Title: Five Dares
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 247 Pages
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
At a Glance: Five Dares may not be some involved, angsty romance that teeters on the brink of self-destructing at a moment’s notice, as so many do these days, but it is a deeply satisfying romance nonetheless.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.
But hey, nothing gets the “terrible two-o” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Cape Cod. As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.
But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.
Review: Author Eli Easton does romance unlike any other. Her offerings are sweet, lighthearted, and offer a few moments of delightful escapism for anyone wanting a story that always ends happily. Her latest offering, Five Dares, doesn’t break that form, but, as usual, it gives us two wonderful characters you can’t help but love.
Andy and Jake have been friends forever, and they’ve had each other’s backs from the very start. Every time Andy gets the itch to do something crazy, Jake is right there with him, sometimes playing the straight guy to Andy’s seeming madness, and other times joining in the insanity. They have very few secrets from each other, except for one very important one—the fact that Jake has had a hard-core crush on his best friend for years. Jake has known for some time that he is bisexual, and even though he has dated both sexes, it’s Andy who has really captured his heart. But Andy is blissfully unaware of his friend’s feelings until one last dare turns wrong, and both men must spend the summer recuperating in a cabin together. Suddenly the dares that Andy has always come up with hit a bit too close to home for Jake, particularly since they involve no-strings-attached sex with his very straight best friend.
Andy views his dares as nothing more than a means to an end. Since neither he nor Jake can use their hands due to the accident that landed them both in the cabin together, why not put their mouths to work instead? The only problem is that what should be nothing more than a means to get off and ease some of the sexual tension Andy is feeling, turns into something more. Could Andy be gay? No, but there is definitely something happening every time Jake touches him, and Andy will eventually have to come to terms with the fact that he enjoys his best friend taking on the role of his lover. When Jake comes clean and admits his attraction and the fact that he is bisexual, a light bulb goes off for Andy, and his once clear-cut future implodes.
First, I need to say that I really appreciate that the author did not go the wrong and easy path of giving us a gay for you trope that would cheapen and deny the idea of her characters embracing their bisexuality. These were two men who could not only acknowledge that both sexes turned them on but that their feelings for each other were also rock solid. They were comfortable in their sexuality, once they understood it, and the author treated it with respect. Was the story a bit far-fetched in terms of coincidences and how neatly it wrapped up? Yes, I cannot deny that it was pure fantasy, given the intensity of Andy’s parents (particularly his dad, who had mapped out Andy’s life for years), and the anxiety that presented. But despite the fairly quick resolution, this was still a satisfying love story that had humor, passion and genuine sweetness.
The chemistry between Andy and Jake was undeniable, and the foundation for their relationship was built on years of friendship which made the transition to lovers much easier to understand and accept. The use of flashbacks that revealed just how close these two men had grown to each other over the years only aided the swiftness of their emotional involvement, and built a case for the way in which Andy was able to thwart the plans his father had so carefully laid out for his future. In essence, we watched these two young men grow up and mature, which gave credence to their deep emotional attachment to each other.
Five Dares may not be some involved, angsty romance that teeters on the brink of self-destructing at a moment’s notice, as so many do these days, but it is a deeply satisfying romance nonetheless. It’s light, whimsical tone allows us to escape into fantasy for just a little while, and weaves a story that will leave you smiling in the end.
You can buy Five Dares here: