has also reviewed:

The Heart of the Falcon

Silken Betrayal

 
Break Every Rule by Francis Ray
(Arabesque, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-7860-0544-0
****
Break Every Rule is Francis Ray's tenth novel and the fourth in the Taggart and Falcon family saga. Its main character, Dominique Falcon, was briefly introduced in Ray's last novel, The Heart of the Falcon. She is the part African-American and Native American, the daughter of John Henry and Felicia Everette Falcon. Her brother is the flamboyant millionaire businessman, Daniel Falcon.

Break Every Rule begins with the society gala to announce the marriage of Daniel Falcon to Madelyn Taggart that took place at the close of The Heart of the Falcon. The surprise announcement party, attended by more than 200 people, is the social event on the Houston calendar.

Everyone seems happy except Dominique, who has soured on love, romance and marriage. Eight years ago, Dominique thought she had it all. But her not-so-storybook marriage to a possessive and abusive millionaire ended less than a year after it began. Dominique has sworn never to fall in love again. Not even her parents' solid reconciliation and her brother's blissful marriage can convince her to soften her stance.

Dominique is also tired of the jet-set international life of a model and photographer. She decides to relocate in Dallas to start her own photography business. Dallas is an ideal location. She can live with her godmother while she establishes her business. She is close enough to her parents in Oklahoma and her brother in Houston without having to trade upon "the Falcon name" for her success.

Dominique is known in Dallas as "Dominique Everette," using her mother's maiden name. She's prepared for just about everything. Everything except her godmother's good-looking and ever-present neighbor Trent Masters.

Trent owns a successful trucking firm. He has his own emotional baggage to contend with so Trent and Dominique work overtime to deny their mutual attraction. They both have countless rules to cite as to why they shouldn't be together and then systematically proceed to break every one of them.

Dominique' godmother, Janice Yates, also has an interesting story that Ray sketches in without overshadowing the main story. Janice is an old family friend who has known Felicia Falcon since their days in Boston. An antique dealer by profession, she also serves as an unofficial matchmaker for singles over fifty. She's involved in a secondary romance with a local restauranteur that readers will enjoy.

As a treat for fans who have followed the Taggart and Falcon stories, Daniel, Madelyn, John Henry and Felicia Falcon make brief appearances. The character of the Falcons' long-suffering septuagenarian family chauffeur, Higgins, is given more definition and dimension in this novel.

There are no more Taggart or Falcon children to marry off. At the end of Break Every Rule, Francis Ray offers her fans the promise of a love story involving a Falcon cousin further down the line.

Break Every Rule is classic Francis Ray. It's a tale of inevitable love. The writing is crisp and concise. It's a joy to read.

--Gwendolyn Osborne


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