THE DATING DARE – Barbara Dunlop
Gambling Men , Book 2
Harlequin Desire #2724
ISBN: 978-1-335-20900-9
March 2020
Contemporary Series Romance

Seattle, Washington – Present Day

James Gillen and Natasha Remington are friends and share the same plight: they were recently dumped, with James' literally happening at the altar. They happen to run into each other one day and start talking and agree they have a lot in common. Their friendship turns deeper as they realize they need to “spice” up their life and they agree to do things they wouldn't normally do: bicycling and rock climbing together, plus going out to bars where they pretend to be “Jamie and Tasha.” The goal of this is to make themselves more attractive to members of the opposite sex. It takes most of THE DATING DARE before they realize their feelings of friendship have turned into something more. They're now sexually attracted to each other. How will this change things between them, and will they act upon the attraction?

THE DATING DARE reads almost like a women's fiction novel with a dash of romance added in to spice things up. As it opens, Natasha is waiting for a girlfriend while ruminating about her failed romance with her now ex, Henry, when the man himself shows up at the Harbor Club. She also spots James and decides to use him as a cover should Henry spot her. This is where Natasha and James start talking about their failed love lives. Their shared experiences lead them to embark on a life altering change in their lifestyles. Why not be a little wild and crazy—except it'd be done as Jamie and Tasha.

Told from the first-person point of view of Natasha, we never get to “hear” James' inner thoughts. But there are times in THE DATING DARE that readers will see him freeze as he realizes that he's feeling something with Natasha. When that does happen, she's scared of what it means. Yes, she likes James and wants to have him make love to her, but what happens next? She values their friendship and fears it might end it if they have sex. But in the end, those worries are overridden as they give in to the intense attraction that's sparked between them.

THE DATING DARE is part of the Gambling Men series by Barbara Dunlop, as both James and Natasha were minor characters in the first book, THE TWIN SWITCH. Yet, this tale can easily be read as a standalone. A friends-to-lovers romance that builds slowly and satisfying to a nice ending, don't miss THE DATING DARE.

Patti Fischer