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Love Me If You Dare: A Coral Cove Novel by…
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Love Me If You Dare: A Coral Cove Novel

by Toni Blake

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Good opposites attract story. We met Reece and his pet iguana, Fifi, in All I Want Is You, as the laid back owner of the Happy Crab Motel. He's not quite as laid back right now, as a big hotel chain is trying to buy his property and tear it down. He keeps telling them no, but they won't let it go. Now they've sent Camille Thomson to try her hand at convincing him.

Camille has never lost on a deal she was trying to close, and doesn't expect to have any trouble here. After all, everyone has their price. But she didn't count on Reece's stubbornness - or his appeal.

Camille definitely didn't make a very good impression when she first arrived. She seemed kind of smug about always getting her way. Her big city persona took a pretty big hit when she freaked out finding the iguana in her bathroom, and it certainly made her seem more human. When Reece came running in response to her screams, she also started to see him as more than a business problem. She wasn't happy about it, as she considered it a distraction.

I liked Reece. He's an easygoing kind of guy, who seems to take everything that goes on around him in stride, except for the buyout attempt. He wasn't real happy about his attraction to Cami either. He likes his life just as it is, and her actions threaten everything he loves. I really enjoyed how he stood up to her in that first encounter, without getting mean or nasty.

The development of their relationship was fun. They start out as antagonists, but Reece's laid back attitude kept it on the friendly side. Once she decided to stay in Coral Cove in order to try to convince him, Reece decided to show her around "so he could keep an eye on her". He decided to try to show her the charm of the town, in hopes of getting her to agree that a big hotel would not be right. I loved seeing him introduce her around. The relationship began to change right away as Cami started to see how much a part of things Reece was. She started to realize that she was in trouble as Reece became a person rather than a property, and she wanted to know more about who he was.

As the days went on, the reason Cami was there became less important to her. I loved seeing how they could go for hours without talking about the sale. Their relationship begins to deepen, something that both are leery of. Reece has ghosts from his past that keep him from allowing himself to get serious about anyone, and Cami has spent years perfecting the ability to keep her emotions locked away. By the time they progress to taking his boat out together, those feelings have taken a deep root in both, and they start to open up to each other. But trouble lies ahead that will test the depth of those feelings.

Cami's boss has been pestering her regularly about her progress and she has been putting him off. Just as she makes a decision about what to do, he takes advantage of a casual comment and makes his own attempt at winning the battle. Unfortunately, Reece believes he's been betrayed by Cami and has some very harsh things to say to her, without giving her a chance to explain. I understood his feelings, but wanted to smack him for jumping to conclusions. While Cami spent a couple days reeling from what happened, I loved seeing her decide to do something about it. While I saw one of those actions coming (it was logical), I didn't see the larger solution, and loved it. I also found it very realistic that they didn't immediately go to a perfect ending, but realized that they both had things to work through. I loved seeing them do that together.

I really enjoyed the parts that the two animals played. Fifi, the iguana, was an unusual pet and seemed to be perfect for Reece and his personality. How he acquired her showed his softer side. Fifi was also a big part of the interactions between Reece and Cami, especially at the beginning. I really liked how Cami got to like the "dinosaur" and realized how much she meant to Reece. I also loved the cat "Tiger", aka "Tiger Lily". It started out as a stray that neighbor Polly cares for, and who Polly cons Cami into caring for. Cami's reaction to the cat says a lot about what her life has been like. It was sweet to see the way it wormed its way into Cami's heart and how Cami's entire outlook began to change. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Oct 3, 2016 |
Loved this fantastic addition to the Coral Cove series. Aside from the expected writing and storytelling, the characters in this series really jump up and grab your attention from the very beginning. Reece Donovan is the laid back owner of The Happy Crab but dealing with the high handed pressure of the company who wants to buy his land and build a resort has him anything but laid back. When Camille Thompson, the latest rep from that company to contact him, shows up at his motel he wants to dislike her. But he can't. Something about her calls to him. After spending time with "Cami", as he calls her, his feelings are growing but can he trust her??

Excellent read you don't want to miss. I highly recommend it! ( )
  Bette_Hansen | Nov 3, 2015 |
Love Me if You Dare by Toni Blake is a 2014 Avon Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This story has a kind of familiar story line in which a big developer wants to push out the family owned motel pitting the tough as nails Camille against Reese, a pretty easy going guy until you try to bribe and bully him into selling his motel. I've read many romance novels with a similar trope, but this one was kind of quirky.

There is some crackling energy sizzling between Camille and Reese right from the beginning, but the two were such an odd couple - when she zigged, he zagged. The chemistry was there but it was off kilter, not quite hitting it's mark. I guess I'm a little strange because I knew I was supposed to dislike the big bad developer and Cami's over confident and manipulative scheming, but it was Reese I had difficulties warming up to. Even in the end I felt his responses were muted, like he was going along grudgingly and reluctantly.

An Iguana, a stray cat, and the private jokes between Cami and Reese regarding sunscreen, and some cute nicknames for each other lightened the tone and provided some humor and few laugh out loud moments.

I did like Cami's ability to admit her life had been pretty empty, and that she had discovered some missing pieces of herself while in Coral Cove. She needed to add more depth to her life by having a life away from work, enjoying time with friends, and learning to breath a little. There was more to life than just a career, always getting the job done, never losing... and there were always two sides to a story.

As I have had time to reflect upon the book, the curious use of Peter Pan quotations to begin each chapter begins to make a lot more sense. Which leads to me to my feelings towards Reese. His character is most assuredly off beat and he could rub me the wrong way sometimes, but his issues went much deeper than what was on the surface. The life he had been living wasn't really living, any more than Cami was in her sterile, win at all cost world. So, I have concluded that Reese maybe had some heavier issues to deal with and as such explains a lot about why he behaved the way he did. Cami did a great job in getting him to realize change isn't always a bad thing.

So, as improbable as it may have seemed, the couple was good for each other, bringing out long buried qualities in one another that ended up working out for the best for all concerned. Overall, this is a actually a cute story that employs an offbeat cast of characters that was a refreshing change of pace.

4 stars ( )
  gpangel | May 2, 2015 |
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"Camille Thompson is the best at what she does--closing deals. That's why real estate developer Vanderhook has sent her to Coral Cove, Florida, where the stubborn owner of the Happy Crab Motel is refusing to sell. Camille's never had a problem turning a no into a yes, but then she's never been so captivated by a man's sexy smile before. Laid back Reece Donovan likes life simple. No amount of money or any other temptation Camille can offer will convince him to give up the one link to his past. Of course, it would be easier without the powerful chemistry raging between them. As a fragile romance begins to grow, can Reece trust Camille with his secrets? And when promises are broken, along with hearts, can the charm of Coral Cove help bring them back together?"--Page [4] of cover.… (more)

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