Rule Breaker (Breeds #29)
Berkley / February 4, 2014/ $25.95 print, $12.99 digital
Lion Breed and enforcer Rule Breaker has just a few rules he doesn’t break. Not for anything. Not for anyone—like never have sex with a woman outside his own breed, especially a human woman. Especially someone too helpless, too fun loving and too full of life to ever be able to protect herself, let alone help him to protect her.
If the damned animal inside him insists on a mate, then why pick her? A woman who is an easy target and who can be used as a weapon against him at any time.
But what he suspects is mating heat may not be that at all. Just his animal instincts rioting, pacing, irritated whenever he's away from her.
Okay, he can handle that.
What ensues is a fiery affair that breaks all the rules of mating heat and will eventually endanger his mate with the very rules designed to protect the Breeds—for she’s possibly been working against them…
As a fan of Lora Leigh’s Breed series, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of her latest entry in the series, Rule Breaker. The title of the book is also the name of the male protagonist in the novel. Rule is a Lion breed enforcer who is deeply traumatized by events in his youth and his devil-may-care attitude hides an emotional wound that he’s been unable to come to peace with even many years later. Gypsy McQuade enters Rule’s life when she’s a young woman, but tragic events one night force her to grow up quickly. She’s emotionally battered and bruised, relying on a façade of rebellion to deal with a hurt that cripples her emotionally for years to come.
Gypsy is introduced to readers as a teenager who is very troubled, just having survived an assault, as well as witnessing the death of the person most beloved to her. She’s fragile, and in pain after just having been rescued by the enforcer who would later mate her. Her shock is so deep that she’s almost catatonic, though the reader is able to read the turbulent emotions she is able to feel in fleeting moments. The introduction to Gypsy at a young age as well as experiencing the brutality forced upon her both mentally and physically gives the audience a chance to empathize with her plight throughout the novel so that there’s a patience to the road she’ll need to travel to become whole again. Gypsy’s faith and trust have been shattered, plus the guilt she feels in what happened due to something she believes did is overwhelming—she’s basically broken.
Rule was introduced in earlier Breed novels, and as with all the Breeds, he’s a sexy alpha and has a strong will. That said, Rule is also very damaged. In his youth, he was a witness to the brutal murder of his mother and her mate and due to that horror, vowed to never become a mate himself. He would rather run and save his potential mate from a torture similar to what his mother endured. What’s intriguing to discover about Rule’s decision is that as a man, he’s very stubborn in this belief but his animal instincts are playing by a different set of rules. When man and animal meet, the battle of wills and journey to get past his fears begin. Like Gypsy, Rule’s road is not an easy one but is one that he must make in order to heal.
Their mating is not without many bumps. Rule’s decision to not be anyone’s mate and Gypsy’s emotional fragility makes for a harder road for them to come together, as well as the interferences of others. I found it interesting to see how Rule and Gypsy moved passed their hurt feelings and childhood traumas together. I felt for both characters as you could see where each was coming from and there were a few moments I smacked my forehead over dumb decisions made by Rule and Gypsy. There is the issue of pride, which is a familiar obstacle in Breed books, but I felt that this book contained two of the more emotionally fractured characters simply trying to find some sort of faith again.
Along with the main story of Gypsy and Rule’s dance to becoming mates is resolving the mystery of who killed Gypsy’s beloved family member as well as the connection some of her present day activities have to that night. That death is not the only mystery in the story as characters in prior novels in the series as well as a few new characters that will likely be in future novels are featured heavily in both the mystery aspects and with helping Gypsy and Rule move forward in the mating process. Readers of this series will enjoy seeing several well-known characters developed further in this novel. I was actually surprised at the level of involvement of the secondary characters and the Rule Breaker played on the rich history of the series.
Fans of the Breeds series will not be disappointed with Rule Breaker, another solid installment in the series. It has all the elements that Lora Leigh readers look for in the protagonists and there are many layers to the story, not just with the main romance but also all of the surrounding mysteries.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Rule Breaker by Lora Leigh, available February 4, 2014:
Miss_D has been reading romance books for over 25 years. A native Californian making her way in the Big Apple, she likes to spend her downtime relaxing in front of the TV, chatting with friends, sitting in Central Park and playing beach volleyball. Miss D can be reached via Twitter @bonobochick.