Broken at Love by Lyla Payne review, get the scoop on Sebastian and a giveaway!

Posted April 22, 2013 by Holly in Interview, Reviews / 1 Comment

When a knee injury ends twenty-year-old Quinn Rowland’s pro tennis career, he’s not only dumped by his hot Russian girlfriend but ordered to attend college by his disinterested billionaire father. A rich kid who’s not used to being disappointed by life, Quinn and his sociopath half-brother Sebastian create a frat house game intended to treat girls how they see them—as simple game pieces to be manipulated for their pleasure.

College sophomore Emilie Swanson knows Quinn’s reputation—after all, he did send one of her sorority sisters into therapy earlier in the semester—but the game and his charm bring them closer together and soon she starts to believe there’s more to Quinn than people think.

But what if the more is something darker than a game of toying with emotions and breaking hearts?

Quinn and Emilie might be falling for each other, but there are secrets he’s not ready to tell—and lifestyle changes he’s reluctant to make. She willingly stepped on the court, but if Emilie finds out she started out as nothing as a pawn in Quinn and Sebastian’s twisted game, she might never forgive him.

To his surprise, Quinn finds that he might finally care about someone more than he cares about himself…even if that means letting Emilie walk away for good.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
I liked Broken at Love, it was a fast read for me; I finished it in a day. Quinn was a hard guy for me to like; but every time I found myself starting to like him he’d go and do something to frustrate the bejesus out of me making me want to throat punch him!!! I did find myself feeling sorry for him more often than not, while he had more money than he knew what to do with he he was lonely, he had no real friends, his father hated him, his mother ran away literally on the day he was born; all he had was his discovered late in life step-brother who blackmailed him for sport…ughhh Sebastian, now he was a douche with a capital D! (Doucheville called, they want their king back) Now on to Emilie…Emilie on the other hand I did like; she was smart, strong and resilient; she loved art and was majoring in and as a result disappointing her totally emotionally unsupportive parents. What I loved most of all was she didn’t take Quinn’s BS…at first…She knew all about Quinn and how he treated girls so when she ended up meeting him she was prepared…but unlike most girls, she saw there was something more to Quinn than just the womanizing man whore playboy act he put on and she was determined to crack thru that he whore shell! The two of them together for the majority of the book, for me anyway, was hit and miss. I think because Quinn played the part of the di*k so well it was hard for me to connect with him and Emilie’s relationship because she really was such a sweetheart. I give her credit though, she never stopped trying to show Quinn he was capable and worthy of more than he thought he deserved and towards the end he did grow on me, I wished he could’ve shown up just a little bit sooner. 

Broken at Love gets

Lyla’s take on Sebastian!

Since I’ve already done a post on my inspiration for Quinn during this tour, I’m going to talk a little bit about the antagonist in Broken at Love, Quinn’s brother Sebastian Blair.
I’ve been (sort of pleasantly) surprised that, while everyone pretty much hates Sebastian, they’re also keen to know more about him. I don’t believe in writing villains that are wholly bad people, or that have no motivation to antagonize our heroes and heroines. Everyone has a story, and in Sebastian’s mind, he’s certainly the hero of his own sordid tale.
The inspiration for Sebastian wasn’t as clear for me as Quinn’s or Emilie’s. I loved the idea of an evil half-brother, and knew that someone else needed to be behind the whole game so that Quinn wouldn’t be solely to blame for his horrid actions, but Seb’s history kind of emerged as I wrote.
Unlike Quinn, Sebastian wasn’t raised by a cold, unaffectionate father. We don’t know a whole lot about his mother at this point, other than the fact she was a high-dollar escort who basically sold her son for a great deal of money when he was a teenager—so it’s probably safe to assume his childhood wasn’t filled with any warm fuzzies, either. He also views money differently than Quinn, not having grown up with an overabundance, but coming into it later in life.
Over the course of Broken at Love, we learn why Quinn acts the way he does, but Seb’s deeper motivations remain more of a mystery, and leave plenty of questions to be answered. Does he hate Quinn for being raised in the lifestyle they both deserved? Does he begrudge Quinn his looks or his ease with women, and is the game an offshoot of his desire to ruin his half-brother?
Or maybe Sebastian is as shallow as he seems—manipulating both Quinn and Teddy to make money and amuse himself simply for the sake of money and amusement.
I’m planning several more books set at Whitman University, and am surprised by how many people would like to see Sebastian star in one of them. It would certainly be interesting to glimpse the events that have turned him into the man we met, or perhaps stumble upon the event (or lady) that might make him want to change into something better. I’ve said in several interviews that I don’t believe any character is truly past redemption as long as they’re still alive and moving forward, and that definitely applies to Sebastian as well.
The question is, what would it take to get him to tell us his secrets? And, who might be willing to see past the cruelty and disdain and general horribleness in order to plumb those depths?
I don’t believe that any one person can force change on another. In Broken at Love, Emilie is the catalyst for Quinn’s willingness to change, but she couldn’t make him change. All she could do is show him that she believed him worthy of love, and that love made Quinn re-evaluate his own life and choices. The same would be true of Sebastian—the decision to alter his path of rage and hatred would ultimately have to be his.
It is often said that people don’t change. Sometimes, I believe that’s true—we can’t change who we truly are deep inside. But people choose every day to hide who they truly are, whether to protect themselves, to try to be someone they think will appeal (or turn off) other people, and a plethora of other reasons. In that case, I don’t believe the path to redemption means changing who the character is, only letting them find the confidence to be themselves.
What do y’all think are necessary components or steps to character redemption? Can people (and characters) truly change? I’d love to hear your ideas—let me know in the comments!

You can purchase Broken at Love at:

I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked.  In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.

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About Holly

I'm a born and raised Jersey girl (not as seen on TV) who loves escaping in books. I Google everything and I hate rain. I have a deep love for Starbucks, shopping, and HEAs. Stay as long as you'd like. Stalking is highly encouraged :-)


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