“It’s always been you even when I didn’t want it to be, even when it broke my heart over and over again. It’s just always been you.”
What an awesome book!!! My first thought after finishing it was:
WHY DID I NOT READ THIS SOONER????? WHYYYYYY??
Rule was one of the books I’d had on my TBR the longest without having read it. I literally bought it the day it was first released as an indie (back in 2012!!) and for whatever reason, I just never had got around to reading it. The funny thing is that I actually always thought I’d like it. Maybe I was subconsciously saving it for desperate times?? Who knows… but from the first few pages, I was totally pulled into the story and knew there was no way I was going to put it down. Everything about it just screamed WIN!!
The story is about Rule and Shaw who were about as polar opposite as you could possibly get. He was a hot headed, rebellious, man-whoring, tattooed (and thoroughly pierced!) bad boy, and she was a pristine, straight A student. They’d been in each other’s lives since they were young teens but as far as he knew, she was also the love of his late twin brother’s life. But what he didn’t know was that she’d always and only loved his twin like a brother and had always been secretly in love with him….
I absolutely loved their banter. It was fun and so snappy!
“You’re twenty-two, Rule. When are you going to stop acting like an indulgent teenager?” …
“You’re nineteen, Shaw…. My eighty-two-year-old grandma has more of a social calendar than you, and I think she’s less uptight.” …
“I like Ethel.” …
“Everybody like Ethel. She’s feisty and won’t take crap from anyone. You could learn a thing or two from her.”
“Oh, maybe I should just dye my hair pink, tattoo every visible surface of my body, shove a bunch of metal in my face, and sleep with everything that moves. Isn’t that your philosophy on how to live a rich and fulfilling life?”
There might not have been any insta-love in this book (quite the opposite in fact) but I sure fell instantly in love with it. Everything about it was fun and addictive. And it was so much more than just a bad boy romance too — there were deeper things at play … a long unrequited secret love, a dysfunctional family dynamic made worse by a tragedy that just rubbed salt into old wounds, a fantastic cast of Alpha male brothers (of both blood and friendship), and a wonderful romance at the heart of it all.
Rule really stole my heart. He was such a misunderstood character I think. While his outer appearance was too much for some people to look past, or it just made them judge him wrongly, he had a heart of gold and for as much of a bad boy as he was, he was also such a good guy.
“Are you, Mr. Manwhore of the Century, seriously trying to give me relationship advice?” …
“Just because there hasn’t been one girl I wanted to hang out with exclusively doesn’t mean I don’t know the difference between quality and quantity.”
I loved how naturally protective he was of her. At times, it was actually hilarious…
“Maybe next time you could just pee in a circle around me so that they know you’ve already been there.”
But all joking aside, he had no problem telling anyone who messed with his girl right off…
“I’m telling you this stops now or you can go to the hospital and I can spend some time in jail, got it?”
And with so much history between them, they both knew what was on the line…
“Rule, if this goes bad, it’s gonna be so, so bad.” …
“True, but if it’s good, its going to be so very, very good.”
Oh, and I also have to say that while I do love a protective here, it’s also totally awesome when the girl stands up for her guys and Shaw had a totally badass line that I have to share with you…
“I’m not giving you his number because he’s mine and if you get anywhere near him I swear to God the things I do to you will be chronicled on Investigation Discovery for years to come.”
My heart really broke for Rule though. The way his family treated him was so unfair and I just wanted to reach in and hug him and tell him that it would all be ok. And given all of the things he’d been through, it was an understandably big step for him to open up his heart to anyone.
I can’t say enough how much I loved that this was more than just a romance. I feel like the external issues in both Rule and Shaw’s lives brought a lot of dimension to the story. I didn’t actually expect that and it was a pleasant surprise. And I also loved that even though the focus of the book was clearly on Rule and Shaw, the few pages that each other character graced were enough to connect me to them and have me interested in their lives as well. Especially Rome — omg, I’m totally crushing on him (shhh, don’t tell Rule).
Taking a little side moment to gush about Rome here… this quote basically described him as exactly the kind of hero I love most…
“Even battered and bruised, Rome was the kind of guy who stood between the people he loved and anything that might possibly hurt them.”
Be still my heart!! Ok. I’ll hold off on the rest of my Rome-love until his book. Back to Rule now…
The story was well paced and it kept my attention the whole way through. No slow or sticky spots. And, for the most part, there was a lot of what I love most in books which is two people trying to work through their issues to figure out how to make their relationship work. I’ll admit that there was some stupid mixed in but for the most part it didn’t bother me because with the way the story was told, in alternating POVs, I could always see that neither of them ever meant to hurt the other and they were trying in their own way to do the right thing… even though sometimes they did the wrong thing first and then had to learn from their mistakes.
And I really have to give Rule credit — he may not have made all the right decisions but that man sure knew how to give an epic apology and grovel. He was impossible not to forgive. The things he said just melted my heart and I loved how, once he’s sorted out his feelings, he was bound and determined to make sure Shaw knew how he felt.
I really loved seeing Rule and Shaw work through things. They both were dealing with a lot of respective external drama in their lives but I could see them improving as they went.
“We have to fix this.”
“We need to learn how not to break in the first place.”
The book ended in such a way that it totally wrapped up Rule and Shaw’s story but left me curious and intrigued to read on in the series and find out about the other guys’ stories.
You know, it’s funny but I guess sometimes you can get spoiled reading a lot of really great books and after those it’s sometimes hard to find another one that you really love. And after starting and stopping no less than four books this week that just weren’t working for me, I was starting to wonder if maybe it was me? Like, what’s the likelihood of that many books not working out? But then… I started this book and just instantly connected. Total book magic.
The best word I can use to describe this book would be ‘addictive’. This is definitely a must read bad boy romance. It’s fun, flirty, and sexy, but also has a lot of depth and a great core group of characters I can’t wait to read about. I highly recommend it!
Rating: 4.5 stars
PS — I just want to address this because some people have been asking. The original indie version of this book had a lot of errors in it that some readers were complaining about. But since then, it has been reedited so I just want to assure you that the version out now is totally clean and reads without any issues.
*** SERIES READING ORDER ***
Note: each book is about a different couple.