Breaking the Rules (Troubleshooters Series #16)

Breaking the Rules (Troubleshooters Series #16)

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Izzy Zanella wasn’t looking for another reason to butt heads with his Navy SEAL teammate, and nemesis, Danny Gillman. But then he met Danny’s beautiful younger sister, Eden. When she needed it most, he offered her a place to stay, a shoulder to cry on—and more. And when she got pregnant with another man’s child, he offered her marriage. But Eden’s devastating miscarriage shattered their life together—and made the intense bad blood between Izzy and Danny even worse.

Now Eden’s back, and she’s on a mission to rescue her teen brother, Ben, from their abusive stepfather. Even if she and Izzy can prove that their broken marriage is still in one piece, winning legal custody of Ben is a long shot. But they’re not alone: Danny and his girlfriend, Jenn, offer to help, and he and Izzy agree to bury the past and fight for Ben’s future.

As they plan their strategy, Izzy and Eden grapple with the raw passion that still crackles between them—while Danny and Jenn confront new depths in their own rocky relationship. But events take a terrifying turn after Ben befriends a girl fleeing a child prostitution ring. When the young runaway seeks refuge with Eden and Izzy, her pursuers kidnap Ben—and a deadly standoff begins. Now they must all pull together like never before and strike back, swift and hard, to protect their unconventional little family and everything they hold most precious.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611066777
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 03/28/2011
Series: Troubleshooters Series , #16
Edition description: Playaway Edition with Earbuds
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

After childhood plans to become the captain of a starship didn’t pan out, Suzanne Brockmann took her fascination with military history, her respect for the men and women who serve, her reverence for diversity, and her love of storytelling and explored brave new worlds as a New York Times bestselling romance author. Over the past twenty years, she has written more than fifty novels, including her award-winning Troubleshooters series about Navy SEAL heroes and the women—and sometimes men—who win their hearts. In addition to writing books, Suzanne Brockmann has co-produced a feature-length movie, the award-winning romantic comedy The Perfect Wedding, which she co-wrote with her husband, Ed Gaffney, and their son, Jason. She has also co-written a YA novel, set in the world of her paranormal Fighting Destiny series, with her daughter, Melanie. Find Suzanne Brockmann on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and visit her website to find out more about upcoming releases and appearances.


Boston, MA

Date of Birth:



Attended Boston University

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Thursday, 16 April 2009

It happened so fast.

The IED-a car bomb, had to be-went off in the middle of the busy neighborhood.

One minute Izzy Zanella was letting Mark Jenkins use him as a sounding board for the pros and cons of putting in an offer on a house before he and his wife, Lindsey, sold their condo-which was ridiculous, because Izzy had never owned property in his thirty years of life and wasn't likely to change from being a renter anytime soon. But that was probably why Jenk was bouncing his thoughts off Izzy-because said thoughts would, absolutely, bounce.

Of course, their Navy SEAL teammate and resident pain in the ass Danny- Danny-bo-banny Gillman had never owned property either, but he had an Opinion with a capital O on the subject-and that O stood for boring. Dan had spent most of the morning dourly warning Jenkie to not even think about buying anything in this craphell market-not until they had a buyer for the condo locked in.

Jenk, however, was in love-and not just with his adorable yet kick-ass wife. He was in love with his entire life, including Lindsey's whoopsie-daisy pregnancy. It had just happened, or rather, they'd just found out about it. And even though they had nearly eight full months before Baby Day, Jenk really, really wanted to buy what was, without a doubt, his idea of the perfect house, particularly since it sat three perfect houses down from the equally perfect home of SEAL Team Sixteen's former CO, Tommy Paoletti, whom Markie-Mark still loved nearly as much as Lindsey and their fabulous life.

And Izzy had to admit that living down the street from Tommy, who had a more-the-merrier policy to his almost-weekly cookouts, would be pretty flipping great.

Jenkins didn't want to hear any more of Gillman's doom and gloom, which was why he was walking next to Izzy and saying, "If it turns out we can't sell the condo, we can always go to Plan B-"

Which was when the world went boom.

Izzy went from nodding his agreement to soul-kissing the street and inhaling rancid water from a puddle that was part yak piss, part toxic sludge.

He rolled over to do a quick head count of his teammates and encountered Dan Gillman, who was doing the exact same thing, his hand on Izzy's leg-the better to shake him with.

"Zanella, Christ, are you all right?" Gillman asked, far more urgently than Izzy would have expected, considering that Izzy's main reason for finding Dan such a royal pain in the ass was the fact that Dan thought Izzy was the world's biggest load. And he'd come to his opinion about that long before Izzy had gone and married Danny's little sister, Eden, which had, inarguably, made things even more awkward.

In the best of times, they were frenemies. In the worst, they gave in to their animosity, at which point one of their fists usually ended up in the other's face.

And it was usually Danny's fist and Izzy's face. Although they'd definitely vice versa'd it a time or two in the recent past.

Izzy had to spit out the yak piss before he could do more than nod, but then he remembered that it wasn't too long ago that Dan had had the unnerving experience of witnessing a Marine who'd been standing a few scant inches away from him get hit by shrapnel from a similar explosion.

The kid had bled out in a matter of minutes, despite Dan's frantic attempts at first aid.

"I'm fine," Izzy reassured him. Their SEAL teammates-Jenkins, Tony V., and Lopez-were all fine, too, thank God.

In fact, Lopez was so fine, he was already running toward the smoke and flames. Izzy scrambled to his feet and followed, with Jenk, Tony, and Gillman hot on his heels.

They'd been a mere four blocks away from the former marketplace that was the bomb's ground zero, and as they approached, the chaos increased.

More than one bus was on its side. Other cars were flipped upside down, one of them burning.

Civilians were everywhere. Crying. Bleeding. Some of them were running away, some not doing much of anything but lying, dazed, where they'd fallen, slapped down by the blast's giant invisible hand.

The United States Marines, God bless 'em, were already on the scene, a female officer coolly and efficiently taking command of the rescue effort-getting the injured people out of the vehicles, evacuating the surrounding buildings, putting out the fires.

Izzy's ears were still ringing, but he saw what Lopez was doing with the hot Marine lieutenant's blessing. He was creating a first-aid station for the injured, right there on the sidewalk.

Sirens were wailing in the distance, emergency vehicles coming from every direction. But the streets were filled not just with people but with rubble and smoke, and holy shit, the front of an entire row of buildings, including his favorite shawarma stand, had been blown to hell. And the crater from the bomb had made the street here beyond the marketplace impassable every way but from the north.

Help was coming, but it wasn't going to arrive soon enough.

But Lopez was a hospital corpsman-the Navy equivalent of an Army medic- and he was focused on saving the lives that he could. Normally soft- spoken, he was using his outdoor voice to inform any other medical personnel on the scene about his makeshift triage area.

It was then, as Izzy was pointing out Lopez to an ancient woman who was half carrying her bloody and dazed nearly-elderly-himself son, that he noticed Mark Jenkins was looking a little pale. The height- challenged SEAL was holding his right wrist tight against his side, as if he'd jammed it bad when he'd forcefully come into close personal contact with the street.

"Y'okay?" Izzy stepped closer to ask, exactly as Dan, too, came over and inquired, "Jenkins, are you hurt?"

Jenk shook his head in a mix of both yes and no. "Help me find a piece of wood for a splint."

"Shit," Izzy said as he helped Danny sift through the rubble of what used to be that restaurant. "Is it broken?"

The owner had survived, thank God, but he was sitting now among the debris, stunned. "Hang on, Mr. Wahidi," Izzy called to the man. "I'll be right over to help you."

Everything was either too big or too splintered or too full of nasty- ass nails.

"A brace," Jenkins corrected himself as he bent to pick up a piece of what had once been a sign for tea. "I meant a brace. Son of a bitch."

His wrist was definitely broken.

He turned another more greenish shade of pale, his golly-gee freckles standing out on his nose, because he'd jarred his arm trying to measure it against that piece of wood.

"Maybe you should sit down, bro," Gillman suggested, which was stupid. No way was Jenkins going to sit down and surrender to a relatively mild injury when there were so many more severely wounded people to assist.

Of course, maybe Dan only meant it, like, Maybe you should sit down for a sec, bro, because it is going to hurt like a screaming bitch when we belt your arm to that splint.

But any mention of giving in to the pain would have pissed Izzy off royally were he in Jenk's tiny boots, so he took charge. "He's fine where he is," he told Dan, told Jenkins, too, because the man looked like he needed encouragement, and adding to Dan, "Don't bother with your belt."

Izzy found his spare bungee cords in his vest pocket and pulled out a couple. Those little suckers were useful, even when the SEALs weren't up in the mountains. They would work better than a belt to keep Jenk's broken arm supported by that piece of wood.

The wood, however, left much to be desired. So Izzy tossed Dan the cords, reaching down and untying his own bootlaces, even as he told Jenk, "I say go for it. Buy the house of your dreams."

As he'd expected, Danny objected, which was good. Jenk needed a little distraction. "And hold two mortgages if the condo doesn't sell?" Dan said.

"Sure, why not?" Izzy quickly stripped off his sock. It was a little soggy and extremely aromatic, but it would do the trick.

Dan was sputtering. "Because . . . it's insane?" But he saw what Izzy was doing and held out his hand for the sock and covered the piece of wood's ragged end with it, even as Izzy jammed his bare foot back into his boot.

"No, it's not," Izzy told Jenkins as he took the sock-covered wood from Dan and tested it against his own hand. Not great, but much better. Uncovered, that slice of raw wood would've scraped the shit out of Jenkie's palm. His sock gave it at least a little bit of padding and protection. "Because if you don't sell it, you can rent it. That's a great Plan B, my brother. You know, my lease is up in a month. I could be your tenant."

Jenk and Lindsey's condo was much nicer than his current place-which stupidly still reeked of memories of Izzy's too-short marriage to Eden. Although how that could be, Izzy didn't understand. He'd been married to her for . . . what? A week? Damn, he'd only made love to her once-but it had been in his bed, in his bedroom, in his stupid, stupid apartment, on their wedding night.

It had been an event of momentous importance that Izzy still dreamed about-both feverishly at night and in unguarded moments during the daytime, when his thoughts wandered off to a fantasyland where wishes came true.

Not only was Eden uncommonly beautiful with her big brown eyes and lustrously dark hair, her flawless smooth skin, heart-shaped face, that sensual mouth that was quick to smile. But she also got Izzy's jokes. She spoke his language. She was funny and smart and courageous, and yes, a little bit crazy. Reckless. Unafraid to dance to a different drummer.

All that, plus a body that didn't quit . . .?

Back when they'd first met, Izzy'd fallen in lust with her at first sight, and solidly in love within the first five minutes they'd talked. But she didn't stay in San Diego for long. She left almost immediately, to visit her Army sergeant father in Germany.

But then, six months later, when Eden had resurfaced back in the States, she'd been six months pregnant and in dire need of a knight in shining armor. So Izzy'd married her, even though there was no way on earth that baby she'd been carrying could have possibly been his.

But he didn't care. He just wanted to be her hero.

And to get into her pants. Which he'd done after marrying her.

But then she'd miscarried, lost the baby, and run back to Germany. And spent the past ten months refusing to see him.

Even though he'd gone all the way to Europe to try to see her, more times than he could count.

"Jenkins has a two-bedroom," Dan pointed out. "What are you going to do, get a roommate?"

"Ooh, Dan," Izzy said. "Great idea. We could finally live together." He held the splint out so that Jenkins could put his wrist against it. This was the part that was going to hurt, but Jenk nodded for them to do it, just get it over with. He closed his eyes.

But it was Danny who made the choking, gagging sounds as they got Jenk as patched up as he was going to be-at least until he returned to the base and saw a doctor.

But Izzy couldn't resist pushing it, even though the last thing he wanted was Danny freaking Gillman for a roommate. "Seriously, Dan, if we split the rent it would be pretty cheap. You're not going to keep bunking in the enlisted quarters, are you, now that you and Jenn are tight? What are you going to do when she comes to San Diego to visit? It's time you moved into big-boy housing."

"Go fuck yourself," Dan said, genuinely pissed. Apparently Izzy had trod on a hot button. Interesting. Was it the mention of Jennilyn visiting or just the mention of Jennilyn?

"I've found that I'm a little shy," Izzy said, "for such blatantly public displays of self-affection. Besides, I like to be wined and dined before I have my way with myself. I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy."

"Old-fashioned," Dan scoffed. "Is that the excuse you use to convince yourself that you're not a shithead? I'm old-fashioned, because back in the eighteen hundreds men regularly took children as their brides . . ."

She wasn't a child, Izzy stopped himself from saying, because he was not going to talk about Eden anymore. Not with anyone-and especially not her asshole brother. That part of his life was over and done. In fact, as soon as he got back to San Diego, he was going to ask the senior chief for some help in finding a divorce lawyer.

But Dan was into tit-for-tatting, and since Izzy had stumbled onto one of his hot buttons, dude now felt compelled to jump with both feet onto Izzy's.

In the past, Izzy would have risen to the bait and their conversation would've gone a little like this:

Dan: At the end of the day, you're the one who was banging a seventeen- year-old.

Izzy: She was eighteen. And I didn't bang her.

Dan: Oh, excuse me. You made beautiful, tender love to her. That's right, I always forget. It was the four hundred and seventeen guys that came before you that she banged.

Izzy: Don't you say that shit about her-

Dan: She used you, man. She uses everyone. Why don't you just face the truth and move on?

Izzy: (throwing a punch) Why don't you go fuck yourself . . .?

"Y'okay?" Izzy asked Jenk instead as the other SEAL experimented with the splint, cautiously moving his arm. Dan was watching closely, too.

And this time when Jenk nodded, it was a solid yes.

At that, both Izzy and Dan turned in a unison that couldn't have been more precise had it been choreographed, and they went in separate directions-Dan toward Lopez, and Izzy toward Tony V.

It was clear that they didn't need a debate or a discussion to agree they'd already spent far too freaking much time together today.

Although the good news was that neither of them was walking away with a bloody nose.

Of course, there was still a lot of daylight left.

New York City

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jennilyn LeMay was having a day.

It had started when she got to work and realized that she'd gotten the mother of all runs in her pantyhose, and that she didn't have a spare pair in her desk drawer.

She'd only had time for the quickest trip to the drugstore on the next block over, but that proved ineffective. Unbelievably, they were completely out of queen-size in every color and every conceivable brand, as if the place had been descended upon by a drove of bargain- hunting opera singers. Best Jenn could find, way in the back behind the tube socks, was a pair of thick white tights that were labeled both queen-size and petite-clearly designed for two-hundred-pound height-challenged nurses, rather than giantesses like Jenn who weren't quite six feet tall if they both lied and slouched.

No doubt about it, as far as her hopes went for-quite literally- covering her ass, the fat lady was singing.

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Breaking the Rules 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 250 reviews.
frosty1 More than 1 year ago
The story was good, but seemed to keep going on and on, it kind of jumped all over the place and didn't seem to really flow. I had major issues with the characterization of Jenn. In the last book, she was described as plain but pretty and almost cute, tall but not overly overweight. In this book she is described as 'larger-than-large & amazon size'. Which is it? I had head that Mrs. Brockmann will be taking a break from writing the Troubleshooters series, and I think it is time to take a break. Troubleshooters only came in to play for about 20 pages of this book, how can it be classified a Troubleshooters book, with no Troubleshooters? Not only that but this book left more questions than answers, Lindsay loosing another baby, then is just okay with it?? On what planet? I hope if this series is restored, we can get back to the actual Troubleshooters.
cooksnook More than 1 year ago
Ms Brockmann stopped writing for the entertainment of her fans a few years ago. Now it more like shes shoving her views down our throats. There was a time when I couldn't wait for her books
harstan More than 1 year ago
Navy SEALs Izzy Zanella and Danny Gilman have a long standing grudge. When the former met the latter's sister Eden, he fell in love. She became pregnant with someone else's child, but he stepped to the plate and married her. When she miscarried, she also gave up on a heartbroken Izzy. Danny blamed Izzy for his sibling's unhappiness Meanwhile Danny and Izzy work a mission in Afghanistan in which the former is wounded and the latter saves his life but almost dies doing so. After a hospital stint in Germany, they come home to learn Eden is trying to rescue her teenage younger brother Ben from their abusive stepfather Greg and his mother Ivette. They head to Vegas along with Danny's on again and off again girlfriend Jennilyn LeMay to help Eden. When Ben rescues Neesha from a child prostitution ring, Eden and Izzy protect her as the mobsters come for their merchandise, but snatch Ben instead. The latest Troubleshooters romantic suspense is a double dose of second chance at love inside of a family affair. The story line is action-packed in Nevada and Afghanistan, but it is the cast that makes this so much fun as the Gillman crew play first violin in a wonderful thriller. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really sorry I bought this one.....too many thoughts/thinking that to me wasn't very intertaining at all. I skipped thru the first part of the book and just read for the plot....her first books are a lot better and at least I know what the people have been up to since the last book. Bummer.
JacksonvilleReader More than 1 year ago
I've read all Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooters books and I have to say this was not that good. The book could have been cut in half if the characters' whining had been kept to a reasonable level. The actual story was good, but the writing was long and drawn out. Izzy doesn't trust Eden who doesn't trust Izzy--back and forth, back and forth. I actually ended up skimming page after page just to get to the end of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this whole series and once again it did not disappoint me!! Could not put it down. Sam and Izzy are my favorites so once again found myself laughing out loud at Izzy's crazy personaity. The only thing disappointing is that the author is taking a break from the series!! Hope she reconsiders!!!!!!
TammySt More than 1 year ago
waited months for this book. Into the Fire (#13 in this series) was the best of all of them. This was the end of the series and no mention of Deck at all!!!! Want my $12.99 back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a disappointment to me. I had looked forward to reading and was very disengaged with the first two or three chapters.
Glenajo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In Breaking the Rules, Brockmann weaves the stories of three of the Gillman siblings, Danny, Eden, and Ben, along with Izzy Zanela together into a wild ride through a typical Brockmann novel. The Gilman family is the epitome of dysfunctional, with an alcoholic, drug abusing step-father and their equally substance abusing mother. The siblings struggle to leave the abusive mess behind as they attempt to move on with their lives, only to be pulled back into the sewer that was their home. Sprinkled liberally with profanity and sex, the story is still totally engrossing and enjoyable. Brockmann builds such deep characters that the story flows from beginning to end as the reader races to discover what happens.
julie.billing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brockman's characters are good as always. A little longer than some of the other books but not a bother.
SuseGordon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Izzy & Eden Zanella, Dan Gillman and his girlfriend Jenn are all running around Las Vegas trying to save Eden & Dan's little brother Ben from some of the worst parents while being chased by evil predators because of a young girl that escaped from a sex slavery brothel... all while trying to either ignore or convince their respective partners that they do love them!
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Zanella and Gilman get their romances in this 16th Troubleshooters novel. They are in Las Vegas to rescue Ben who is the younger brother of Danny and Zanella's wife Eden. He is gay and his stepfather is determined to send him to an abusive retraining facility to "cure" him. The story also concerns child prostitution in the person of a young girl Ben meets and befriends. Both Zanella and Gilman have major misunderstandings and miscommunication going on in their romances and need to work them out while rescuing Ben and being pursued by those who don't want their involvement if child prostitution to come to light.
lynnm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As usual, Suzanne Brockmann is so very easy to read. Her writing always goes down so smooth, like a well blended chocolate milkshake.But also as has been the case with her last few installments of the Troubleshooters series, this book provides an uneven read. Some characters are fantastic (Izzy, Ben, to a small degree - Eden) and others are either completely annoying and irredeemable (Danny Gillman is NOT a hero) or basically useless (Jennilyn is TSTL for putting up with Danny the Tool). The story itself is adequate although a good 2/3 of the book is devoted to either vast amounts of introspection or dithering about why one character does or does not trust/love another character. Only the last quarter of the book involved any form of real action. This is unfortunate because the central Big Bad - a ring of child prostitute human traffickers - is a real evil that deserves thorough treatment.And also unfortunately, Brockmann uses this vehicle as a bully platform for her pro-Gay Rights agenda. While I am firmly in the pro-Gay Rights camp, I find being hit over the head with how truly eeeevil anti-gay people are to be a bit tiresome. I do believe that those conversion camps exist and are probably not only vile to the nth degree but possibly even illegal, Brockmann is preaching to the choir. I'd much rather get a dose of see-gay-people-are-normal-and-great via Jules Cassidy or giving Ben a bit more power over his own life.While I'll always look on the Troubleshooter series fondly as one of the best written and most entertaining in contemporary romantic fiction, I do think the quality of the stories has declined over the course of its run. I'll go back to "Out of Control" and "Over the Edge" and "Flashpoint" for my rereads. This one will probably get dusty on the proverbial shelf.
elf2060 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another rollicking tension-filled masterpiece by Brockmann. Vivid descriptions of the dangers that face our intrepid members of the military interspersed with a riveting story that adeptly interweaves sadly accurate fact with fiction make this an enthralling read. The angst-ridden relationship between Izzy and Eden is finally addressed and a spotlight is focused on the seamy underworld of child abuse, both physical and mental. A fantastic addition to the fascinating series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book Izzy and Eden were over the top entertaining and throw in the family dynamics it was a real page turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SandraHoover More than 1 year ago
Breaking The Rules, Troubleshooters #16, covers about every social situation you can think of as Brockmann continues her campaign of tackling the big issues head on - dysfunctional family, abusive parents, child sex trafficking, prostitution, life as a gay person, religious cult-like interventions, kidnapping, alcohol/drug addictions, custody issues, emotional immaturity, relationship phobia, lack of communication . . . it’s all here.  At times, it borders emotional overload, but this author (one of the queens of multiple plots) weaves it all into a spellbinding story that kept me turning the pages.  Family dynamics plays a major role in Breaking The Rules.  Most of the book centers around the extremely dysfunctional Gillman family and the problems that occur when Eden resolves to get her little brother Ben away from their abusive step-father.  The danger level escalates when Ben gets involved with Neesha, a young, homeless girl who managed to escape imprisonment by child sex traffickers.  Izzy steps in to help Eden, resulting in Izzy and Dan having to work through their differences to do what SEALS do – Save the day! I’ve been waiting for Izzy’s story since he first strutted across the pages leaving one-liners in his wake.  I’ve always felt there was a greater depth to this man who used jokes as a shield.  Izzy can be so funny & flippant, but he’s also smart, protective, dependable, passionate, and so HOT.  The sexual chemistry between Izzy and Eden is like matches & gasoline – explosive!  But the miscommunication between these two is a killer as their lack of trust in each other almost does them in.  The same issue exists between Dan and Jenn.  They love each other – problem is how do they make each other believe it?  Per Brockmann style, readers are treated to more than one story/romance in Breaking The Rules.  While there were times I wanted to slap some sense into both couples – Izzy & Eden and Dan & Jenn – it was a satisfying journey watching them fumble their way to a hea.  Add in detailed plot lines rich in emotional turmoil, action, and lots of sex and you’ve got another great addition to the series!  A Must Read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I own and love everything SB writes and was looking forward to Izzys story. This was a huge disappointement that dragged on in a wishy washy fashion where you did not care if they ended up together. I especially could not get into an 18 yr old female lead. yikes. you know they will be divorced in 2 yrs!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I must admit, this is my very favorite of the whole series and the one I most frequently return to when I want to reread parts of the book-- My second favorite is when Sam finally wins the love of his life.
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