As Navy SEAL teammates, both Izzy Zanella and Danny Gillman have spent several years watching each other’s backs in times of war, but there is no love lost between them. When they are taking down terrorists or in a war zone they’re there for each other. But once they’re on safe ground they don’t have much to say to each other, in fact, they can’t stand each other. When Izzy married Danny’s sister Eden, the tension between them became almost unbearable.
Izzy’s marriage to Eden was one of convenience. He stepped in to protect and take care of her when she was both pregnant with another man’s child and running from an abusive stepfather. When Eden miscarried she ran away and her marriage to Izzy fell apart. She wasn’t the only one who ran away. Her brother Danny’s been running from his abusive and dysfunctional family for years. With both Eden and Danny gone their younger brother Ben is left to deal with the horrors of a mother and stepfather who would just as soon lock him up and throw away the key. With Ben in serious trouble it’s up to Eden, Izzy , Danny, and Danny’s girlfriend Jenn to protect him, and they must work together to do it. They’ll all have to learn to put aside their differences and really trust each other if there are going to save their family.
We have two heroes in Breaking the Rules and I fell in love with both. There is Izzy, who has such bravado, but at the same time so much compassion. Watching him work through his feelings with Eden as well as Danny was at times heartbreaking. But his code of honor and his ability to stand strong and find his center no matter what the situation, coupled with is sheer goofiness is what makes him such an appealing character. Then there is Danny with his stoic pride and troubled past who eventually learns to heal his emotional wounds and finally forgive and move on.
The two heroines are as different as night and day. But they each have a clear sense of how to be in the world. Eden and Jenn are resilient, compassionate, smart, and at the core they are women who know who they are.
Ben, the youngest brother, is a wonderful character who at the tender age of fifteen has an unshakeable knowledge of who he is even in the most difficult of situations.
The relationships between these five people are at the heart of this book. Their interactions are often swayed by circumstances beyond their control. Watching them grow and evolve with each new circumstance and yet stay true to who they are is what gives Ms. Brockmann her signature style. She is adept at interweaving several story lines that create dramatic tension and riveting suspense, but at the same time she mines the depths of the emotional undercurrents as each character faces truths about themselves. As each new situation arises we see how the characters grapple with their feelings; each with their foibles and Achilles heels but each is independent, vibrant, and full of life.
With dialogue that crackles, emotions that are honest, and danger around the corner, Breaking the Rules is pure Brockmann; and that’s a good thing.