Feisty, Lilli. Dare to Surrender. (New York: Grand Central, 2010). ISBN – 9780446541930.
Main Characters: Joy Montgomery and Ash Hunter
Related Works: Ash Hunter is Ruby Scott’s ex-boyfriend. The story of Ruby Scott and Mark St. Crow appears in Lilli Feisty’s Bound to Please.
Description from Book:
He meets his match.
She meets her master.
Art gallery curator Joy Montgomery has never liked her body’s generous curves. And she’s always been too shy to explore her wild side. But tonight, everything is going to change . . .
Desperate to save her job, Joy approaches bad-boy artist Ash Hunter and asks him to exhibit his erotic work at her gallery. Ash agrees on one condition: Joy must pose as his model. But business soon turns to pleasure, as Joy experiences a passion soon turns to pleasure, as Joy experiences a passion beyond her wildest imaginings . . . and Ash finds more than just inspiration in his voluptuous new muse.
When I found out that Ash Hunter would be the hero in Dare to Surrender, I wasn’t sure about the story. After all, Ash Hunter had a rather prominent role in Bound to Please – as the heroine’s ex-boyfriend. As Ruby’s ex-boyfriend, he was somewhat responsible for a great deal of her angst. Ash certainly wasn’t a bad guy by any means. However, Feisty portrayed him as a rather unsympathetic character who was too distracted and disconnected to be able to be emotionally involved in a long-term relationship. I wasn’t sure whether I liked him or not.
But, I loved Bound to Pleasure (it was one of my favorite books of 2009) and wanted to read Dare to Surrender. It came in the mail late yesterday afternoon, and I immediately sat down to read it – and came to love Ash (and Joy as well).
I think that Lilly Feisty has a remarkable ability to create sympathetic characters that have realistic (and very human) flaws. Her characters seem like people I could know – people I would want to know. Ash Hunter is still the distracted and sometimes disconnected artist that he was in Bound to Pleasure. But despite his character flaws, he brings out the best in Joy. Joy is a warm and good-hearted woman with serious body image issues. And, she is good for Ash. She makes him care in a way he hasn’t been able to before.
I so much enjoyed the relationship between Joy and Ash. I laughed when Joy would continually forget things. I laughed out loud when she pulled her cell phone charger out of her large purse while looking for a flash light. I worried about Joy when she agonized about returning Ash’s statue. I could feel her pain when she was discussing her reservations about her new relationship with her friends. I sympathized with her when she had difficulty believing that Ash could find her body desirable.
I also sympathized when Ash would struggle with his family obligations. He had an incredible need to protect and provide for his family – one that drove him rather obsessively. I could feel his anguish when his sister Violet decided to take matters into her own hands and force them all to face her disability and to move forward. Most of all, I routed for Joy and Ash to find their HEA.
Feisty has a knack for creating some wonderfully endearing characters that I can’t help but love. She is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait for future stories.
Read first on January 30, 2010