Review: Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1) by Lily Morton

Rating: 3.5🌈

Lily Morton is a go to author for me. Her stories are full of humor, believable situations, and emotional, relationships that have the ability to have you laughing and sniffing, sometimes at the same time.

There’s often one particular element I can find, not even a major one, that will have me wanting to sink down into a comfy chair somewhere close by, and become a part of this aspect of that storyline.

For Rule Breaker, it’s Dylan Mitchell’s family and farm. The kitchen especially with its ancient wooden table, full of marks from all the years of the family life it’s seen. You want to sink into their family and ask to join in, stay for a while, become part of the warmth, and believable loving family dynamics that Morton has given us, and Dylan. I could enjoy an entire story with this family! I didn’t get nearly enough time with them.

The romance between Dylan and his boss, Gabe Foster, suffered because, unlike other books, their relationship felt somewhat toxic to me. A fact that even Gabe would admit to.

Gabe Foster is an emotionally damaged man. His past and adolescence haunted by parents and an event that’s slowly revealed in the story. That childhood trauma has caused him to withdraw behind high walls, and to choose a life of noncommitment with his sex partners, guarding his privacy as well as anything truly personal from those around him. He is, by his own words, cold and selfish.

Dylan is the very antithesis of Gabe. Outgoing, funny, gregarious, he draws people to him simply by being interested in them, and everything around him. He’s open, vulnerable, and giving.

Dylan is the pov for 90 percent of the story and , for me, that’s a mistake. In order for Gabe to be likable or at least someone we can understand, we need to see beyond his unfortunate words and mean spirited actions. With the extremely relatable and adorable Dylan as our narrator, we hear the warnings from others about Gabe, and see the toxic behavior Gabe is exhibiting, and want to shout “run”.

It’s not until we start to get Gabe’s perspective, (at 90% ) , then given his damaging back history, that Gabe becomes someone who’s not a total cad, but perhaps a person in need of therapy and something more.

A note here, given the nightmares and his severe trauma, I’m not sure why his friend Henry never tried getting Gabe into some sort of therapy. That’s a question for me here for Morton.

The last ten percent of the story is captivating. They make a wonderful, charming couple. I needed more of this. Less of what came before or more of Gabe’s viewpoint.

I liked this ending. Loved the family and actually looking forward to Jude’s story. There’s some terrific stuff here. But there’s also some things that left me puzzled.

Lily Morton characters are realistic and the situations believable. Otherwise, why would I be picking at them? But it’s the romance I’m thinking about. It’s not my favorite of hers. She has some that are my absolute must rereads!

If you’re a Lily Morton fan, pick it up and tell me what you think!

Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages, #1) by Lily Morton – Goodreads

Synopsis:

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?

From the author of ‘The Summer of Us’ comes another scorchingly hot romantic comedy, showing what happens between two men when rules get broken.

This is the first book in the Mixed Messages series but it can be read as a standalone.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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