Love Me If You Dare

Love Me If You Dare

by Carly Phillips


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When hostage negotiator Rafe Mancuso takes a bullet to save Sara Rios, his former partner, his actions make him a bona fide hero — and New York City's newest most eligible bachelor. Then Rafe admits that Sara is much more than just another woman he's rescued. Suddenly, a firestorm of gossip turns him into exactly what he doesn't want to be: the Bachelor Blog's newest hot topic. His only solution is to leave town and get himself out of the spotlight… and sexy, jaded Sara out of his mind.

NYPD officer Sara Rios has Rafe to thank for saving her life, and Rafe to blame for the media chaos surrounding her. She wants to throw herself back into duty at full throttle, but until her injuries heal, she's on leave and in search of her rescuer. From the moment she finds Rafe and meets his large, boisterous family, she's hooked. But mutual attraction doesn't always mean happily-ever-after, and these two have a long way to go to find their fairy-tale ending.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781942288749
Publisher: CP Publishing LLC
Publication date: 07/31/2017
Series: Most Eligible Bachelor Series , #2
Pages: 388
Sales rank: 377,864
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Carly Phillips started her writing career with Harlequin Temptation in 1999 with Brazen, and she’s never strayed far from home! Carly has since published sixteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers Summer Lovin’ and Hot Stuff. Carly lives in Purchase, New York, with her husband, two daughters and a frisky soft-coated wheaten terrier who acts like their third child. When she’s not spending time with her family, Carly is busy writing, promoting and playing online!

Read an Excerpt

As the elite of Manhattan sipped champagne and whispered in hushed tones, Rafe Mancuso patted the Glock hidden beneath his tuxedo jacket. Relaxed but alert, he strode through the room, certain he wouldn't need the gun in this highbrow crowd. Still, the Lancaster Foundation was paying him to remain vigilant at their auction of outrageously priced jewels. Instead, he was distracted by the woman who'd recruited him to work security, Sara Rios, his one-time partner at the NYPD.

She walked through the double doors, and he couldn't focus on anything else. They'd had a unique connection, working together like a well-oiled machine. Spending hours in a car together led to an immediate friendship and an emotional intimacy Rafe had never experienced before.

Not even with his fiancée.

He and Sara had never acknowledged let alone acted on the feelings simmering between them, but that hadn't lessened the impact. And if Rafe thought Sara had been a dangerous temptation back then, he was blown away now. The woman who'd worked alongside him in a police uniform had never looked this hot. In a sparkling silver dress that hit toned midcalf, her long blond hair draped over her shoulders and full breasts he hadn't known existed, Rafe couldn't tear his gaze away.

"Hey there, stranger! Long time no see." She greeted him with a wide smile.

"Hey, yourself."

She leaned over and pressed a kiss on his cheek, her soft lips and sweet scent intoxicating him, reminding him of why he'd switched shifts and broken up their partnership last year. Rafe's father had almost destroyed their family with an affair, and Rafe had sworn he would never follow in those footsteps. To an engaged man, Sara presented a temptation that simply had to end. Ironically, his relationship with his fiancée had imploded not long after, but as far as Rafe was concerned, breaking up the partnership was the smartest thing he'd ever done.

Sara would never commit to any man for the long haul, and Rafe demanded nothing less.

"I'm glad you took me up on this gig. It's good to see you." She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and met his gaze, her brown eyes sparkling with pleasure.

He smiled. "It's good to see you, too."

"You dress up nicely," she said.

His stare never left hers. "I can honestly say the same about you. And as a bonus, it should be an easy night." He inclined his head toward the other side of the room, where the jewels were on display.

The Lancaster Foundation had insisted Rafe and Sara blend in and socialize, not crowd the items for sale. As trained professionals, they'd have preferred to set the parameters, but the foundation hadn't wanted the guests to feel too intimidated to view the items up close.

"An easy night is good," Sara said. "I'm supposed to lie low until I testify at a murder trial next month. And you can't get any more low-key than this."

He laughed in agreement. "I heard about your case. Started as a routine B and E on Park Avenue, right?"

"That's what we thought. Someone broke in and sur prised the wife at home, hit her on the head and stole some high-priced items. But the victim refused to go to the hospital and died in her sleep a few hours later." Sara shook her head at the senseless result.

They'd both dealt with their share of stubborn victims.

"As it happened, I was the last person to speak to her before she died. She implicated her husband or at least gave him motive."

"So you're the key witness at the husband's murder trial," Rafe said, repeating what he'd heard around the station.

"Yep. And it all comes down to money." She tipped her head toward the wealthy crowd. "Alicia Morley's capital was the only thing keeping her husband's investment firm afloat. He and his partners ran the firm into the ground, and she refused to continue to subsidize his bad investments. He hired someone to break in and make it look like a robbery gone bad, hoping to inherit her estate. But if he's convicted, her money goes to adult children from a first marriage."

A waiter passed by, and Sara grabbed a sparkling water from his tray. She took a sip, leaving a pink-rimmed lipstick mark on the glass.

Rafe couldn't tear his gaze away. Couldn't stop his mind from imagining other uses for those luscious, glossed lips. "Where's the husband now?" he asked, his throat parched and dry.

"Still in jail. Prosecutors convinced a judge he's a flight risk. But his business partners are connected to some dangerous people, and the D.A. wants me to keep a low profile until the case is over."

"Well, I'm happy to handle this low-profile event with you." Where he could look and not touch. "I saw your neighbor, Sam Cooper, earlier."

Coop and Sara weren't just next-door neighbors: they were good friends. And since Sara let few people get close, and Rafe trusted her instincts, he automatically respected Coop. He often crossed paths with the crime-beat reporter and professionally pegged him as a decent guy who'd never compromise the truth for a story.

Since Sara was territorial about her friends, Rafe decided not to mention that he'd caught sight of Coop sneaking out of the unused coatroom not long after a disheveled-looking woman had done the same. In the dead heat of summer, nobody used that closet unless they were getting some action. Rafe was actually jealous. He couldn't remember the last time he'd grabbed a quickie with a woman in a nearly public place, but looking at Sara in that dress had him thinking about nothing else.

Sara nodded. "I came with Coop, but I hope he'll be leaving with his girlfriend, Lexie Davis. If they settle an argument they had first." She pursed her lips and glanced around the room, her frown becoming more distinct. "I don't see them."

"It's crowded. Maybe they're somewhere making up," Rafe said in an attempt to reassure her.

Sex, then an argument, then makeup sex? Could any guy get that lucky in the span of an hour? Rafe shook his head and laughed.

"What's so funny?" Sara asked.

Rafe came up with a cover story. "Just wondering how Coop's handling his stint on the Bachelor Blog."

The online and in-print feature now in the Daily Post targeted single men in New York City. The blog started by picking a bachelor and highlighting him. The spotlight led to people covering the guy's every move, from where he stopped for coffee to where he worked, and usually culminated in speculation about his love life. Women then came out of the woodwork in droves, hoping to snag the newest, hippest NYC bachelor. Despite the fact that he worked for the Daily Post, Coop was the blogger's latest sucker.

"You read that trash?" Sara sounded affronted by the prospect.

Rafe shook his head. "Hell, no. But Maggie does." As Sara knew, Maggie was their daytime dispatcher, and she loved to share station gossip and, lately, Bachelor Blog news.

"I don't know how Maggie finds the time," Sara said.

"Saves her from focusing on her own life."

Suddenly a loud shriek and the sound of shattering glass broke through the dull hum of the crowd, interrupting their conversation.

Rafe whipped his head toward the sound, hand on his pocket, ready to draw his weapon.

"The waiter has a knife!" someone next to them shouted.

"And he's got Coop's girlfriend," Sara groaned.

Instinct kicked in, and Rafe met Sara's gaze, both silently acknowledging they needed to get closer to the action.

Rafe inclined his head, and Sara immediately started clockwise around the room, heading toward the waiter with the knife. Rafe went counter and worked his way through the startled crowd.

Hopefully one of them, Rafe or Sara, could distract the waiter while the other got a jump or a clear shot.

"He's got the ring!" The warning came from the woman being held hostage.

A piece from the Lancaster Foundation. Rafe swallowed a curse.

"Shut up!" the panicked waiter yelled at her.

Rafe glanced over in time to see the man prick his hostage's skin with the tip of his blade.

"Just how do you think you're getting out of here?" Suddenly Sam Cooper stepped forward. Hands in the air, he eased toward the waiter who held his girlfriend at knifepoint.

Ordinarily Rafe wouldn't want a civilian trying to talk a crazy man down, but Coop wasn't stupid. And at least he was buying Rafe and Sara time to get closer.

"Who the hell are you?" the waiter asked.

"I'm with the lady. Now, just relax." Coop attempted to take another step.

"Stay there!" the waiter shouted.

Rafe still wasn't close enough, nor could he risk scaring the man who'd already escalated from stealing a ring to taking a hostage.

The waiter shifted his grip on the woman. "Look, I'm just gonna walk out of here, and nobody's going to stop me." He made his way toward a steel door marked Stairwell, pulling his hostage along with him.

Rafe sought and found Sara across the room. She was close enough to confront the man, and Rafe gave her silent encouragement, knowing she could handle talking him down. They'd been in negotiation basics together, though she'd had no interest in specializing.

Without warning, the waiter shoved the hostage into the crowd, taking everyone off guard.

In the chaos that followed, he yanked the door and bolted from the room. Sara took off after him.

Rafe surged forward, but the door slammed shut before he could reach it, costing him precious time. Heart lodged in his throat, he pushed his way through the guests, opened the door and ran up a dark stairwell.

He launched through another door and onto the rooftop, gun already drawn, only to find he had a different hostage situation on his hands.

The waiter had obviously misjudged his exit strategy. There was no way out from here, and he now held Sara at knifepoint. He'd obviously been expecting company and grabbed her as insurance.

Rafe broke into a sweat that had nothing to do with the heat and humidity swirling around him.

"Drop the gun," the waiter ordered.

Rafe gauged his chances of shooting the suspect and missing Sara. The moonlight was on his side, illuminating the roof. But considering the other man held her as a complete body shield, knife to her neck, his chances were not good.

"Come on, man. Let her go. You don't want to go down for assaulting a cop," Rafe said, beginning the process of talking the man down.

The waiter's eyes opened wide, but he didn't flinch or drop the knife. "Is she really a cop?" Sweat poured down the man's face.

"We both are," Sara said, voice calm.

Rafe admired her cool and hoped she could hold on to it.

The waiter spat a curse. The hand holding the knife shook, and the blade pricked her skin. A small trickle of blood oozed onto her neck.

Nausea swamped Rafe, but he pushed the feeling aside. "Your day just gets better and better," Rafe said, his gun level with Sara's chest. "Let her go. It'll still go easier on you if you don't stab a cop."

"I need to think," the man said, obviously shaken.

Panic warred with the irrational need to go down fighting, and his indecision was tangible.

Rafe had seen it before. The guy had to make a choice. So did Rafe. Where another trained negotiator might talk his guts out until he was out of time, Rafe had the advantage of knowing the hostage.

And she knew how to read his mind and his cues. Acting presented a risk, but Rafe trusted his ex-partner.

Decision made, Rafe met Sara's gaze, giving her an imperceptible nod. "Drop!" he yelled at the same time as he dove for the other man's legs.

Everything next happened in a blur. Sara's body went limp, surprising the guy while Rafe barreled into him, knocking him off balance. Sara rolled free, and Rafe tackled the other man but was unable to get a grip on the knife. He wasn't sure how long he grappled and deflected before he obtained the upper hand, landing a smooth blow to the man's jaw that ultimately subdued him.

"Don't move!" Sara stood over the waiter, gun raised.

Breathing hard, Rafe rose to his feet. "You okay?"

She nodded. "I would've been better if he hadn't gotten the jump on me," she muttered. "He knocked the gun right out of my hand." She shook her head in disgust.

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Love Me If You Dare 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 235 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
NYPD Police Officer Rafe Mancuso saves his former partner Sara Rios from an assault and has become a city hero. However, he soon learns the down size of "celebrity" status when the Bachelor Blog names him an eligible hunk. As he heals and tries to stay out of the limelight of the almost famous, Rafe retreats to his lakefront cabin. His vanishing turns the Bachelor Bog's attention on the damsel in distress he rescued, Sara. Like her ex-partner, she needs to avoid the limelight as she is to testify in court against a killer who wants her dead. Sara retreats to Rafe's cabin where the attraction that ended their partnership ignites while someone exposes her hideaway. The latest Most Eligible Bachelor Blog contemporary romance (see Kiss Me If You Can) is a delightful police procedural romantic suspense. The lead male knows who he wants and does not disguise his feelings; his target Sara shares his intense love. However, surviving the attacks on her comes before they can dare to fully embrace their love. This is a strong contemporary romance. Harriet Klausner
GBall More than 1 year ago
Honestly I would say that if you read one you read them all. This time the author didn't give me much of originality. For the most part the book was a decent read. As for the mystery part of solving who was trying to kill one of the main characters you did have a little twist. Outside of that when it came to our contemporary romance side you will most likely be able to predict the book in its entirety. Plus side for giving you several couples to counsel if you are looking into dividing common love lives into many (i.e. marital mentors point of view). I would not consider this to be the authors best work, but she did state that this was written from a perspective not of her norm.
mjva More than 1 year ago
This is a nice follow up to the first Bachelor Blog book. An easy quick read with a little mystery/thrill on the side. The love story between Rafe and Sara is fun and heartwarming. They have great chemistry and both deal differently with the fear of giving your heart to someone. The sub plot of Rafe's brother Nick and his wife Angel is a nice touch. It adds to Sara's personal struggle as she works thru her feelings for Rafe and the impact of her injury on her future. I did not see the reason for the two mystery/thriller sub-plots. They were not related and one seemed a little over the top. Unfortunately the ending leads the reader to believe this is the last of the bachelor blog books. The premise was very current, and with all the options for bachelors in NYC, I hope the Bachelor Blog finds a way to continue.
17939996 More than 1 year ago
This is a great romance and I really enjoyed reading it. It is exciting and unique and so much more. It captured my attention from the beginning and held my interest until the end. The characters have depth and issues that will keep you wondering and turning pages. The plot has action, mystery, intrigue and romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another winner by Carly. This book has a little bit of everything _ comedy, suspense and drama. Great interaction between the characters.
JennieF More than 1 year ago
ARC for honest review with no compensation Love Me If You Dare by Carly Phillips is the 2nd book in the Most Eligible Bachelor series and we meet up with Sara and Rafe again. These two were partners and when Rafe started to have feelings for Sara he decided to transfer out of their division now they are back working on a case together when he comes to her rescue and he becomes the next Bachelor Blog hero…. Will these two finally admit their feelings for each other or will they just go back to being friends????
CrystalsBookWorld More than 1 year ago
Love Me if You Dare was a cute read for me. It has the action I thrive for and romance that I crave. We meet Sara and Rafe in book two of the Most Eligible Bachelors series. Sara is a headstrong character and is having a hard time staying in one spot. She was taken out of her job due to injuries and Rafe has come in as her unofficial protector. These two clicked immediately and Sara falls for all the little details about Rafe. This book will show you the passion and the way these characters fall for each other was exciting. I love all books that Carly has written and her series I can easily get addicted to. Love Me If You Dare is great for a weekend read!
EileenAW More than 1 year ago
Love Me If You Dare, the second book in Carly Phillips’ Most Eligible Bachelor series is another good read. Rafe Mancuso, a hostage negotiator, suddenly becomes the latest topic of the Bachelor Blog after taking a bullet to save his former partner, NYPD officer Sara Rios. We met these two in the first book of the series, Kiss Me If You Can. Rafe tries to keep Sara safe as well as change her mind toward marriage and relationships, after her previous failed ones. The time Rafe & Sara spend with Rafe’s family is fun, offering some humor to the story. The chemistry between these two was amazing and the more time these two spend together the stronger their attraction becomes. Ms. Phillips is a wonderful storyteller which was demonstrated in this wonderful story. This book is a re-issue of a previously published story but with updated content. The humor and light hearted fun does remain. I enjoyed reading this book again and had trouble putting it down. I highly recommend this outstanding book to other readers. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
tsmb02 More than 1 year ago
Rafe Mancuso and Sara Rios used to be partners for the NYPD. Rafe was engaged at the time but was drawn to Sara so he switched jobs not be tempted. Now both of them are single and Sara asked Rafe if he was interested in working security for The Lancaster Foundation's fundraiser where they would be auctioning off jewelry for their cause. What they both thought would be an easy night, turns into mayhem when Rafe takes a bullet meant for Sara. This earns Rafe the title of New York City's most eligible bachelor. Trying to escape the craziness, Rafe heads to his other house in Hidden Falls, NY, where he grew up. Back in New York City, Sara is being threatened because she is a key witness in a murder trial. To escape the threats, Sara heads to Hidden Falls with the hope of staying with Rafe for awhile until the trial starts. With both of these two living in the same house, things quickly turn romantic. Rafe realizes he wants a real relationship with Sara, unfortunately Sara only wants a friends-with-benefits type relationship. As they spend more and more time together, Sara realizes that she really likes Rafe's big, large, crazy family and maybe being in a real relationship might not be so bad. Too quickly Sara is spooked and runs away just as dangerous situations are closing in on them. It takes a lot of soul searching for Sara to realize what she really wants in life, but eventually she decides to take the leap. Both of these characters were fun and quirky. Their love story with a little of bit of a mystery thrown in was fun and entertaining. I just adored Rafe's entire extended family! Gotta love big Italian families! Overall, this was a fun story to read.
tracykids4 More than 1 year ago
I love Rafe and Sara. Sara was held hostage at the end of the 1st bachelor’s blog series book. Who else better to save her than the man that loves her, Rafe. Rafe took a bullet for Sara. Rafe and Sara have always had a good relationship but the attraction between them is what ended their partnership in the 1st place. Can these two spend time alone together and not act on their feelings? Is Sara’s life being in danger going to ruin the best thing that could happen to this couple? Come read about the lengths Rafe and Sara endure as they try to keep her alive.
Cali-Jewel More than 1 year ago
Sexy, Sweet, Entertaining, Emotionally thrilling romantic adventure with two people that have been fighting an attraction for far to long. Rafe Mancuso is all sexy, hot alpha male with a need to protect. He is a hostage negotiator and NYPD officer Sara Rios's former partner. Sara is a sassy, sexy and independent female not really looking for forever but might have just stumbled into it anyway. Loved all the heart pounding action and emotional twists. Was a greatly entertaining afternoon in the backyard sipping a cold beverage (or two) reading.
Christine_Miller More than 1 year ago
I was excited that Sara and Rafe were going to get their story told. When we met them at the end of the Bachelor Blog book 1, I knew there was more than a friendship going on there. I felt like Sara had a lot of the same relationship issues that our heroine in the first book had. Sara doesn't believe that marriage is forever and cops can't have a good marriage. Rafe has been drawn to Sara for a long time, but knows how she feels about relationships. When Sara comes to Rafe because she is in danger, he is hoping that the close proximity will break down her walls. This was a good story with a little bit of mystery and intrigue thrown in, too. Good read in this series.
Crystal_Singer0305 More than 1 year ago
This is a SEVERAL times re-read for me because I enjoy this story so much! Lord I love a sexy alpha man who would literally throw himself in front of a bullet in front a bullet for his woman. Even if the woman isn't technically "his" woman. But that doesn't stop Rafe. Now he's the sexy center of the attention and needs to recuperate. He gets out of town but the object of his desire follows him. How's he supposed to forget her when she's everywhere? Sara falls in love with the town, his family and him. Can these two make it last?? These two are incredible together. So freaking sexy. So perfect. I couldn't get enough. Loved their story from the first page. Perfectly written and had me hooked! fantastic read that I recommend to everyone!!! Happy reading!
Theresakerch-28 More than 1 year ago
Now one of my favorite Carly Phillips book. This was a great read and a rerelease from Carly Phillips. Rage and Sara are a great couple that we met in the first book in this series Kiss me if you can. Can Rafe keep Sara safe and also change her mind about marriage and relationships. There was so much going on in this book I did not want to put this book book down between the Sara and Rafe, Angel and Nick, Pirro and then keeping Sara safe and her job. Even though this was a rerelease this was the first time I read this book and I was definitely not disappointed and this is one of my favorite book by this author.
AREEDAR More than 1 year ago
Rafe Mancuso (hostage negotiator) takes a bullet to save Sara Rios (former partner). He becomes the next target for the Bachelor Blog’s most eligible bachelor. NYPD Officer Sara Rios is indebted to Rafe for saving her life. These two have chemistry off the charts and maybe it is time to finally see where their attraction takes them. Add in Rafe’s fun loving family and Sara is hooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its an interesting reading if you liked the first book 'kiss me if you can'. It has a very good plot though confusing at times. Very edge of your seat kinda read. Loved it definetly recondmend if into romance ond a bit of mystery.
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