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Dare the Devil by Elaine Raco Chase

Dare the Devil - Elaine Raco Chase, Elaine Raco Chase, Destiny Landon, Lee James

Cam Stirling is a stunt woman and she’s with a crew filming a Neanderthalish action flick in Wyoming (I think it was Wyoming). But the crew has inadvertently wandered off government land onto private ranching lands and Luthor (Thor) Devlin is none too happy about that. However, he is pretty intrigued by this daring stunt woman who works with such large, exotic animals such as an elephant (who plays a woolly mammoth) and a tiger (who plays a sabertooth!). Eventually Thor and his ranch hands have their hands full between the movie people and the yearly summer influx of teens to the ranch. Add to it that there have been some horse and cattle wrestlers in the area stealing livestock.

If you read my blog regularly, then you know that contemporary romance is not my usual cup of tea, but I keep trying it here and there. I listened to another book, Designing Woman, by the same author some time ago and found it clever. So I gave this one a try. Both Cam and Thor are characters with flaws and concerns and real personalities. They have been shaped by their families and the lives they have chosen. Cam is no swooning, vapid love interest. She’s there to do her job and she comes from a long line of stunt women. She feels no need to show off or take risks. She’s a professional. She also happens to be in quite good shape, which Thor has noticed. Thor comes from a ranching family and grew up an only kid. His crew is his extended family and the land means much to him.

There’s plenty of romance in this book with the two main characters getting to know each other. There’s flirtations and stolen kisses and secret rendezvouses. It’s sweet. Even though this genre is my least favorite, I still found myself chuckling a time or two at the initial blundering attempts to get to know each other. Late in the book, we do get a few sex scenes (hooray!) and they are steamy without being spicy.

Of course, the two lovers have to have at least one misunderstanding and that happens too. Thor grew up primarily in a man’s world without too many women doing a “man’s” job. So you might guess how the little spat came about. Essentially, Thor needed to grow up a bit. While I totally agreed with that assessment, we don’t see such a significant flaw with Cam, and hence, we don’t see her making a significant change in her life to accommodate the relationship. In that regard, the giving was mostly on Thor’s side. I would have liked to see Cam have to realize something big about herself and make some sort of change as this would have added further depth to her character. Overall, it wasn’t a bad little romance. I liked the stunts and the animals. The action scene near the end with the wrestlers was great and was probably my favorite scene in the entire book.

I received a copy of this book from the author at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Destiny Landon and Lee James split up the female and male roles. In the beginning, it clearly sounded like they recorded at different times and maybe even different sound booths. But the production gets smoother pretty quickly and soon they had a narration that sounded like two people having an actual conversation. Landon had a great voice for Cam – confident, sexy, professional. James was great for Thor having a rugged cowboy voice that reminded me a bit of Sam Elliott (whose voice will always be cowboy sexy). There were very few female roles for Landon to play (the main actress and a waitress) and she did them both well. I especially liked her somewhat snooty voice for the actress. There were plenty of male roles for James to show off his voice talents. I liked all the different cowboy voices and especially his screaming director voice.