Sam Watson is a cop working undercover to find the persons responsible for a string of muggings around local bars, when a little spitfire nearly blows his cover and gets herself banged up in the process. He's known her for years as his little brother, Pete's best friend and the object of Pete's affection. Sam has the hots for her, too, but he's not about to encroach on his brother's territory. Not to mention, she's way too young for the likes of him. But when she offers him a ride home after the incident and makes it clear that she wants more from him than a little first aid, Sam finds his resolve weakening.
Even though she was aware of his affection for her, Ariel has never been anything more than friends with Pete. It's his oldest brother, Sam, who floats her boat, but he won't even give her the time of day. She went to the bar to check out the other guys, but it only served to solidify that Sam is the only man for her. So when Ariel's misguided attempt to rescue him from a mugger ends with him helping her with a torn dress and skinned knees, she uses the opportunity to let Sam know just how much she wants him. But Sam turns up the pressure by telling her that in his house, she has to play by his rules. Can Ariel take the heat or will Sam's intense brand of passion send her running? Or worse yet leave her with a broken heart?
My House, My Rules is the first novella in Lori Foster's series about the Watsons, three close-knit brothers from Indiana. This one tells the story of the oldest brother, Sam, an undercover cop who's has it bad for a young woman twelve years his junior and whom he thinks is - or at least was - involved with his youngest brother. Between him being bothered by the age difference and not wanting to hurt his brother in case he still has feelings for her, Sam has been fighting his own attraction. Ariel is a woman who knows what she wants - and that's Sam. She's never been genuinely attracted to anyone else the way she is to him. Just to be sure, she went to a local bar to check out the guys, where unbeknownst to her, Sam happens to be working undercover. After nearly blowing his cover and getting bumped and bruised in the process, she gives him a ride home, where she basically propositions him.
Ariel is a virgin who saved herself for Sam, hoping that one day he would eventually take notice of her as something more than his little brother's annoying best friend, but she's also an outgoing sex kitten, which is always somewhat dicey for me. I guess I was mostly OK with it here, even though I'm not sure if most virgins would be up for Sam's sexy hijinks right out of the gate. I suppose she'd been waiting for him so long, she was willing to do anything to get him in hopes of keeping him. Sam is a pretty intense alpha male, a little too much so for me at times. I understood that he was more or less trying to scare Ariel off with his red-hot sex play, so at first, he's very much being the dominant. I'm sure many romance readers will eat that up, but for me he initially came off as a little too harsh. Later, he softened up some, and it was in those moments that I began to like him.
With the story being so short there isn't much in the way of deep character or relationship development, but with Sam and Ariel already having known and been attracted to one another for a while, the connection was pretty good for a novella. The love scenes are scorching and borderline erotic with a little domination and light bondage. Add in a touch of suspense as Sam goes undercover a second time, a bit of family drama with Sam's brothers, Gil (Bringing up Baby) and Pete (Good with His Hands), and a little humor, and voilà, you have this story. It might not have been absolutely perfect for me, but it was a pretty fun way to spend a couple hours of my reading time, and I look forward to seeing what's in store for Gil and Pete as I continue with the series. My House, My Rules was originally published in the multi-author anthology, Bad Boys on Board, and was late reprinted in the single author anthology, The Watson Brothers, along with it's two companion novellas.
The Hope Chest Reviews on Facebook