Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: Rule Breaker by Lily Harlem

Rule Breaker 
by Lily Harlem
Pub. Date:  Oct. 13, 2015
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Pages:  287
Format:  eBook

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Locks, keys and prison bars can’t contain a love that’s meant to roam wild and free, but when that love is let loose, will Lacey be able to handle what’s heading her way?

Rules are meant to protect the innocent and keep danger at bay—except for me. The lines blur, and it all started when I met the ultimate bad boy. But is he? Miller Davenport might be big, bad and brimming with sin but he’s confessed his crimes and for ten years he’s served his time and walked the line.

Everyone deserves a second chance, right? And as his nurse—the one person who understands him—I can’t help but count the days till we can be together properly, without guards watching over us and without every look and word we share censored.

When that day comes, though, will our desire for each other explode and take me to the new heights he’s promised? And if so, how will I survive such intensity?

One thing is for sure. With Miller I’ll be whisked up in a whirlwind of his dark energy and a tornado of his lust, and likely taken to the very edge of what I can handle. I can’t help a few nerves, though, as release day approaches, because if it all comes crashing down, who can I depend on when I’ve ridden into the sunset with a man who’s broken all the rules? Will I be saved or will I have pushed everyone and everything too far?

This book certainly pushed my bad boy boundaries. It was very odd for me - I didn't know I had bad boy boundaries! I have read assassins, mafia bosses, and badass bikers without a second thought to their activities. Some of them have even served time and been fresh out of prison. But for some reason, Miller still being in prison at the outset of the interaction/relationship gave me pause. I guess it just didn't fit into my bad boy fantasy box. It's the realistic ugly part of bad boys, the part that is not romantic, so I think I normally push those consequences to the back of my mind when I am reading this trope. You certainly can't ignore that aspect in Rule Breaker, it's very in your face.

I am learning that we can always count on Lily Harlem to do something unique and outside of the box. I have to say that this is a bad boy romance unlike any other that I have read. She really pushed the envelope with her protagonists, and I was left feeling very conflicted even as I enjoyed the story.

Lacey is a different sort of heroine. She is a bit crass and slutty, yet also incredibly naive for all that she works as a prison nurse. There were things happening in the story that she was totally blind to and I just wanted to yell at her to open her fakakta eyes! But other times I had a good emotional connection to her and could feel the conflicted lust she had for the two men in the story.

Miller. What can I say about him? He may be the only bad boy I have read where I said "nope - he's not for me." I liked reading about him, but he won't be appearing in any of my smutty fantasies. He is just too bad for my tastes... even if he wasn't the worst criminal. Miller does something in this story that I could just never forgive. I felt betrayed, and there was nothing that could redeem him in my eyes. I couldn't believe the angle the story took at that point - it totally blindsided me, and I wasn't near as naive as Lacey!

I was also conflicted about Shay, Lacey's cousin. Even though the pair are not related by blood, they had been raised as cousins their entire lives. So the relationship and experimentation that happened between the two was taboo and had me raising my eyebrows. Even so, I liked Shay and felt sorry for him... but I don't think I could support a relationship between he and Lacey any more than I could want Miller for myself.

So that is why I am conflicted. Lily broke all the rules! There was no single hero that I could root for. I don't know how to feel about how things ended. I think the hardest part for me is that I put myself in place of the leading female... and I couldn't see myself choosing either of these guys. I think I would have decided to go out in my own independent female blaze of glory and sworn off men. But that's the great thing about these books - they let you live as someone else for a little while. Thanks for the ride Lily!

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