Ashton Lyle is a man in control. His rules are simple:
And lucky for him no one is able to resist his mega-watt smile, dazzling wit, sexy British accent, and ability to manipulate any situation in business . . . and in bed.
That is, until he meets a woman with rules of her own.
Terra Ellis is a self-made woman who knows what she wants.
A successful entrepreneur, she has worked hard to cultivate an impeccable image.
A tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband has reinforced her drive but it has also made her question serious relationships.
After all, a busy woman has no time for romance.
That is, until Terra meets a man who sees through her façade.
Ashton and Terra are about to discover that some rules were made to be broken. . . .
This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
Advance praise for Breaking His Rules
“Captivating and charming . . . blond Brit Ashton Lyle [encounters] Terra, a street-smart black woman. . . . [Aliza] Mann blends comedic elements and tight emotional drama with the delicate developing romance. . . . A solid and enjoyable story.”—Publishers Weekly
“Breaking His Rules is a sexy, modern romance full of humor, charm, and heart.”—Roni Loren, New York Times bestselling author of The One You Fight For
“A sexy read with plenty of snappy banter and steamy scenes to keep you turning the pages. Aliza Mann’s Breaking His Rules is a heartwarming debut with laugh-out-loud moments and a twist I didn’t see coming.”—Juno Rushdan, author of Every Last Breath
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|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Actively employed, she balances her love of writing a great story between two pseudo-adult children, a fabulous son-in-law, and the man of her dreams. A true book nerd, she is almost always reading and writing the world in a way that shows its true beauty, served with a heaping side of happily ever after. Aliza is also active in RWA and Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America organizations.
Read an Excerpt
Amateurs rarely follow the rules. It’s the number-one reason they always get stuck. Call it a playbook, if you will—the very necessary guidelines to finding women who normally wouldn’t give you the time of day, yet discover themselves inexplicably drawn to you.
I keep mine fairly simple, and never, ever deviate. There are traps and pitfalls in diverting from the rules. I’m not some Yoda. Just extremely dedicated to maintaining a respectable bachelor status.
1. Never pick the prettiest women. They’re usually merely a pretty face, have no real power, and are high-maintenance or looking for more than what one has to give. No, the pretty girls will ruin your chances at playing the field. The less attractive friends always want attention and will be far more appreciative in the long run.
2. Don’t think of her as a one-night stand. Think of her as a new friend you can call at 3 a.m. asking to come round her place.
3. No discussing family history.
4. No deep conversations that linger into the wee hours. Keep things light. Airy. Like fresh laundry on a clothesline in the spring.
5. Never treat women poorly. Be distant instead. Not too distant, though. It’s a fine line after all.
6. Whatever you do, don’t hang out until the next morning. It gives the wrong impression. No need to contradict the aloof vibe you’ve perfected.
7. No actual dates on Friday or Saturday, as these are universally known as couples’ nights.
8. No consecutive days of seeing each other, either.
9. No sharing of clothing items.
10. No taking personal items to each other’s homes.
Those are the rules for the modern-day playboy. There are probably more than that, but these are enough to get you started. Being a player is a highly unpopular position to be in, by the way. What with all the tossers in the world acting aggressively toward women and Glide-ing until their fingers won’t swipe anymore. None of that was my game.
My rules were in place to protect them as much as they were for my own protection. No one needed to get hurt, and being honest was by far the safer way to go. They’d probably be better off without someone like me anyway. I wasn’t the marrying type, and women deserve more than that. Most do, anyway.
I never picked up women in a club. I’d usually troll upscale dinner spots. I also avoided younger women. I like them at least five years my senior, thirty-eight being the sweet spot. Since I’m thirty-three, they don’t feel too weird about the age difference. They’re usually tired and ready to settle down. Since I’m a semi-nice, marginally attractive, financially stable bloke, I can slip in on the unsuspecting singletons—that’s what they call themselves nowadays according to my limited chick flick experience—and find some mutually enjoyable, no-strings-attached fun.
And my Brit accent doesn’t hurt, either. Never mind that I haven’t been back to London in twenty-five years and have no legitimate ties to the country, since I’m an American citizen, although women rarely ask me that. I wouldn’t out-and-out lie about it. I just throw in a few highly inaccurate references, most likely, and no one is the wiser. A teatime here and an arse there will do the trick.
So there I was. Soar Brasserie fit the bill as much as any other restaurant in downtown Detroit. The French décor, impeccable food, and inflated costs brought out women in droves. Contrary to popular belief, there are many individuals in the city with old money and high profiles, and there’s a disproportionate divorce rate.
The interior was awash with peaches, pinks, and purples, and perfectly blended with slate-gray wooden flooring. Quite proper, really. It was a white-tablecloth type of place where wearing your fine clothes wasn’t frowned upon. The sunlight came in through floor-to-ceiling windows, and over the bar was a television set into the wall that showed news programs. Every week two businessmen sat at the opposite end of the bar from where I sat and amicably argued over current news events. No matter how long I sat each week, they always seemed to still be there when I was leaving. Then there were the women. It was like my own personal playground. Fortunately, I never ran into the same women in the four times I’d been there. Lucky boy.
I’d been there only about twenty minutes on a fine Sunday afternoon before I identified a tableful of prospects, their Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana scents perfuming the air, acting as a beacon. All sported faded wedding-band lines, face lines that told of some sadness and laughter, and purses that could fund a month’s pay for the average American household. Just my type.
“What can I get you today?” I’d been standing at the bar for a while waiting to be served. No biggie, since it wasn’t entirely drink-thirty yet. I could have sat at a table, but the unmanned bar was perfect for me since the proximity to the tastefully done dining area was optimal. I turned to face the poor overweight sloth of a bartender, who hadn’t quite figured out that he was on a fast track to a heart attack. He had the face of a bulldog, which probably translated to someone who could beat my ass. Best not tempt him, for while he was clearly on his best work behavior, he may have been hanging on to his temper by a very thin thread.
“I’ll take a bourbon, neat.”
“Coming up,” he said with a knowing smirk I didn’t like.
Most men regarded me in that way. I could see how they would have a touch of disdain, since I resembled what was commonly called metrosexual. It’s better than what my father called me, more along the lines of a softy, anytime he sobered up enough to realize I was in the room with him. Appearance-wise, I took my looks after my British mum after all, and she was a fair blond lady with a model-like appearance and soulful blue eyes. She’d thought the world of my father before she passed. Cancer took her when I was ten. Our move to the US when I was eight was supposed to save her. For a while, it did. She had surgery that was radical for the time, I remembered them saying. There were times when it almost seemed easy for her to take care of us.
Those days were better than most. We’d take walks in Central Park after riding on the subway all the way from Brooklyn. My mother would window-shop and I’d people watch. There were so many people to see. Meanwhile, my father worked at factory jobs and driving cabs to pay for all the medical bills. It wasn’t nearly enough. He was out working more than he was home. But the treatments were working.
Until they weren’t. Mum took a turn for the worse. The treatments lost their effectiveness. In the end, we lost her. She left me there to take care of my father through no fault of her own, bless her. Yeah, I know that should have been the other way around, but it nearly killed him, and what was left of him after her death wasn’t fit to see after a dog, let alone an impressionable young lad. I don’t think he ever forgave himself for not being able to afford more—more treatments, more medicine, an in-home nurse. As an adult, I can see how that goal was nearly impossible to achieve. Probably why I work in pharmaceutical sales. Not exactly the most noble profession these days, but it did provide insight into the monster that is healthcare.
She was only thirty-five. An absolutely beautiful and kind woman who left the world poorer for her passing. We moved to Detroit before my eleventh birthday. New York, a city my mother loved, proved too cruel a place for dear old withering Dad.
Instead of watching the portly bartender, I returned my attention to the ladies in the center of the room, in all their Dior splendor. Light laughter and low murmurs carried over from their table across the room. It was the type of conversation that wealthy but sad people had—tight mouths and smiles that never made it to their eyes. Even as the restaurant filled with brunchgoers, I didn’t take my eyes off their table for longer than it took to take a sip of my drink. Every movement, every action was a part of the allure. I tried anyway. Being an international man of mystery and intrigue was the furthest thing from my reality—I mean, finding socks that matched from the dryer was an amazing feat, but as long as you had confidence, you could pull it off. Most men didn’t truly believe their bullshit. I had a lot of them beat because I was able to talk myself into almost anything. The other missing element for most amateurs was their lack of basic human understanding. It’s not enough to show attention. A man’s body should be completely in tune with someone he’s attracted to. It’s not that I thought myself insanely attractive. I was just someone who paid attention. If the rest of the men in the world learned to do just that, I’d have had plenty of competition. Especially in Soar. Either the guys there paid no attention, or they were such arse-hats I won out easily. So all I had to do was focus and I’d achieve my objective.
Yet I wasn’t focused. Just off to the left I noticed a pair of furious whisperers at the first table near the bar. Easy enough to figure out. The girl, rather pretty—not my type, though, since she was too gorgeous to be on the same planet with mere earthlings—was pushing the hands of a hobbit impersonating a human away from her.
Right. I needed to ignore that. Besides, I had something else to do. Someone else to do. We would have a long night of our own fun ahead of us. Best not ruin it.