Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin

February 2nd, 2016 Kimberly Review 58 Comments

2nd Feb
Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin
Dare To Run
by Jen McLaughlin
Series: The Sons of Steel Row #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Heat Level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

Lucas Donahue is not ashamed of his criminal past, but after a brief stint in prison, he’s ready to go legit and live a normal life. The problem is, no one leaves the gang without permission—even if he is one of the boss’s top men. Plus someone’s placed a hit on him. And then there’s that feisty little bartender who’s going to cause him even more trouble. Heidi Greene knows to keep her distance from a ladies’ man like Lucas—even if she can’t keep her eyes off him. When he rescues her from an attack in the alley outside her bar, she’s forced to stay by his side for safety. But the longer she spends time with him, the greater her chances are for getting hurt in more ways than one


Jen McLaughlin sets Dare to Run, the first book in her new Sons of Steel Row series against the backdrop of  Boston, Massachusetts. I was curious after reading the synopsis and the cover sealed the deal. Dare to Run was intense, dark, funny, and full of feels as we enter the world of the Boston criminal gangs and meet our dark hero Lucas Donahue.

Five Reasons to grab Dare to Run

  • I love the Boston setting and McLaughlin takes us into the underbelly of the city and into the lives of its locals. The criminal gangs run deep in this story and their hands reach into the pockets of local law enforcement and its politicians. Lucas’s membership and ranking within the gang and its mentality added an edge to this romance. I favor romances where we get both perspectives and Dare To Run had alternating chapters between Lucas and Heidi.
  • Lucas Donahue is sexy, intelligent and lethal. He entered the gang and moved up the ranks out of necessity. After his release, he struggles with breaking free and finding normal, but circumstances and family and making that difficult. McLaughlin peeled back his layers and made me fall for this bad boy. Being inside of his head was fantastic and his voice rang true. His inner dialogue was hilarious and made me sigh.
  • Heidi Greene’s story may be just as tragic as Lucas’s but intervention from a stranger changed things for her, and she has done the same for another. Heidi has spunk and is loyal. She knows Lucas is all wrong for her, but when he steps in to help her, they find themselves together. The more she learns about the man, the more difficult it becomes to resist him. Her inner struggles felt real, and I quickly connected with her.
  • The plot of Dare to Run was intense, action-packed and offered some edge of your seat suspense. A few twist will catch some readers by surprise. McLaughlin added subtle clues so I figured out aspects of it but this did not diminish my enjoyment of the story. The storyline was addictive and I kept reading late into the night. Secondary characters from bosses to Lucas’ brother and best friend Chris notched up the suspense and believability of the tale.
  • The romance was sweet, heartbreaking and at times sizzling hot. I really connected with the couple emotionally and felt their feelings were genuine. Heidi is independent and Lucas’s inborn nature to protect and often created tension in the form of banter. These two had me laughing aloud.

Completely addictive Dare to Run, grabbed me from page one and never let go. Fans of an action-packed romantic suspense will enjoy their story. I am looking forward to the next novel in the Sons of Steel series.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

58 Responses to “Dare to Run by Jen McLaughlin”

  1. Cyn

    Glad to see you enjoyed this! I’ve been hearing lots of great things about it. Sometimes I just need a good romance suspense and Lucas sounds pretty awesome! Great review, Kim!

  2. Lorna

    You have me intrigued I must admit. Although I am not a gang type of reader I am afraid. Glad this was such a great read for you though 🙂

  3. Shari

    This one took me several times to get into the story. I kept putting it down and picking it back up. Really wasn’t into the dark under-belly of Boston. I liked the twist and how it ended, but that might be it for me with this series.

  4. Melanie Simmons

    I’m really starting to see a lot of Romantic Suspense books catching my eye. I barely read any last year and this year I’ve already wanted to add several to my list. So much for me finishing series and not starting new ones. LOL

  5. Sophia Rose

    Me, too! I took a bit for me to warm up to Heidi, but I did and then the story was riveting. I loved the hard situation and wondering how they were going to make it. And that twist! Gasp! Need the sequel.

  6. Angela Adams

    “The romance was sweet, heartbreaking and at times sizzling hot.” — I think that covers all the bases! Thanks for the post!!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Hehehe..agreed. Thanks Angela. We only ended up getting about a foot of snow Tuesday. It was very heavy, wet snow though so all of my peeps either had off or worked from home.

  7. Jenny

    Hello there hot cover! This sounds right up my alley Kim, I never tire of a good bad boy and a romance that sizzles, so count me in on this one. Banter is just icing on the cake! Can’t wait to read this:)

  8. Angela

    I’ve been hearing great things about this book. I cannot wait to read it. And I really like that it switches between Heidi and Lucas, it helps balance the book.

  9. Kristin

    It’s interesting that your review is so different than mine – we totally focused on different aspects of the story. OH, your review is soooo much better than mine, I think mine end up being a book club review. But it’s really cool to read yours and see all the things I plum forgot 😀

    And I think I’m the only person who missed the clues about the twist!! Tee, hee!!!

  10. Felicia GeekyBlogger (

    I am just going to sit right here and stare at that cover for awhile. How did I not know about this book? OMG right up my alley (and not just because of the cover LOL)

  11. Bookworm Brandee

    You have my curiosity piqued, for sure. I love that edge-of-your-seat suspense is combined with humor and I really want to know how Lucas and Heidi cross paths. And that cover…*sigh* Another one for my tbr, Kimberly! 🙂

  12. Debbie Haupt

    Great review Kim and really interesting premise featuring criminal gangs I also love alternating perspectives of a couple, I hate wondering why did he/she do/say that. 🙂
    Thanks this is going on my wish list!

  13. Ramona

    I like the sound of the romance – it’s so lovely when the author makes you feel for and with the characters. I also like the setting – gangs, danger and such. I think I’ll give this one a try, Kimba, thanks 🙂