Breaking by Barbara Elsborg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Having loved the first book in this series I jumped at the chance to review Breaking and did so without realizing that the Conrad in the blurb was Malachi’s Conrad from Falling. I was already hooked on the book within the first few pages, but once I made the connection as to who Conrad was…well there was no stopping me then and I read the book in one sitting. While Breaking is a romance, there is far more action and suspense in it than I expected and this added to my need to devour the book. And I LOVED Deefor! He was a great addition to the “cast” who enhanced the relationship between Conrad and Archer without drawing attention away from them with his antics. Such a good boy!
I found the relationship that developed between Conrad and Archer intriguing. While I realize that in the beginning Conrad had no idea of who Archer actually was, it seemed unfathomable that two men whose worlds were so diametrically opposed would have any chance of a relationship. And yet Elsborg makes a plot that sounds fantastical feel realistic. The idea of an honest-to-a-fault barrister and a former special forces sniper turned hitman meeting under the circumstances they do, learning to trust one another, building a relationship, and falling in love seems undoable without painfully contrived situations, but at no point did the scenes feel forced. Our world is full of spies so it would stand to reason that there are ex-spies who retire and settle down in our communities with us none the wiser. The idea of an attorney being targeted by a dissatisfied client or their family member is not fiction. This is what made Breaking believable for me – I don’t have to know such people personally to know they exist. Yet despite them both being targeted by outside forces, they still had “normal” relationship issues they had to work through, especially as both men have rather dominant personalities.
The romantic suspense element of Breaking keeps me from talking specifics, but I can say that I enjoyed how Archer’s unusual skill set helped save Conrad’s life, just as Conrad’s sense of right wouldn’t allow him to sit by and watch Archer drown despite his own injuries. The combination of losing Malachi in Falling and the car accident had Conrad questioning his life and set the stage for him to be more open to Archer than he would have been otherwise. For me, the author was able to make Conrad more vulnerable than he was previously without changing his overall personality – he was still the intense barrister but at the same time he was able to give up control sexually to Archer. This crisis of self also made his shift back to his “typical” personality as he healed and became more confident of his relationship with Archer believable. I was enthralled with how the pieces of Archer and Conrad’s life intersected and played out over the course of the novel and loved the ending. I’m looking forward to the next book in the Fall or Break series and cannot wait to see who it’s about.
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
Check out the Fall or Break Series Spotlight blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.
View all my reviews