Breaking by Barbara Elsborg

Breaking - Barbara Elsborg

Well! That was so surprising! I was only lukewarm about Falling, the first book in the Fall or Break series, which basically all came down to a lack of believably in the love story. It was too needy, in the unhealthy way. Needless to say those lackluster feelings made starting Breaking tough. I was excited to read about Conrad and the Hitman, I was also nervous that I would be let down again.

First off, let me say that I really really liked this book. This is a positive review from a very happy reader. Unfortunately there were some pretty big flaws in this book, if you allow yourself to see them, that I should address first. I’ll list them for you, that way we can just get them right out of the way:

  • First, let’s start with Conrad. In Falling Conrad Black was ruthless. He was uptight. He was cruel, mostly. He withheld his emotions, and it’s ultimately what lost him the man he loves. He’s cold. In Breaking that is not the Conrad we see. In Breaking Conrad is grumpy but personable, he’s stodgy but funny… Now, arguments could be made that Conrad had lost his love, then shortly after he was seriously injured in an accident, and that these two things forced him into a different state of mind. That’s actually possible. Many people had personality changes after nearly losing their life, due to depression or enlightenment. I personally don’t hold this against the story for two reasons. One, because Conrad kinda talks about this throughout the book, he reminds us that he has lived his life very closed off from any type of emotional connections. Additionally, and probably the bigger reason, because while I was intrigued with Conrad in the first book, I actually LIKED him in this one.
  • Second, Conrad’s recuperation wasn’t much of a recuperation. Archer said ‘walk’ and miraculously Conrad was mostly healed, except for a back spasm on occasion, a limp, and maybe he was a little slow. I just had to chuckle. Archer is a miracle man. You see what lust can do? It can cure all ailments!
  • Lastly, Archer conveniently had a tube of lube at all times and in all predicaments. In a bathroom toilet stall, Archer can whip out the lube. On the run, Archer’s got lube. After being beaten up, hey Archer didn’t lose the lube! It was so comical that a few times even Conrad was mentioning how well prepared Archer always was for sex on the lam.

    That’s it, right there, my only problems with Breaking. Really if you want to get technical, for me it was only the second two. I only mentioned the change in Conrad’s personality from book to book because it was obvious. Even then, the second two ‘problems’ I had weren’t really problems. I was mostly too amused to actually be annoyed. There was just way too much that I liked.

    I thought the main characters were funny, especially Conrad. Malachi in the first book was a quirky guy, but most of his humor missed the mark for me. It was too spastic. With Conrad, probably because I imagined it coming with a serious and dry expression, made me laugh out loud. One of my favorite dynamics between characters in any book is a good banter. Conrad and Archer had a really good banter. Whether it was humorous or flirtatious, the dialogue was clever and witty. It hit the sweet spot for me and made me believe their attraction.

    I loved the sexual chemistry between the two dominant men, also. I loved that Conrad is not submissive. He’s not comfortable with being a “bottom”, and neither is Archer. I loved that even though we as the reader knew Conrad as a very self-assured man, who was a complete alpha, when Archer showed up we saw Conrad become more vulnerable. Archer was stronger, bigger… he was MORE alpha, and that’s okay. It worked. We needed to see Conrad vulnerable. If he had stayed the cold character he was previously, we wouldn’t have been able to connect. You need to see the cracks through the armor.

    Lastly, while the reveal at the end was a little lame, it wasn’t the important part of the plot. Conrad’s and Archer’s time on the run was, and that was exciting to read. It was fast paced enough that I struggled to put the book down every night, in an effort to get a little sleep before work. Reading on all work breaks and lunches, and reading both nights until midnight, I ended up reading the entire book in about six hours, total.

    Falling and Breaking are the perfect example of a story that gets better with the second installment. I didn’t regret reading Falling but if you’re hesitant it’s not necessary to read it before Breaking. Breaking absolutely stood on it’s own, and definitely has the Wendy F stamp of approval.

    Thank you to Samhain Publishing and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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