Thursday, July 24, 2014

Misfortune of Birth (Always Cambridge, Book 3) by HK Carlton

Misfortune of Birth is the third book in the Always Cambridge saga by HK Carlton. You can find my review HERE. I've been exchanging questions about the series with HK as I've read each installment. Click the title to read posts on Always Cambridge and Running

MW: As I said in my review, here's the Victor I was expecting to see in RUNNING. So swoony! And so easy to see why Holly fell for him. So, why did you wait to bring this side of him out?

HK:It’s just a part of the evolution and progression of the story. I see this instalment as the coming of age part of the saga for both Holly and Victor.

Also in Running, the story is being told in Agent Alex Orton’s point of view, so you’re only getting impressions of what he believes is developing between the two disgustingly good-looking mob offspring. So, I couldn’t bring Victor out full force until Misfortune of Birth, and we were back in Holly’s point of view. This way the reader experiences the full and potent impact of how overwhelming he is, through Holly’s eyes.[Boy is he overwhelming!]  And also in MOB, we get to hop into Victor’s hot little head for the first time. And I can tell you, I enjoy it in there.[Me too!] :-) But from his perspective, you realize the depth with which he feels.

We did see just a little hint of this side of Victor, in the first book, in the scene at the mall. He pours his heart out to Holly, but then just as quickly, reverts back to the cocky yet loveable guy that he is. And Holly, at eighteen, could not have handled Victor Mayhue. [Oh, I loved this scene. It's what made me wonder about Victor in the beginning.]

Excerpt from Always Cambridge #1

There was still one thing I wanted to know before I left him. Something I’d sensed in him earlier.

“Do you ever…” I started to speak what was in my mind, and then stopped. What was I doing?

“Do I ever what? Go ahead and ask. This may be your one and only opportunity,” he all but whispered as he held my hand and my gaze, my complete and total attention and awareness.

I swallowed. “Do you ever hate it?” I didn’t have to explain. He knew exactly what I was asking.

Something softened in his dark eyes, the cocky assuredness fell away, and if it was possible, he was even better looking. Softer. Was this the real Victor Mayhue?

He expelled a short breath, on a derisive laugh. “Do I ever hate that I have no privacy, that I’m followed everywhere I go? That menial tasks other people perform on a daily basis, have to be strategically planned?” He threw a stray glance to his bodyguard before settling back on me. “Do I detest that my life is already plotted out for me, leaving me no choice in anything? Do I hate that I can’t lead a normal life, do what my buddies take for granted? Or wish that I was never born into this? Do I dislike that people have preconceived notions of me just because my last name is Mayhue? Do I abhor that things go on around me that I have no control over? That innocent people die,” he swallowed hard and gently caressed my hand with his thumb, still pressed to his chest. “Or get hurt for no good reason.” I thought he was talking about me. “Do I regret that that person will never know how incredibly sorry I am that it ever happened.”

His voice softened and his brown eyes took on a darkened sheen as he spoke, his full lips tight with some emotion I couldn’t name. Was that an apology? Did he have some misguided sense of guilt for what happened at the food bank?

“Do I loathe that it will always be this way, that there is nothing I can do to change it or stop it? Do I curse the thought that if I’m ever stupid enough to have kids that they will also never know a life without violence, that they will be fated to endure the same life as you and I?” He could be reading my mind. He was describing everything I felt. “Do I detest that people are afraid of me before they even know me, or on the other hand that they are attracted to me only because of the danger.” The corner of his mouth quirked up then in the cutest way. “Okay, scratch that last one, I kinda dig it.” His smile was captivating as he tried to act like he had not just poured his heart out. And mine as well. As if it didn’t affect him just as deeply as it did me. “No, I never hate it. It doesn’t bother me in the least,” he said sardonically. He held my stare as he tried to make light of it. “I make sure to enjoy the benefits of it. It helps make up for what I’m missing.” As if he knew the sadness in me he added, “Maybe you should do the same. Ya can’t change it, so why fight it, why not take full and complete advantage.”

“Hmm,” I answered as if I might be contemplating his advice and he’d given me a lot to think about. “Can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?” I asked sadly.


I sighed heavily. It was not for me.

HK: I wanted Victor to come off as a loveable jerk. Arrogant, but so handsome and charming at the same time that his confidence is endearing instead of a turn off. 

We’ve all met a guy like Victor. You know the one, he’s incredibly good-looking and he knows it. Arrogant, confident, cool. If you could just sit there and admire him, all would be fine, but then he opens his mouth and ruins the entire faƧade.

He’s just on the side of being a total and complete jerk and then he does or says something so incredibly sweet, that you have no choice but to forgive all his other faults. You just can’t help but love him. And through the three books to this point, Victor’s true character rounds out.

Randy refers to Victor as, the ego with feet. It’s fitting.

In Always Cambridge Victor is enjoying the life afforded him by his father (the head of the Mayhue crime family). Cars, trips, yachts, houses, women. He can pretty much do as he pleases, with no consequence. He takes full and total advantage. What guy wouldn’t?

In Running, we see a more mature man, who is just trying to live a good life. Doing his best to run a legitimate business and distance himself from the ‘family’. He’s attempting to have a decent relationship and bring up his son the best he can, under the circumstances he’s been dealt. [I have to say, when I learned he was going to be a dad, I questioned him pursuing Holly. But you handled it beautifully.]

I hoped to build-up the struggle, that Holly and Victor go through, trying to resist this irresistible force between them, from each of their perspectives. Holly is in such a precarious situation, but at the same time, Victor’s relationship is unravelling and the reality of what he’s just brought a child in to, finally hits him full force. Not to mention, the realization of what Holly has done to him. But in the mean time, he’s falling for her. Hard. And she him.

And after all their resistance, when they finally give in to it, it’s explosive. And worth the wait. ( I hope ) [Oh, yeah. Totally worth the wait!]

I also didn’t want Victor to out and out cheat on Julie. [Exactly! That was my thought. He couldn't be good enough for Holly if he did that.] I don’t think Victor’s character would have had the same impact, if he’d just seduced Holly. It would have seemed like part of the ‘entitlement’, if he had. This way, I think we fall for him just a little more, [Mm-hm. Swoon!] because he could have used that sensual power he has over most women and Holly would have surrendered, if he’d poured it on, but he didn’t. More than once he backed off.

Besides Victor doesn’t cheat.

Here’s his quote and some straightforward if not honest conceit…

“I told you before, I don’t cheat, so I don’t tolerate it from whomever I’m with. I always felt if I was strong enough to remain monogamous, with all the things that are offered up to me on a daily basis, then she should be able to extend me the same courtesy.” 

HK: Ahhh, classic Victor! [So true!!!]

But for all his cocky arrogance, Victor just wants what every one else does, to live a happy, safe, healthy and productive life, and raise a good kid. Surprisingly, he’s kind of an old-fashioned guy. And in the end, you see what stand up man he genuinely is. And through his sacrifice, we are left with no doubt, that he truly loves Holly.

MW: I can totally see myself flip-flopping on the men in Holly's life. While I like Alex, I don't see him as a good match for her. Victor and she have an amazing connection, and I'm so proud of him for not only letting her go, but putting her in touch with someone from her past (see- no real spoilers, just a tease!!), but I'm still not sure he's the best guy for her. And then there's Randy. They haven't seen each other in six years, he was her first crush, and he's nine years her senior. Is he really the right guy? Each of these men would give their life for Holly, so how do you choose?

HK: Each man is right for Holly, depending on her circumstance at the time. Each one fulfills a purpose in her life when she needs him the most. When she needs protection, it’s Randy. When she needs to act, Alex is her best man. But Victor makes her feel. Every emotion possible, all at once. He’s her rush. And she is the same for him.

Each man would give his life for her. But Holly would do the same, for each of them. In fact, she fully expects to give her life for the cause, at some point. And she’s okay with that.

Phew, Mary, you ask some tough questions! Thank you for having us back!

I guess we’re down to Team Randy vs Team Victor. [Yes! I am so torn between these two!!]

It was this way for me, as well, during the writing.

Cheers! :-)

The Always Cambridge Series chronicles the life of Holly Cambridge through her tumultuous childhood, violent teen years into adulthood, and the consequences that stem from being the daughter of mob boss, Bill Cambridge. 

Misfortune of Birth – Book Three in the Always Cambridge Series

When constantly surrounded by violence, corruption and immorality, how do you keep from becoming the very thing that you abhor?

Holly Cambridge barely recognizes herself anymore. Pretending to be another person is beginning to wear thin. Disguised as Randi Yates, she entangles herself into the perilous life of the irresistible Victor Mayhue. But day by day, she falls more desperately and impossibly in love with her natural enemy. Together they explore a highly sexual, dark and dangerous relationship. The lines between right and wrong and good and evil, begin to blur. And while attempting to shield and protect Victor from the Feds and even his own family, Holly loses sight of her original goal.

Victor understands her more than anyone she’s ever met. Essentially they have lived the same life. He is her other half. But once he discovers who she really is and what she’s done, there will be no going back. Victor Mayhue is not a second chance kind of guy.

And in the end, one of them will be forced to face their true nature.

Follow the saga from the beginning… Always Cambridge

Always Cambridge


Misfortune of Birth

About the Author:
H K Carlton is a multi-published Canadian author of romance and it’s varied sub-genres, including contemporary, paranormal, historical, family saga and erotica.


  1. Thank you for having us back, Mary!
    Down to two teams! :D

    1. You are so welcome.

      And yes. Team Randy and Team Victor. Although I do feel a little bad for Alex to be left out.

  2. I love those covers! They are beautiful and go together so well.

    1. Don't they, though? It's like watching a slide show of Holly's life. Thanks for dropping by!

    2. They are beautiful covers, I agree, Rubey, my cover artist is brilliant. Thanks for stopping.

    3. Your cover artist is brilliant, HK. And I love how when you string the covers together, they tell a story. Amazing job!

  3. Great Questions Mary. Sometimes I feel like HK enjoys tearing our hearts out ;)

    I've always been on Team Randy and was not happy about Victor. That quote from Victor about cheating did make me hover for a second or two...but not enough to make me jump ship. Team Randy all the way.


    1. Thanks, Donna!

      And I keep waffling between Randy and Victor.

      Of course, I'm still waiting to see if HK has another man to drop into Holly's life that will trump these two!! (I mean, really, I wouldn't put it past her :-) )

    2. They rip my heart out daily. Editing has been a b*tch! There has been weeping and I already know the outcome. :p
      I waffle too. I love them all. :) Alex too.
      Donna has threatened never speaking to me again, if this does not pan out her way. :(
      Proceed with caution. Just sayin'. :/

    3. So, is that a hint while we might want a happily-ever-after that Holly's story might be more true to life???? I'm not sure I can handle that. I mean, I want Holly to have happy-ever-after.

    4. So not fair!!!! But, as an author I totally understand :-)

    5. This conversation has made me very nervous. I warn you HK I'm serious...our friendship could hang in the balance here ;)

    6. LOL! You are too funny, Donna!

  4. How cool are you that you have teams for the various men in your books? Luv that! And the covers are brilliant. If I was you I'd have them framed in every room of my house. Lol

    1. Well, when you have more than one contender for the lady's affections, you get people rooting for their favorite man :-)

      As you can see, Holly has some pretty strong contenders here. I know I'm curious to see how it all works out in the end!

      Thanks for dropping by!

    2. Hi Normandie. Hey that's a fantastic Idea. I wonder if hubby will agree to that, framed in every room. Even his man cave, maybe. LOL

    3. LOL! I can just see you're covers hanging in his man cave. I wonder what one you'd pick for there? Is there one mostly of Holly (maybe on ALWAYS HOLLY??) I could see that in a man cave :)


Thanks for dropping by. I love reading comments and will respond by e-mail as soon as possible.