by Denise A. Agnew

January 2003
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The Dare by Denise Agnew, takes you into the world of a serial killer, and the hunky hard body trying to stop him!

Rich and coddled all of her life, Isabella Markham has come to Pipers Grove Colorado to make peace with her life. A painter in her own right, she’s found she lacks the enthusiasm she once had for the art. She’s renting a time-share, away from her overbearing father, hoping to find the inspiration that once drove her to create. Inspiration shows up in the way of one buff detective named Luca Angello, Isabella’s time-share neighbor. Isabella wants this hottie from the moment she lays eyes on him, he’s powerful and sexy, but Isabella just won’t give in to her lust. Isabella desperately wants to sleep with Luca, but she has what she considers a problem. Her prior lovers weren’t as satisfying as one would hope - yes, girls, the ever elusive orgasm evades poor Isabella! She’s afraid if she sleeps with Luca he won’t turn out to be as exciting in the flesh as he is in her fantasies.

Luca’s moved to the neighborhood hoping to catch the serial killer who is killing women that fit Isabella’s description. He finds Isabella an added bonus, but Luca isn’t looking for love, not long term anyway. After a scare or two, Luca takes on the task of guarding Isabella, full time. She moves on over to his place but makes it clear there will be no hanky panky! Luca decides to dare her to sleep with him, to prove he can provide the sexual satisfaction she’s so long been denied. After an incredible night of lovemaking, they mutually decide that a hands off policy is best. Isabella doesn’t want to get attached, and Luca doesn’t want anyone to own his emotions.

This reader had a tough time figuring out when the serial killer was going to strike; the story focused primarily on Luca and Isabella, and their constant bickering. I would have liked to see the threat of the killer’s presence a bit more, mingled with the budding relationship of the Detective and Isabella. The killer hovered about the fringes of the story only occasionally, with just a mere mention of him here and there. Maybe it’s the gore lover in me, but I need meat with my potatoes!

Isabella’s resistance to Luca began to wear me out after a time; the build up was long, and at times a smidge tedious. I wanted to grab this girl by her russet locks and yell; “what have you got to lose, but another night of non-orgasmic sex”?

Overall the writing was good, and the chemistry between the two (once it happened) sizzled. The lovemaking is fabulously written; touching on the insecurities one feels when embarking on a new sexual adventure. This reader wouldn’t mind taking a peek at another of this authors works; the promise Ms. Agnew shows is exhilarating. Love, sex and murder are the recipe forThe Dare.

Reviewed in January 2003 by Connie.

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