Title: Defined By Deceit
Author: A.E. Via
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Page Count: 289
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
He tried to drown his demons, only to find they could swim.
Life isn’t always fair. Llewellyn Gardner knows that first hand. He was on the fast track—college dreams, a boyfriend—until one night of extreme passion changed everything. Eight years later and out of prison, he still lives with the aftershocks of that night. Everywhere he turns there’s another reminder of crime people insist he committed, so he runs away to a new town to start over.
For Shane Smith, Jr., owner of Smith Construction, there’s something about the gorgeous, misunderstood man with the overly expressive eyes and dark past. Shane sees the good in Llewellyn— it’s why he hired him—and he isn’t going to let the man cut himself off from the world.
Llewellyn isn’t sure what to think about Shane. After years of protecting himself from being tricked twice, he’s worried. What will happen if Shane doesn’t believe the truth about his past? (less)
I read the first edition of this book last year and I remember really liking it. This didn’t change after reading the second edition but certain things that I perhaps overlooked the first time around were more obvious to me now.
The main character of the book is Llewellyn and the story is about him. There is a love interest and it’s wonderful but it doesn’t happen until around 40% and I saw it as secondary to Llewellyn’s story. The story starts with Llewellyn going to prison to serve a 10 year sentence for a crime he did not commit. His time in prison made for a sombre atmosphere. Llewellyn was just a kid and he was scared and his whole life plan was ruined. As a reader, I felt his pain and devastation at having his life ripped away through no fault of his own.
Llewellyn left prison after 8 years and decided to make a new start for himself and move to a new town. He met some wonderful people there who not only helped him with a place to live and a job but stood by him when no one else did. It was quite sweet really and the budding romance between Llewellyn and Shane was very sweet and emotional. Their intimate scenes were super steamy, and their connection was palpable. Kudos on the character chemistry there.
Honestly, you have to suspend disbelief in a major way to enjoy this book.From Ace and Big Waldo at the prison, to people just believing Llewellyn was innocent just because he said so and because of his expressive eyes (wtf?), to the big redemption scene at the end, it was all very OTT and ridiculously unrealistic. I didn’t bother me as much the first time I read it, maybe because the feelz for Llewellyn overrode everything else, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and cringe at some of the plot developments here.
The copy I read was not final, so I am not sure how much editing happened from when I got it to when it will be released. But I have read a lot of books by this author, and grammar errors, fragmented sentences, and typos throughout seem like a standard MO. I remember the editing issues from the first edition of the book so I sincerely hope they will be fixed in this new version although I’m not holding my breath because nothing else seemed different from one edition to the next.
If you want an angsty, emotional, sexy story that will help you escape reality for a while, pick this up. It’s not meant to make you think so don’t go in prepared to scrutinise.