Five Dares, by Eli Easton
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 2, 2017
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.
Friends to lovers
This review contains spoilers.
I have read a ton of books by Eli Easton and usually rated them between 3 to 4 stars. I will say I mostly read them when I was new to M/M, and maybe my tastes have changed. I was super excited for this one and the general consensus among other reviewers I follow and trust is that this is a four star read for most of them. Sadly… I have to be the one party pooper and I’m at a loss as to why.
The book is about two best friends, Andy and Jake, who, at their college graduation party, decide to do one last dare before they must go their separate ways. Jake is off to Harvard, while Andy will be entering the working world, and the two really see themselves possibly growing apart. These guys have been doing dares as “the Jake and Andy show” forever, with Jake being the thrill seeker and Andy serving as kind of a hype man. Unfortunately this dare is not well thought out and both boys are hurt, which ends up transitioning into an interesting summer. I love college stories and friends to lovers, so I just knew this book would be for me.
Why wasn’t it… I think there was a period after the boys start having sex where the lack of communication and real intimacy (in the beginning they are kind of just getting off and then pretending nothing happened– think blow jobs and no kissing) just annoyed me. It felt like it went on for too long. I also felt that how the summer ended, coupled with how the two resume communicating, bugged me. Eli Easton is known for providing a sort of fairytale HEA, and in this case I just could not get behind it at the point in time it happened.
There is also a point where the two don’t talk for a period of time when Jake returns to Harvard (Andy said he needed time with zero communication to get over being in love with Jake) and I thought Jake calling him, supposedly intoxicated on a roof (which Andy thought was a cry for help and worried he was suicidal), felt really manipulative to me. The two then communicate by phone, but we don’t really get a clear picture of if they are together or not as a couple. I think they aren’t at that point because later, when they are together, Andy seems confused by their status.
Overall I think it has the potential to be really enjoyable for most people but I just didn’t connect.
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, an author of paranormal thrillers, a fan-fiction writer, an organic farmer, and a profound sleeper, Eli Easton is happy these days writing love stories.
Eli Easton has published 24 books in m/m romance since 2013. She won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary Romance in 2014 (The Mating of Michael) and in 2016 (A Second Harvest). Her Howl at the Moon series of humorous dog shifter romances have become fan favorites and placed in the Rainbow Awards and the Goodreads M/M Group Reader’s Choice awards. She is best known for romances with humor and a lot of heart.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.