- Deanndra Hall
- Release Date
- October 2013
- Book 3 of Love Under Construction
You're a successful businessman. A molten-blooded Italian hunk. And the newest, hottest, most in-demand service Dom/top in a 500-mile radius, with dozens of women falling at your feet. So, which woman? How do you choose?
That's easy - you pick the one who can't stand you.
And that's exactly what Vic has done. He's tried desperately to get the wrong woman out of his heart, and it looks like he may have succeeded. And just when he thinks everything in his life is falling into place, Cupid plays a nasty joke on him and he falls for the one woman who doesn't want to be anywhere near him, Somehow it isn't already bad enough that he has a secret keeping him from having a loving, long-term relationship; to make matters worse, if he wants to have a chance with the ice princess, he has to keep her alive long enough to tear down the walls she's built around herself.
Laura is as prickly as they get, but there's a reason. Her clothes hide a secret that she's sure would make any man run, and that secret is about to get her killed. The trauma she endured during her service to her country left her unable to feel any emotion or trust anyone, and the idea of ever letting a man touch her is out the window. When she returned home from Bosnia, her family shunned her and her harsh personality, so she's dealt with her demons alone and on her own for too long. But Laura didn't expect to meet a man who would promise to keep her safe and would die to keep that promise. That makes him a man worth trusting. And when her past wants to kill her to keep her quiet, can she open up to him before it's too late?
The second full-length novel in the Love Under Construction series, Tearing Down Walls is a fun, erotic, romantic, and suspenseful romp that takes you back into the world of the Walters family of Louisville, Kentucky. It features many characters over the age of 40 and contains too many steamy, hedonistic sex scenes to be suitable for anyone under 18 years of age. Step into the Walters'
Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Apr 06, 2015 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
168 people found the following review helpful
To Dom or not to Dom, that is the question. TEARING DOWN WALLS has some delectable BDSM sex scenes and Melrose Place worthy characters vying for your attention in this second book in the Love Under Construction Series.
Vic Cabrizzi adores women, but coming to terms with a painful past and the marriage of the woman he's in love with has been a challenge for the 50-something businessman. When a friend offers him a spot as a Dom at BDSM club Eden's Gate, Vic decides it's past time to work on his issues. With the support of his friends and family, Vic ventures fully into his new role as a "house Dom," keeping women happily falling at his feet…and his bed…all night long.
Laura Butler spends her days as a security expert for Citadel Security, occasionally taking a bartending shift at her boss' BDSM club. While Laura likes the extra money, she has a hard time understanding why women would voluntarily ask to be abused--she knows what it's like not to have an option. Laura hides a horrible secret that keeps her at arm's length from all men, especially the big bad Vic, who elicits a reaction unlike anything she's ever felt before.
Even with a plethora of available women, Vic can't help but feel something special for the prickly Laura. When it becomes clear that someone from her past is out to kill her, Vic will do whatever it takes to keep Laura safe, including putting his own life on the line. Can this blossoming relationship withstand the torrent of hate and destruction coming their way or are they destined to be apart?
TEARIING DOWN WALLS is book 2 in the Love Under Construction Series, and I would recommend probably reading this after book 1, as there seemed to be a lot of background information that I didn't have the benefit of. To be honest, I had a very hard time getting through TEARING DOWN WALLS for a few reasons. First, the constantly changing point of view made me a bit dizzy and had me constantly having to backtrack to figure out what was happening. Had the POV volleyball game been separated better, I may have found it less confusing, but this was happening within paragraphs and without warning. Because of this frustration, I had an equally tough time connecting with any of the characters.
Between rather cheesy dialogue and skepticism that any woman could find Vic's character physically attractive, I found myself wanting to wash my eyeballs out over his creepy obsession with his cousin's wife Nikki (the woman he loves). I truly felt uncomfortable by their banter, and while maybe that was Ms. Hall's goal, to this reader it just felt awkward. Vic's assertion that BDSM wasn't sexual for him was contradicted by the number of women he slept with during his "job."
Laura's character was pretty much a bitch most of the book, though her transplant from socially inept hermit to giggly girlfriend didn't "work" for me. Nor did I feel ok with a BDSM scene solving all of her emotional problems. My biggest problem with Laura, however, is the fact that she's supposed to be a security expert yet runs, hides, puts others in danger and generally has no clue how to protect herself when her stalker comes after her. I pretty much simply had to suspend all reality while watching all of these characters run in circles trying to figure out how the bad guy kept finding Laura.
Truthfully, I could write a lot more about why this book didn't work for me, however I will say that many reviews I've read on TEARING DOWN WALLS from other readers have been glowingly positive. If you are a fan of erotic suspense, BDSM elements, multiple partners (not at the same time) and daytime soap opera theatrics, then you may be a fan of this lengthy 500+ page novel. Either way, you may want to settle in for a long ride as you take the journey with Vic and Laura.
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BOOK INTERVIEW on February 2014
Hi Deanndra, welcome to The Romance Reviews! TEARING DOWN WALLS sounds intriguing with a bad boy Dom. Can't wait to hear all about it!
Q: TEARING DOWN WALLS is the second in the Love Under Construction series. Where did you get the inspiration for this series? What common thread connects the books?
I'm a Kentucky native, so Louisville was a great setting. I'd had Nikki in my head for at least twelve years and I knew her background but I'd never had a story for her. And I'd gotten tired of the "billionaire and shop girl" premise so common in romance. I wanted real guys, guys who worked hard and had real families, and what's more real than the construction trade? As for the common thread, that's simple: It's Nikki and Tony and their relationship (Laying A Foundation, book 1 in the series). Two people who thought they'd never find happiness and then do so give everyone else they know the courage to give it a whirl for themselves.
Q: When you started this series, did you already have a clear vision of the books and characters you wanted to write about? Or did that evolve over time?
As I mentioned, Nikki was already there. When I started thinking about a large, loving family she could walk right into, what could be more perfect than the traditional Italian-American family unit? The progression of the stories, however, came over time as I wrote and some characters elbowed their way to the forefront. The first one led to this one, which will lead to another, and ultimately to the fourth and final. And maybe a spinoff series. No promises, though. But the books were already pretty well planned out before I ever started writing them.
Q: How do you keep track of series details?
I have a list of characters. The information on them is detailed, right down to the birthdays and things they specifically like and hate. I add to the list every time a new detail about a character comes up. As for the plot, it's already pretty well formed before I sit down, but once I've written the first draft, I work with a detailed timeline to make sure all of the elements are plausible within the timeframe.
Q: What's the inspiration for TEARING DOWN WALLS? Did this story flow from the events of the first book?
Inspiration-wise, it helped that readers begged, "Please, please, PLEASE, we want more of Vic!" Vic really was the inspiration. And Laura was such a mystery to even her closest friends--if you could call them that--that she was begging to have her own story. I found it interesting that both of them were so damaged, yet even though his problems started earlier, Vic was still functioning pretty normally for the most part, while Laura was just a hot mess. As for the carry-over from Laying a Foundation, it was obvious that there was something going on with Vic, especially the way he fell for Nikki, and Nikki had figured out that there was something deeply wrong in Laura's past. It was just natural to carry their story forward.
Q: You mentioned in the blurb that the characters are over the age of forty. What made you decide to feature more mature characters in your stories?
Oh, I was so hoping you'd ask! First of all, did you know that the largest population now spreading STIs is the long-term care facility population? Yep! Without the fear of pregnancy, they don't see protection as necessary. But that situation drives home the fact that sexuality is a lifelong thing. It's not like there's a magic switch that turns it off when someone turns forty. I want readers (a lot of whom are over forty themselves) to know that people in their forties, fifties, sixties, and beyond have satisfying, and sometimes very exciting, sex lives. They know their bodies, know what they want/need, and aren't afraid to ask for it.
Also, frankly, I got tired of the twenty-three-year-old "sexual experts" in a lot of books. Ridiculous. I WAS twenty-three at one time, and I didn't know squat (even though I thought I did). I wanted my characters to be real, not some contrived ideal for titillation's sake. That's what I hear from readers over and over. They love the characters because they can identify with them. And, for the record, I'm fifty-three and not one bit ashamed to say so.
Q: Laura sounds like an interesting heroine. What kind of person is she? What in her past made her into the woman we meet in the story? What is it about Vic that draws her?
I don't want to spoil the story, but if you've read The Groundbreaking, the free series prequel (and that would help), you know what happened to Laura. (Hint: It's something that is being investigated by our government right now.)
Anyway, Laura was a sweet, carefree, loveable teen who simply wanted to serve her country, and she met a horrible fate at the hands of the very people who were supposed to be watching her back. Then she was shunned by her family because she was different when she returned. I think what drew her to Vic was his loving nature--he just loves everyone, and everyone loves him. She doesn't WANT to want him; she just can't help herself. And for her, that's a bitter pill to swallow. But she likes, respects, and trusts Tony, and Vic reminds her of Tony. That's attractive to her.
Q: Please tell us about Vic. What made him the hottest, most in-demand Dom/top in a 500-mile radius? What is it about Laura that captivates him?
Come on--have you seen the guy? Really? You have to ask me that? Okay, let me help you out here. Do you know who Alessandro Etrusco is? He's an Italian actor and model. The first time I found his photo, I nearly fainted. It was like I'd given someone Vic's description and said, "Okay, go find a guy who looks like this." He's Vic personified. Go to my blog and if you poke back through the posts, you'll find the pic.
Anyway, the guy is huge, dark, gorgeous, but very soft-spoken and gentle. The dichotomy is that, when it comes to sex, he's just about as hedonistic and demanding as they come, and even with his "problem," he's extremely self-confident when it comes to his ability to please a woman. The subs at the club love him because he doesn't back down and he's not afraid to push their boundaries.
On top of that, raised the way he was, he's insanely cultured and refined, and he's just six feet and eight inches of muscled-up contradictions. Above everything else, he's soft-hearted. When Laura is in the hospital in the first book, he's appalled that no one has come to check on her, and he wonders if she's as broken as he is. She's bristly, and he's set on getting to her. While everyone else is put off by her behavior, he's determined to show her that someone cares and can be trusted. That's just Vic!
Q: He sounds a paragon! Would love to meet him. LOL What was his first meeting with Laura like?
Actually, they just gradually got to know each other, since she was one of Steve's employees--well, as much as anyone could get to know Laura. But, remember, I gave everyone a hint in the first novel:
Nikki opened the container--white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. All of the girls sampled them; they were past yummy.
"Hey guys! Have some cookies!" She took them into the den, and every one of the guys took one.
"Oh my god, these are delicious," Vic mumbled, his mouth full, and he reached for another one. "Where'd you get these?"
"Laura made them."
Vic's head swiveled to the doorway where Laura stood. She gave all the guys a small wave. "Laura! Hey, how are you?" Vic called to her around the cookie in his mouth.
"Good." She hesitated for a second. "Thanks for coming to see me at the hospital," she said shyly.
"Thanks for what you did for Nikki. We all owe you." Vic grinned at her, then turned back to the container. "Hey, put that back!" he yelled at Tony, who was taking his third cookie.
"Share, big boy! If we eat them all, she'll make more. Right, Laura?" Tony laughed.
"I guess I will," Laura chuckled, but when Vic had spoken to her, she'd noticed that same weird feeling she'd had before.
Nikki watched closely. There was some kind of chemistry between Vic and Laura, but she wasn't sure what. She decided she'd have to keep an eye on that.
Q: What was the most romantic thing Vic did for Laura?
I loved their shopping trip, but I think it had to be that date. He went to an enormous amount of trouble to plan it out, get everything ready, and show her a good time, and all that from a guy who'd never actually had a "date." It was so cute, the way he talked to Tony to find out what to do! He was determined to make it special. I loved the end result:
They'd laughed and acted silly all evening, and when they both slid into bed that night, Laura looked straight at Vic and said, "This was so much fun. Thank you for showing me a good time."
"Come here," he said and drew her up against him, her head resting on his chest. "I didn't tell you, but I've never been on a date before. Picked up women in bars, yeah, but no date." Laura looked at him like he'd goosed her. "Tonight was, well, it was the best first date I've ever had, even if it was the only one!" he laughed. Laura couldn't help it; she had to giggle. "I don't think I've ever been so happy in my life. I don't want to mess anything up. I want this to last," he told her, kissing her forehead.
Q: What was your favourite scene? Why?
I loved the scene in the shower when Laura scrubbed Vic down. It was so sweet, as was the scene when Vic saw the picture of his nonna. But the best? Vic had seen her chest in the street that horrible day, but the first time she actually trusted him enough to disrobe and let him see her, his reaction took my breath away. Here it is. Gives me chills. The paragraph that follows it in the book is her reaction, and I weep every time I read it:
Vic lay beside her, and the sensation she'd felt was his tongue. With care and amazing tenderness, he traced the scars on her chest with the tip of his tongue, kissing here and there, his hand resting feather-light on her stomach. He traced and kissed back and forth, sometimes stopping and following a particularly unusual scar with the tip of his finger, then starting again.
As Laura watched, she decided that it looked like he was meditating on, or maybe worshipping, those scars, the things she loathed most about herself, the things that had held her heart and her life back for so many years. When she saw them in the mirror, they were ugly and disgusting, but it looked as if they were beautiful to Vic, the way he was caressing them. Almost on cue, he whispered to her, "Do you have any idea how stunning you are? You're amazing, precious. There's nothing about you, nothing, that I'd change, except to see you even happier than you are already. And I hope you're happy." With that, he went back to her scars, not leaving a single one out.
Q: What issue did you encounter in writing this book that gave you a hard time? How did you resolve it?
I hated what Miranda did. That drove me crazy. I hated her, I hated that Vic was pretty much forced to give part of himself away after all he'd already been through, and I really, really hated the way Miranda treated Laura. But I was writing it and I knew how it was going to end, so as I wrote what I hated, I was still kind of smug.
Q: Which character in the series (so far) was the hardest to write? Why?
That's a hard question. Nikki was definitely the easiest--my partner says she's got me written all over her! But the hardest? I think it would be Laura. She was so emotionally closed-off and wounded. Vic was hard, but she was even harder. He at least had people who loved him. When Tony and Nikki dragged her back to the hospital and she had to tell Vic what had happened to her, I agonized with her. And I'm finding one of the characters in the next book to be the hardest yet.
Q: Any scene in the book that is modelled after a real-life happening? What is it?
Definitely what happened to Laura that left her the way she was. That happens more than civilians realize. It's estimated that seven out of ten female members of our armed forces have been sexually assaulted in some way. That's staggering. And heartbreaking.
Q: It truly is. What's up next in the series? Please give us a sneak peek.
If you read the book, you'll get a good hint. But, okay, I'll spill. Remember who Vic said this to?
"I think she's very beautiful. And I think your depravity knows no bounds," Vic told him. "So congratulations--a winning combination."
Yeah, that guy's the male protagonist in the next book. And the female protagonist is someone we met early in the first book. You might've thought she was out of the picture, but she's still very much there. She and her big fake boobs are going to be front and center (pun intended!).
And in the last book, we'll find out something about Vic that only he and Tony have known, something that I found frightening and shocking. But it has to be revealed in order for him to help someone else with the same issue.
Q: You're certainly intriguing us here! What's up next for you?
More books, of course! The third novel, Renovating a Heart, will be out in the spring. The final novel, Planning an Addition, will be out in the fall, and it will take three characters (yes, I said three!) that we've come to know and love and put them in the most complicated love triangle you've ever seen. There are three other characters in this series who've been minor, and I'm thinking of spinning off a short series of novellas with them. I have a brand-new Harper's Cove novella just out, plus two independent novels, The Celtic Fan and Adventurous Me, coming out on Valentine's Day and April Fool's Day, respectively. And another series starts sometime this fall or winter, something completely different from anything I've done so far. So I've got plenty to write!
Thanks for letting me spend some time with you. I hope everyone will visit my blog, website, or Facebook page and let me know what they'd like to see in the future.
Thanks, Deanndra, for these insights into your book. The series sound awesome and not to be missed!
Deanndra Hall is a working author living in far western Kentucky. Having written marketing and advertising materials, written for business, non-profits, and academia, and worked as a journalist and assistant editor locally, she decided to take another road and delved into erotic romance. Her novels carry themes of sacrifice and healing, with passionate and sometimes funny characters who could be your friends or neighbors. Her first series, Love Under Construction, premiered in August 2013; the second series of erotica novellas, the Harper's Cove series, debuted in October 2013. She has two independent novels being released in early 2014, and several more in both current series in 2014, as well as the start of another series.
Deanndra is giving away 2 copies of TEARING DOWN WALLS and 1 set of the entire series to date (digital copies), total of 3 winners. Thanks, Deanndra!
TRR is also sponsoring a prize! For each comment on the following interviews,
Rebel Love by Scarlett Scott
Dragon Maid by Ann Gimpel
Tearing Down Walls by Deanndra Hall
You get one additional chance to win this!
THE TROUBLE WITH HONOR by Julia London (paperback or ebook). Read the review here!. International winner!
Simply write a comment or a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaways!
Contest ends February 28, 2014.
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