Monday, December 2, 2013

Dare You To by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! Readers will have a much better understanding of the characters and their actions if they have read the first book in the series, Pushing the Limits. Beth is a minor character in the first book but the reader gets a brief introduction. This book is only about her, but Isaiah makes several important appearances.

Beth Risk refuses to move in with Noah and Isaiah so that she can be around to take care of her mother. A drunk with an abusive boyfriend who has beaten both of them, she blames Beth for her father leaving them. When she gets a late night phone call from the owner of the bar her mother frequents, she runs off to take her home before the cops are called. Finding her mother somewhat coherent and out of booze, she gets ready to walk her over to their apartment complex. Her mother sends Beth off to pay her tab. The owner tells her it has already been taken care of and Beth knows that trouble is near. She runs out the back door and finds her mother and her boyfriend in a fight. Her mother has a baseball bat and has hit her boyfriend and his car. He hits Beth's mother and she drops the bat. Beth thinks if she has the bat, she can get the boyfriend to leave. Holding it in her hands, the cops arrive at a most unfortunate time. The boyfriend starts screaming that Beth is responsible for the damage. On her hands and knees, her mother, who is already on probation, begs Beth to take the blame. She does and is arrested for destruction of property.

Beth keeps quiet to keep her mother out of jail. She called Isaiah and he in turn called his foster mother, Shirley, her mother's sister. Knowing the severity of the charges against Beth and having no money for a lawyer, Shirley had no choice but to call Beth's father's brother, Scott, who had recently moved back into the area. He had been inquiring about her but everyone knew that Beth wanted nothing to do with him. Scott visited her mother at her apartment and saw just how much trouble Beth's mother really is in. He will keep quiet if he can have Beth. Her mother signs custody over to him. Isaiah tells her to be strong and he will come for her. For now, she needs to leave with her uncle. Letting go of her anger, she leaves with her uncle, who looks so much like her father. Except her uncle looks like an athlete and her father a meth addict. Beth is surprised to find out that her uncle is now married and his wife is not very happy that Beth is going to live with them. After words between the two of them, Beth knows that she must play by Scott's rules to keep her mother out of jail.

Ryan Stone lives to play baseball. In fact he dreams of playing professionally. His friends, Chris and Logan also play. Chris also knows what Ryan needs even when he doesn't. Chris has a steady girlfriend and Ryan's former girlfriend Gwen wants him to put her before baseball. Ryan and Chris are also competence off the field with each other. They dare each other to complete various stunts and Ryan hates to come in second. One night on a trip to Louisville, they dare each other to see who can collect the most phone numbers from girls the other one chooses. At a stop at a Taco Bell, Chris is in the lead and challenges Ryan to get the number of a biker chick that comes in. Knowing his game and stringing him along, she promises to give him her number if he walks her to the car. In the lot, her two male companions are waiting and Ryan realizes that he has lost the game.

Ryan's family has been torn apart by his older brother’s revelation that he is gay. His father has kicked him out of the house and he attends school at the University of Kentucky playing football. It is a big secret that they keep from their small town community. Ryan's father is a businessman and on town council and doesn't want to sully their family's reputation. A baseball scout paid notice to him at his first fall game even though he was there to see someone on the other team. In town the next morning, his dad is telling a group of men outside the barber shop about the meeting with the scout from the night before. A man comes up to Ryan and asks what the group is talking about. He answers "baseball" without looking at him. The man answers "no kidding" and Ryan looks up to see who he is talking to. He is shocked to see Scott Risk standing in front of him, the former New York Yankee who lived in their small town. Ryan's father comes over then and introduces them to Scott. Mr. Stone said he heard rumors that he was moving back to town and they find out that Risk lives next door. The talk turns to baseball and Ryan's meeting with the scout. Ryan tells Scott of his own dreams about playing baseball professionally. Scott asks if Ryan can do him a favor by showing his niece around school the next day. Ryan readily agrees.

Scott Risk tells him that his niece Elisabeth is a bit rough around the edges. Beth is a good girl who just needs some friends. Scott introduces the two and Ryan's stomach drops. It has just turned out to be one of the worst days of his life. Scott Risk's niece Elisabeth is the Taco Bell biker girl whose phone number he failed to get. Neither is happy about seeing the other. Beth takes it further by telling her uncle that he hit on her a few nights earlier. Ryan stammers that he thought she was funny but Beth begins to make a scene on the street. Scott apologizes for her and understands if he wants to back out of helping Beth. No and Ryan sees a way to win the bet after all.

On the first day of school, Beth begins to feel self-conscious about going to high school with some of the kids she grew up with before her father left. She knows that the gossip about them will resurface. Scott tries to reassure her that no one will think differently about either one of them and what happened that night will remain a secret. Ryan tells his friends that the biker chick is now living in their town and asks to continue the bet. Chris and Logan agree to continue the bet but the stakes have been raised. Just a phone number won't cut it. Beth must agree to a public date with Ryan that lasts at least an hour.

What happened to Beth that one night that changed her life forever? Will she accept her new life with her uncle? Does her mother get sent to jail? Can Ryan's father accept his older son and repair his fractured family? Is Ryan a god enough baseball player to play professionally? Can he win the bet with Beth or does he change his mind once he gets to know her? Can two people who like to live on the edge and take risks find their way to one another? And what will everyone else think?

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