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cover50480-mediumLosing fifty pounds is an incredible achievement. But for Melissa Atherton, progress doesn’t come with praise—a scathing comment from an evil cousin at a bridal shower threatens to crush her new self-esteem. Who will she bring to the upcoming wedding? Showing up without a date would be humiliating. It just isn’t an option.

Personal trainer Jake Sawyer was attracted to Melissa before she lost weight, but her progress has him floored. When she admits she plans to hire a male escort—and why—his heart all but breaks. Melissa’s come too far to be knocked down, especially by her own family. He’ll go as her date…and figure out a way to keep his hands to himself.

But when a steamy hotel room encounter takes them both by surprise, Jake balks. He’s sworn never to date one of his clients, not again. And Melissa can’t bear to be just friends with the man who treated her so tenderly, even if it was only for a weekend. Jake’s helped her see she’s strong enough to stand up for herself, but will she find the strength to pursue the only man who’s ever seen the real her?

I somehow missed the first book in Packard’s “Feel The Heat” series (and I just realized I missed a novella from last December as well) but the three that I’ve read have all been fantastic.  I started with The Winning Season which was fantastic and next came Catching Heat, another winner.  Now we get JT’s bother, Jake, and the awesomely sweet Melissa, both of whom made appearances in Catching Heat so if you read that story you knew their romance was coming … and I couldn’t wait!

I loved Jake and Melissa together.  They’ve developed a wonderful friendship over the last few months and it makes a naturally transition to something more.  Because of their shared history of being overweight, and having to deal with the public perception of it, they get each other (and have that special empathy for others) in a way that is very special.

I will say I had a little trouble with the ending – I kinda understood Jake’s reasoning but I’m not sure I quite got his change in attitude.  With everything else that happened in the book, you totally get where he’s coming from but he’s typically male if he thinks that it can work out the way he’s thinking it will.  Overall, though, it was a minor gripe and the rest of the story and the fantastic characters make up for it.

A warm and emotional look at two people moving cautiously from friends to more, and all of the problems that come with it, Breaking His Rules is a wonderful, feel-good read.  And just because it is part of a series doesn’t mean that you can’t start here.  Packard does a fantastic job of giving her returning readers that feeling of connection that they want, without alienating new readers.  She also gives us that tantalizing peak into the next story that will cause you to wait impatiently for the next book to release 🙂