Title: Rule Breaker
Author: Lily Morton
Publisher: Self-Published/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 302 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: It’s not such an easy feat to find a contemporary category romance novel that rises to the top of, and even transcends, the abundance of good gay romantic fiction out there. Rule Breaker does.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 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?
Review: Unless you’re under a self-imposed social media ban, you’ve probably heard all the buzz there is to hear about Lily Morton’s Rule Breaker by now. Well, hang tight, because I’m about to add my voice to the din: this book is every fantastic thing you’ve heard said about it, and then some.
The humorous banter and dry wit are what keep this novel from tipping into the overly dramatic or taking itself too, too seriously. It’s all that and a bag of quips… And it hits absolute perfect pitch in the notes shared at the beginning of each chapter—from Dylan to Gabe, and vice versa. There’s a snarky warmth in their familiarity that’s evident in those asides, and it becomes even more obvious as the story continues. I thought it was such a clever touch on the author’s part to interject that levity at certain points, because some of those sarcastic exchanges preceded the heart-wrenching moments which are guaranteed in a one-sided love affair with a man whose worst nightmare is commitment, let alone the idea of monogamy.
Gabriel Foster is the quintessential broken man, not a cookie cutter character in the slightest but the sort of man whose life has been shaped by childhood tragedy and the resulting absence of the security of home and family. The fear of abandonment rides roughshod over Gabriel’s connectedness to anything or anyone other than his best mate, Henry. The plethora of men Gabe has sex with are mere throwaways. Aging out of the foster care system at eighteen, Gabe went on to become a lawyer, but that’s all he has, really. His work, his intelligence, a house that’s not quite a home, and the myriad men he screws make up the totality of his existence. Until Dylan Mitchell.
When Dylan interviewed for the position of Gabe’s personal assistant, it was loathe at first sight. Sort of. Gabe comes by his reputation as a prickly twat honestly, but he’s also quite easy on the eyes, so Dylan is both turned off and turned on by his new boss. The surprise for Gabe is that Dylan isn’t at all intimidated by him, and that intrigues Gabe more than he cares to admit. The more Gabe secretly lusts for Dylan, the more boorish his behavior, and, as a result, Dylan gives back as good as he gets. I loved the constant frisson of tension we see from Dylan’s side as narrator of the story, and the air of mystery that is ever present where Gabe’s most private thoughts and feelings are concerned. Morton handles the building of their relationship outside of the office with such finesse that even when Gabe is behaving horribly, it’s impossible not to want to embrace him at the same time. And, of course, Dylan is glorious in his patience and thoughtfulness—something Gabe isn’t at all familiar with. So, despite Dylan’s caution as well as the warnings from his best friend, Jude, to give his boss a wide berth, Dylan can’t quite seem to communicate the warning to his heart.
And then, it happens. All the beautiful and ugly scenes between these two spill out from the page and into your heart. Dylan falls in love with Gabe, in spite of himself, and he shows this utterly flawed man what it means to have someone care for him, to have someone who wants to share his own family, who shows him how to find awe in the simplest things, like the falling snow. Dylan wants to show Gabe what it means to trust. But again and again, Gabe proves himself untrustworthy and tries his damnedest to crush Dylan’s heart under a boot of indifference and outright scorn for his feelings, feelings that Gabe sees as a useless weakness, and even selfishness on Dylan’s part because Dylan had been warned that he’d never be anything more than a means of scratching an itch. Reading that, one might believe it so easy to hate Gabe. Dylan deserved so much more. And yet, the author crafts Gabe with such a deft hand and the subtle undertones of his brokenness that it’s impossible not to believe he deserved so much more too. I loved both of these characters so much.
It’s not such an easy feat to find a contemporary category romance novel that rises to the top of, and even transcends, the abundance of good gay romantic fiction out there. Rule Breaker does. It makes its own excellence seem effortless, owing to the author’s way with words, sense of humor, and instincts for drawing a character such as Gabe with just enough vulnerability to temper his multitude of sins. There is a warmth to this novel that contradicts Gabe’s coldness, a sweetness that overcomes the bitter wreckage of Dylan’s heart. When the inevitable happens, the devastation is awful. When Dylan and Gabe are given a second chance, the outcome is breathtaking.
There isn’t a single thing I didn’t love about this book and the way its story and characters are crafted. Fair warning, though: this is one of those marathon binge reads. Once you start, you may not want to stop until The End. And then you may want to start reading it all over again. Yeah, it’s that good.
You can buy Rule Breaker here: