Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1), Lily Morton
Rating: 3 Stars
Publisher: Lily Morton
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Opposites Attract, Romance, Series
Purchase At: Amazon.com
*** This review is full of spoilers. ***
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.
The first thought I had when I finished reading this book was, “What did other people see that I didn’t?” The ratings for this book are off the charts. So, what am I missing?
I had originally added a humor tag to this but I took it off because the humor in this book only lasted for the first 20% or so. There were times that probably should have been funny but apparently I missed that too.
Dylan has been working with Gabe for a couple of years. Gabe is the type of boss people usually hate because he’s overly critical about everything. The difference between Dylan and others who came before him is that he gives as good as he gets. He has a snarky personality and has no problem going back and forth with his boss. That was funny. But then it started getting weird.
Gabe’s boyfriend, Fletcher, a model of some sort, despises Dylan and he’s not shy about showing it every time he shows up to see Gabe. Believe me, the feeling’s mutual. It also doesn’t help that Dylan is forced to listen to his boss and Fletcher have sex on the other side of the door often. What’s worse? Dylan, even though he really doesn’t like Gabe, is attracted to him. I couldn’t figure out why, to be honest. I guess looks trump personality?
Even with all that, no biggie.
Gabe gets sick and is unable to come to work. He calls and asks Dylan to bring him a file or something. Dylan goes the extra mile and gets him cold medicine and food. He even, at Gabe’s request, hangs around until Gabe feels better. All that was nice to an extent. Until it wasn’t.
And this is when my opinion fully formed of Gabe. Or should I say it changed when he got better and was back at work. Fletcher shows up and makes a smart ass and jealous comment about Gabe and Dylan laughing or something before he walked into Gabe’s office. But then he gets worse by saying things that obviously hurt Dylan, even making it clear that he and Gabe had discussed his ‘crush’ and Gabe had mentioned how he hoped Dylan didn’t get the wrong idea when he was helping Gabe during his illness.
Dylan should have quit right then. He should’ve grabbed his stuff and walked out without looking back. He didn’t.
Gabe apologized and tried to fix it but it couldn’t be fixed.
Fletcher then gets started about planning a ski trip and how he’s already booked it so Gabe has to go. Gabe has a presentation in Amsterdam the following week so he can’t. To piss Fletcher off he says he’ll go but that Dylan will be going with him.
Without even asking Dylan!
After arguing a little after Fletcher leaves, Dylan (like a dummy) agrees to go. And what happens on that trip? He’s treated like ‘the help’ by everybody except Gabe, though Gabe ends up treating him worse than that later. Not that any worker should ever be treated the way Dylan was. Then Gabe kisses Dylan and freaks out and it’s like Dylan’s not even there. He’s all over Fletcher, who, along with his friends, continues to treat Dylan poorly.
I would have told every single one of them fuck off and that would have been the end of it. Except for Henry anyway, Gabe’s best friend. Unfortunately, Henry’s only there for a page or so.
There’s a lot of hot and cold with Gabe. He’ll reel Dylan in and then throw him back. He knows that Dylan has a crush or something on him so he uses that again and again. They don’t actually have sex until Amsterdam the following week when Gabe gets all jealous over another man asking Dylan out. You know, after Gabe’s hand is all over another guy’s ass in front of Dylan right before he kisses him and takes him to his hotel room.
One sexual encounter turns into a lot. Gabe dumped Fletcher after the ski trip but that’s not known until later. Another thing I should mention about Gabe is that he and Fletcher were big on threesomes, even shoving that in Dylan’s face while at the ski lodge. The Gabe and threesome thing is kind of important because of something that happens later.
I was really starting to like these two together. They were only having sex with each other, but don’t you dare call it a relationship because Gabe said so. Gabe even showed up at Dylan’s family’s home for Christmas, surprising the hell out of Dylan. He’d been invited, and was welcomed with open arms by everybody, but Dylan didn’t actually expect him to show up.
But then things started feeling too much like that dreaded relationship and he bolts – again. This was a habit and Dylan kept taking him back until one time when he doesn’t.
It’s Valentine’s Day and Gabe does something stupid. So stupid he should’ve been out of Dylan’s life and never allowed back in. There were reasons why he did what he did – to have Dylan just go ahead and dump him already because he’s going to do it eventually anyway, right? – and how he tried to fix it later. There was no fixing, in my opinion. That’s bad enough, I suppose. But when Dylan finally gets on with his life away from the job and from Gabe, Gabe shows up again like a bad penny. Does he act rational? Try to have a reasonable conversation with the man he knows he’s finally lost? Nope. He gets angry and lashes out. It was one of those ‘it’s okay for me but not for you’ type of things, even if it comes out later that neither man has been with anybody else since they got together the first time in Amsterdam.
Dylan now has a good job away from Gabe. I never did figure out if he’d quit or was fired after the Valentine’s Day incident. He should’ve have quit long before but if he was fired, that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. This is set in London and I don’t know how it works there but it would definitely be grounds in America. A boss having sex with his subordinate, then dumping him when they break up? He’d deserve it.
Dylan’s living his life. He’s depressed over what happened with Gabe, but after Gabe’s reaction to his declaration of love the night they officially broke up, he knows he’s better off.
But then Dylan gets injured, Gabe freaks out, and he’s suddenly wanting to be the boyfriend of the year.
Had Gabe acted even a little bit like he did after Dylan’s injury throughout the book, I probably would’ve ended this liking him a little. And had Dylan not taken him back every single time I would’ve had respect for him.
Gabe goes from being the distant jerk he was to being kind and loving. It was a complete about-face. There are also the two best friends of Gabe and Dylan (Henry and Jude) who try to get them together in between all the other stuff. They meant well, I suppose, but it didn’t matter.
I do admit that Gabe does a lot to prove to Dylan that he’s all in, that he won’t be pushing him away ever again. Unfortunately for me, it was too little, too late. He wasn’t just distant in the early days. He was hateful and hurtful. I couldn’t get past that.
I have, however, read the two freebie shorts that go with this book. My quickie reviews of those are below.
A quick scene after the ski trip when Gabe finally has enough of his shallow boyfriend (just don’t call him a boyfriend) and dumps him. This takes place after the ski trip and right before Amsterdam. It gives the reader a small glimpse inside Gabe’s head when Rule Breaker is mostly told from Dylan’s point of view.
This is an epilogue to Rule Breaker. I’m not going to lie. It got me all teary. Gabe is trying to find the perfect way to propose to Dylan. And as much as I hate saying this, the way he does it is absolutely perfect. It’s the perfect time and perfect place. I’d give 5 stars to Scrambled Eggs and Lemsip if I were rating it here.
Overall, Rule Breaker is okay enough. Dylan gave in too easily, in my opinion, and allowed Gabe to run all over him and I’m not just referring to when he was his boss. I know that most of Gabe’s behavior was because he’s wanted Dylan for the entire two years he’s worked for him and it freaks him out. He doesn’t do relationships outside of sex and makes that clear constantly. I just felt that Dylan settled. There’s no man worth what he went through to have Gabe.
Like I said above, I know I’m in the minority if other reviews are to go by, but I didn’t really enjoy this that much. I did like Henry and Jude and will be reading their stories. I wavered on my rating and settled with 3 stars because I liked Dylan, his family, Jude, and Henry. If my opinion improves of Gabe after reading those books I’ll come back and change my rating accordingly.