Review: Beyond the Rules by Anna Del Mar

Posted October 4, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 10 Comments

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Review: Beyond the Rules by Anna Del Mar
Beyond the Rules

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
four-half-flames

Series: At The Brink #3
Genres: BDSM Romance, Menage Romance, Military Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on August 15, 2017
Pages: 464
Format: eBook
Source: Giveaway
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The Delight

A romantic suspense with a woman hacker and three former Navy SEALs prepared to help protect her from dangerous, pursuing enemies sounded just the thing.  New to me author, a hot prospect with three men and a woman, and a tension-wrought suspense had me eager to pick up a menage for the first time in a while.

Review

Beyond the Rules is the third of the At the Brink books.  I started with this one and did all right so I guess its safe to say they can standalone.  Though, that said, I got the impression that I had missed something when this one started out with Nina and her situation just like there were plot points that weren’t tied up at the end of this one in regard to the suspense element.

Beyond the Rules starts with a harrowing plane crash when Nina had to bring her bullet-riddled plane down in Montana where she is found and brought into the fold of three partners who were once SEALs together.  Nina learns swiftly that as different as the men, Aiden, Tanner, and Zar are, they share several things in common- a loyal friendship, businesses, skills, and a desire for her and not just to protect.  Nina is frustrated when she thinks she is being shunted aside when she sees the others have their issues from combat and from the complicated feelings of desiring to share her.  But, there is a desperate mission which brought her out looking for a hacker and they try to focus on that and sort their feelings and needs out as they go.

I confess that polyamory or menage romance is a ticklish one for me.  I need it to be more than a chain of erotic encounters, I need to see development in each character and among the people in the shared relationship, and I really don’t want a bunch of unnecessary angst caused by excessive jealousy or posturing.  It’s always a crap shoot going into a new to me author/series as a result.

However, Beyond the Rules was a surprise in a good way.  I loved that this one had a dual focus of romance and suspense.  I liked that there was a lot going on around the romance.  It was a fully-fleshed out story which is how I like to get my erotic romances.  There were strong conflicts, introspection, action, and a great climax- on both counts.

This was especially good because these guys might say they wanted to share a woman, but they were as insecure and jealous as all get out when the rubber met the road.  And, that dom thing with Zar was more a distraction to me than anything.  I like some BDSM romances, but I felt there was already plenty going on in this group that they had to sort out.  I guess it was interesting to explore what would happen if one member of a polyamory group was into kink and was a dominant when the others were not which is what it felt like- exploration.  All this was being stirred up even while in Nina’s head there was a sell by date on her time there so she kept thinking that she’d fix the group dynamics and get her time with the guys and go when they were reshuffling and trying to come together to be with her in a permanent relationship.

Now, while the issue about sharing was there, the author did take the time to develop the individual characters even the guys so it wasn’t just Nina and three hot bods in a series of erotic encounters.  And, while the individual sexy times were early in the book, the group sex waited until stuff was getting resolved which worked good for me.  I thought they were thinking long-term pretty quick, but they knew what they liked, I guess and then there was the fact that Nina had her I’m broken and this can’t work moment to put a hiccup in their plans for a bit.

What ultimately was the trouble even beyond the fact that the guys spent a lot of time being possessive and jealous, was the fact that, developed or not, I only was moderately connected with the characters.  Not sure why, but I found that I could take them or leave them in the romance side.  I engaged better when they were working on the mission and I loved that Nina’s hacking skills were as important as their military ops skills.  I’m curious about the mole and am considering the next book as a result.
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So, in summary, it turned out much better than I was anticipating and the suspense line was great with the erotic romance, but I would have liked to be more into the characters and their romance.  Those who enjoy polyamory romances should definitely consider this book/series particularly if they have a thing for hot military guys.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book.

Challenges Met

Romance-opoly #60 Erotic Eaves

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Angie Elle
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I feel like Tiffany Reisz set the bar so high for polyamorous characters for me. It’s almost impossible to find another book that measures up. I’m glad you were able to find some elements to enjoy in this one, despite not being able to fully connect to the characters.

Great review! 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

There are a few writers that can make me get excited about polyamory, but yeah, I hesitate and take a pass mostly. It had been a while and I was glad to get a no-risk chance at this one plus it was paired with a suspense and military connection so it was a good bet. 🙂

Rachel @Waves of Fiction
Guest

I have a really hard time with mulitples in a romance. It doesn’t seem realistic long term, and I always think there will be jealousies and someone feeling left out, which I guess was an issue for you here. I do enjoy suspense and hot military guys, so I think I’d enjoy this if it was a standard romance. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one overall. 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

It’s funny you mention the reality of it. That is one part that always hits me if mind does a step back when it comes to menage or polyamory stories. I very much doubt in the practical long-term side. And, oh yes, do I suspect that individuals would struggle at some point or more than once in such a relationship particularly if all things were not equal and more than one was sharing just one.
I think I enjoy the stories as fiction like I would a paranormal or sci-fi escape from reality. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
Guest

That sounds pretty fun. I like this type of romance at times.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Same here! I don’t always want one, but now and then I do. I was so glad to get a chance at this one and then to have a good time with it. 🙂

Carole Rae
Guest

I wonder if this could really work realistically. I feel like there would be SO many issues. Like jealousy and hurt feelings.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I’ve read a few non-fic books about polygamous marriages in Utah and a couple journal articles from a gal in Canada who did a study and it seemed that when the kids came along and there was financial strain and stigma the kids had to deal with that things really fell apart, but the jealousy and inequality also had big roles in making this type of relationship not work so well long term in our Western lifestyles.

Which, in retrospect, makes this story more realistic since the guys struggled with sharing. 🙂

Lola
Guest

I’ve been reading some polyamory/ reverse harem books these past few years, but there are few authors who can really make it works. I am glad to hear this author took time to develop the characters and it wasn’t only a series of erotic encounters (I recently had a book that did that sadly). It’s difficult with any romance to be invested in it if you aren’t connected with the characters. It does sound nice with the combination of suspense and romance. It sounds nice how both Nina and the guys their expertise was relevant.

Sophia Rose
Guest

I’ve enjoyed your reviews on those, Lola. You pick good ones that reflect what I enjoy in reverse harems, too. I think you might enjoy this one. 🙂