Breakaway: The Rule Book Collection Book 1, A.M. Johnson

Breakaway (The Rule Book Collection) by [Johnson, A.M.]

Her second chance on life and love, a second chance with the one he couldn't forget, one random meeting in a bar ending with separation and longing a year ago sets them on the path to their own forever.  Stevie is given a new lease on life, an opportunity to rediscover herself and become who she was meant to be when her over-a-decade marriage comes to an end.  She met Mark on a quick trip home once and they made a connection that she never forgot.  While she was faithful to her husband on that trip, seeing him again reminds her that she's free to pursue the man who clearly wants to get to know her.  Whether she can actually take that step is another question entirely.  Mark is made to be loyal but the woman he was with years ago shows him that maybe there's no hope to find someone built the same way.  A chance meeting with a captivating woman shows him that maybe there's more, someone who can be a partner to him in all the ways he craves.  It helps that she's smokin' hot, and now a year after their first fateful meeting, she's no longer attached to anyone else.  It's his turn to show her what she's been missing.  But when drama interferes, he'll have to decide of their pasts have the power to trump their love.

There are almost no words.  Well, really, I'm going to annihilate that sentence with the rest of the review, but that was the feeling I had so many times while I was reading this story.  I felt so connected with Stevie because I've got some similar parallels in my own life that I'm struggling with.  Watching her come out fighting, emotionally devastated and exuberant in turn, and find her own happily ever after with someone who saw, valued, and treasured each and every part of her gives me hope.

 Breakaway: The Rule Book Collection Book 1, A.M. Johnson

Stevie lost herself along the way when she chose safety, stability, and honestly, boring in her husband, Ben.  When she begins to question who she is anymore, what she wants, and if all the years she's invested in her marriage are worth staying when she's fading more and more each year, a trip back home while he's away gives her a little insight.  From here she makes proactive choices, lifestyle changes, and courageous moves to get her back on her own track.  And just like before, the bar brings her Mark.  I really loved seeing her open up to him, explore her own self, and come to realize that her future is her own and it sure is wonderful to have a man see her for who she really is and encourages her to celebrate it.  She had a good sense of self that she was getting reacquainted with and even though she falters when Ben shows up again, she knows she never wants to go back.  Her open honesty gives Mark everything he wasn't sure he was ready for.  Despite her meltdown at the silence from Mark, she had good reason.  Her continued faith in him, their love, and being willing to fight for it and not let it fade away allowed Mark to have a way back in, to fix what needed fixing, and to get back their future.

Mark is coasting.  He's good at what he does, sure of who he is, and stunned by the woman sitting at the table.  A year prior he met a woman that he knew would change his life forever but didn't think he'd ever see again.  Fate had other plans, though, and gave them another chance to pick up where they left off.  He loves getting to know Stevie and while I'm not a fan of the constant comparing he does of himself against Ben, I believe that his heart is in the right place concerning Stevie.  All he wants is to show her everything she is is perfect.  His youth sometimes led to immature moments, but those were few and far between, save his big blowup when their pasts tried to derail their relationship.  Mark's heart is so good, so big, that I couldn't help but admire everything he stood for.  I especially like that he wasn't a manwhore.  The way he viewed sex and relationships is such a breath of fresh air from many, many other sports romances and romances in general that I was won over right from the start.

 Breakaway: The Rule Book Collection Book 1, A.M. Johnson

The story itself was engaging, the couple endearing, and the passion was hot.  Mark's freak-out near the end was a bit disappointing but not all that unexpected because of his romantic history.  His response to it showed his youth, immaturity, and proved shortsighted.  Instead of trusting and communicating he ran and isolated himself from everyone that mattered.  I wish he were made to grovel a bit more, but I can't deny that the lead-up and the ending more than made up for the too-short apology.

My heart was full by the end, I loved their journey and am totally gone for this author.  This is the first book I've read by her and if any other stories of theirs are as good as this one, I'm sold.  There were emotional highs and lows and everything in-between that made me cheer and want to cry.  The side characters are rock solid and interesting in a way that makes me want to follow each of their stories.  I eagerly await more from The Rule Book Collection.

*$2.99 on Amazon or FREE on KU!
 Breakaway: The Rule Book Collection Book 1, A.M. Johnson

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