I'll be honest and admit that I didn't even read the blurb before starting this book. I loved the cover and love Jen McLaughlin, so this was a no-brainer for me. I was surprised to find out that this book deals heavily with gangs and there should be a warning for those readers that have some trigger issues with violence and sexual assault. But Dare to Run was unlike anything I have read from McLaughlin before, and I enjoyed seeing her take on something new. This book was darker than her normal style, and there was quite a bit of grit here. I liked it and it kept me guessing the whole way through.
Lucas Donahue has just been released from prison. He did his time and kept his mouth shut, but he is ready to leave the gang life behind. He also knows that as much as he wants that, no one gets to just walk away. But when he witnesses the feisty bartender at the bar he frequents being harassed, he ends up starting something he wasn't entirely prepared for. Lucas knows that Heidi needs to get as far away from him as possible, and yet to keep her safe he needs to keep her close. But can he protect her from more than one enemy, especially when he isn't sure of who he can trust?
I liked Lucas. He was sexy and not afraid to be who he was. He fully embraced his lifestyle and didn't make apologies for who he was. Heidi on the other hand was a bit hard to take at times. While I really loved her standing by Lucas, even when she wasn't comfortable with his lifestyle, I did have some problems with her. She was strong and feisty, yet she was also a bit to brash and often had no regard at all for her safety. Not that I support anyone assaulting women in any way, but at times it wasn't hard to see why she was in the situation she was in. She ran her mouth far too much and it was just so blatant that I couldn't get over it. Her and Lucas definitely had chemistry, but I didn't really care for her character.
I liked seeing Jen McLaughlin begin to push herself in a new direction, but I did feel like she could have taken it a bit further. There is a lot of promise here though and I wanted to see her really embrace the darkness and make this one a bit grittier. I think that as this series continues, she will do well if she embraces that a bit more. This one was definitely a promising start though, and I loved how she was able to take a story that started as intense and just keep ratcheting that up as things progressed. Jen McLaughlin hit the ground running with this one, and I can't wait to see where things go from here. If you are looking for something with a bit of darkness, grit, and plenty of steamy action this is one I would recommend giving a shot.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**