The Dating Dare is about Tara and Seth, two people in their late twenties who live no-strings-attached lives. Tara only does fuck buddies, Seth only does one night stands… it’s a match made in heaven. So when attending the wedding of Tara’s best friend and Seth’s older brother, the two of them get a little drunk and make a dare. Four dates, no one can fall in love, and it’s for the month that Seth has left in America before he moves to Paris. They’re both more than willing to participate in this dare if it means they get to tear each other’s clothes off, and who’s to say how long that will take?
I found this book charming at times, and frustrating at other times. At first, Tara and Seth were fine, completely normal and logical behavior, thoughts, and feelings, but then as the book continued on… it changed. It’s not insta-love, but they caught feelings pretty hard early on. Not saying that can’t happen, but these are two people who don’t believe in relationships, love, dating, etc so the fact that they’re mooning over each other a third of the way in? I’m not so sure. I loved the dates they went on and the scenes in between where they made excuses to be with each other more. I loved the make out scenes, hot damn. But I noticed at about 50-60 percent of the way in, that things were being set up for the third act break up. Tara suddenly gets this random, intense jealousy that makes absolutely no sense. There’s a moment where Seth is making eggs and says he’s had a lot of practice making them since college, and she takes that to mean that he’s been with so many girls that that’s why he’s made so many eggs. Girl. It’s called breakfast. He eats it everyday and it’s apparently the only thing that he knows how to cook. So yeah, he’s has a lot of practice in the last ten years. Like, what? Anyway….
The other thing about this book that might rub some romance readers the wrong way is that this is fade-to-black. We get incredible make out scenes that are full of passion (although the way French kissing is described… hmm) and steam, but then when it’s time to continue on, nothing. It was a little disappointing considering how well the before stuff was written. It was kind of lame having the lead up to sex and the next paragraph saying how amazing it had been. Like OK, could I have seen how amazing that was? So much connection was happening between them during those moments and we had to get the reflective cliff notes instead of the in the moment realizations. It made these really important moments for them into tells not shows.
I really liked Tara’s family and the other friends that she had. Her brothers were amazing and wonderful and I’m sure that one of them is going to be the hero of the next book in the series. They were funny, caring, and protective of Tara, but not in the hyper toxic masculinity way which was refreshing. Her mom was also great. She was warm and understanding and clearly cared for Tara. It really felt like Seth and Tara were surrounded by a lot of people who cared about them and wanted the best for them. It was nice seeing such a close knit community in a romance.
I will say the ending felt a bit extreme compared to the rest of the story, and I felt like it didn’t build naturally to that final resolution. Although I do see how it was attempted and it isn’t awful. The third act breakup was annoying as it is, but in this case it was like completely opposite to everything that they character was saying/thinking/acting and it felt so forced and contrived. I don’t know man, maybe my dislike for the third act breakup is clouding my judgment, but it didn’t work for me.
Overall this was a good romance and I think that a lot of people are going to like it. It’s fun, funny, fresh, exciting and has a lot of heart. There are moments where it takes your breath away with how sweet and cute it is. I thinking if you’re a romcom lover, this will really appeal to you and if you prefer to not have sex scenes in your romances, then I think this will be right up your alley.