Wednesday, March 24, 2021

ARC Review: Changing the Rules by Catherine Bybee

Changing the Rules

Catherine Bybee
Series: Richter Series (Book 1)
Publication: Montlake (March 23, 2021)

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

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 book is the first in a new series. Claire Kelly works for McBain Security and Solutions. She is twenty-four and eager for more action. I liked learning about her backstory as an orphan from a boarding school for assassins.

When the firm takes a case about sex trafficking in local public and private high schools, Claire and her best friend and fellow agent Jax are chosen to go undercover as high school students. Cooper is chosen to go undercover as a substitute auto mechanics teacher and track coach.

Cooper is just back from Europe. He left six years earlier because he felt he was too old to be romantically interested in Claire. Also, his boss Neil McBain who thinks of himself as a father figure for Claire encouraged the move. They both felt Claire needed some time to finish growing up. Claire didn't agree. She was disappointed that her friend Cooper was suddenly gone.

The case immediately got complicated since there were undercover cops on the scene too who were unknown to McBain and who might be dirty cops. Claire quickly found her way into the crowds she needed to infiltrate and befriended young girls who were potential victims of the scam. She also developed her persona as a smart-mouthed rebel with a talent for track. There are lots of suspicious characters in this one. There are a variety of teachers who might or might not have parts in the sex trafficking. There are students and former students who also behave is suspicious manners. 

Cooper and Claire get closer as they work to investigate this trafficking case and as they overcome their miscommunications. There was a lot of tension because they needed to keep their relationship secret or ruin their covers as student and teacher. 

I enjoyed the story even though it began by introducing quite a large number of characters who will presumably have larger roles in future books in this seriesbut who made me want to make a list of each one in order to keep track of them. I also had the feeling that some of the characters had fuller stories told in other books by the author which was confirmed by the author's afterward. I enjoyed the story more once the book began to focus on the characters who had large roles in this story.

Favorite Quote:
"I have a report due tomorrow on Macbeth."


Claire cleared her throat. "Macbeth, by Claire Porter...They all die. The End."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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