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Shore Thing #1

Living on a Dare

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Stuntman Draven O’Connor never turns down a dare—even if it means getting down on one knee to propose to his former college roommate and friend. The same man he’s been crushing on since the first day they met. The same man that has grown distant over the past year. And the same man who just agreed to be his fiancé.

Julien Bouchard is tired of living a lie. He spent the past year exploring his sexuality in secret, enduring countless dates with women to appease his mother, and dodging his best friend, Draven, who knows everything there is to know about him, except the one thing that could change their friendship. Ready to face his friend, he meets him at a bar and is greeted by an unexpected marriage proposal. The dare isn’t surprising; it’s the scorching hot kiss that sends Julien’s head and heart in a tailspin—and gives him an idea for the perfect plan.

But his plan hits a bump when news of their fake engagement spreads to their families as fast as a wildfire, forcing them to confront their true feelings about each other and hope they don’t get burned.

235 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 19, 2019

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About the author

Grace Kilian Delaney

7 books62 followers
Author, musician, and human slave to the dog and cat that rule her house, Grace Kilian Delaney enjoys giving her characters a dark sense of humor and a happily ever after.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews
Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,224 reviews290 followers
April 9, 2019

A good, solid read with a lot of my favourite tropes included and a couple of likeable characters.

I've not read this author before so I've no idea of their style but I thought they handled the fake engagement element in a well-paced fashion.

Although I was a little frustrated by all the "I've always loved you but now I'm scared to tell you" sections once Jules told Draven he was bisexual, the family dramas did help to anchor the narrative.

There's no real angsting, the contrast between the two men in how they come to terms with their feelings felt properly earned and there's lots of really sweet moments.

The set up for book two is there but handled fairly subtly and I shall probably pick that up too.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Profile Image for iam.
950 reviews126 followers
April 21, 2019
For the most part I actually enjoyed this book - then the ending happened, and I absolutely HATED it.

Content warnings include: homophobia (mostly from a parent and from relatives), overbearing/controlling bordering on abusive parents, sex on-page, describtions of and references to accidents on a stunt set, character gets laid off, character gives up on their dream job to be closer to a romantic partner.

I'll talk about the good things first:
I found Living on a Dare to be a rather fresh take on the fake engagement trope. Draven and Jules have been friends for 10 years, with both of them crushing on each other at some point but both holding back (Draven because he assumes Jules in straight, Jules because he is/was uncomfortable with his own bisexuality and the repercussions of coming out.)
Then Draven proposes to Jules when his friend dares him to - a joke Jules is in on. But an acquaintance happens to see the proposal, and word gets back to Jules' parents, which is where the trouble begins.

While the ups and downs of Jules and Draven's relationship didn't always make sense to me, every now and then this otherwise average book had such incredibly charming scenes that I kinda fell in love with. I adored the palpable familiarity between the two protagonists, the way they joked around, and several of the side characters were great too (I adore Quinn already!)

And then.... the ending happened.
Rant under the spoiler tag.
Profile Image for Lelyana's Reviews.
3,239 reviews383 followers
April 18, 2019
It's not easy when you're in love with your best friend forever.
Draven always loved Julien, but Julien was straight. Well at least until one night, a dare made Julian gay. LOL
Turns out that Julian's actually a bisexual, but in the closet. The dare was like an open door for Julien to come out to his parents, so he didn't deny it.
Lies after lies had become a reality for both of them. The long forgotten feelings appeared then they had to compromise with everything. Parents, works, friends, and especially, the feeling.
Living on a dare is an adorable friends to lovers, fun with almost no angst. Just something I needed when I didn't want to think hard while I read.
Recommended 👍
Profile Image for Athira.
464 reviews27 followers
April 16, 2019
A fun read with some of my favourite tropes. This is my first book by this author and I quite liked it. This is a dual POV book and I love Jules and Draven together. There were times I just wanted to hit their heads and scream at them to get their shit together. There is much angst. Jules' parents wins the 'A+Parenting' award!

I loved the secondary characters. Tate is just amazing. Jules' brother, Quinn, was one of my favourite characters. I'm looking forward to reading his book. It was a fun, lighthearted read. Jules and Draven are quite adorable together.

*ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Lena Grey.
1,544 reviews22 followers
May 9, 2019
“Falling in love with your best friend is quite difficult, for you would have to learn to keep the feelings just to avoid ruining your friendship.” ~ Maria Bastida

Draven and Julian have been good friends for a long time. Draven has been in love with Julian for almost that long. Julian gave Draven a lot of mixed signals which Draven tried to “translate”. He really wanted his dear, affectionate, loving friend to be gay. When Julian started dating women, Draven’s dreams were dashed and he relegated himself firmly to best friend category.

Their relationship continued, closer than most friends, but never lovers. It isn’t ideal, but Draven adores Julian and can’t imagine him not being in his life, so he deals with it. At one point, Draven goes through a particularly rough time involving a failed relationship and when he needs Julian, atypically, Julian doesn’t step up the way he always had in the past. It hurts Draven deeply, but not so much that he is willing to give up on their friendship.

After being mostly ignored for almost two years, Draven is determined to track his friend down and demand an explanation. The next time he is in town, Draven contacts Julian to let him know he is there and asks him to meet him at a bar. All he gets from Julian is a maybe, but Draven still hopes he will show up. While waiting for him, Draven’s boss and friend talk about his dilemma with being in love with his straight friend and how he is afraid of commitment since his ex screwed him over. Draven denies it and, as a joke, his friend dares him to propose to the next man who walks in the door. Of course, the next man who walks in happens to be Julian. The smile he gives Draven melts his heart and reminds him why he loves the man so much. They embrace, technically longer than they should, but Draven isn’t going to let go until Julian does. That’s just rude, right? Since Draven has accepted the challenge, he gets down on one knee and proposes. Julian thinks it’s hilarious and quickly accepts. With all the shouts and whistles of the other men in the crowd, this calls for a kiss, so they oblige. Draven expects to get a peck at best, but the kiss Julian lays on him is spine-tingling and intense. Has something changed since the last time they were together? Draven wonders but is afraid to entertain the thought.

This is a sweet but angsty friends-to-lovers story. With the parents he has, no wonder Julian is so confused about his sexuality and no wonder why it takes him so long to come to terms with it. I felt really sad for Draven, wanting to be with Julian so much while Julian seemed to be so oblivious, or at least unable to entertain the thought of being gay. As William Shakespeare put it: “All’s well that ends well.” – and this certainly fits in the case of this endearing story. Thanks, Grace, for giving Draven and Julian their hard-earned happy ending.

Profile Image for Merissa (Archaeolibrarian).
3,394 reviews90 followers
April 26, 2019
Living on a Dare is the first book in the Shore Thing series, and we start off with two friends, Draven and Julien. Draven is gay, and has known it for years. Julien is struggling to come to terms with his bi-sexuality, and as such, pushes Draven away until he is sure. Both of these have had feelings for the other for years, but neither thought anything would come of it. It takes a dare to bring their feelings to the surface, but even then, there is a lot of confusion going on.

This was a great story, with plenty of action and steam. I loved how these two worked together, although I could also slap them upside the head at times! There is a great cast of supporting characters too. I actually loved Julien's mum, and the role she played. This is the first in the series, and I can't wait to see what comes next.

A sweet, hot, humorous story that I definitely recommend.

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Profile Image for Mateo.
388 reviews13 followers
April 21, 2019
Nothing special, just a sunny day in my garden with a good book.
Profile Image for DB Kimmers.
221 reviews41 followers
August 28, 2019
Grace Kilian Delaney’s books always make me feel good, and who doesn’t need that!? What starts out as a dare, blends into a little family drama, backed by tons of humor, and morphs into two friends becoming lovers in the wonderful coming out journey, Living on a Dare.

Draven O’Connor and Julien Bouchard know each other well. Except they can’t seem to tell the other what they truly want. A friendship that’s been fragile due to a secret they’ve both been hiding is about to get a boost. As Julien walks through the door of a bar the last thing he expects is a proposal. But this dare may just be what the two of them need.

When Julien’s high-society, bigoted parents get word of his “engagement” to his college roommate, and a man, an invite to a small family dinner has them putting their own son on display in the worst possible manner. With Julien’s world crashing down around him and Draven willing to do anything to get back the ease they once shared, keeping up this rouse for a while doesn’t seem so bad.

But as the lie keeps on building, and they struggle with Julien being “outed” – twice – they find themselves living on a dare. A dare, that both hope will be a truth once domestic bliss begins to rear its head. If only they could communicate that to each other.

What starts out as a dare, blends into a little family drama, backed by tons of humor, and morphs into two friends becoming lovers in the wonderful coming out journey, 'Living on a Dare'.

With moving scenes which address the fear of commitment, turmoil over respecting each other as “friends with benefits”, one man struggling to look beyond his hurtful past to see the bright future before him, and another yearning to become who he truly wants to be, Delaney creates a wonderful, heartfelt journey of romance between two people who know each other well.

You can’t help but be captivated by their emotionally realistic passion – erotic, alluring and powerful. And the humor – oh so lively and witty! Little inside jokes only two close friends can share. Like their rating scale called the “pucker factor”… you gotta read the book to find out.

I’m able to see how the author’s writing has matured in this novel, told in alternating points of view. While I usually struggle with first person narrative, Delaney writes great, easy to follow thoughts and conversations that really put you in the mind’s eye of each character, moving the story along with feeling.

If you enjoy playfulness, compassion, friendship, growing love, commitment, and characters who draw you in at every turn, you can’t go wrong with Grace Kilian Delaney’s Living on a Dare. And I’m betting you’re as charmed as I am by Julien’s brother, Quinn, that you will be waiting for the follow-up in this Shore Thing series, Dancing with a Star.
Profile Image for Anne Pine.
Author 5 books23 followers
April 8, 2019
Such a fun read! I love the friends to lovers trope, and this does not disappoint! There's just enough angst to add some drama without taking away from the lighthearted feel of the story that makes it so funny and sweet. Both the main and supporting characters are likeable (when they're supposed to be), and the foundation for what I assume will be the next book's love story is set up nicely.
Profile Image for Tanja OMGReads.
1,682 reviews39 followers
April 17, 2019
I'll be honest and say that I didn't like Julien at first. He really rubbed me the wrong way. But after having met his parents I could understand him a lot better and slowly he began to show what kinda man he really is.

As for Draven; I loved his personality. He was outgoing, funny and so passionate towards his work and love for Julien. They chemistry was hot and the banter has me laughing out loud.

All in all this was a nice first read by the author for me. Definitely picking up more books in the future to read.

***Review copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads Blog***
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,812 reviews46 followers
November 1, 2020

This is my first read by this author and I quite enjoyed her writing style. Loved her use of the fake relationship trope and the intimate scenes were well written. I loved Draven but Julien took me much longer to warm up to.
380 reviews3 followers
February 23, 2020
I have to admit that the fake boyfriends trope has been overdone recently, IMO. However, the unique plotline of this book made it a very entertaining read and kept it from being just another book in the trope. The characters are well developed, and the storyline was entertaining.

Draven and Jules became friends back in college. Draven is out and proud, and comes from a loving and tactile family. Jules, on the other hand, comes from a very sterile environment, lacking warmth and the support he found in his friend.

Fast forward several years, and the two men are living on opposite sides of the country. They have remained close until the last year. Unfortunately, when Draven needed his friend the most, Jules was having a crisis of his own, and it hurt their friendship in a serious way.

When Draven comes to Boston, once again hoping to see Jules, he and his friend/boss are waiting at a bar. As tradition goes, Tate dares a commitment fearing Draven to propose to the next person to enter the bar. That person just happens to be Jules.

Jules is in the line of work he loves, but his job is wearing him down. He's secretly on a journey of self-discovery, as he comes to terms with the fact that he is bi, and it's not just because he's attracted to Draven. When Draven proposes, he goes along, not thinking about the repercussions of saying yes and the scorching hot kiss that followed happening in public.

Soon, things get out of hand, but Jules is not ready to tell his mother the truth. The lies bother Draven, and his past makes him question every motivation, feeling, and desire; both Jules' and his own. Eventually, after circumstances give them time to be together, the lines between friends and lovers blur. But, even with love, real life adult decisions have to be made, like them or not. However, when a choice between love and everything else needs to be made, love wins.

I think I really enjoyed this story for a couple of reasons. First of all, even though it eventually was used as something else, the fake relationship does not happen out of necessity. Secondly, the two men have been friends for years, and this is not a GFY situation. The author tells a good story, and I am so looking forward to seeing what happens with Quinn and Xander. This is definitely a happily ever after for Draven and Jules.

Happy reading!

* I received a free copy of this book and I am leaving my honest review. *
Profile Image for Carra.
1,663 reviews25 followers
April 26, 2019
So, this story has me a bit on the fence. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and the writing style suited me just fine—the story flowed well, I enjoyed both Draven and Julien’s characters, and I love the friends-to-lovers trope. There were some strong supporting characters as well, ones who sparked enough interest that I’d be interested in their stories too (Quinn, Julien’s brother, was particularly amazing).

Even though I liked the main characters, Julien did frustrate me at times. First with his reticence in admitting his sexuality to Draven (especially after what happens in their first scene together once Draven pops the question), then with his interactions with his parents—his mother in particular. And talk about frustrating—Julien’s mother made me want to get right up in her face to put her in her place since Julien couldn’t seem to fully unleash to do it himself.

There’s no question about the chemistry between Julien and Draven, and there are plenty of intimate scenes to illustrate. It’s not just all physical between them though, they’re solid emotionally too. The only major angst point really comes when Julien gets a dream job offer that would put the two of them on opposite coasts…which brings up my fence-sitting point.

The last part of the story with the events that happen after the job offer felt like they were constructed to quickly insert drama to pull Draven and Julien apart and then put them back together again. It didn’t feel true to the rest of the story for me, and left me feeling somewhat off-balance. Am I happy with the way things finally ended up? For the most part, yes. I just wasn’t a fan of the devices used to get there.

Overall, Living on a Dare wound up being a 3.5-star read for me, and is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content. Quinn gets a story next, and I will most likely be checking it out since I really liked his character here.
Profile Image for ButtonsMom2003.
2,660 reviews13 followers
April 19, 2019
A good start to this series.

Living on a Dare is the first book I've read by Grace Kilian Delaney and I enjoyed it. It's a pretty quick and entertaining read. It's told in first person POV, alternating between Draven and Julien and has a couple of good tropes: friends to lovers and fake engagement/marriage.

There's not much angst to the story and it didn't really give me a lot of feels as I read it, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. Other than Julien's homophobic parents it a fairly light read but I wouldn't exactly call it fluffy. Both men have hang-ups to overcome for their relationship to work. Draven got burned by his last long-term boyfirend and Julien has some insecurities because of his parents.

Julien's brother, Quinn, was an interesting secondary character and I'm looking forward to reading his story in the next book.

An advanced copy of this book was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author.

***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***
Profile Image for Amy Stauffer.
766 reviews14 followers
November 18, 2020
This book includes several of my favorite tropes, including fake relationship, friends to lovers, first time, and sexual awakening. Having them all together had me chomping at the bit to read this story. It did not disappoint.

Dares can be fun, and some may even change your life. Draven loves dares and never turns one down. He accepts an outrageous dare, which, with a twist of fate, brings his estranged best friend back into his life. As his fiancé. Yup, he just proposed to a man he hasn’t even talked to in a year, and has had a crush on longer than that. Julien has his own secrets, and one hot kiss later, and he’s on a journey of revealing it. Can they find happiness, or will it crash and burn—like a stunt gone wrong?

This was a fun book to get lost in. It was well written, and I liked the characters. It had just the right amount of angst, to give it a sense of realness, yet stayed light enough to be enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure. A review wasn’t a requirement. ***
Profile Image for Beverly Southern Babes Book Blog.
429 reviews13 followers
April 10, 2019
This is the first book I’ve read by this author and it will definitely not be my last. I loved how this author betrays this story. The storyline was light and sweet always making you smile.

Draven and Jules have been best friends since college. Draven a stuntman that will never turn down a dare. So he takes the dare and ask Jules to marry him. The same man he’s be crushing on forever. Jules is tired of living his life as lies bile up. An overbearing mother, always putting herself first. He’s been dodging Draven because he’s scared of what could happen to their friendship when the secret is out. Never did he expect a proposal but with Draven a dare is a dare.

“ A lightbulb? Who the heck sticks a lightbulb in their ass?”
“Not a very bright idea is it?”

These two are simply beautiful together. So sweet and adorable. Even though they had some obstacles to over come, it was a light hearted read. Smiles and laughs all the way around. I can’t wait for Quinn’s Book!
Profile Image for Valerie.
Author 18 books167 followers
April 18, 2019
When I read the blurb to this story, I thought it was an interesting concept. Two friends from college who had gone their own way after graduation, and while they both had feelings for the other, they each had their own reasons for not admitting their feelings. Draven has crushed on Julien since they became roommates in college, but he kept his feelings to himself because he believed that Julien was straight. But when Julien keeps him at a distance since their graduation, Draven feels heartbroken. On a dare from his boss and friend, he proposes to Julien.

I found it hard to like Julien as a character. I understand his stiffness with his family, but he's obviously bisexual, had sex with men who know his parents, and yet can't admit it to his out gay friend, Draven. Draven is a funny guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and although I softened to Julien, my frustration with his secret and his relationship with his parents weren't enough to win me over in the end.
Profile Image for Amy Dufera - Amy's MM Romance Reviews.
2,671 reviews118 followers
April 19, 2019
Living on a Dare is a great friends to lovers romance. Grace Kilian Delaney managed to entertain me with Draven and Julien. The bet is cute, and the pretend relationship is even cuter.

Their relationship consists of secrets, lies, pretending, homophobia, and some hot sex. The angst is excellent and is well developed, entertaining, and fun. The high society attitude of Julien's mother is insane, but enjoyable. She is definitely a smothering mother.

I found myself surprised at the length of deception, as it's a little crazy, but it's a delightful ride, and certainly enjoyable.

Written in dual person pov, it's fun getting to know both men's perspective. I enjoy the writing, but I am rating it 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt there was some background missing, thus distracting me.

Overall, Living on a Dare is a fun, light read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
53 reviews3 followers
May 14, 2019
Phenomenal book. College roommates and best friends Julian and Draven. Both men have pined for the other, though Julian hadn't realized until later. Julian's mother and father made me cringe every time I read their parts. Hated how Julian let them treat him, but it's relatable. Especially the "what ifs". What started as a harmless prank proposal brought the real feelings to the surface along with Julian learning the extent of his family's tolerance. Not many steamy moments, but the ones that were there are very hot. I loved reading how sweet and easy flowing things are with the guys. Draven had a really bad relationship that caused him to be very guarded, but both laid their insecurities in their own time. Was a nail biter when Draven had an accident. Happy when things smoothed out for the couple. Definitely recommend this book.
Profile Image for Siobhan Flynn.
567 reviews3 followers
November 24, 2020
Draven and Jules are best friends but there is the issue of unrequited love between the both of them and it starts to drive a wedge between them. I did get annoyed with Draven at times as he was punishing Jules slightly due to past hurts and expecting him to guess what wasn't said. Jules is really caught up in his work and doesn't have any spare time for friends and he misses that closeness they once had. A joke gone too far has Jules's mother up in arms and taking over his life. I genuinely enjoyed their interactions and how they both didn't see what was in front of their faces, the heat level was just right, not too heavy or lacking. We come full circle with the ruse and it makes my heart happy to see everyone get what they want. Jules's brother was interesting and i can't wait to get my hands on his book.
Profile Image for R.
1,657 reviews
April 10, 2019
Draven and Julien have been close friends since college. Draven has always been attracted to Jules, but since Jules was straight it was something Draven learned to accept. Jules isn’t quite as straight as his friend thinks. A silly dare has Draven proposing, and Jules’ acceptance kiss was an eye opener for both men. Their engagement moves right along, dragging both men with it.

I liked all the characters, even Julien’s nightmare mother. The only issue I had was that their insecurities were a little off with their personalities. I haven’t read this author before so I’m not familiar with the writing style, might just be my issue. This book was a nice introduction to the author.

Review Copy requested and reviewed on behalf of OMGReads.
Profile Image for Belinda Zamora.
1,035 reviews6 followers
March 18, 2020
Best friends secretly in love with one another and a ridiculous dare.
What could go wrong? Or could this actually be a blessing in disguise?
I absolutely loved the chemistry between these characters.
Julien had a lot of obstacles in his way, namely still being in the closet to appease his mother who was not a nice person.
Driven has always been the rock Julien depends on and he's going to need him more than ever as he takes a page from Draven's stunt work life to plunge headfirst into the unknown and change everything in his life or risk losing Draven.
They both had insecurities to work through and failure to communicate on both their parts just seemed to make things worse until they finally got their act together.
The epilogue was a beautiful ending to their HEA.
Profile Image for aru.
918 reviews67 followers
May 8, 2020
Hm. Not sure how I feel about this book, quite honestly. On one hand I enjoy it a lot, especially their friendship. On the other hand though I don't find the "love" believable. It doesn't feel like a romantic love to me. The whole time they're together I feel....strange. Like watching two of your best friends making out. And they're a platonic kind of friends so it's weird seeing them making out? Yeah, like that. It's weird. And I kinda don't like it that Jules is basically using Draven's goodwill. Hm. So I'm not sure about this book. Sometimes the conversations and the banters feel stilted like it's written by someone who's not sure how deep friendship between Jules and Draven goes. BUT I also enjoy it. So hm. Conflicted.
304 reviews1 follower
April 20, 2019
This is the first book that I have read by this author but knowing that it was a combination of so many of my favourite tropes meant I had to give it a go.
I love the way the author combines the fake relationship and best friends to lovers trope and the way that Draven struggles with trust issues due to a past relationship, even when it comes to his best friend. For me, the struggle that Draven faces, even when it comes to one of the people he trusts most helps to give the relationship more depth.
I found this couple really endearing and am very much looking forward to the next in this series.
Profile Image for Coline Peterson.
597 reviews5 followers
March 8, 2020
Really enjoyed this fast reading, well written, friends to loves book. I couldn't believe it when Draven proposed to me the first time I had seen him in over a year on a dare. We had been best friends all through college, but between my high preformance job and some personal issues going on in my life and I was just not up to having to deal with my best friend so I ghosted him. Even thought we're not really ingaged someone outed me, and now my family knows about it and everything has changed between us. But the sad part is all I can do is hang on and hope he realizes I want us to be really together forever.
2,837 reviews28 followers
March 10, 2020
I've always loved him...but he flees to the east coast. I'm on the west coast working as a stunt many in LA. When a mutual friend dares us to become engaged...we do...for totally different reasons. Now I want to make it real.

I love him but I'm willing to do almost anything to evade all the women my mother is forcing on me. So when he proposes, I accept. Now I want to make it real.

Family pressure is difficult to stand up to...unless you really don't feel they're your family. Maybe love will be enough.
Profile Image for Kathryn Manzella.
3,407 reviews26 followers
April 15, 2019
Grace Kilian Delaney's Living on a Dare is the first book in A Shore Thing Novel series. It is an amazing story between best friends who find love while pretending to be engaged. I love Draven and Julien together. They are best friends and so sweet together (and hot)... they just have some obstacles to overcome. The story is fun, sweet, sexy and definitely satisfying.

I received an advanced reader's copy of the book and I am voluntarily leaving my honest review and recommendation.
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