Liv Braxton is a thief, with bank heists and smash and grabs as her specialty. She’s running out of money and her literal partner in crime, Cal, has just told her he’s quitting the game when her ex-husband shows up with an offer too good to refuse. He’s bringing her in on a job with some big league criminals, and if she can pull off her role, she’ll walk away with 50 million (and if she can’t, she’s probably dead).
The Grey brothers have gotten her a job as an assistant to R.J. Talbot, Vice President of Research and Development at the Exeter Mining Company. It puts her in the perfect position to steal information about filtration system development that they’re keeping private but are legally required to share, which the Greys can use to extort Exeter. If she has to seduce openly lesbian R.J., that’s fine by the Greys. Whatever it takes to get the files.
Because the book is told in the first person from Liv’s perspective, we get to know her better than anyone. She’s smart, scrappy, and guarded, with good reason. Her terrible relationship with her mother has been well and truly earned through years of her mother’s bad behaviour. However, it’s her mother who has taught her the rules of success (e.g., Felon’s Rule Number One: Don’t get emotionally involved).
R.J. Talbot doesn’t show up until well into the book and we only learn about her through her interactions with Liv. She’s gorgeous and reserved, challenging Liv to find a role for herself beyond answering the phones. As Liv gets to know her better, we also learn that she’s driven to succeed at her job, is kind and conscientious as a potential and actual romantic partner, and goes by the name Zia with people she cares about. I particularly loved how sensitive she was when she learned Liv hadn’t been with a woman before, committed to making it as positive an experience as possible.
Between Tonio, the Grey brothers, and Sterling (I’m not explaining who he is for spoiler reasons) there are various shades of decent to awful men. There’s also a C-level executive creep who should make your skin crawl or at least shake your head as you remember working with jerks like that in the past.
The Writing Style
How on earth was this Cathy Pegau’s first book? It’s very well written with a compelling, well-paced plot, and there are some excellent twists in there. (Word of warning: don’t read the blurbs for Caught in Amber or Deep Deception if you haven’t read this, because they spoil the twists.)
Fun plot, great characters, and a sweet romance. I loved this book.
I wish we’d been able to see more of Zia’s perspective, rather than rely solely on Liv’s interpretation of her dialogue and gestures. However, given the format, I know that wasn’t possible and is a personal preference, not a flaw.
It might bother some people that there’s a big emphasis on Liv’s continued attraction to Tonio. Also, they make out at one point (I promise, it goes no further than that). However, if you can stick that out, it’s well worth it because Liv’s attraction to and chemistry with Zia are off the charts and in direct contrast to who she once thought of as the great love of her life.
I dare you to find another full-length book this fun at a price this good. I’m so glad I read Rulebreaker and I can’t wait to read Deep Deception.
Note: I won’t be reviewing Caught in Amber because it features a heterosexual pairing.
Excerpt from Rulebreaker by Cathy Pegau
We rounded the corner to my building; Connor slowed the car. Zia and I turned to each other. Her green eyes searched my face, looking for something in the dim light of the back seat. What was she seeing there?
I felt my cheeks flush under her scrutiny. “Here I am,” I said when the car stopped.
Zia leaned forward and placed her warm hand over mine where it rested on my thigh. Her skin was soft and smooth, and a little hum of pleasure danced through my limbs. A deep inhalation infused my senses with her jasmine perfume and an underlying musk that made my mouth water.
“Thanks for all your help, Liv.” She gave my fingers a gentle squeeze. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
The sudden desire to close the gap between us and kiss her, to tell her what she could do with me, zinged through my brain and body like a pulser shot. I imagined what her hands, her fingers would feel like caressing me. Supple, yet strong and sure. She was an attractive woman, and I admired good-looking specimens of either sex, but never before had another female elicited so strong a reaction so often. A reaction I had a hard time controlling.
Damn it. The whisky had affected more than my ability to feel my feet.
I gave myself a mental shake and smiled. “Let’s not find out.”
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: B005CRQ3QQ
- Publisher: Carina Press
Cathy Pegau Online
Note: I received a free review copy of this book for review. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.