Author: Claire Boston
Break the Rules is the beginning of a new series by Claire Boston, author of The Texan Quartet. It is set in the same general area, with a tiny little crossover cameo which brought a huge smile to my face and had me wondering if any of the characters will play a part in The Flanagan Sisters series.
We meet Bridget Flanagan out on a girls night with her best friend Tanya, as she sits nursing a headache while Tanya is out dancing with the cute guy she met. Much as she would love to just head home she can’t bring herself to leave Tanya alone, she doesn’t always make the most responsible choices.
The cute guy Tanya befriended is out with his brother, who is still fighting jetlag and would prefer to be at home but they are celebrating his homecoming. The two sit and chat, we get to know them a little better as they get to know each other. You can see straight away where things will go from here and the bit of predictability doesn’t affect the enjoyment.
Bridget is a passionate advocate of workplace safety, and working in oil refineries it really can be a matter of life and death. She is out dancing her worries away after being passed over for a promotion, for a role that she had been working in for six months. After a messy breakup she threw herself into her work to rebuild her reputation and that has been her sole focus.
Jack has just returned from Australia and is living with his brother Hal until he finds a place of his own. For now, he is about to become a third wheel to Hal and Tanya – at least for the night even if it doesn’t go further. To give them some space he escorts Bridget home in a taxi and helps her break her first rule of dating…. never sleep with someone on the first date.
Rule number two is never date someone you worth with.
Bridget and Jack share some mindblowing time together and make plans to catch up later in the week. Bridget is happy that she’s finally done something spontaneous and thinks that things could actually go somewhere with Jack, something that she hasn’t felt since her last relationship ended.
Rule number two is non-negotiable. Bridget was too badly burned in the past and she refuses to take the risk because not only was her heart broken but her reputation was left in tatters and she had to find a new job. She feels an extreme loyalty to the company she works for now and even though she is bitter about the promotion she has a strong attachment to the team and the staff.
It is a huge shock to Bridget when she is introduced to her new boss first thing Monday morning and it’s Jack. All her hopes are dashed and a determination to deny the desire she feels anytime he is close replaces them.
Break the Rules is character driven as we get inside Bridget’s head and discover just how badly she was burned and why she is so determined to keep her work life completely separate from anyone she gets involved with. She is thorough, passionate and driven to ensure the safety of everyone working in the refinery. Her passion is palpable yet she has a lot of trouble actually getting things followed through; is it because she’s a woman, because of the drama at her last job, or because of old timers who have been at the plant so long they don’t see why things need to change?
Boston does a fantastic job of showing us Bridget’s perspective and how her feelings about the past are colouring her perception of what’s happening now. Bridget is brilliant at her job, safety is not just her passion but clearly her calling and some people have interpreted that as overkill; it doesn’t need to be done it’s just Bridget being overly cautious. That’s something you can get away with sometimes but when you’re talking about the safety of an oil refinery where you put everyone’s life at risk you really should be erring on the side of caution.
The chemistry between Jack and Bridget is electric and it’s a situation you have to follow to find out what will happen. Bridget is determined not to cave in to her desires and Jack is equally determined not to let her slip through his fingers. The only thing keeping them apart is her rule and the fact that neither of them can give up their job. It’s all well and good to ensure they only see each other at work and keep it to the necessities but it’s a little difficult in their situation with Hal and Tanya getting more deeply involved by the day.
More than just revolving around Bridget and Jack there is a lot of focus on the refinery and the safety work they are doing there. We also learn a lot about Bridget’s family, which stands to reason seeing this is the beginning of The Flanagan Sisters series and we are going to get to know them a lot better over coming volumes.
Claire Boston has entertained and engrossed me once more. I have found it difficult to review Break The Rules because I allowed myself to get two reviews behind again and both books were contemporary romance with a heroine who has been badly burned in her past.
Bridget has the passion and the knowledge to make changes but she is lacking the backing of management, her dedication and team skills mean she can get past not getting the promotion if the changes are actually done.
The Flanagan Sisters is set to be a heartwarming series and I can’t wait to learn more about Bridget’s sisters and the fostering program run by her mother.
Break The Rules is book #15 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.