thoughts aside. She’d deal with the situation as it came.
Sweat dampened her neck from the humidity of the island and she contemplated taking a cab back to the hotel. She reached into her straw bag and pulled out her cell phone to make the call, when without warning she felt a hard jerk on her purse.
“What the –?” She spun around but whoever wanted her purse was quicker.
She barely caught a glimpse of a tall guy with dark hair, as he yanked harder, nearly pulling her shoulder out its socket, before slamming her against the nearby building with his other hand.
Her head hit the concrete wall and spots immediately appeared behind her eyes from the impact. As she struggled not to pass out, the man grabbed her purse, along with her cell phone that had fallen to the floor.
She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out. Her legs collapsed beneath her and she fell to the ground, her head smacking the sidewalk before everything went black.
Tyler Dare had a full day planned, a packed schedule of appointments with existing and potential clients of Double Down Security, the firm he now co-owned with his brother, Scott. Serena Gibson, his close friend and personal assistant had strict orders not to let anyone interrupt him this morning, so he could pull together his notes for each meeting.
He picked up the threat assessment sheet for his first client, a diplomat who needed protection for his family, and began to scan the findings, when he heard raised voices.
“I’m sorry, Avery, but he said no interruptions,” Serena insisted.
“That’s okay, I’m sure he’ll see me.” His sister’s voice carried through the closed office door.
“Avery, he said not to let anyone inside.” Serena’s voice rose but he knew the soft spoken woman was no match for a determined Dare female.
Sure enough, his door swung open and Avery barreled inside, Serena a step behind her. “Sorry, Tyler.”
He waved her worry away. “It’s fine.”
“Thank you, Serena,” Avery said in a sweet voice. “I’ll buy you coffee one day soon.”
“Make it a martini and you’re on,” Serena muttered, heading back to her desk.
Tyler knew the other woman meant it. She was a single mom, raising her young son alone after her husband – died. Tyler pushed thoughts of Jack Gibson to the far recesses of his mind. Going there meant reliving way too much pain. Pain he’d left behind him when he departed from the Army.
Instead he turned to his sister and with a groan, he rose to his feet. “Couldn’t you have called first? I’m swamped today. And what if I was in a meeting?”
Avery rolled her eyes … and why not? When she wanted to get her way … she did. She and Olivia were typical Dares, stubborn and headstrong, just like him.
She strode over and placed both hands on his face, meeting his gaze. “Family comes first, isn’t that what you always told me?”
A distinct edgy tingle raced up his spine. Quoting his words back at him meant she wanted something. But she had a point. Ever since their father announced he had another family, moved out and divorced their mother, his oldest brother, Ian, along with Tyler and Scott had circled around their sisters and mother. Nothing was more important than family.
“What’s up?” he asked, shaking off his busy schedule and focusing completely on what his sister wanted.
“It’s about Ella.”
His dick immediately perked up at the name. “Ella.”
Avery narrowed those violet eyes in confusion. “Yes, Ella.”
“Ella,” he repeated, his brain flickering with images he’d long sought to expunge from memory. A lithe body with pert breasts, warm silken skin covering his own.
“You know, Ella Shaw,” his sister said, breaking into his memories. “My best friend.”
And the woman whose virginity he took when she was eighteen.
Yes, Tyler knew exactly who Ella was. It’s just that every time he saw her face or her heard her name, his brain short circuited and a mixture of self-loathing and guilt threatened to crush him, followed immediately by a shock of arousal he had no right to feel.
“What’s wrong with her?” Tyler asked, already turning his attention back to the day ahead, potential clients he wanted to acquire, new security systems he thought existing clients should agree to upgrade.
Whatever issues Ella had, Tyler felt certain she didn’t need him to handle them. Avery was overreacting. She had to be.
He made it a distinct point to keep as far from Ella Shaw as possible. It was better for both of them to pretend that night had never happened, and by silent, mutual agreement, they’d managed to keep that mistake from Avery.
Avery slammed her hands on his desk, bringing his focus back to the situation at hand. “Ella was mugged in the Caribbean. She’s in the hospital with a concussion, her passport is gone along with everything in her purse, and a hurricane is headed straight for the island.”
Shit, shit, shit. “Is she okay?” he asked, more concerned than he wanted to admit.
“I don’t know. She sounded groggy. The nurse wouldn’t let her stay on the phone, but Ty, she can’t leave the island without proper documents and all her identification is gone. She can’t get to the American Embassy since they won’t release her from the hospital for another twenty four hours because she’s alone. And when she is released, the hurricane will have hit and –“ Avery didn’t get another word out because his sister started to hyperventilate.
Tyler recognized the signs. She’d been suffering from panic attacks since she was a kid and though they were mostly under control now, truly stressful situations caused an attack.
“Come on. Sit.” He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and led her to a chair, easing her down. “Do you have your Xanax?” She nodded and though still breathing fast, began to look through her purse.
“Serena, I need a glass of water, quick!” Tyler called out to his secretary.
She rushed in a few seconds later, a cup of water in hand.
“Thanks,” he said.
Avery took the pill and began to do breathing exercises.
“Can I get you anything else?” Serena asked.
He shook his head, his focus on Avery. “We’re good for now.”
Serena quickly stepped out, shutting the door behind her.
“Okay look,” Tyler said, kneeling down by his sister’s side. “You’re going to write down where she is and I’ll contact the embassy. I’ll do what I can to get her out.”
“You have to go yourself. Please. I need to know Ella is okay and with someone I trust after all she’s been through.” She grasped his hand and squeezed tight. “Ian will let you take his jet. Private is the only way she can fly out without a passport anyway.”
She gazed up at him with the same big eyes he’d been a sucker for when she was a kid. Except this time she had no idea what she was asking of him, as the past came flooding back.
He’d come home on leave from the Army just in time for Christmas. As usual, Ella was visiting for the holiday. And holy shit she was hot. Her body had filled out, with sexy tits and sweet curvy hips, she’d literally knocked him on his ass. For the first time, he’d seen her as a beautiful woman and not little sister’s best friend, and he’d had to remind himself many times over the course of the night, she was off limits.
Except nobody had given Ella the memo.
In hindsight he should have seen she’d had a crush on him for years, but she’d just been the kid he looked out for, the little girl he’d met when she was donating bone marrow to her step-mom. He’d always felt protective of her, mostly because she was so such a little thing for so long. Once he’d enlisted, his trips home were sporadic and he hadn’t seen Ella in years. Not until that night.
“Tell me you’re on fucking birth control,” Tyler said, to a very naked, beautiful, and obviously vulnerable Ella. But he’d been too angry with himself and at the time, with her, to see it.
She managed a nod, her brown hair hanging over her bare shoulder, her hazel eyes a damp mossy green. “I am.”
Relief flooded him. She might have crawled into his bed uninvited, but he’d known damn well what he was doing when he took her. He was surprised by the obvious barrier that gave way with his first thrust but it was too late. She’d been so damned tight his control snapped and he took her hard and fast, nothing like what her first time should have been like – if he’d been sober. If he’d known she was a virgin. But if he hadn’t been drunk, she wouldn’t have made it into his bed in the first place.
“It’s okay.” She reached out and touched his bare chest, the sweet gesture a brand on his skin, and his body woke up again, hardening for her. Which only served to piss him off more.
“No it isn’t okay. It was a big fucking mistake. A mess and you better believe it won’t be happening again.”
Tears filled her eyes as she gathered her clothes, pulled her long shirt on and ran, slamming his bedroom door behind her.
“Fuck.” He fell back against the pillows, so furious at himself he couldn’t think straight.
Traveling to the Caribbean to rescue Ella would bring them alone together for the first time since he’d looked her in the eye and spoken with all the finesse of a drunk twenty-three year old.
He’d been an ass. Worse, he hadn’t stuck around the next day to apologize. He’d kissed his mother goodbye and lied, saying he’d been called back to base, all to avoid facing Ella. And in the years since, he hadn’t manned up any better. He ran a hand through his now longer than regulation-length hair . If any man had treated his sisters the way he’d treated Ella, Tyler would have their balls.
“Ty? You’ll go get her, right? What if it’s worse than a concussion and they misdiagnosed her? She needs someone there before the storm hits.”
He groaned, already having come to the same conclusion. “Yeah. She does.” H grabbed a pen and paper from his desk and handed it to Avery. “Write down everything you know about where she’s staying and what hospital she’s in. I’ll call Ian and have him get in touch with his pilot.”
“Umm, plane’s fueled and ready,” she said, a flush staining her cheeks.
Tyler shook his head. “That sure of me, hmm?”
“You’re a good guy, Tyler. Plus you’re the best at what you do. If anyone can handle things for Ella, I know you can.”
Oh man. Talk about more guilt. If Avery knew about his past with her best friend, she wouldn’t be sending him down to take care of her. But he couldn’t worry about what Avery would or wouldn’t think. He had to make sure Ella was okay and to do that, he needed to check the weather forecasts and hope like hell he could get onto the small island before the storm.
The flight had been bumpy, and by the time Tyler landed, the wind was whipping through the trees. His goal was to get Ella settled safely into the hotel before the hurricane hit. He arrived at the hospital to find pure chaos. Unlike an American run place with generators and general preparedness, the staff was more concerned with getting themselves home than with the welfare of their patients.
He stopped a few people before someone, finally, directed him to the American woman down the hall. Considering she’d been mugged, the fact that they didn’t ask him for ID or worry that maybe he was out to hurt her, concerned him. It made him all the more determined to get her out of here as soon as possible.
During the trip down, he didn’t stop to ask himself why he was doing this. He’d said no to his sister before. Not often but he managed when he wanted to. So why put himself in the position of rescuing a woman he had such a messy a history with? One who surely wouldn’t be happy to see him, and with whom he’d have no choice but to apologize to?
And there he had his answer. He’d let her down and she wasn’t the first person in his life he’d disappointed when they needed him.
Tyler, like all of his siblings, had idolized their father, Robert Dare. After his other life and family came to light, he’d shattered each child in different ways.
Ian had stepped up and took over as man of the house. Sure, Tyler and Scott helped look after their sisters, but it was Ian who held them together. And by taking care of the family, Ian made sure Scott could be a cop, and Tyler could do what he wanted with his life.
And what did Tyler do? Instead of facing the anger he felt at his father, Tyler ran away, joining the Army, telling himself it was a big F.U. to his dad. In reality it was a cowardly act of betrayal to his family. And when he’d come home on leave and treated Ella so badly, had he faced her the next day? No, he thought, running a hand through his hair. He’d run again.
He wasn’t ready to delve back into how he’d learned these lessons. He visited that in his nightmares often enough. But learn them he had.
And if Ella’s mugging and the damned hurricane gave him the chance to make things right, he would. He owed her a lot more than an apology. For the last nine years he hadn’t been able to get the night with Ella or the morning after out of his head. Now was his chance to make it up to her and get rid of some of the guilt he’d been carrying around for being a dick.
For calling her a mistake.
For a lot of things.
He walked down the hall and stopped outside the room he’d been directed to. He drew a deep breath and stepped inside.
Ella was asleep, her light brown hair spread out over the white pillow case, her face pale. Although he knew she was strong, seeing her in this bed brought him back to the time when they’d met. She was small for her age, a ten year old, waiting to give bone marrow to her step-mother, much like Avery. Except Avery was giving her bone marrow to a half-sister they’d known nothing about until a few weeks before.
Avery and Ella had bonded over their mutual situation, and all the Dare brothers became extremely protective of Ella Shaw. It’s what made his reaction to her that Christmas so damned … wrong. And why he’d treated her so badly afterwards. Self-disgust turned at the wrong person. Because he’d enjoyed her hot, slick body too much.
He shook his head, pushing those thoughts aside.
He stepped into the room, and as he made his way closer, those protective instincts he’d always had for her kicked in, combined with a healthy dose of desire for the woman laying helpless in the hospital bed.
“Excuse me. Who are you and what are you doing in here?” a female dressed in white, presumably a nurse, entered the room and asked.
“I’m here for Ella Shaw. I’m … family,” he said, forcing out the words, because what he felt when he looked at her was anything but familial or brotherly.
The nurse narrowed her gaze. “Well, she’s been through a trauma and – “
“It’s okay, he can stay.” Ella said, her voice, raspy and low.
The nurse studied him for a long moment, finally treating him to a curt nod before rushing out of the room.
Tyler turned back to meet her gaze. “Hey short stuff,” he said, the nickname from when she was younger, falling off his tongue.
“When I feel better I am going to strangle Avery,” she muttered. “I take it you’re the cavalry?”
“You could sound more grateful.”
“And you could speak to me like an adult,” she snapped back, both falling into recent patterns.
To keep his distance and not show how attracted he was to her, he’d put up a wall, treating her like an annoyance or a pesky younger sister. That shit had to stop now. She was right. They were both adults, even if he hadn’t been acting like one for the last few years.
He pulled up a chair, his knees touching the metal frame of the bed. “How are you?” he asked more gently.
She blew out a breath. “My head hurts badly and I’m a little dizzy. Nothing out of the ordinary for a concussion,” she said, eyes suspiciously damp, telling him she was in more pain than she let on.
Without overthinking, he reached for her hand. “I’m sure you’ll feel better when we get you out of here.”
“I was mugged. My money, passport … everything’s gone.”
“I know. But the good news is you don’t need any of those things to fly out on a private jet.”
The noise she made sounded more like a snort. An adorable snort but one nonetheless. “Of course not.”
“Got a problem with that?”
“I wouldn’t know. I’ve never flown that way before but … I’m grateful you came for me,” she said, looking past him, toward the window, obviously unable to meet his gaze. “I’m sure you didn’t want to and Avery had to twist your arm.”
He squeezed her soft hand. “We’ll talk about all that when you’re stronger. Right now let’s find a doctor who can release you.”
It took awhile. Finally a harassed looking man agreed she could leave as long as she had someone to watch over her. Since Tyler wasn’t letting her out of his sight, that wouldn’t be a problem.
The trip back to the hotel was more difficult, costing Tyler a fortune because again, most cab drivers wanted to get home, not take passengers out of their way.
The Palm trees swayed dangerously as they drove, the driver holding tight to the wheel of the small car.
Ella was oblivious. No sooner had he bundled her into the back of the cab, than she curled up beside him, laid her head on his shoulder, and passed out. She might have been hospitalized, but she still smelled pure female. He hadn’t thought anything could distract him from the fury of the hurricane but one whiff of Ella’s hair, an inhale of her scent, and he wasn’t thinking about wind or rain. He was immersed in a force of nature of a whole different kind.
What kind of perv got an erection when a hurt, unconscious woman lay trustingly against him? Shit. The things this woman did to him always had him questioning his common sense.
When they reached the hotel, he woke her and she leaned against him as they walked inside. He explained the situation to the desk clerk, who thankfully, because of the photo shoot, remembered Ella and was all too willing to give her a key. A hand on her back to steady her, they took the elevator up to the sixth floor and she directed him to her room, six eighteen, with a Do Not Disturb sign on the door.
“Wait. I didn’t leave that on there,” she said, pointing to the door hanger.
He narrowed his gaze. “Wait here.”
He glanced around, but there was no safe alcove in which to hide her. He pushed her against the wall, same side as the room in case someone came running out, then pulled out his gun.
Her eyes widened but she didn’t argue.
He slid the key into the door and let himself inside. The bathroom was immediately to the right and he pushed open the door. Empty, as was the bathtub. The closet was on the left. He slid open the door. Also empty. He checked the balcony, which was still locked tight from the inside.
But the room had been ransacked, all her things tossed around. This unexpected turn of events told him the mugging probably hadn’t been random. “Shit.”
He stepped back only to find her waiting in the room, mouth open.
“Didn’t I tell you to wait in the hall?” he asked, pissed she hadn’t listened.
She frowned at him and stepped inside. “Why would someone do this?” she asked, taking in the mess.
“That is a damned good question.”
She bent down to pick up a piece of clothing.
“Don’t touch!” he barked out, harsher than he intended.
“What? Why not?” she rose slowly to her feet.
“So when the cops here investigate, at least they’ll see things exactly how we found them.” Although with the hurricane coming, Tyler doubted anyone would have time or care about a burglary.
A glance at Ella, who was pale and shaky, and Tyler knew – he, on the other hand, cared a lot.
About Carly Phillips
After a successful fifteen year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers.
Words by Bharti