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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Breaking the Rules by Tawny Weber

Breaking the Rules by Tawny Weber
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (216 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Subject: Max St. James, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class

Current Status: On leave after a year in Afghanistan.

Mission: Take some R & R. Check up on a buddy's little sister.

Obstacle: Sophia Castillo. Independent, stubborn…and hot enough to make him forget she's anybody's "little sister"!

Max may be off duty, but he still has one last job to do. He's promised to look in on—but not fool around with!—his best friend's kid sister. Only once he meets Sophia, all thought of keeping his hands to himself go out the window.

Sophia, however, has different ideas. A recent widow, the last thing she needs is another man telling her what to do. Even if that gorgeous man leaves her drooling in a puddle of lust….

It's a battle of wills. Who will end up on top? Max breaks every rule in the book to keep Sophia in his bed. After all, all's fair in love and war.

And Max is counting on life with Sophia being a little bit of both.

Breaking the Rules broke me into gales of laughter and hilarity from the first chapter and kept me smiling and sighing all the way through.

I’m not kidding. Ms. Weber had me when the hero stepped up to the plate to deal with a heavy four foot artistic appendage that was causing all sorts of problems for the heroine. The one-liners and tongue-in-cheek comments aside, it was terrific to see a man do a good deed despite his knowing how it must look. Max is a dream.

I liked Max even though he was plagued with strict rules and regulations – some of his own making. Yet, he bends when he needs to because he can’t stop certain feelings. He’s determined to be true to himself no matter what. He’s never failed in that regard but in this story, he comes face to face with a myriad of doubts and challenges. He realizes that there’s more to life than walking the path dictated for him by what seems to be a stiff and unyielding family. The wake-up call was meeting Sophia. Sure he tries to resist. Yes, he tries to take control. He absolutely thinks he knows best. I respected Max a lot after Sophia gave him a set down. It’s his reaction to her antics, viewpoints and dilemmas which made him a true hero. Plus I adore his talented toes.

Sophia is a well loved woman who comes from a very big, boisterous and protective family. She’s made choices in her life and she’s born them with class and style but she’s also lost a piece of herself along the way. The story tells the tale at a point when she’s trying to get herself and her life back together. She wants control and independence. However, it’s not easy. In fact, it’s being sabotaged. She’s intuitive enough to realize that if things don’t change, she’s not going to make it. But what is she willing to do to make it happen? What will the price be? And what is it about herself or her business that is instigating such horrid acts against her? It was an eye opening revelation. Oh, did I forget to share with you the reason why she didn’t think her date with Max should end so soon? For some reason, I giggled like a loon when I read that part. She’s so cute.

Even though Sophia’s sense of humor and silliness is complimented with Max’s own, there is still a dramatic external conflict that haunts Sophia. Ms. Weber did a good job of making me think like she wanted me to. To accept the obvious culprit for all of Sophia’s troubles so when the great climactic confrontation occurred, I was truly shocked. I’d written off the villain’s initial reactions in the story as a simple snotty attitude. What it ended up being about was human feelings – as simple and as complicated as that. I was astounded at the lengths the villain went to in order to accomplish the goal. And Sophia’s reaction was not what I expected either. It endeared her to me and believe it or not, I found more reasons to say, ‘aww” and smile at a moment in time where books usually have the villains get their justifiable comeuppance without sympathy or pity.

Secondary characters are few but memorable and Sophia’s assistant is a delight. I enjoyed the dialogue throughout this story and I feel it’s one of this book’s strong points. I felt the pacing was brisk and I was completely entertained. The happily ever after was perfect for this tale. What it ended up being was a beautiful, emotional compromise with a delightful wrap up at the end that simply warmed my heart.

Breaking the Rules is total romantic entertainment with a hero and heroine I really enjoyed getting to know. I don’t think Ms. Webber missed a trick in bringing her characters to life for her readers and I had a great time. Who knew an art gallery could be so chaotic and fun?

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