Corey Reviews Cameron’s Rules by Baxter Brown

I stumbled across Cameron’s Rules when the Kindle store recommended it adjacent to some of my beloved lesfic authors. I tried a book sample, and it almost lost me to a generic opening of one woman spilling coffee on another woman in a cafe and striking up a conversation. But I impulse bought the full book anyway, kept reading… stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it… and I have been re-reading bits and pieces when I should be working from home.

Oh I like this one, the author hits so many of my personal reading pleasure points: banter and friendly bickering as Cameron and Julie get to know each other; running jokes (Julie is a horror film script writer who lures wuss Cameron into watching scary movies – “It’s not a scary movie, Cameron. It’s about a clown”); sexy dialogue, including a game of Truth or Sexy Truth that also deepens your understanding of the characters while they get to know each other better; and secondary characters I want to hang around for their wit.

But for all the dialogue that made me smile, this story is high angst. “I knew nothing about love anymore, only complex, problematic relationships,” Cameron observes about herself. She lost her wife three years ago and is terrified of losing a new love again.

Julie fights Cameron’s “no intimacy” rules while hoping their friendship can go deeper. Somewhere off stage I imagine Julie’s friends warning “this lady is bad news, she’s never going to get over her dead wife, you need to drop her as a friend before you wreck yourself on her emotional unavailability.” But nope, Julie hangs in there and I honestly hated them both for emotionally hurting each other while simultaneously rooting for them to stay together.

My biggest suspension of disbelief is the way Julie starts spinning a romance novel aloud to Cameron based on their interactions so far, and she continues to do this through several chapters. Any writer who can improv chapters on the spot like that needs to go on the road and charge admission.

But I gladly suspended said disbelief because a) the stories include both hot sex and meta commentary on their relationship; and b) by the end of Cameron’s Rules, Julie has actually written a book and when I read its ending I shrieked aloud in the middle of the night.

Maybe for some readers the mix of banter and angst will seem too much of a whip-lash experience or others might  lose patience with Cameron’s wound-driven actions or Julie’s persistence in the face of crappy behavior. But I loved the reading experience and I plan to scoop up any future books by Baxter Brown.

P.S. That one scene with Cameron’s grief counselor? Yeah, that therapist is the sh!t.

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