Title: The Dare
Author: Lauren Landish
What it’s About: Elle Stryker wakes up and falls out of bed, when her father, Daniel Stryker, calls her on FaceTime. Her mother left them years ago, and it was just the two of them, and Daniel has done everything to be the best dad he can be to his daughter. After they finish their chat, Elle heads out to pick up her best friend from college, Tiffany, in order to take both of them to their job at Fox Industries, where Daniel works as the Vice President. He had offered Elle to take a job in his department, but Elle wanted the independence of working her own way up.
Both Elle and Tiffany live for three little words: I Dare You. And they spend all of their time, as receptionists on one of the floors, doing small little dares just to make the day a little interesting. Elle, however, has eyes for her boss’s boss–Colton Wolfe–who is competing with Daniel Stryker for a HQ 2 for Fox Industries. Daniel, knowing that Elle works in Colton’s department, asks her if she would help pass on some information. Elle also overhears Colton speaking with Melinda, her boss, about a report that he needs at the end of the day.
Daniel’s and Colton’s proposals are vastly different, which they present to the board. Daniel presents a Tennessee location, while Colton argues for a London headquarters that would put them in line for getting more business in Europe and Asia. Clearly the board likes both proposals, but what they do not know is that Colton has a personal aim with the London proposal–his family is there and he wants to return to show his father that he’s successful. After the meeting, Colton works in his office and then decides to head out to grab some tea with milk.
In the meantime, Elle has been tasked with getting the report to Colton, and a dare from Tiffany is to do something bold–leave her underwear behind, paint a mustache on a painting, or something that makes it clear someone was in Colton’s office. Elle enters the office, and leaves the report on the table. She sees a picture of a girl on Colton’s desk, who actually is his sister, and then wonders what she would do to make the dare complete. She stumbles upon the printer, and decides to sit on the scanner to print out two copies of her butt with the thong in between. Except things go awry, and there are numerous copies being printed.
Colton walks in on her trying to grab the copies, and asks her what she is doing. He stops the printer, picks up one of the scans of her butt, and sits in his chair to await for her answer. Elle ultimately owns up to the fact that this was a dare, and that she has a crush on him but that he has been ignoring her for months–she tells him hello and tries to compliment him whenever he comes into the office, but he’s never once responded to her. Colton cannot believe that he hadn’t noticed her before, though he’s suspicious about the fact that Daniel Stryker’s daughter is in his office after the board meeting, and at first thinks it’s sabotage. He tells her that he will decide what her punishment will be, and Elle is worried that she is screwed. She leaves and he jacks off to the picture of her butt.
Colton ultimate decides to make Elle his subordinate–he offers her to come work for him on the HQ2 project, or he will have to consider going to HR. He gives her the night to think it over, and Elle talks it over with Tiffany that night, who helps her with her outfit. Elle shows up at Colton’s office the next day, and agrees to his terms. He made sure that secrecy was important, so she couldn’t share any of the information with her father. Of course, everyone knows what is going on, and that knowledge that Elle is working for Colton makes her way to her father, who calls her. She tells him that she is going to focus on her work and he should focus on his, may the best man win.
Colton and Elle play with dares–such as her giving him her phone where text messages from Tiffany talk about doing dirty things. Ultimately he dares her to go out with him on a date, and they do. They go to a sushi restaurant, and then Elle takes him to play putt-putt, after which they return to his home and chat. She decides to leave before it goes any further.
They continue doing dares while working on the project together, and their attraction to each other is very obvious, though they manage to keep it professional in the office. Allan Fox, the president and owner of Fox Industries, decides to talk to Colton and tells him that they are going to be sending people to the two choices–Tennessee and London–in order to do more on-the-ground research before deciding on the final proposal. He tells Colton that he has until the following day to decide, at the company party held at Allan’s estate.
Elle and Tiffany go to the party, where Elle talks to her dad, and Colton. Daniel makes the the announcements first, choosing his group of people for the trip to Tennessee. Then Colton makes his announcement–he is putting his assistant, Helen, in charge of his role while he goes to London. And Elle will be going with him to London. Daniel is furious about this and forbids his daughter from going to London. Elle is distraught at the decision of whether she should go or she should stay.
She comes in to the office on the weekend, and together with Colton, they make the plans for the flights and the hotel in London, also having a bit of sexual tension/fun before Helen arrives. Elle is still acting unsure about the flight to London, even though they booked it, but ultimately agrees to go with Colton there. They stop by at her home where Tiffany is staying while Elle is in London in order to get away from her brother, and Elle picks up her luggage before they head over to Colton’s apartment.
On their flight to London in business class from California, Elle and Colton tease each other, but then end up having sex in the bathroom of the airplane. They arrive in London, and Oliver, their Chaffeur picks them up in the Rolls Royce Ghost, taking them directly to the hotel. They spend some time having sex, and then the following day they go visit his family.
At the family visit, all things break loose because his father, Edwin, runs the large umbrella trust, and is meant to leave it to his brother, Eddie, but Colton asks to take the land that his father willed to him after his death in to his rightful ownership. He also calls Elle his girlfriend, though he hadn’t discussed it with her ahead of time. An argument breaks loose, though Colton’s Nan and his sister, Lizzie, both worry about him. Nan likes Elle from the outset, but Lizzie is not quite sure about her. Colton signs the paperwork and puts the land in his name, with plans all set to get the land re-zoned so that they could build. He then takes Elle out on a date to the London Eye, where he manages to secure a single pod for them to have a romantic dinner. They have the romantic dinner, and then things get a bit sexual which is worsened by the fact that a drone takes a picture of them. Apparently the queen and king had seen them, and potentially their daughter too. They run to the car, and try to avoid the tabloids. They manage to make it to the hotel, and get indoors, avoiding the reporters.
The following day Nan visits Colton and Elle in the hotel room, and grabs Elle into a different bedroom while Edwin,Eddie and their lawyer show up. Edwin tells Colton that he has spoken with the people who were ready to re-zone his land, and now Colton will not get anything at all as a result of all the tabloids; he won’t be able to re-zone whatsoever, meaning that his project is in jeopardy. The men walk out, and shortly thereafter Nan leaves.
Elle and Colton return to the US to face the music. Colton meets with the board, tells them that he was caught in a compromising position, and that he really cares for Elle. He then tells them about his proposition, but he’s downtrodden because it looks like it won’t turn out the way he wants it to, and would mean that he has to go look for a different location for the headquarters, or just lose. Daniel presents his portion for the HQs, and at first, it seems like they are decided on Daniel’s proposal when Nan calls, and basically tells them that she is taking over the trust, and that she has friends in higher places than Edwin, who actually like her anyway. As a result, they are able to grant Colton the rezoning rights. Ultimately the board votes and agrees to give Colton the HQ2, including Daniel.
Daniel also invites Colton to talk and the men become on good footing, when Colton makes it evident that he loves and cares for Elle. Elle and Colton then meet up with Daniel for lunch at Frankie’s–a location special to both Daniel and Elle, where Daniel reveals that he will become Fox Industry’s president, as Allen wants to take his wife on trips and step down, while Colton becomes the regional president for HQ2. Colton also apologizes to England on the news, saying that he’s in love with Elle and they got carried away. Apparently that was all that it took for the English people to get over the scandal
Ultimately, Colton and Elle move into the old and renovated house in England, near the HQ. They get married and take on the last name Seymour, and Nan proceeds to teach Elle to take over the family trust, which has been doing much better under Nan’s guidance than under Edwins. Elle is pregnant and expecting their first child when she goes to see Mary, Colton’s mother, and they talk for a little bit about things and Elle puts Mary in touch with Colton.
My Verdict: Mediocre. A big portion of the book was very slow–descriptions and just mundane things. The part that started to get interesting was around the time that Colton makes the announcement to take Elle to London, at which point things get really heated and start to move along. Because of that slowness, it was very hard to get through a portion of the book.
Elle was a ditzy, immature and childish character whose YOLO approach to life bordered on recklessness and was quite off-putting. I feel like there could be more flirting going on in a romance, and it certainly wasn’t in this case. She never changes, never grows as a character, so you have to put up with her childish antics throughout the whole book. And that is such a difference to Colton–who is more serious about things. Sure, she brings him some joy and something different in his life, but I don’t think that Colton realistically would have stayed with her long enough to marry her. Lastly, a lot of this book oddly focused on idioms involving animals such as “curiosity won’t kill the cat” that apparently Colton seems to keep thinking is an American thing. He keeps pointing out these idioms and asking at the meaning of them, making it over the top–I’m sure plenty of these idioms are also familiar in British English.
Overall, its as an okay, mediocre book. I probably will shelve it in the deepest recesses of my hard drive, and never ever think of it again because it did not stand out to me in any particular way.