Entangled Publishing has graciously provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
Melissa and Mikayla Morgan have spent Kayla’s whole life on the run, but from what she doesn’t know. Kayla’s mother never told her what or who they were running from, but she did teach her the rules of survival – never stay in one place to long, never keep all of your money in one place, never trust anybody, never wait for somebody else to save you, always trust your instincts…
When Melissa is murdered, Kayla is the only suspect and goes on the run. She knows her mother left her a clue as to the identity of her murderer, but to get it she will have to break the biggest rule of them all: never return to the scene of the crime. After a year has passed Kayla figures the dust has settled enough to chance it. Tired of running, desperate to clear her name, she takes a chance and goes back to the house where her mother was killed.
Kayla barely has the letter in her hands when she is interrupted by her nemesis, a bounty hunter named Patrick who has been hunting the Morgan girls all her life. Sure, her mom was a con artist, but that doesn’t explain Patrick’s obsession with capturing them – surely the reward money couldn’t be a lot for one measly little thief? By his side is his protégée, a young bounty hunter named Shaun. Before Kayla can even form a plan of escape, other players join the fray and bullets start flying, causing Kayla to lose the letter in the chaos that ensues. Kayla has no choice but to flee the house with Patrick and Shaun, but she has no intention of letting them turn her over and getting her arrested for a crime she did not commit. That’s when Kayla learns they don’t plan to hand her over to the police, but to a man named Jaffe; for reasons unknown to her, there’s a large bounty on Kayla’s head, and this Jaffe person doesn’t care if Kayla is brought to him dead or alive.
Separated from Patrick, Shaun cuffs himself to Kayla to keep her close and make sure he doesn’t lose their bounty. Every bounty hunter on the Eastern Seaboard is after the Morgan girl, and he’s not letting her out of his sight – only, he didn’t count on losing the key and being permanently chained to the most exasperating girl he’s ever met. Mikayla Morgan is a piece of work, and Shaun can't decide if he wants to kiss her or kill her. Initially he doesn't care about the particulars - who wants Kayla or why; all he cares about is collecting his cash. But the more time he spends with Kayla, running from the police, other bounty hunters and even Jaffe's hired guns, the less he cares about the money. Kayla is brave, tough, smart and funny - frankly, he comes to realise, she's the greatest girl he's ever met. Who is Jaffe, and what could he possibly want with Kayla?
Kayla has only ever trusted one person in her life – Melissa. No matter how hard she tries to fight it, how tightly she clings to Melissa’s rules of survival, Kayla slowly comes to trust the bounty hunter who seems to believe her claim of innocence. To stay alive, Shaun and Kayla must join forces to prove Kayla’s innocence. They set out to uncover the truth about Melissa’s past, and an eighteen year old crime sheds light not only on who Melissa was, but also who Kayla is.
As the danger mounts and the killer closes in, the chemistry between them threatens to explode. Can Shaun and Kayla stay alive long enough to explore the feelings neither of them wanted, but neither can deny? They might have to break all the rules if they hope to have a chance…
Rules of Survival by Jus Accardo is a fast-paced, action packed romantic suspense. I find the majority of the book to be quite realistic, especially surrounding Kayla and Shaun being cuffed together for days on end – problems such as remaining inconspicuous, using the bathroom, taking a shower and changing clothes are skilfully handled. The mystery surrounding Jaffe and why he’s targeting Kayla is strong enough to drive the story, and running from cops, other bounty hunters and Jaffe’s men creates a tense atmosphere that made me turn the pages as fast as I could.
I love the characters in this book. From the get-go the author had me invested in Kayla’s journey. She’s a great character: streetwise, resourceful, smart and brave, yet she has an undeniable vulnerability that endears her to the reader. Her smart mouth constantly gets her into trouble, but her quick thinking gets her out. Kayla continuously demonstrates her survival and evasive skills, and Shaun's bafflement and sweet admiration is a joy to behold throughout. Shaun is a typical bad boy with a tendency to be infuriatingly arrogant, yet his past also comes into play, shedding light on why he is the way he is. He also has a very soft side which comes out the more he comes to care about Kayla. Shaun and Kayla are wonderful together; their banter is highly entertaining and their chemistry is off the charts.
The only thing I don’t like about the book is the ending – it does deliver a HEA, but I thought it ended very bluntly. The entire book is so expressive, I feel that the ending needed a little more depth. There is no clarity on Kayla’s fugitive status (though it is hinted at – clarity would have been nice, though). I also would have liked for Shaun and Kayla to have a stronger final scene to tie things off.
Overall though, I enjoyed every single page. I would definitely read a sequel – Kayla and Shaun are great characters, great together, and I would love to spend more time with them.
Title: Rules of Survival
Author: Jus Accordo
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Number of pages: 202