Heidi by Jennifer Labelle

Heidi by Jennifer Labelle
I Dare You book 1
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (52 pages)
Other: M/F, M/M , M/M/F, Multiple Partners, Voyeurism
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead walk into a bar…

After an embarrassing encounter with her roommate Nathan, Heidi Taylor is in major need of a drink and a place to hide. She calls in her two closest friends, Zoey and Meagan to help rescue her. After they meet at a bar and the liquid courage sets in, she comes up with an unusual plan in the form of a dare for each one of them.

Heidi fell in love with a man who’s off limits and she’s afraid to tell him how she really feels—until a bet is made and her friends challenge her to make a move. But Nathan De Costa makes it easy on her when he suggests she needs a little spice in her love life, and designates himself as her something spicy.

Heidi, Zoey and Meagan are best friends. Half drunk at a girl’s night out, the three agree to complete a dare made by the others within a certain timeframe. Heidi has been lusting after her roommate, Nathan, forever. So when Zoey and Meagan dare her to tell Nathan of her feelings she’s nervous but knows it’s well beyond time she tell him. Can they move from friends to more without ruining the relationship?

This is a fun short story filled with plenty of sizzle. I was really interested in how different Nathan’s character was. Far from the usual hero material, Nathan had – from my perspective at least – multiple anti-hero style characteristics. He was cocky and full of self-assurance, plus he was a bit of a man-whore. Despite all this Heidi is deeply in love with him and from the first few pages I was eager to see how the author would get these two together, but more importantly how Nathan would stack up being the hero. I felt deeply intrigued at all the conflicting parts of the scenario – the hero who wasn’t a hero, the heroine who was shy but still owned her sexuality. It was refreshing and a very different outlook.

I ended up a little confused about Nathan’s sexuality – it was never fully explained whether he was bi or just loved people and sex of all flavours. I also was a little disappointed in that I didn’t really end up buying that Nathan genuinely loved Heidi when they finally got together. They’d been living platonically for three years and while the chemistry was there, he hadn’t felt strongly enough about her to act on it. Additionally, he’d had plenty of “love em and leave em” relationships – and tons of M/M flings as little as a week before declaring his love for Heidi. The change was just too drastic for me to find it believable. Additionally, the moment things stop going his way, Nathan reverted back to what he knew (carefree flings) so this made me seriously question the strength of his feelings. Both Nathan and Heidi were too caught up in their passion and the newness of it all for me to feel this new loving relationship between them was properly explained.

A part of me really wishes this book had been full length. I’d have loved a bit more time and background into both Zoey’s and Meagan’s dares being set up. I fully understand why a bit more time and a slower pace is impossible with such a short word length – but I really felt there was so much left unexplored it just felt a shame the pace moved so quickly and there wasn’t more time devoted to fleshing out the details. The conflict between Nathan and Heidi really felt like it appeared almost out of nowhere. In this scene especially I feel more time and explanation would have changed this from making me feel a bit confused into having the scene help build the solid relationship between Nathan and Heidi and make it far more believable for me. I still fully enjoyed the quick, sharp ride the author took us on – but a part of me would have found the story more satisfying if we’d been able to relax and enjoy some of the key scenes more thoroughly.

When Nathan and Heidi finally get together properly – the heat level is scorching and the pace really ramps up. It’s a wild ride and I fully intend to look out for Zoey and Meagan’s story too.

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