Review: Rule Breaker by Lily Morton

35826972Rating: 5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Dylan’s boss, Gabe, makes him absolutely crazy. The two banter and bicker and seem always at odds, yet underneath, they quite like pushing each other’s buttons. Dylan is good at his job and knows just how to handle Gabe, even if at times he makes Dylan crazy. Dylan also finds Gabe completely hot, but he does his best to put that out of his mind so that he can manage to work for the guy.

Dylan assumes the attraction is totally one side. Not only does Gabe have a boyfriend, but he seems to have no interest in Dylan. But when Gabe gets sick and Dylan helps care for him, he gets to see a softer side of Gabe. Later, they end up spending more time together for work, and Gabe begins to let even more walls down. To his surprise, Dylan finds out that Gabe is attracted to him as well. The passion Dylan has been hiding for the last two years comes roaring back, and the men can’t keep their hands off each other.

Gabe is very clear with Dylan from the start that he is not relationship material. He worries he will break Dylan’s heart, but Dylan is willing to take that risk. He finds Gabe irresistible, and just maybe things will change for Gabe. But as the two continue their relationship and Dylan falls deeper, Gabe continues to put up walls. The closer they get and the more vulnerable he feels, the more Gabe resists and the more Dylan’s heart breaks. Dylan knows that Gabe is just the man for him, and dreams of the future they could have together. But Gabe must get over his fear of a relationship and take a chance on love if things are going to work out between them.

challenge month 2017 copyI picked up Rule Breaker for Self Published Book Week as part of our Reading Challenge Month. Honestly, I knew nothing about the book, just that it seemed interesting and a good fit for the challenge. It was only after I had the book in hand that I learned that it has a lot of great buzz, and after reading it, I can totally see why. I completely adored this story and it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while.

So first off, this book just crackles with energy. I am not sure how else to describe it. There is just this thing here, this intensity that kept me enthralled throughout. First of all, it is totally funny. I realize reading my description of the book that it sounds like a total downer, and there are definitely some intense and angsty parts. But for the most part, the book is funny and clever. Dylan and Gabe are basically both hot for one another and they keep each other at a distance with their snark and banter. Gabe is surly and difficult and exacting, and Dylan pretty much refuses to take it, pushing back and giving as good as he gets. Each chapter starts with a snippet of an email between them where they are giving each other a hard time about something at work. Here is an example:

To: Dylan Mitchell

From: Gabe Foster

Margaret from Accounts rang. Could she please have her assistant back? He appears to have taken up residence outside my door, discussing the size of men’s penises with you … loudly!

Here is a moment I loved that shows both the humor, as well as the way the relationship helps Gabe to open up and take down some of the barriers he has had with his past partners:

I make sure he’s watching when I lower the t-shirt and let myself smile slowly. “Gabe, I’m fully aware that you’ve probably had the upper hand in all of your sexual encounters since the very first time. However, what on earth gave you the idea that I’m in any way compliant and biddable?”

The haze of desire in his eyes warms and turns into something else that I can’t quite recognise, and then he leans back. “I’m sorry. I forgot for a second that you’re incapable of taking orders.”

I give a mock shudder. “Say it again, but make it your office voice.” He stares at me. “You know the one. It’s two parts incoherent rage, to one part bewilderment.”

He gives a great guffaw of laughter. “Fuck you, Dylan.” He looks puzzled for a second. “I think that might be the first time that I’ve laughed during sex.”

“That just means it was never good sex. All good sex comes with a side order of inappropriate laughter.”

So this is fun and the connection between these guys is so palpable, even as they are giving one another a hard time.

Speaking of connection, these guys have some serious chemistry. Even before they get together, it is like there is a cord connecting them. They sexual tension is insane, and when they finally get together? Holy cow. The Fleshlight scene alone… Seriously, there is no doubt that these guys can barely keep their hands off each other, and Morton does a wonderful job portraying that intense physical chemistry, as well as the emotional connection between them.

While most of this book is full of quirky banter and great fun, there is definitely a serious side here and Morton does a fabulous job balancing the story on that edge. The book is told almost completely from Dylan’s POV (with the exception of some bits from Gabe in the Epilogue). He is a great narrator, not just because he is fun and clever and engaging, but also because we see how much he truly cares for Gabe. Gabe isn’t the easiest guy to like. Honestly, I’ll admit I think there might be a few readers who find him maddening enough that it will affect how they feel about the book. In addition to his perfectionist tendencies and his demanding nature, Gabe is incredibly bottled up when it comes to his feelings. He has had a very troubled past and he is not over it by a long shot. He is determined never to fall in love with anyone for fear it will be ripped away. And the closer he and Dylan get, and the more real it seems, the more Gabe panics and tries to pull away. He genuinely hurts Dylan, more than once, with his behavior. But I think way Morton is masterful here is that I could not only understand Gabe, but forgive him as Dylan does. We see him through Dylan’s eyes, the man who is caring and thoughtful and doting. We see those moments where he is free and open and has taken down his walls, those moments he is filled with pure joy and shares it with Dylan. We learn about his past and what has gotten him here. And so even as I had all the feelings when Gabe hurts Dylan, I couldn’t help but love him too.

I just found this book so incredibly romantic. There is almost an epic feel to the romance, a sweeping amazing love story that totally drew me in. At the end of the book when Gabe shares his real feelings, I was tearing up with emotion because when he finally is ready, Gabe is all in. He is so pure and so open and oh, it just got me right in the heart. I really loved everything about this story and had a total book hangover when I was done. I am off to check out what else Morton has written because I have definitely found a new favorite. I can’t recommend this one more highly.

P.S. If you enjoy this book, check out a free follow up mini story on Morton’s blog that features Gabe and Dylan. You can check it out here.

This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Self Published Book Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of seven fabulous prize packs from an amazing group of self published authors. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Self Published Book Week here, including a list of all the prizes being offered this week. And check out our prize post for more details about the awesome prizes offered this month!

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  1. This sounds like a book for me. I love a story with banter and humor. Thanks for the review, Jay.

  2. Thank you for your review. This sounds like a perfect enemies to lovers story and i love those. I also like humor in books and it looks like this book delivers both serious and humor so win-win for me 😉 I just can’t resist a book that has it all (humor/romance/emotional with a serious side). And your 5 star review seals the deal for me. Off to buy 😉

  3. Ok, just quit it you guys! You’re reviewing so many fantastic books that are *my catnip* and that I have to read *right now,* that I’m not reading the books I’m supposed to for the challenge! Grrr! 😉

  4. I really liked this book, particularly their written exchanges, but how mean Gabe was for most of the book kept me from loving it. There really isn’t an excuse for being that cruel to someone you care about.

    • Thanks for sharing. Yes, as I said, I think some people aren’t going to be able to get past Gabe and that is going to affect the book for them. For me, I really felt where all his issues were coming from, and I found the ending so rewarding I could look past it. But I can completely see your POV.

  5. Thanks for a great review, I added it to my wishlist! I seriously need to win a lottery so I can quit my job & do nothing but read!

  6. I had to put it on the back burner because I am trying to stick to my challenge schedule and I just got an ARC to read. Thank you for the follow-up story so I can put something else in my TBR pile. Lol.

  7. The Dylan and Gabe dynamic really appeals to me!

  8. Another friend of mine recommended this book but I was really weary because I stumbled into a review that explained a scene of Gabe that I knew I would really despise. So I’m not sure that I’m in a forgiving mood for it at that time, and put this one on the back burner. Maybe I’ll pick it up someday in the future when I know I can deal with a hard-guy-to-love like Gabe’s character 🙂

  9. Bronwyn Heeley says:

    I’ve had a lot of hits and misses when it comes to comedies, I’m not sure why but I like that this seems to be driven by banter and that is always a great approach, I’m my opinion. I’ve not seen this book before but I’m going to have to look into it more 

    • Yes, driven by banter is a good way to describe it. It definitely has some majorly angsty moments, but the banter and the bickering and the way these guys interact is really fun and carries a lot of the story.

  10. This one is definitely going on the wishlist (for next month). 🙂

  11. Paul Wilgus says:

    Banter and humor and a great love story. The right kind of book for me.

  12. Thank you for the review and excerpts/teasers. i have to say I am a bit charmed by it and I really want to give it a read myself since it made me laugh.

  13. Jay, thank you for your review and thank you for hosting this reading challenge month. I’m having great fun and now I have another book that I can’t wait to start reading.

  14. I haven’t heard of this author before, so I’m glad you’ve brought Morton to my attention with this wonderful review. Just the synopsis didn’t draw me in, but with what you say and those examples, I feel like this ones for me. 

    • Oh good! And yes, i worried a bit that my summary sounded like kind of a downer, but the book is quite funny. While there are some definite intense moments, it is mostly lighthearted.

  15. Thank you for the review, Jay! I did not know about the author or the book, but after reading this review I’m just looking forward to reading it. This book is going to be a great addition to my TBR list!

  16. I don’t think this is a book for me. Its hard to turn away from a 5 star review, but Jennifer’s comment above helped me out. If Gabe comes off as mean, then this is not a good fit for me ( at least right now)

  17. Purple Reader says:

    Thanks, Jay, for the good review. It is so hard to pull off humor, snark and banter. It can sometimes get to be too much, or off target. But I’m a bit jaded myself, and I like my characters to be human, with faults, as long as it’s not extreme and, as you said, you can forgive a some of it if you understand where that comes from (thus my thing for reformed anti-heroes and hard-boiled PIs). So this is a good one for me.

  18. I’ve never heard of this author. So thank you for a great rec! I will put it on my big wishlist!

  19. This was fantastic! It was the first one I read form Lily Morton and couldn’t put it down. The week I read it I was lucky to read 2 other “similar” books and they were all 5-Star from me. Thanks for the review!

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