[Ren] Down the Aisle (Dare Me #2.5) and Down on Her Knees (Dare Me #3) by Christine Bell

Down the Aisle (Dare Me #2.5) by Christine BellTitle: Down the Aisle (Dare Me #2.5)
Author: Christine Bell
Published: October 28th, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 teacups
Find it at: amazonbarnesandnoblegoodreads

This is a short novella (around 75 pages) about Lacey and Galen’s wedding. After having to deal with Cat and Shane it was a relief to go back to characters that I actually cared about. The story deals with the issues of infertility and adoption, but because of the low page count it felt rushed. There’s so many things going on, and a whole scene revolves around introducing a new character who’s going to be the protagonist of the third book.

I liked catching up with Lacey and Galen but it would have been better to either give them a second book or scrap the infertility plotline and just have a few scenes about the upcoming wedding.



Down on Her Knees (Dare Me #3) by Christine BellAvengers vs X-Men badgeTitle: Down on Her Knees (Dare Me #3)
Author: Christine Bell
Published: February 24th, 2014
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 teacups
Find it at: amazonbarnesandnoblegoodreads

This series was a bit of a rollercoaster for me — loved the first book, slogged through the second book — so I was wary of reading this. I enjoy reading about BDSM but it’s also something that’s very easy to get wrong in fiction. Fortunately on that regard the book was well-written, and overall it was quite a good read.

The main characters this time are Courtney and Rafe. They’d already shown up for a couple of scenes in the previous books but hadn’t been introduced properly. Courtney has a very bad relationship in her past, so when she finds out that Rafe is into BDSM she freaks out because she equates that with abuse. Rafe gets pissed and tells her that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about (understandably, because he is into BDSM, and not the fictional, dysfunctional version) and then, because obviously they have chemistry and oodles and oodles of UST, Rafe offers to give her a practical demonstration. He then proceeds to win her over by being alternatively very kinky and very very sweet.

…Okay, in hindsight it was only moderately kinky, I’ve definitely read kinkier stories. But it was believable given that it was Courtney’s first foray into BDSM, and above all it was written right. They talked things through and Rafe asked Courtney what she was and wasn’t comfortable with and there was a safeword. Above all Rafe’s concern was to keep Courtney safe, and to make her understand that she was safe, and that alone sets the book way above most of the others in its genre.

The book’s weakness is that I didn’t find the characters particularly memorable. They’re both good people, a bit pig-headed at times but basically very nice and fiercely loyal to their friends. They’re just bland. The plot felt kind of rushed, one moment it’s sex with no strings attached and the next they’re madly in love with each other. I didn’t blame Rafe for not believing Courtney was in love with him because it was really sudden.

After their mediocre book, Cat and Shane annoyed me in most of their scenes, which thankfully were not many. I did enjoy the occasional scene with Lacey and Galen, though, I wish we could have gotten more of them after the (spoiler) at the end of Down the Aisle. Maybe in a future novella? I’m a bit sad that the group doesn’t seem to have any conveniently single friends that need to be set up with each other but I will definitely keep an eye on Christine Bell’s new releases!
Ren

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