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 sociopathic 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 but 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.
The game that Quinn and Sebastian play is not only cruel to their “top seeds”, but continues to chip away at Quinn until it begins to break him down as well. When you first hear about how the game is set up, you are almost screaming please don’t fall for this shit, don’t these girls talk to one another! I honestly believed that Quinn was fully invested in the game, or should I say needed the game to get over the fact that his ex-girlfriend dumped his ass after his injury. That is, until Emilie is picked as “top seed” for the latest match. Slowly the real Quinn emerges and you see how the game does effect him too, although not nearly as close as it does to all of his victims before. He wants to change the rules because Emilie makes him want to be the better person, even if it means he has to be cruel and push her away.
Sebastian is a cruel bastard and all I am going to say about him is that I seriously wanted to beat him over the head with a tennis racquet…multiple times.
Emilie, isn’t stupid by any means. She knows Quinn’s reputation but there is something there that pulls her to him even when she knows she should be running the other way. Slowly she lets her walls down and lets Quinn in. When he breaks her heart by finishing the game with her, she confronts him and his reaction brought tears to my eyes. I wanted her to walk right up to him and rack him in the balls but Emilie isn’t like that and that is one reason why I liked her. Normally I am all against the women who are door mats, but Emilie isn’t a door mat, she is determined because Quinn has her heart. She doesn’t let him be the massive douche bag he is trying to be stop her, but she knows when it’s time to back off as well.
Some of my favorite quotes from this book are:
“I’m afraid you’re going to break me, Quinn.”
“Don’t let me.” The challenge in his eyes intensified, heating up and pouring strength into me. “Don’t you let me fucking do that, Emilie. Don’t let anyone break you. You’re stronger than that.”
“It hurt a little that she looked happy to see me, when I only came to break her.”
“I thought I’d won the match when she’d fallen into my arms, heart and all. The truth was, she’d beaten me. Snatched my soul and shattered all the lies I’d built around me to keep the pain of connecting at bay.”
Broken at Love, is book one in the Whitman University series and overall was a good start to this series. Lyla Payne brought some of the realities of college life to light in this book. Sadly, these types of cruel games do occur on college campuses. But, Ms. Payne also showed that even though the people who play these games can be heartless douche bags, when they meet their match and the opponent brings them to their knees, they will do anything to change their life around to win the heart of the one they love.