cover image Breaking All My Rules

Breaking All My Rules

Trice Hickman. Kensington/Dafina, $15 trade paper (345p) ISBN 978-0-7582-8720-5

This novel, about a successful D.C. businesswoman who falls for a guy from the wrong side of town, entertains despite relying heavily on tired chick lit tropes. Though Erica Stanford comes from wealth, owns her own body-care brand, and is drop-dead gorgeous, love has been elusive since she dumped her fiancé. She also suffers from nightmares triggered by her father getting shot on her 10th birthday. Though she feels an immediate attachment to Jerome Kimbrough, a garbage man with a questionable past, who is now a loving father working toward having his own business, their backgrounds keep getting in the way of love. Jerome wonders if Erica is slumming, or worse, cheating, thanks to her ex-fiancé’s frequent reappearances. Erica’s best friend Ashley floats the idea that Jerome might be a stalker, and uses Erica’s romance to voice her own misgivings about dating a white man. Hickman’s (Play the Hand You’re Dealt) narrative is engaging despite clunky exposition (“I grew up behind the gilded gates of Hill Crest Manor just like you,” Ashley tells lifelong pal Erica) and a plethora of ridiculous coincidences and misunderstandings, including one that awkwardly brings the story full circle. Manage to ignore these and you’ll enjoy the story’s heart. (Mar.)