Title: Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1)
Author: Lily Morton
Release Date: August 17, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary/UK/Office romance
Page Count: 302
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
Is it really wrong to want to murder your boss?
Dylan has worked for Gabe for two years. Two long years of sarcastic comments. Two long years of insults, and having to redo the coffee pot four times in the mornings to meet his exacting standards.
Not surprisingly he has devoted a lot of time to increasingly inventive ways to murder Gabe. From stabbing him with a cake fork, to garrotting him with his expensive tie, Dylan has thought of everything.
However, a chance encounter opens his eyes to the attraction that has always lain between them, concealed by the layers of antipathy. There are only two problems – Gabe is still a bastard, and he makes wedding planners look like hardened pessimists.
But what happens when Dylan starts to see the real Gabe? What happens when he starts to fall in love with the warm, wary man that he sees glimpses of as the days pass?
Because Gabe is still the same commitment shy, cold man that he’s always been, or is he? Has Dylan had the same effect on Gabe, and has his solid gold rule of no commitment finally been broken? With his heart taken Dylan desperately needs to know, but will he get hurt trying to find the answers?
From the author of ‘The Summer of Us’ comes another scorchingly hot romantic comedy, showing what happens between two men when rules get broken.
I feel like I’ve been steamrolled. I mean…..really? This little book just came out of nowhere, popping up on my feed. A LOT of great reviews, while some seemed to hate it. I knew when some of my friends who’ve got similar tastes to mine started posting about it, I had to dive into this one.
Holy crap, people, this was totally my cup of tea. Snarky banter at its finest, great writing, heavy steam, AND relationship angst!!!!!! I’m a fan.
Dylan is an assistant to a wealthy lawyer, Gabe Foster. He hates him and plots his death regularly. Ok, not really. Dylan would have us believe that as the narrator, but Dylan always protested way too much
Did Gabe say things that were out of line? Oh hell yes. But Dylan gave him a run for his money right after he started. So that by two years later, as the book opens, it’s snarky-banter-foreplay at its finest.
“Earth to Dylan,” he gripes, snapping his fingers at me. “Where my suit? It’s not in the bloody cupboard where it should be.”
“Do you want me to find it, or do a flamenco dance?” I ask sharply. “Because I’m sure that’s the only possible reason that you could have for snapping your fingers at me.”
Gabe is a phenomenal lawyer, if socially blunt with everyone, he’s hot as hell, witty, and he’s gay. But Dylan is staying far, far away from any temptation. Gabe is his boss, of course. Who has a boyfriend. Although said boyfriend is a completely vapid wanker, and neither Gabe nor Fletcher are faithful to the other. And Dylan, who only does relationships, knows that anything with Gabe would be a monumentally bad idea.
After two years, a sequence of events lead to Dylan seeing sides to Gabe that he’s never seen. None of these seemed manufactured. It all seemed to unfold organically, and the UST was done so freakin’ well, folks, I thought even I was gonna combust. Taking care of Gabe when he was sick, meeting his closest friend, learning about his awful childhood, it all led to a level of intimacy for Dylan that flowed right off the page. The long looks and eye fucking were done so well, I thought I’d have to get a hose for these two.
Gabe plays hot and cold really well. Every time he and Dylan share a “moment,” he backs off and uses cutting words to establish their place. As boss and employee.
But the UST can only go on so long. How much these two want each other is a tangible thing, and they do eventually wind up giving in and slipping between the sheets. Holy forest fire, Batman! I haven’t read a sex scene done that well in quite a while. Maybe it was the build up and tension. Maybe it was the way the scene was written. Maybe both, but DAMN, I went back and read it twice.
Here is where the story got complicated and riddled with relationship-angst. Gabe was completely honest with Dylan from the beginning. He told Dylan he wasn’t looking for a serious relationship, that it could only be one night of sex. And Dylan was ok with that.
“I know you’re looking for more, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of that. I wish I could be the one for you.” He looks sad. “Somebody will, but it’ll never be me.”
[…]”I thought I’d be good with just once, but this isn’t going away is it?”
[…]”I swear to God, I’m going to need to fuck you all the time if you’re anywhere near me, but I can’t be what you want.”
“You’ve been honest,” I say softly. “I know it’s not going to be you, Gabe. Maybe we can just make each other feel good while it lasts.”
So…..eyes wide open. Gabe is honest, and Dylan knows what he’s getting into.
This is where some readers got ranty in their reviews, and I completely get it. Some people didn’t appreciate Gabe’s actions after this point in the book, but it totally worked for me. It seemed authentic to his character, and the author clearly showed Gabe’s development from his preconceived notions about love.
He is so tender and affectionate one minute, and he pulls away the next. He constantly tells Dylan that he doesn’t want to hurt him, but does over and over again.
He does this all the time, little moments of care and warmth in a sea of hot sex followed by indifference.
But Dylan’s heart is fully engaged. And because Gabe shows such a different side to himself with Dylan, he knows Gabe feels something. The shared moments of intimacy just can’t be one-sided. It’s because of this that Dylan lets it go on as long as he does.
But one “too intimate” moment shatters everything. It’s a downward spiral from there, and you can literally feel the foundation of their relationship crumble.
What could’ve happened is Dylan being a complete doormat. But that just wasn’t the case. I was so proud of the way he handled himself. There were some jaw-dropping moments, Gabe’s actions or words followed by Dylan’s backbone.
This story was truly executed amazingly well. These characters were so fleshed out. While we only get Dylan’s POV, we see every dimension to Gabe, every nuance. It’s easy to see why Dylan fell so hard for him. It’s easy to see why Dylan stood up for himself. I felt every tender moment, every piece of Dylan’s heart breaking……every piece of Gabe’s heart breaking. The author shattered me and put me back together.
The HEA is hard-won in this book, and the author didn’t disappoint with this either. No abrupt ending. The last chapters and epilogue show things full circle.
I tore through this book in one sitting, and it goes straight to my “Best of 2017” shelf. Highly recommended!