Welcome to the first Sunday Shout Out!
I couldn’t be more pleased that today’s featured writer is my friend
and author of the Betrayed by Love trilogy, H.D. Kelley.
Growing up in a secluded mountain town where creative outlets were sparse, books quickly became a passion for HD Kelley. When she ran out of books to read at her school library she decided to write her own. From the moment she finished her first short story she was hooked. HD Kelley resides in Florida with her husband, two kids, and their Vizsla.
Books 1 and 2 are released and I’m eagerly awaiting the conclusion to find out what happens to Isabella & Alec and Spencer & Ashlan in Broken Promises. Being an author I understand the pressure so I’m trying not to nag her to hurry up and finish writing it.
My Review Scattered Thoughts: Betrayed by Love 1
A delightful romance mystery that keeps you guessing.
Isabella is plagued by nightmares… The smell of cigarettes and alcohol on his breath… his voice… the pain. It all seems so real.
She’s been happily married for nineteen years, or at least she thought she was until she received a package in the post that changed everything. Despite her husband’s protests of his innocence she files for divorce and they agree to shield their twins from the breakdown of their marriage until after their impending high school graduation.
With a successful career in PR, Isabella throws herself into her work, little knowing that an important meeting is about to change her life. Why? Because her client’s CEO unexpectedly insists on sitting in. Enter Alec Payne a.k.a. Incredibly Demanding Control Freak − albeit a delish, irresistible IDCF.
Scattered Thoughts is more than just lonely soon-to-be-single-again woman meets charming and oh-so-tempting alpha, (and trust me, I was tempted 😉 ) it’s a story of betrayal of the worst kind.
As her life begins to unravel, Isabella questions her own sanity. Are her nightmares more than just dreams? Is someone really out to get her? And if so, who and why?
The ink on her divorce is barely dry, is she ready to jump into another relationship so soon? Alec is hot and heavy from the word go, but as enticing as being with him undoubtedly is, Isabella fights her attraction to him, but it’s a battle she was never going to win.
Alec is hot and demanding in a good way: “Clothes. Off. Now.” And sweetly, wonderfully romantic: “It reminded me of you; beautiful, precious and rare.”
Normally a strong independent woman, (and that’s always a good thing) Isabella also fights against Alec’s controlling ways. To be honest, she lost me as a fan a little here (temporarily) because she refuses to understand that everything he does is to keep her safe. Then events escalate and even she has to come to the terrifying conclusion that her life really is in danger.
I’m a slow reader, but I read this is in less than two days. I just had to know how it ended. And the ending didn’t disappoint.
Isabella James is an Issues and Reputation Manager who has earned success solving problems… other people’s problems that is. Until a package arrives that changes everything. Izzy comes face-to-face with her biggest issue yet − Spencer, her husband of nineteen years, is having an affair. The stress of Spencer’s betrayal proves too much and manifests itself in the form of nightmares. At least Izzy thinks they’re nightmares.
The once controlled Isabella James’ life is unraveling. When she meets her newest client, Alec Payne, their relationship quickly crosses the bounds of professionalism and she finds herself in an all-out battle for control over her life, her body, and her heart.
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My Review Shattered Dreams: Betrayed by Love 2
A whip cracking 😉 romance thriller that kept me turning pages
Book 2 in the Betrayed by Love trilogy doesn’t pick up where book 1 ended. It starts before Scattered Thoughts began. That’s because Shattered Dreams isn’t a continuation of Izzy’s story; it’s Spencer’s story.
It’s hard to like or feel sympathy for Spencer in book 1, which is hardly surprising. He cheated on his wife and when she was sent the proof, he lied about it. Plus he’s a drunk so what’s to like? BUT − and it’s a big but, hence the capitals − in book 1 we only saw Spencer from Izzy’s pov. This is Spencer’s chance to tell his story. And what a story it is.
Five percent in, I was whole-heartedly on his side. I could relate to and understand his reasons for doing what he did. Yes he cheated… sort of… technically, but everything he did was to shield his wife from his darker side − his deliciously darker side − because she wouldn’t understand.
Even though I understood and was rooting for him, oh how Spencer frustrated me every time he crawled into his dark place seeking solace in his old friend Jack Daniels. I wanted to shout at him to stop, to be strong, to be the Dom he is and fight for what he wanted rather than seeking the oblivion only alcohol offers, because that doesn’t solve anything.
Izzy and Alec are here too, but only when Spencer’s story coincides with theirs. Events and conversations from book 1 are revisited, but this time we have a different perspective because we’re seeing and hearing them from Spencer’s pov.
But this isn’t just Spencer’s story, it’s Ashlan’s too…
Ironically, Ashlan is drawn to Esoteric. For someone who’s suffered a lifetime of abuse you’d think a BDSM club is the last place she would find her peace. But the pain she receives from Master Spence is a whole different kind of pain. It’s not a fist to the face, or a kick to the ribs. It’s not the kind of pain that gets her hospitalised. It’s the pain that precedes pleasure and it’s that pain-pleasure cycle she craves. Only with her Dom does she find the release she needs; the liberation that makes the abuse she suffers at the hands of her husband endurable.
For a story where the central character is a Dom, there’s very little sex, but do not let that put you off. It would have been all too easy to liberally sprinkle the story with sex, but that’s the thing. It doesn’t need it. Even without a sex scene every ten pages, you will be turning those pages because you’ll just have to know what happens.
So what does happen? It’s hard to say anything about the plot without giving too much away, but suffice to say there are twists and turns that keep you guessing. Everything and everyone are connected, but it never feels contrived.
And the ending? Well, it isn’t of course. The threat is still out there and still wants revenge.
I for one cannot wait to read how it all pans out. Of course being an incurable romantic, I hope they all get their Happy Ever After ending − because after what they’ve been through so far and no doubt will have to overcome in the final installment they deserve it. Although the title Broken Promises has me scared. I also hope I don’t have long to wait to find out and will be stalking the author for book 3.
Spencer James was no hero – cheating on his wife and all – but until recently, Spencer hadn’t seen what he did at Esoteric, the private BDSM club where he was a member, as cheating. What he did there – dominate women sexually – he did to protect Izzy, not to hurt her. Two very different sides to the same coin, each as vital to his survival as the other; Spencer needed the club like most people needed air. But falling in love with his submissive was never part of the plan. And now that she’d disappeared, he’d stop at nothing to find her.
A lifetime of physical abuse is what led Ashlan to Esoteric. She knew if her husband ever found out about the club, she’d die a slow, painful death. But even that hadn’t been enough to keep her away. In a life of hell, Esoteric was the only place she’d ever found peace…until she accidentally let it slip to Master Spence that she was being abused. Now she had no choice but to run.
Ask Me Anything
How did you come up with the storyline for your Betrayed by Love series?
Like many authors, I just sat down and started writing. There wasn’t a real plan, just a couple of characters demanding to be brought to life. They’re the ones who guided the story. The series is a romantic suspense and I was just as surprised as the readers!
If you had to pick between Alec and Spencer, who would you choose to be in a relationship with, and why?
Oh gosh, that is such a hard question because I love them both! If I had to choose just one of them though then I’d go with Alec. Partially because I didn’t like Spencer very much in book one, but mostly because I love how Alec takes what he wants. 🙂 And he’s super sexy and loves to get a little kinky so…. 🙂
When you’re not writing what do you like to do?
If I’m not writing I’m most likely reading for enjoyment, or proofreading, or beta reading, or editing. Oh, and then there’s running which I do at least every other day to keep my puppy happy and my jeans fitting. And of course there’s the time I spend with my family which always comes first!
What’s the most romantic thing a man has ever done for you?
I’ve been married for over twenty years so this is a hard question to answer as there’ve been so many romantic gestures along the way. Really though, it’s all the little things he does every day. The note I find on my desk when I sit down to work, the half-and-half that’s always stocked for my morning coffee, the freezer full of popsicles because they’re my favorite treat but I refuse to buy them for myself. How he makes me feel sexy even when I’m feeling anything but. It’s all those little things that add up to let me know how much I’m loved. And the occasional smack on the ass helps too. 🙂
What makes you laugh?
I’m a pretty happy person so I have a tendency to laugh a lot. Silly things, random things, ridiculous things. Actually, I’m laughing at how much I laugh as I write this answer. What can I say? I’m a dork. But at least I’m a loveable, happy dork. 🙂
When do you anticipate Broken Promises to be released?
Ahhh, we’re finally getting to the elephant in the room. 🙂 I had originally planned to release Broken Promises in November but after two unexpected shoulder surgeries that timeframe has been pushed back to early next year. My shoulder has finally healed enough to allow me to write again so I’m making decent progress.
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