Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: "Once Upon a Dare" (Jennifer Bonds)

Imagine that something for which you've worked and slaved almost your entire life, and have been all but guaranteed that you'll receive ... goes to someone else.

Now imagine that that "someone else" turns out to be the man with whom you had a flaming one-night stand, but only after a friend dared you to do so.

You'll be able to sympathize, then, with Olivia Masterson, whose stellar advertising career was just about to result in her being offered a partnership at her place of work, when she receives news that backhands her with the size of the betrayal: Cole Bennett, recent transplant to New York from London and an extraordinarily talented and exacting businessman, has been offered her partnership. Which he accepts.

If only she hadn't accepted her friend's dare to seduce him in a bar just days earlier. And if only their night together hadn't been so steamy and fulfilling, especially after the dry spell through which she voluntarily put herself as she worked her way up the corporate ladder.

Now, Cole is her boss, and she refuses to be known (again) as the woman who slept her way to the top ... though the sparks between them continue to fly.



Entangled Publishing's Brazen imprint presents the erotic romance Once Upon a Dare by Jennifer Bonds, newly released just this month.

Olivia is an excellent representation of the driven working woman, flouting relationships, hobbies, personal interests, and anything else that might interfere even fractionally with the high-powered career she wants for herself. Who among us hasn't gone after something with -impassioned dedication, especially (as in Olivia's case) to prove herself (to herself and -everyone else) that she's "not just another pretty face"?

When Cole happens on the scene, as deft in the bedroom as he is in the office, Olivia immediately feels threatened by what he represents: the alpha male, a control freak who knows precisely what he wants in every facet of life and won't back down from a fight. As her foil, her opposite, and nearly (for the majority of the book) her only antagonist, Cole fits the mold with excellence, showcasing Olivia's obsession with her work and her single-minded devotion to achieving success without help from anyone or anything else (thank you very much).

The Brazen imprint is usually so hot with sexual tension and intimate lovemaking that the very pages steam. This time around, though, the heat level was a bit of a disappointment, with sex scenes that felt rushed and forced rather than extrapolated and enjoyed. There's no denying the attraction between Olivia and Cole, in theory, but putting it into practice on the page falls short.

The book also struggles with being "wordy," for lack of a better term. There's far less dialogue than usual between the characters, and much more internal ruminating, reminiscing, remembering, and pondering, along with more summarized back story than is necessary for the immediate story to make sense. All of that tends to slow the forward momentum of the work.

A tamer Brazen title, Once Upon a Dare nonetheless features an office romance that, refreshingly, doesn't turn out the way you might predict.

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Author: Jennifer Bonds
Title: Once Upon a Dare
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Brazen)
ISBN: 978-1-63375-253-5
Purchase here: http://amzn.to/1FlMDMd

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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