Author: Chris T. Kat
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 112
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Blair Clark has reached his breaking point. Forced to leave one job because of sexual harassment, he’s having difficulty finding another. Since no one believes what happened, Blair’s left with a stain on his employment record that he can’t get rid of. He’s had to move back home with his mother. As if that’s not bad enough, he realizes his crush, Travis, is simply using him. His romantic life looks as hopeless as his job search.
Jack Ross is sure he’ll never find anyone who’ll love him for who he is. All anyone sees is the port-wine stain on his left cheek—not the man behind it. Even his mother thinks he should get rid of it. But the procedure is difficult and painful.
When Blair applies for a secretarial position with Jack’s firm, both men learn that beauty is, indeed, in the eye of the beholder. It’ll take a lot of trust to chase away their insecurities, but if they take a chance on one another, love will find a way.
Stained is the story of two men – Jack has a port-wine birthmark stain on his face, while Blair’s reputation is stained by an unfair dismissal from his prior secretarial position. Blair is sweet and somewhat naive, tangled up in a brutal friends-with-benefits situation with Travis, the IT guy from his previous job. Blair is rescued from a disagreement with Travis at the bar by a man with a port-wine stain on his face who (in a twist usually found only in romance novels), turns out to be Jack Ross, the senior partner of the architectural firm Ross & Sons where Blair has a job interview.
Blair is offered the job by Jack Ross and they quickly become lunch buddies and friends. When Blair is bruised and traumatized, then cyberbullied by Travis when he breaks up with him, Jack comes to the rescue. There is little sizzle or steam to their relationship, however, because it moves so rapidly into insta-love with little to no development of Jack’s character. The pace of the book is brisk, as the plot quickly moves to a resolution (along with several implausible and/or glossed-over events) and a HEA epilogue four months later.
For a short novella, the story keeps your interest and ties all the loose ends up, albeit a bit too quickly. I would recommend this book with caution because of a lack of character development and a weak plot, but there is a certain sweetness to Blair and his HEA with Jack.
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