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#Book Review #Romantic Suspense #Changing the Rules (Richter #1) by Catherine Bybee @Montlake

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee comes the steamy first novel in her new adrenaline-fueled Richter series.

As an employee of MacBain Security and Solutions, Claire Kelly can certainly hold her own. Armed with an impressive set of covert skills, she’s more than prepared to tackle any job that comes her way…except one involving Cooper Lockman.

Cooper and Claire used to work together before his feelings for her sent him packing to Europe for six long years. But now he’s back and determined to ignore the still-smoldering heat that lingers between them.

Their current mission: go undercover together at a California high school to root out the mastermind behind a prostitution ring targeting young girls. The closer they get to the truth and the closer they get to each other, however, the deadlier their task becomes. As Claire and Cooper risk their lives to bring down their target, will their hearts be the final casualties?

My thoughts:

This is my first book by Catherine Bybee and I was really impressed by how immersive, even addictive her writing is. I kept reading until the small hours and couldn’t put the book down until the mystery was solved and everyone was safe (the final part was absolutely nailbiting in the best action movie tradition!).

24 year old security agent with a PI license Claire Kelly gets a new assignment. The case deals with a human trafficking ring which recruits vulnerable girls from a high school. Neil’s daughter Emma goes to a private school nearby and it appears that the traffickers have been targeting students from both schools. The police department has their own undercover agents involved in this case and it is possible, although not certain, that the agent/s have gone rogue. Claire and Jax, her best friend from their school days at Richter school, are sent to the schools with a triple task- identify potential victims, identify the traffickers and their accomplices and flush out the rogue agent. I think you can already see how exciting this mystery/ suspense is.

They are not alone. Claire is paired with Cooper Lockman, who has recently come back from the London office of MacBain Security and Solutions. Claire and Cooper have known each other since she was eighteen and was rescued from the shady happenings at Richter.

While there is undeniable chemistry between Claire and Cooper and their relationship develops gradually during the case, Catherine Bybee manages to strike a great balance between the focus on the investigation and the romance elements.

The protagonists are both strong, decisive, independent and caring in equal parts-no wonder sparks fly when these two friends decide to take their relationship to the new level. I’m just going to say it again-nothing beats good old friends-to-lovers trope!

In case you get the same strange feeling of being given the backstory on the go, while Changing Rules is the first book in Catherine Bybee’s Richter series, Claire’s mentor Sasha, Claire’s boss Neil (the owner of MacBain Security and Solutions) and his family- they appeared in Catherine’s previous books. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment of Changing Rules.

I really enjoyed Changing Rules and would love to read the continuation of the series. Whether you are a fan of Catherine Bybee, like a strong female lead or are just curious about the romantic suspense genre, I can definitely recommend this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

3 replies on “#Book Review #Romantic Suspense #Changing the Rules (Richter #1) by Catherine Bybee @Montlake”

    1. Thank you, Yesha! It si a very serious issue and I am grateful to all the authors who are raising awareness of it, even though this book didn’t focus on it precisely. Last year I read This is what Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin and it was absolutely heart-wrenching.

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