Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Silhouette Intimate Moments, #587
Hero: Zeke Shephard
Heroine: Rhetta Madeline O’Neal
Date of Publication: July 1, 1994
Started On: March 30, 2012
Finished On: April 2, 2012
Once in a while, you are lucky enough to come across a novel that calls to you, that feeds your senses and tantalizes you, that just makes you wish that the magic would continue. Breaking the Rules by Barbara Samuel was a novel I got off of Amazon for free from the bestselling lists for Kindle books. And boy, was I blown away with the story that unfolded, getting myself completely tangled up in the story that was just sheer magic to experience.
Rhetta Madeline O’Neal (Mattie) is on the run and finds herself in the nondescript town of Kismet in Arizona where she barely gets settled before the rough, tough and rugged Zeke Shepard strolls in and completely unhinges her and throws her emotions haywire. At a passing glance, Mattie might not be the type of woman that catches your eye but for Zeke right from the very beginning that he lays eyes on the drowning pools of her brown eyes, instinct tells him to turn his back and walk away and never look back.
Mattie knows that if she were to stay around much longer, she would risk blowing the cover that she has worked so hard to muster up and that Zeke could make all the bonds that holds her cards unravel and come crashing down. But fate plays a hand when the very men that Mattie is running from turns up in Kismet and it is Zeke who rides to her rescue on his big and mean Harley like a dark fallen angel who would do everything in his power to keep her safe from the woes of the killers that are after her.
Zeke might tell himself that he is hardened enough to turn his back on a woman in need but when push comes to shove, Zeke is just the type of softie that would make any woman’s heart melt. Zeke has numerous scars on his body that tells a story of a nightmarish childhood and the walls of steel around his heart remains impeccably strong until he gets tangled up in Mattie’s life. Zeke takes her away to the one place he considers as his home, his cabin up in the mountains that is surrounded by tranquility and peace if nothing else.
But peace and pure thoughts are the furthest thing from Zeke’s mind as he wages an internal war with himself, his desire for Mattie which continues to grow by the minute that unsettles him and shreds away at his control that has never failed him before. As the recipient of abuse at such a tender age, control is what Zeke thrives on, and being throttled by an overload of emotions is not what Zeke considers to be his forte.
But Mattie is a woman who has an abundance of patience, understanding and a soothing quality to her very touch that arouses, inflames and comforts all at the same time. Zeke might tell himself that he doesn’t want nor need any of what Mattie is offering but deep down inside Zeke knows that it is a losing battle that he fights with himself when the innocent hunger that blazes into life in Mattie’s eyes is one that he wouldn’t be able to turn away from.
I don’t think I can adequately describe what this novel did to me. I was taken away on a journey that was pure magic right from the very moment that Zeke takes Mattie away into the mountains, the way that Barbara brings to life the beauty of their surroundings one that charmed me in all the ways that matter. Zeke might tell himself and project that attitude that he is a mean son of a bitch, but the home he has built with his own hands from scratch and the sensual beauty of the place that he calls his home tells a story of its own.
Zeke is a man who sets the pages afire just by setting his foot in the scene. He is the larger-than-life type of hero that gets to me every single time, his intimidating size at odds with the way that he holds Mattie close to him and gives her shelter in his embrace. He is the type of man that as you read along you wish were yours to call your own, the type of man that can fuel your fire for quite some time to come. I can go on rehashing all those qualities that made me drool over and got drawn towards Zeke and I don’t think I would be able to do justice to his character even then.
Mattie was such a wonderful heroine. When a writer gets the heroine right in a story, that’s when I really admire the author’s talent. Mattie is the type of heroine who is comfortable in her skin, who doesn’t need to go out of her way to prove her mettle and worth to everyone she meets. She might not have been the world’s best judge of character when it had come to her ex-fiance but her instincts are spot on when it comes to Zeke and his lethal effect on her senses and heart that could prove more dangerous to her in the end.
The passion between Zeke and Mattie is scorching hot, brought vividly and so beautifully to life amidst the tranquility and beauty of the Colorado mountains where it seems as if Zeke and Mattie are the only souls who live on this Earth. That cocoon of well being is however intruded upon when reality comes crashing down and Zeke does what he does best; push away anyone that can lay siege on his heart and emotions. But Zeke underestimates the power of the love that courses through him, shaking the very foundation of his existence and giving him the explanation he has been seeking all the while for the way he has broken every single rule that has governed him for most of his adult life ever since he met Mattie.
There is nothing more you can ask from a romance when your whole self is immersed in the story, when all your emotions are engaged and I found myself in tears so many times throughout the novel that I think my ophthalmologist appointment today is not going to go down very well. There was this moment in the story when Zeke holds a baby in his arms and sways to the music, all the while whispering to him to calm him down. And then there was the moment when Zeke goes to visit his horse Orthello, the connection between man and horse an almost physical one that just makes you ache deep in your heart. And towards the end, I just cried from all the emotion overload that happened to me when Mattie once again turns up in Zeke’s life, giving him that opportunity to profess his feelings for her and make her stay a permanent one this time around.
The only thing that would have really made this book an outstanding one would have been a beautiful epilogue to wrap it all up, maybe 5 or 6 years after the last chapter takes place to show how Zeke and Mattie had faired as a married couple. I would have loved to see my Zeke all happy, without any of those shadows that haunts him surrounding him and only sunshine and happiness lurking in those beautiful green eyes of his.
Breaking the Rules is a novel that made me cry and one that made me smile deep within my heart because the sheer beauty of the storytelling and the emotions that it invoked demanded no less.
I cannot recommend this novel highly enough to anyone and everyone who loves a good dose of romance.
I am definitely getting myself acquainted with each and every single title by Barbara Samuel. If the rest of her stories are half as good as this one, I would remain a very happy reader for the time to come.
Yesterday in the restaurant, she’d seen his sex appeal and roughness. At her house, she’d seen his danger. This morning, at the river, she’d seen his beauty and teasing, and again that danger.
Of all of them, the tenderness she saw now was the most compelling. And terrifying.
His mouth. It touched hers lightly, just touched at first. And it seemed every nerve in her body suddenly rushed toward her mouth to join the explosion of sensation his lips brought. He moved his head and his mouth slid one way, then the other, and his fingers tightened around her neck, pulling her closer.
She wanted him. Not in the sweet way of poetry, though there was that music in the symmetry of his body, in the careful meshing of bone and sinew and flesh that made him.
Her want was raw. Physical. She felt it in the palms of her hands and the flesh of her lips and the heaviness of her breasts.
In her life, she’d been hungry, and thirsty. She’d needed sleep. She had never, in her life, needed to touch a man.
He kissed her before he knew he would do it. Cupped her small head against his hand and bent to touch her lips with his own, lightly tasting that sensuous mouth. He closed his eyes to feel it better—the moist plumpness of unseasoned lips, flavored with coffee and sugar and something that belonged only to her. And like an exhausted man sinking with gratitude into the down of a pillow, he sank into the softness, losing himself as he explored the edges and corners, the sensitive inner edge. He suckled gently and heard her sigh as she inclined her head to take him more fully.
He kissed her violently, wanting to somehow inhale her into himself, unable to stop the fury of his reaction, the trembling rocking hunger for her—so vast and all-encompassing, he couldn’t stand it.
Mattie, flowing all around him, met his savagery. He clasped her hips hard against him, found himself biting her neck, laving her breasts with his tongue. He felt such unblunted, furious desire he thought he might die of it.
The man was in his late thirties, with coarse black hair and a powerfully angled face. The horse with him made a sudden noise, a high whining sound, and its graceful head tossed, jerked. The man let the reins go, and the horse galloped to the fence where Zeke stood waiting.
Mattie glanced at him. He’d climbed onto the fence and leaned over the top, softly whistling a series of notes. On his face was an expression Mattie had never seen—equal parts joy and sorrow.
His mouth was wet and hot and intensely demanding, so sharp and piercing with need that it broke through Mattie’s defenses the way nothing else could have. A burst of excruciating hunger made her almost frantic with wanting him. She shifted in his arms and met his kiss wide open, giving as furiously as she took.
“Oh, Mattie,” he said against her mouth. “I’ve never wanted a woman in my life like I want you. You’re driving me crazy.”
She came apart, and Zeke let go, driving into her without restraint, thrilling to the cry that escaped her throat. Her body convulsed around him, a roaring filled his ears.
He splintered into a billion pieces.
His heart, made of thinnest glass, shattered.
He looked up at the rain and closed his eyes, his hands still wrapped around her back. Mattie knew with an acute awareness that she would always remember this moment: both of them nude in the falling twilight of a mountain summer, sated and yet still hungry, Zeke’s strong face tipped to received the gift of rain, his broad hands warm on her.
Mattie watched him cross the clearing with long-limbed ease, his movements loose and calm. His hair shone in the sunlight. Her heart caught. Strider.
Yes, she loved him. It wasn’t logical or sensible or anything of those other things. He was not the kind of man she’d daydreamed about all of her life, safe and stolid and dependable, but he was the one. The One.