Title: Defined by Deceit
Author: A.E. Via
Genre:Contemporary, Abuse, Suspense
Length: 237 Pages (Novel)
Publisher: Via Star Wings Books
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: Life isn’t always fair, and that’s something that Llewellyn Gardner knows about first hand. His life was on the fast track until one night of extreme passion changed everything. Now eight years later, he’s still living with the aftershocks of that night. Everywhere he turns or runs, there’s another reminder. What the hell do you do when you try to drown your demons only to find out they can swim?
Shane Smith, Jr. owner of Smith Construction, could see the emotional turmoil within his new employee — it’s why he hired him. There was something about the gorgeous, misunderstood man with the overly expressive eyes that came to their small town with a past no one was willing to overlook. Shane could see the good in Llewellyn, and those eyes of his were a clear window to his soul. Shane wasn’t going to let the man live a future of solitude because his past had been plagued with deceit.
Llewellyn wasn’t sure what to think about Shane. After years of protecting himself from being tricked twice, he was now faced with worry again. What would happen to him if Shane didn’t believe his truth, and walked away? Llewellyn wasn’t sure he’d be able to survive being left alone. Again.
I have read every book A.E. Via has published, and loved them all. But, Defined by Deceit, is in a category of its own. I started first thing this morning reading and didn’t stop till I finished. This story is devastatingly beautiful. It is heart-wrenching and painful. It is an emotional rollercoaster of feelings. It is also, in my opinion, her best work yet.
By Chapter Two I already had a bad feeling. I knew something horrible was getting ready to happen but I had no idea what to expect. I felt like you do when you are watching a scary movie and you are waiting for something or someone to jump out and grab you and you just can’t watch. You shut your eyes, cover your ears, because it has you so on edge. By Chapter Three I was shutting my eyes. I didn’t want to read it anymore because it was going to be bad, but I had to. I had to know what was going to happen. I was gutted and was heartbroken for Llewellyn. I was pissed off to the point of talking out loud as I was reading. Cursing and yelling at the injustice of it all. And those feelings lasted for a long time.
It was supposed to be their last time together. They were just gonna be friends for now. They had too much on the line to lose if they were caught together. Llewellyn, 18, had a promising future. With enough scholarships to basically – pick and choose – he was on the right path. Until one night, driven by passion and hormones, turned his life inside out. Being caught, literally, with his pants down set into motion the next 8 years of hell. He was getting ready to head to college, secure his future and live his dreams. Instead, he is heading to prison where he will be abused, tormented, ridiculed, and threatened. How will he last 8 years when he can’t even contemplate 8 days.
Llew went to prison a teenager but he comes out a man. A man who no longer talks or trusts anyone with the exception of his brother. He realizes quickly being back home is not the reunion he had hoped. The townspeople are not forgiving and have turned their backs.
To keep from hurting his brother he decides to move to a different town where no one knows him. He’s hoping for a fresh start and to live his life in peace. What he finds is so much better. It doesn’t come automatically and it takes time, but they see him for who he is. A beautiful, kind-spirited, hardworking, and intelligent man.
Llew honestly believed he would never love again. He was emotionally damaged. His psyche had taken a huge punch and he fought with nightmares on a daily basis. Being in the right place at the right time leads him to some of the most beautiful people I have seen. One by the name of Smith, Jr. opened a whole new world to Llew. He showed him compassion and unconditional love. He believed him most of all and that was something that Llew didn’t expect. He had learned not to expect anyone believing him, but he was wrong.
Smith, Jr or Shane could see Llewellyn’s soul through his eyes. He was immediately smitten and wanted to know everything he could about (in his eyes) this perfect man. Through patience and perseverance he won over Llew’s smiles and eventually his heart. He showed him with careful attention and words how special sex would and could be between them. This author has always been able to write hot smoldering sex scenes, but with Shane and Llew, she knocked it out of the park.
This is a hard read, no question. It is filled with many emotional scenes that are devastating to get through. But in the devastation there is so much beautiful and compassionate moments that will lift you up and believe that good does prevail over evil.
A.E. Via has my respect as an author that she was able to take this story to the level she did and still have an outcome that will bring you to tears, yet again. Except, now, they are tears of joy and elation. I can’t even fathom the level of research she had to do in order to write this story. It is intense and very detailed. She has included secondary characters that without them the story would not have been what it is.
There are many twists and turns and a lot of details that I fear to mention in case of spoiling it for someone else. The author’s originality and creativity is evident and the execution never slowed. From the first chapter till the last it was hypnotizing. It starts out painful, it continues to be painful, but then you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it shines so brightly over Llewellyn. He is looking for redemption and he finds it. What an amazing character he is, along with Leslie, Shane, Ms. Pat, Ace, and Big Waldo. Exceptional story. The angst is overpowering, at times, but there is a happy ever after. Wrongs will be made right and heads will be held high.
I can’t recommend this enough. I would suggest to read when you have time to give it the diligence it deserves. Have a new box of tissues by your side and maybe a little privacy unless you don’t mind explaining why you are bawling like a baby to those around you. It is a beautiful and heartwarming story of love.