Review: Renovating a Heart by Deanndra Hall

renovating a heartReviewed by Shelly

As I enjoyed Book 2 in Deanndra Hall’s Love Under Construction series I had such high hopes for Book 3. I was intrigued by the jerk that is Steve McCoy and Kelly Markham whose only claim to fame is her size ‘G’ bra size. I’ll give my customary warning – if you’ve not read any of the three preceding books, I most likely will be providing some spoilers, hopefully not too much.

As the sole attorney on retainer for Tony Walters’s mega construction company, Steve McCoy has enjoyed the money that he earns from them. He’s also benefitted from that relationship because of the friendships that he’s developed with the family. Steve’s side job is the fun piece though – he owns a fetish/BDSM club.

As one of the Doms there, Steve enjoys the freedom that his sub of the month provides; yep you read that right – he will contract with a submissive for one month and one month only. Kelly Markham has been laid-off from her insurance company job and is quite desperate to find something else before her severance runs out in 3 months. She’s without additional financial support. Based on Book 2, I wanted to like Kelly so much because her history was so tragic; it seemed such a good opportunity for a phoenix rising from the ashes theme, but nope, that’s not what I got. This is a self-published book needs a warning for the content – BDSM themes including ménage, anal, bondage/restraint and fisting.

After her old boss tells her that he looked around and couldn’t find a new job for her and after spending a couple hours looking herself, Kelly finds out that jobs are few and far between. She decides that the only way to pass the time is to get a Dom from Steve’s club. There’s a memory flashback that Kelly had about her old Dom who’s dead – it pertained to the size of her chest and how much easier things would be for her if her chest was bigger when/if something happened to Gary (the old Dom) and he was unable to see to her financial needs. That should have been a sign because I was really kind of hoping that Kelly would be smart- either streets smart or books smart – I would have taken either. She was neither, she came off as this person who needs (not wants) a man who loves sex as much as she does. She likes it a lot. After some finagling, Steve and Kelly end up signing a contract for the prerequisite month after which they will part company and call it a good time had by all. Somewhere along the line that tuned into love with Steve way too quickly, after a couple days into their agreement.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I strongly disliked this story. I didn’t like like Kelly once I started getting to know her. There’s nothing about her that I can try to even wrap my head around.  I can’t empathize and I can’t identify with her. And Steve is a complete tool with no redeemable qualities and is his own worst enemy. One of the things that got my goat was Steve and Kelly at his home the first night of their contract and he ties her up, leaves her bound while he goes to take a shower and tell her that there’re some emergency releases but doesn’t tell her how/where, just that she ‘figure it out’. Are you kidding me? Even worse than that – Kelly doesn’t say anything. What kind of past experiences did these people have? How was that ‘sane, safe or consensual?

Another scene not too many pages later, Steve decides that Kelly is topping from the bottom and gets mad at Kelly who allows him to have backdoor sex (with no lube) while calling her a ‘slut’, sadly she’s crying the whole time but not saying anything mind you. WTH? Folks how am I supposed to empathize when a grown woman of 40+ allows a guy who’s dressed in Dom persona to do that and then wants to cry about it all and not say anything while he was clearly hurting her. The thing is, Kelly would have moments of lucid behavior and thoughts, but then as soon as someone told her that her breasts looked good or she’s pretty, BLIP – she turned into a complete idiot. And let me not get started on her gleeful anticipation with having sex with people other than Steve while in the club. That was one of the things that bothered me in Vic and Laura’s story too. Vic had sex with a lot of women in the first half of Book 2 and never gave Laura a thought. I’m beginning to wonder if Steve’s club isn’t just a place where you can just go have sex with a willing person regardless of your situation. I don’t like my romances that way and I never will.

Unfortunately I can’t even say that this story will be a guilty pleasure because I found nothing pleasant about it. Kelly easy acceptance of sex from any Dom within the club grew weary and the amount of anal and oral scenes were just too high. In the beginning, middle and end, I didn’t like Steve or Kelly and didn’t care who they ended up with. The only thing that saved this story from being a total disaster was Nikki and Tony’s new challenge.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: C-/D

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Renovating a Heart
by Deanndra Hall
Release Date: May 19, 2014

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