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Rules of the Game #5

Breaking the Rules

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Rule #1: Don't fall in love with your agent.

Trevor Underhill is a bottom D-pair grinder. A pest. The kind of player who makes it possible for the talent to score.

Off the ice, he looks out for himself and never trusts anyone but his sister to have his back.

Fresh off an ankle injury and annoyed that his endorsement deals keep falling through, he’s tired of his stuffy, boring agent telling him to clean up his act and grow up.

Love is the last thing he’s looking for with anyone.

Rule #2: Don’t give up on second chances.

Former player Wade Cannon spent years in the closet until his retirement.

Now with a successful career as an agent and an eleven-year-old son, his priorities are work and his kid.

After the guy he was supposed to spend the rest of his life with bailed on them, he doesn’t trust anyone to stick around.

When members of the Evanston Otters team come to him for help, he and Trevor wind up working closely together.

Frustration leads to sizzling chemistry and an unexpected connection.

Falling in love with a client could jeopardize Wade’s career just as an explosive discovery threatens not only the Otters’ Cup win, but the very foundation of the team.

Contains on page scenes of domestic violence.

533 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 27, 2022

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About the author

Brigham Vaughn

70 books444 followers
Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 106 reviews
Profile Image for Dani.
508 reviews43 followers
April 7, 2023

I have absolutely LOVED this series!

It was so good to see Jack Malone get what he deserved but I would have liked more details about exactly what came of everything.

Every character and couple in this series has been great and every story has been so enjoyable, especially how they're all interlinked and built on each other so you really get a good feel for the characters and community.

Very excited for The Husband Game to come out for Charlie's story.
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,067 reviews42 followers
January 2, 2023
Love is Hope

Trevor Underhill, 26 years old, a D-Man for the Evanston Otters. His nickname is The Undertaker, which he describes as, “My job is to make guys so mad they want to hit me. But most of the time I turn it around and bury them.” Shaggy hair, beard, tattoos, leather jacket, jeans and boots, he’s the NHL poster for Bad Boy. He’s driving his agent crazy. Wade can’t get lucrative endorsement deals for Trevor because of all the unfavorable press that surrounds him.

Sports Agent Wade Cannon, 49, has a reputation for being the best at what he does, also for his fair representation of gay players. Never afforded the luxury of “coming out” during his own NHL playing days, Wade is determined to help any player refusing to hide in the closet. He’s ashamed he wasn’t brave enough back in the day but back then, he would have never been allowed to play. Thankfully the world is changing.

But not changing soon enough for Neanderthals like Jack Malone. He’s also an Evanston Otter and a full-fledged homophobe. Sad for him since the Otters may be the queerest team in major league hockey.

But Jack’s not just a homophobe. No, he has deeper, darker secrets that will cost him his career and possibly his freedom if they come out, and bad boy Trevor may be just the one to bring him down.

Working together to expose Malone, Wade and Trevor discover deeper truths about themselves. Betrayal, abandonment and loss run beneath the surfaces of both men. Can they learn to trust one another enough to heal old wounds and maybe even fall in love? That’s what they both hope for and after all, that’s what love is, hope. Hoping for a future together. Hoping for the best.

Story: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Spice: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Swoon: 😍😍😍😍😍
Angst: 💔💔💔💔
176 reviews2 followers
July 8, 2023
This can be summarized as a gay Jerry Maguire dating his client. 🫤
Profile Image for Marie-Pierre.
120 reviews2 followers
December 24, 2022
Breaking The Rules is the 5th and final book of the Rules of The Game series by Brigham Vaughn. Although this could be readcas a standalone, I strongly recommend reading all the books for more context.

I feel like Brigham's books are always as much about the plot as it is about the love story, and it is so enjoyable! With Breaking The Rules, we are diving in a very emotional and possibly dangerous situation (please see trigger warning). The aweful things athetes can get away with just because they are public figures and make milions is very troubling. I'm so happy Brigham decided to tackle that subject and I hope it can help people realise what's wrong with the sports industry. 

Trevor's image has not always been the "cleanest". His past is haunting him and he's seen as a little bit reckless, and therefore his agent, Wade, and he butt heads quite a bit in the beginning. But once the trust is established, both men discover that they are not that different from one another. They both had to work hard to get where they are and the respect they develop for each other eventually leads to more than player/agent relationship.

Wade being a single dad has a lot on his plate and feels like he's not often enough at home with his kid. It really warmed my heart seeing Trevor connect with Braden the way he did. And what a great dad Wade is! Having to deal with a career while being a single parent to a kid with special needs must be very hard. He deserve his HEA and Trevor is the perfect guy to complete his family.

What a great conclusion to this wonderful series. Lots of humour, good hockey (Brigham has great hockey scenes in her books), a beautiful relationship built on trust and great heat. Brigham has such a way with words and I'm looking forward to what's next for her! Also, little shout out to Coach Daniels. What a man!!!
Profile Image for Juniper.
2,545 reviews17 followers
December 22, 2022
This is part of a series and while it can stand alone, the characters and world will be familiar to readers of previous books, and it definitely adds to the experience to have that familiarity. This one has tropes: an age gap, enemies to lovers, a player & his agent forbidden romance angle. It’s also a fraught and ultimately highly idealized story about the kind of hockey culture the world deserves but does not yet have, beyond these pages. That narrative really felt, to me, like the heart of the story, and seeing it through Trevor’s eyes was rewarding. As far as the central couple of this story goes, Trevor won me over almost immediately: his bluster and snark barely cover a heart of gold and his “bad” behavior is … not actually anything bad. It was much harder initially for me to like Wade, who starts off as a judgmental, self-righteous stick-in-the-mud and… gets better, to be fair to him. He’s better at being a supportive partner than he ever was at being Trevor’s agent. To be honest, my favorite thing about him is his awesome relationship with his teenage son (a compelling character in his own right). The physical chemistry between Trevor and Wade is super hot as well, and the initial enemies-to-lovers vibe is solid. They end up working well together, but tbh my favorite part of the story is seeing Trevor come into his own, not just with a romantic partner, but also in getting the chance to see how his team values him and confront some traumas from his past.

*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book
Profile Image for Lisa.
2,188 reviews36 followers
December 27, 2022
What I loved about this book, especially in the first bit, was the way Trevor and Wade would come together. They weren't enemies, but they butted heads and fought, and their first kiss and their first "more than a kiss" were angry and explosive!

I was so pulled into their love story. Wade is a single dad, and Trevor's agent. And neither of them have had a relationship in a long time, if ever. But they didn't really fight it as they fell in love. And I enjoyed every minute- also Trevor was good with Wade's kid.

Another big part of this story is everyone trying to get rid of a menace on their team. If you've read the rest of the series, you'll know what I'm talking about. If not, I think you could still read this on it's own. The subject matter coming up around this situation is very serious and made me cry. Don't worry though- everything turns out okay and we get a happy ending, a very good one.
558 reviews85 followers
December 27, 2022
This series improves from book to book.
When I thought it wasn't possible to improve, Brigham Vaughn shows that it's possible
Trevor is one of the bad boys on the team until he is confronted with his agent, Wade Cannon.
Gradually they are getting close to each other, and the erratic behavior of a teammate brings them even closer to get proof against him.
The chemistry between the two is wonderful and little by little Trevor starts to believe in himself and in the possibility to be happy
I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book
Profile Image for Edga.
1,741 reviews20 followers
January 4, 2023
Excellent Addition to the Series.

What a great addition to the series. The rest of the books are just as fantastic... all emotional roller coasters... with some hot and steamy twists and turns. This one has everything in it. There's forbidden love, intrigue, romance and it's pretty hot to boot! The emotions written into the book are so beautifully real and well described. Neither Trevor or Wade are looking for love but that’s what they find, it was lovely to see the chemistry develop between them. It’s almost a book of two halves, what happens before they get together and what happens after. On one hand it's the perfect story of two unexpected people falling in love and just enjoying each other. However, there's also a darker side to the story, one involving domestic abuse. I loved Wade's and Trevor's resilience, in exposing the matter. Trevor's so brave, willing to put his reputation at stake, for the sake of others, he's a pretty strong character. I loved how confident he was and not particularly worried about other people's perception of him. He walked his own path, spoke his mind, and wasn't bothered about conforming or being popular. The ending was first class, probably unrealistic, as the author admits, but it would be nice if incidents like this could be solved like they were in the story.
164 reviews1 follower
December 24, 2022
This is a great finale for the series. This is a bit of an age gap romance and deals with the serious issue of domestic violence and how organizations will cover for a well known athlete. I really enjoyed Trevor and Noah's dynamic and how they slowly get to know to each other and realize that some of their preconceived ideas about each other were wrong. Noah is D-man for the Otters and is a bit of a rebel who wants to enjoy life after helping to raise his sister, and Wade is a former hockey player who is now an agent and single father of a son with ADHD. Trevor at first thinks that Wade is not working hard enough to get him endorsements and Wade thinks that Trevor needs to make better choices and project a better image. They get to know each other better when trying to find incriminating evidence of sexual harassment against Malone, another Otters player. The sexual tension between them ramps up until it blows up in Wade's office one night. This reduces some of the tension between them and they get to know each other better. Wade opens up about the difficulties of being a single parent with his job, and Trevor opens up about his difficult childhood. Trevor gets to know Wade's son and soon forms a bond with him and Wade is impressed with how well Trevor relates to his son. Things will soon come to a head with Malone and the team is in the playoffs. Will Trevor and Wade's relationship bear up under the pressure?
Profile Image for Woodatsi.
329 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2022
I'm always so happy to read a Brigham Vaughn book and to say I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review her latest, is putting it mildly. I love reading about the strong bond between the members of the Evanston Otters hockey team. To see them fall in love one by one and find their HEA.

When Trevor and Wade met for the first time they immediately butt heads. Wade, an agent has taken Trevor on as a client to help him with endorsements and other things. Which is not an easy task as Trevor tends to get into trouble more than he needs. He's a single dad to Braden, having been left by his ex-boyfriend on the day of Bradens birth 11 years ago. He hasn't dated since, just had hook-ups when the need was there.

Trevor, a D-man for his team, also had a lot of grief in his past that he keeps hidden. He worked really hard to come back in the team after being injured and is ready to get back out there and win a Cup. He's never been in a relationship either and thinks of himself as not being the person for something permanent.

When Trevor and his team come to Wade for help with a teammate who turns out to be a real horrible person, it's Trevor who puts his career on the line to get information on him. Wade and Trevor start working together and while at the beginning they butt heads, their relationship changes and turns into something deep and loving. Neither expected this to happen, but they didn't fight it.

All the books are stand alone's but in my opinion it's better to read the books in order as this one is the conclusion to finally getting rid of a hateful teammate.

*I kindly received a copy of this book by the author via Bookfunnel. This is my honest review.*

Profile Image for Alex (HEABookNerd).
1,743 reviews237 followers
September 25, 2023
BREAKING THE RULES concludes the RULES OF THE GAME series and I loved it just as much as the rest of the series! Trevor has been a bit of a question mark so far so I really enjoyed seeing more of him and getting to know the person under the cocky, easy going persona.

Wade was a great partner for Trevor because he comforted Trevor, saw his potential, and always supported and believed him. I also loved Wade's gentle parenting of his 11 year old son and how he always communicated with him.

I'm sad to see this series ending, but thankfully there's a new spin off series with the Toronto team that I'll be jumping right into.

Content Warning: domestic violence (not between MCs)

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Favorite Quotes:

There was something luxurious about being around Wade, like he rounded off the sharp edges of the world that Trevor usually bumped into.
Profile Image for Janet Hunt.
3,480 reviews29 followers
December 27, 2022
Breaking the Rules is the fifth book in the Rules of the Game series. It read well as a standalone but you’ll get more enjoyment reading the series in order. We had met both of them before in previous books. Trevor needs to clean up his reputation. Wade is the person to do that but these two are at each other in the beginning. Wade is a single dad but feels like he’s never there for his kid. The character building and relationship dynamic was fantastic. Loved, loved, loved Wade and Trevor together. Overall, a fantastic read, well written with pacing that hooked me and kept me flipping the pages.
Profile Image for Lyndsay TC.
1,896 reviews
December 27, 2022
I must admit it took me awhile to warm up to both Wade and Trevor. These two men had strong opinions, big attitudes, and lots of experience pushing people away. They also had an electric dislike for one another which made the steamy scenes so much hotter. I loved how their love story played out and I wish the "issue" was always resolved like it was in this book. You absolutely have to read this series in order because the overlapping "issue" starts in book one really.
2,187 reviews113 followers
December 18, 2022

Breaking the Rules by Brigham Vaughn is the fifth and final book in the Rules of the Game m/m hockey series, and wow, this is the way to wrap up an amazing set of stories.

Defenseman Trevor Underhill, aka the Undertaker, has always held himself a bit in reserve from his teammates and his few friends. When he gets looped into taking action against a guy who should, by all accounts, have been a friend, he realizes how much he’s been missing.

Trevor’s agent, Wade Cannon, has rubbed him the wrong way, seeming to rain on his partying and life style. But when the two start to work together, they discover the other isn’t really what they’d originally seemed.

Brigham Vaughn’s story is completely engrossing, and the characters are all well-drawn and engaging. I couldn’t put Breaking the Rules down, and love this universe Ms Vaughn has created. She writes her characters warmly and movingly, and the challenges they face feel real and meaningful. Their successes give readers vicarious satisfaction as well as real hope for a better future. I eagerly await more from Ms Vaughn.
Profile Image for Jennivie.
Author 7 books31 followers
January 10, 2023
While I'm sad this series is over I'm pleased with how it all turned out. The author handled the tying up of loose ends masterfully. And I'm super excited that we will be getting Ryan and Zane's story, in full, and that a character I've been hoping would show up again is getting a book in a new series. I can't wait to devour these additions to the story!
299 reviews5 followers
December 23, 2022
Breaking the Rules by Brigham Vaughn is the 5th and final book in her Rules of the Game series. I would suggest that you read the others in the series first as all of the characters in the previous books appear in this one as well as there is a continuing plot line. This is the story of two men, Trevor and Wade, who have had some heartbreak in their pasts but over a season of professional hockey find trust and love in each other. Trevor is a defenseman for the Evanston Otters and has had some trauma when he was growing up. He’s a good player but doesn’t seem to have a lot of confidence in his abilities, even though he keeps proving that he fits with the team. Wade is his agent and has a son that means everything to him but he also has some angst in his life because of what his partner did to him when the adoption went through. At the beginning of the story the two men clash because Trevor doesn’t believe that Wade is finding him endorsement deals and Wade thinks the ones Trevor wants don’t fit him. This leads to a confrontation where the love/hate finally wins out and they kiss and that leads to other things. Trevor has never been in a relationship and he’s not sure he could be in a long term one. Wade has so many commitments between his job and his son that he hasn’t had time for one and also knows he shouldn’t start one with a client. Both agree that this is a one time occurrence, but of course, it doesn’t end up that way because they both can’t seem to stay away from each other. As time goes by they realize they want to be together and decide to give the relationship a try. Luckily it works out and they both fall in love. I have really enjoyed all of the books in this series. The characters are well developed and you can feel their angst which makes it even sweeter when they finally find a way to be together. Having met most of the Otters in previous books is great because you know their personalities and that they are good people and are willing to help Trevor and Wade when they can. It was also fun that so many of the players are LGBTQ+ and as they got together the team became the gayest one in the league. I also like that Ms. Vaughn put a lot of hockey terms in a glossary before the book starts so for those that aren’t familiar with the game, like me, can understand what is happening since she puts a lot of play by play of the games she writes about as the story develops. In addition to these, there is the ongoing story line about Jack Malone, a hockey player that isn’t a very nice person, and he finally gets what is coming to him in a somewhat unexpected way. Finally I really like the message that this books bring across which is that people with integrity will come out as winners, even if the battle is hard, and that it doesn’t matter if you are straight or gay as long as you do the right thing. I highly recommend this book and I am glad that the author is going to start a spin off series because I really enjoyed this one.
Profile Image for Jenna ✨DNF Queen.
404 reviews41 followers
February 9, 2023

Phenomenal. My favorite of the series so far. This one just blew me away!!

If you love a character that has as many layers as an onion, is wildly misunderstood, and desperately needs to be loved, Trevor is it. Wade is perfect for him and is exactly who Trevor needs in a stable mature lover who SEES him for who he really is... Oh, and dicks him down thoroughly in the process 😂🔥🥵 They didn't like each other very much in the beginning but it was a tangle of miscommunication built on assumptions and appearances. Both of them quickly realized they were underestimating and misunderstanding each other and once they got on the same page, HOO BOY.

As sometimes happens I think I started with the best of the bunch (Book 6) but I will say, not only is the writing very good throughout the series, the sex is 🔥 in all of them, AND the hockey writing is really good too 🥳 #yay But most importantly this author is touching on some really hard topics with these stories - CTE/TBI, domestic abuse, family tragedy, etc - with a deft and tactful touch.

Series Summary/Thoughts:
⚪️ Road Rules - Not yet released, coming March 2023 after revision from the original Prolific Works version
~ Zane & Ryan's Story (Best friends/teammates to lovers; team captain/teammate relationship)
Can't wait for this one, these two are a goddamn delight in the other books and really want their story!!
⚪️ Bending the Rules
~ Noah & Simon (Second chance romance/college crush/coming out)
Least excited about this but will read to complete the series. Noah seems lovely I just don't usually enjoy the second chance trope.
Changing the Rules
~ Lance & Gabriel (Coach/Player; Deals with TBI & CTE)
Emotional and beautiful story. Romantic and sexy and handles the CTE topic well, but with some minor gripes I need to try to articulate in a review. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
⚪️ Unwritten Rules
~ Jamie & Taylor (Enemies-toLovers/Bi Awakening/Hockey player & Figure skater: "Jamie and Taylor are perfect for one another but they’ll have to ignore both of their families’ unwritten rules if they let themselves fall in love with the enemy")
Rules of Engagement
~ Kelly & Anders (Best friend's little brother; surviving family tragedy and moving on with a new love.) 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Breaking the Rules
~ Wade & Trevor (Agent/Troubled Player; Domestic abuse, not w/couple) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Profile Image for fishreads.
391 reviews12 followers
December 30, 2022
I am glad to be finished with this series because, as apparently I have stated repeatedly, none of the characters nor pairings in this author's hockey universe, with one notable exception of Zane and Ryan in Road Rules, have worked for me.

This was also true for Trevor and Wade's characters and their relationship. I liked Trevor well enough as a side character in previous books but apparently it only lasted until he got his own story. There was nothing wrong with either his or Wade's characterizations that I could pinpoint to as the reason why I did not enjoy either of their characters. I was simply not feeling them for whatever reason.

The antagonistic opening of their relationship read as somewhat of a stretch and childish in nature. The set up with Trevor becoming a spy for the Otters' cause of ousting Jack Malone from the team in order to get him and Wade working more closer together felt incredibly contrived and unrealistic on top of being unfair to Trevor. Once they started hooking up and dating I was bothered by the amount of sex scenes between the two. I can't say their number was higher that what is the usual fare for m/m romance objectively but considering I did not enjoy their relationship it made sense I wouldn't enjoy their sex scenes either. It also felt strange to me how their substantial age difference was never touched upon and it was only mentioned once as an offhand thought on Trevor's side.

I can appreciate what the author tried to do with this last installment and tying up Jack Malone's villain arc which spanned through the series. Team's resident homophobe, who on top of being a cheater also turns out to be at the end of this story. In this author's hockey world there are hockey players like Zane, Ryan, Trevor and others, coaches and even agents like Wade, who are willing to take a stand for what is right instead of keeping the status quo in the world of hockey (and beyond it) which usually protects rapists and abusers. Sadly the reality remains quite different to fiction and instead the ending of this series making me feel warm and fuzzy it just makes me more aware how far apart reality and fiction are in this case. But this is my personal issue and I am sure there will be many more readers who will more than appreciate this kind of ending to the series.

I am still interested in reading story so I will probably be back once their story is published. And I might revisit Road Rules once it is published as a full length story instead of a novella.

Themes: dual POV, agent/player, animosity, age difference, single father, bisexual character, domestic abuse (by secondary characters), NHL
Profile Image for Xanthe.
1,949 reviews32 followers
December 30, 2022
I can't believe we've come to the end of this series! The plot of Breaking the Rules has been building from the start of the series and has some hard hitting aspects so be sure to read the Trigger Warnings.
Trevor is one of the last single players on the team so he's often surrounded by the recently loved up couples, working hard to get back to full fitness after an ankle injury, and now having to work alongside his insufferable agent, Wade, to help fix a long standing issue on the team. It just so happens that these two who initially rub each other the wrong way turn the heat up and go from one time only to needing that connection and comfort that they provide for each other.
Trevor has some history that comes to light and is impacted by what goes on in this book but Wade is there for him every step of the way. Wade, in turn, is surprised by the maturity and steadfastness in doing the right thing. It shows Trevor in a different light that what he's been used to, trying to get deals for a guy who had no problem going out for drinks or putting little effort into his image off of the ice. Wade also has concerns when it comes to his son, Braden, but those turn out to be something that can be helped by listening and spending time together, something he struggles with due to his workload and being a single parent. Trust is hard for both men but when it comes down to it, they realise just how much they can offer each other.
I love the development of the enemies to lovers story line as Trevor develops and takes on board what those around him are saying just as Wade accepts his attraction and growing need for the younger man. There is a great balance throughout between personal growth of the characters, their romantic relationship, and the ongoing investigation. It's so good to get so much interaction with the rest of the hockey team and there is no lack of ice time to keep everyone tense as we wait to see the outcome of the playoffs.
The series arc plot comes to a head in a spectacular way and I love the way that the author has given closure and responsibility to the characters and higher powers for their actions. Brigham addresses the shortcomings and ignorance of what happens in the real world, giving her men the chance to do the right thing. There are some powerful scenes written and, though a hard subject to think about, it has been wonderfully written and I cannot recommend the book and series enough.
I received an ARC and am happily giving a review.
Profile Image for Pontiki.
2,068 reviews7 followers
December 30, 2022
Trevor doesn’t get coupledom, having no interest in dating himself. His bad boy reputation gets him in enough trouble that he’s not getting any endorsements, and his agent, Wade, tries to get through to him but it takes awhile.

After his friend Jack Malone gets in trouble and Trevor sees what a big jerk he is, he wants to bring him down. He agrees to pretend to be friends to see if he can trip him up, to no avail.

The investigation Wade is doing also takes a lot of work, so Trevor offers to help. Clashing turns to kissing, and though neither of them see it coming, they see something in each other.

Finally, after Trevor has to give up on trying to catch Jack, he and Kelly witness him hurting his wife. They come to her aid, but she’s obviously afraid. It triggers Trevor about his own past, and he reveals the abuse his Mom suffered and how they had to escape.

When Carlie reaches out to Trevor, he and the rest trying catch Jack make a plan for her to get out. It goes deeper, with blackmailing that made the team owner protect Jack, and both are made to face the consequences.

I found this book about a third too long, with too much time going back and forth with no results about the Malone issue.

It was also unfortunate that when the team found out about the abuse they were shocked, as if it’s a rare occurrence, while the statistics tell a very different story. I understand it’s meant to convey they care and would have acted sooner, but it seemed too unrealistic.

However, I loved the way the coach and the team are willing to take risks to get a terrible person off the team, and eventually, get him charged. I also like the way the deniers are handled, because again, false reports happen much less often than it’s believed.

Overall it’s a good book, but could yes some tightening up in the plot.

I received this ARC for free, and am pleased to provide an honest review in appreciation for this book.
Profile Image for Kaje Harper.
Author 76 books2,536 followers
January 6, 2023
Trevor is a low-ranked player on his team and still making a comeback from an injury. He has a history of having to be self-sufficient, which makes him prickly and suspicious of everyone. He's also doing a bit of rewriting of his self-image, having realized that Malone, the player he used to hang out with, is even more of a creep than he realized. So he's grumpy and short-tempered and not ready to listen to his older-and-wiser agent acting like some kind of judgemental dad.

Wade is fifteen years older and already raising a pre-teen son. He doesn't need to find himself riding herd on the young player he represents. But as they spend more time together, he finds out that some of Trevor's lack of social graces have roots he can empathize with. And both of them want to see Malone's poisonous behavior brought to light.

This book could conceivably be read alone, but the underlying plot, particularly with regard to the nemesis player Malone, builds through the series, so they're best read in order.

I enjoyed the shifting of the relationship between these two men, watching Wade loosen up and Trevor step up to be worthy of his man and his team. Both men had to change, not just the younger abrasive one, and that helped give the relationship some balance. I wish I could believe in a hockey team and organization as committed to doing the right thing about domestic violence as we see here, but it's nice to imagine and a hope for the future. Once again, this book has a kid who accepts a new relationship for their parent with no significant pushback, which also felt a bit idealized, but I enjoyed the story and the ending was warm, solid, and satisfying for these two men and the series as a whole.
Profile Image for Dinoh (Akari).
231 reviews4 followers
December 27, 2022
And finally, it's here. The end of this series. I'm kind of sad about it, but on the other hand, happy to see that certain situations were finally resolved.

I really loved this book. None of the characters had it easy. Trevor had to survive a somewhat traumatic childhood and he is a person who is not afraid to speak his mind and to face whatever comes; and Wade has bounced back from a relationship that ended abruptly at the worst possible time. Something that left marks on both of them and the reason why neither of them is looking for love, but as always, it comes when one least expects it.

They have a strained relationship as agent and client, and it spills over into a relationship between them that happens unexpectedly and explosively. And so it begins...

I like Brigham Vaughn's books because they are not without substance. From the first to the last one, they follow a plot, exposing situations that athletes experience, either because they cause them, and they come out of them well because they are "covered up", or because they are the ones who suffer them, such as homophobia , etc.

This book was a great ending to a great series, and while not everything ends this way in real life, at least one feels a little bit of happiness to see that some people who accompanied us for long hours receive their well-deserved HEA .

Looking forward to the spin off!!!

I was given an advanced copy and voluntarily wrote a review.
269 reviews2 followers
January 3, 2023
What a fantastic conclusion to an amazing series! I have enjoyed every single book in this series and I love this author’s writing. She has touched on so many topics with each book and hasn’t shied away from sensitive subjects handling them with care and understanding. This book handled some very tough topics and I think the author did a great job of helping to bring awareness.

While Kelly and Lindy are hands down my favorite couple of this series, after reading this book Trevor and Wade are a close second. Trevor was such a fantastic character - he’s built up so many walls around himself and has such a chip on his shoulder and you see Wade breaking down those walls with his care and patience. His evolution from the beginning of the book (and even his appearances in earlier books) to the character he is at the end of this book is such a great story. And Wade is a also pretty amazing-his board room speech was well done!

Having followed the series and seen how vile Jack Malone’s character becomes with each book, I was hoping this book would have his character dealt with. I won’t get into spoilers and his character is definitely lower than I thought. Although Carlie’s appearance is brief in the book, her scene had me in tears.

While I am sad to see this series end, I’ve enjoyed the ride. Definitely can’t wait to read the spin off series and what story Dustin and Charlie have. And I can’t wait to re-read Zane and Ryan’s story! I received a complimentary copy of this book and this is my honest and fair review.
23 reviews
January 3, 2023

I really enjoyed the final book in the Rules of the Game series.

I didn't know much about either of the characters from the earlier books, but Brigham knew how to create a great storyline and fill in all the missing details the reader wanted to know about Trevor and Wade.

Each book kept the reader enthralled and wanting to see what was going to happen with the Malone story, and it was definitely an interesting twist in the end. While it was initially part of the reason Trevor and Wade started spending more time together, it was not the only reason these two wanted to keep talking and getting to know one another. Especially since Wade's son was such a big fan of Trevor's and they developed a great rapport with each other.

I found them very engaging and their family lives blended together so well in the end. It was initially slow to start, and they had no great love for one another aside from being agent/client. But as they worked together to help get rid of the 'proverbial' bad guy, they opened themselves up more to finding someone to love and build a lasting relationship with.

It was nice to see characters return from previous books and see their characters continuing to build on their love and families. And it was great to have the team win their cup and share how some of them spent their day with it. I hope that new readers to Brigham Vaughn found her attention for detail and gift of storytelling so wonderful they went in search of all the other series she has written, because they are all worth reading.
Profile Image for Claire Louisa.
1,643 reviews96 followers
January 2, 2023
Despite having a couple of the books from this series on my kindle, this is the first one I have read, of course, it would be the last in the series, but now I want to go back and read about all the characters I have just met in Breaking the Rules.

I really enjoyed Breaking the Rules, Trevor and Wade were great Mcs, with great chemistry these two go from being agent and client who don't like each other and think they know who the other is to something much more as they discover the other is very different to the person they thought. Trevor starts to show who he truly is as his relationship with Wade changes. Wade brings something out in Trevor he didn't expect and as he helps Trevor see who he could be they break the rules and start something more.

There are many important topics winding through this novel as the guys fight to uncover the truth about the abhorrent behaviour of one of their teammates, the culture of covering up athletes' bad often illegal behaviours is brought to attention as well as the culture of athletes abusing women and thinking that it is okay to behave that way. That the team decides that they are not going to stand for this type of behaviour from one of their teammates brings about good and bad reactions from the public, showing just how ingrained some ideas are in our society.

Wade's son was a great character and played a role in both Wade and Trevor discovering what they really wanted.

Sometimes life throws things at you that make you take a stand and change your journey, Wade and Trevor learn they need to fight for the important things and make changes to get the future they want.

This book stands alone well, but it would have been nice to have followed the other teammates' stories, something I will rectify in the future.
Profile Image for Marion.
808 reviews
January 5, 2023
This is the fifth and final book in the Rules of the Game series and it does not disappoint! This book can be read as a standalone but you will get much more out of it if you read the previous books first. This is the story of Trevor Underhill and Wade Cannon. Trevor is a defenseman for the Evanston Otters. He is known as a grinder. He has worked hard his entire career to ensure he can help his sister and mother. Frustrated by recovering from an ankle injury, he takes his frustration of a lost endorsement out on his agent. Wade is a well respected agent and single dad. He specializes in LGBT players. Being unable to come out while he played professional hockey, he does everything in his power to help his players. Wade and Trevor have a rocky relationship. There is a lot of friction and frustration between them. Due to Trevor's reputation as a bad boy, he is unable to get the endorsement deals that he wants. He takes his frustration out on Wade. But you know what they say about love and hat; there is a very thin line between the two. I loved both these characters. Together with a few other team members, they are working to getting the proof to get rid of a a full-fledged homophobe that is hurting the team. But what they finally discover is much worse. This is their story. It is very well written and easy to read. I really enjoyed it.

I received a free copy of this book from the author and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Sheena.
525 reviews8 followers
December 27, 2022
This is the 5th in the Rules of the Game series, although technically you could read it as a standalone, I would recommend reading the others in the series first, as a lot of the other couples make at least a cameo appearance in this book.

This is Trevor and Wade's story. We've met them both before in other books in the series, and there is an underlying thread of story continuing on from the previous book. There is a trigger warning for domestic violence, it's not graphic but it is there.

I loved seeing Wade and Trevor come together, from the initial antagonism and almost (but not quite) hate sex, to the push and pull of their dynamic and both coming around to the idea of a relationship. Trevor in particular is way more complex than you'd think on the surface, he's not the arrogant playboy you would think from the previous books, and while I loved the other characters in the series, Trevor might have been my favourite (that's saying a LOT because I adored Lindy). This is quite a long book as there are quite a few threads to wrap up, and it's all done very well. I was never bored once, and had to keep turning the pages until I got to the HEA.

I know NOTHING about hockey, but I've loved this series and the characters in it, and I'm happy it continues with a spinoff.

I received an ARC and this is my honest review.
Profile Image for Mary.
1,418 reviews3 followers
December 28, 2022
Hockey waits for no crisis.

This is truly the tagline for this amazing series of books set in the world of the Evanston Otters. Vaughn has given us MC's dealing with chronic illnesses with aging parents, generational feuds, acceptance by birth family, grieving survivors. In the final story, Vaughn does an amazing job of redeeming an MC and an MC struggling with work vs family life balance as a single dad. The seeds of Trevor and Wade's story were sown and grown throughout the previous books. They come together as antagonistic client and agent, then as uneasy alliance to deal with a truly despicable teammate, then the fire finally ignites between them. Freaking scorching! I'm not sure anyone can write a better organic smexy scene. Each scene works to compliment and drive the narrative. We see Trevor grow into the person and player he was supposed to be. Wade sees he deserves an adult relationship. Their interactions with birth and found family are wonderful. I love this hockey team, I wish they really existed. Please read the author's notes. She deals with some tragic events and attitudes. And such a call to arms for the pro sports universe. Wade's speech and actions are so necessary today. While this is the finale for the Otters, I'm sure we get updates because we are heading back to Toronto for Dustin and Charlie's story! I can't wait!
Profile Image for Janet.
59 reviews2 followers
January 21, 2023
Trevor Underhill has a chip on his shoulder. He is recovering from ankle surgery and furious that his agent failed to get him a decent endorsement deal. His team, the Evanston River Otters are heading toward a playoff bid and he’s agreed to try to get dirt on one of his teammates, very nasty piece of work that most of the team wants gone.

Wade Cannon is generally frustrated with his client, Trevor, who seems incapable of taking his career and life seriously. And he’s clearly unwilling to put in the work to make things better for himself. Wade is raising his son, Otis, himself, after the man he planned to spend his life with ditched them the day Otis was born. He’s struggling to be the best parent to Otis, who has ADHD, and balance his work and home life.

After an explosive first kiss, Wade and Trevor realize that they can mix business and pleasure, even though they shouldn’t. Circumstances keep tossing them together, and the fire that ignited with that first kiss, burns hot and hard.

There are so many things I love about this book. Although it’s the end of the series (sad face), many of the subplots are wrapped up and we get to see all of our favorite hockey players throughout the book. It’s a great series ending and I totally recommend reading it.
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