Publisher: Embrace on June 2, 2014
Reading Challenges: 2014 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2014 Review Pile Reading Challenge, 2014 Standalone Reading Challenge
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If you want to survive, you have to follow the rules…
Mikayla Morgan is wanted for her mother's murder. She's been on the run for almost a year now, avoiding not only the police but the real killer. Tired of running and desperate to clear her name, she breaks one of the most sacred rules: never return to the scene of the crime.
Every bounty hunter on the Eastern Seaboard is after the Morgan girl—but Shaun Denver and his partner snagged her. She's a piece of work, and Shaun can't decide if he wants to kiss her or kill her. When things take a sharp turn south, Shaun does the only thing he can think of to keep her close—he handcuffs them together.
As the danger mounts and the killer closes in, the chemistry between them threatens to explode. Shaun and Kayla will need to break all the rules if they hope to get out of this alive.
“‘I don’t want to hurt you.’ He angled himself closer, proud grin morphing into something a little more wicked. It heated my skin. ‘Don’t worry.’ Warm breath caressing the edge of my ear, he whispered, ‘I like it rough.’”
“‘Control is overrated,’ I said with a smile. He laughed. Not an amused chuckle, but a deep, dark sound that did amazing things to the nerves in my body, setting each and every one on fire. ‘Control? That’s what I’m afraid of. It seems I’ve got no control when it comes to you.’”
A bounty hunter and the hunted handcuffed together? Sign me up!
Rules of Survival was just as great as the rest of Accardo’s works that I’ve read. This particular novel had mystery and suspense, which kept me actively engaged in it. For the most part, there were no dull moments. The book got off to a slow start, but once it was rolling, it rolled. And there were definitely some plot twists along the way!
“I kicked and thrashed. Rule of survival. Never make it easy. He wanted to double-cross me? Fine. I’d make his life a living hell in the meantime.”
Mikayla was the leading lady in this novel. She was on the run from the cops, bounty hunters, and the person who killed her mother. Kayla had been framed for that–killing her mother–and had been on the run for years when she finally returned to her mother’s place of death to find the note her mother had left her to clear her name. There she encounters Shaun and Parker, two bounty hunters out to catch her. But after a narrow escape from a shooting at the house, Shaun is more apprehensive about handing her over to the person who hired them. Kayla was the shining example of strong and independent. She had been on the run for years on her own. She was snarky and a bit abrasive due to her years on the road but you couldn’t help but root for her character.
“He was right—not that I’d admit it—the whole thing was convoluted, but I still felt it deep in my gut. Those had been Jaffe’s men. Something big was going on here. I just needed to figure out what it was before it got me killed. Or Shaun. He was a pain in the ass, but was starting to grow on me. I still wasn’t sure I trusted him, but deep down, I believed he was a good guy.”
Shaun was stubborn but had a good heart. He refused to hand Kayla over to someone who would harm her. He protected her while they were handcuffed together, willing to risk himself so she’d be safe. He had a past that made him vulnerable and explained who someone as kindhearted has him was a bounty hunter in training. He was a very fleshed out character. And he was really charming!
“‘You’re insane. You’re basically stuck to a ticking time bomb.’ ‘Am I? If I hadn’t ended up cuffed to you, I would have never gotten the opportunity to start getting to know you. You’re more than a distraction; I like you. I think you’re smart and funny. I think you’ve got some mad skills, even if you don’t see it yourself, and you’re a good person. You’ve been through some crazy stuff and you haven’t made it all about you. I’ve met a lot of people like you—and like me. People who’ve been dealt a shitty hand. They get hard. Cold. Only care about themselves and where their next thing is coming from. That’s not you. You’re not a manipulator.”
The romance in this novel definitely didn’t start as a romance. It started as the hunter and the hunted. We didn’t even really see much attraction in the beginning. But with them handcuffed together they began to get to know each other more and that’s really when the sparks started. I enjoyed this slow building romance and all the tension between them. They were a very well matched pair. And even though Kayla resisted it because it broke all the rules of survival, it was futile because they were obviously meant to be.
Over the course of this novel we see quite a few characters from Mikayla’s mother’s past. I can’t say much for fear of spoilers but it was interesting to see all the twisting clues that bound them together as Mikayla worked to untangle them.
Rules of Survival was an enticing novel with a dash of mystery and suspense. A story that will take you for a ride, it’s one I can honestly recommend if you don’t mind a little heart-pounding action.