Title: Damage Control
Author: Lynn Van Dorn
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 518 pages
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Everything to lose.
Tyler’s worked hard to kick the dust of the Chicago suburbs off his heels and move on with his life as Hollywood’s newest up-and-comer, burying his demons and hiding his scars from the world. Just as everything seems to be going his way, a scandal from his past threatens everything he’s worked for. Now he’s stuck back home, where his family of lawyers can maybe help sink the scandal and find out who’s behind it.
Afraid to love.
Josh doesn’t know what to think when his ex’s little brother falls into his arms, other than that Tyler is trouble with a capital T. But when Tyler’s publicist suggests that an adoring fake boyfriend might be just the ticket to saving Tyler’s acting career, Josh doesn’t mind playing along. It’s not like he has anything else going on, and faking a relationship with someone you’ve known your entire life can’t possibly be that difficult.
A second chance for two damaged hearts.
Now they’re stuck together for the foreseeable future, and neither can deny their mounting attraction. Why should they? They’re supposed to be in love, at least out in public. But in private, when no one is watching, Tyler and Josh grow closer in a way that has nothing to do with their agreed upon arrangement. What do they do when make-believe becomes real, and how can two men with such different lives have a shared future?
A Prince, A Pageboy, and an Adventure
So this adventure began as many do, with a misunderstood Prince who faced many trials and tribulations. The Prince was a bit of an asshole, and kind of a drama-llama, and a whole lot of snob, but not all of that was his fault. The Prince had acted out quite a bit because the King was a villain, and some of that acting out came back to bite him in the ass … in more ways than one. Enter the Pageboy, who agreed to go on an adventure with the Prince—also his first true love’s little brother—a quest to restore his reputation and save his delectable … posterior from infamy and public censure. The rest, as they say, is history … and maybe, just maybe, they both get a happily ever after.
I really liked this story although it arguably belongs at the big ol’ numero uno spot on my Angsty McAngsterson shelf, or maybe the push/pull shelf if I had one, or the denial shelf if I make one, or well … you get the idea. There is a whole lot of back and forth … meh, more like resistance in this one. These guys have both been burned so epically it’s ridiculous. A lot of it is self-inflicted, but still. You end up with a self-harmer and a self-flagellator and some twisty psychological issues that are all anxiety related. Throw one fucked up family and one overbearing one in the mix with a whole lot of skeletons tap-dancing out of the closet, and it’s a recipe for craziness and aggravation.
I think a lot of people will disagree with me, but I say again, I really liked it. These are not your typical MCs. While they are both attractive in their own ways, they are so freaking messed up, you almost can’t figure out how they find their way out the front door in the morning, much less how they’re going to navigate through a not-relationship into relationship territory. Thank God for Josh! Because of him, they somehow manage it beautifully in the end.
The book is a little lengthy, though it didn’t feel like the 518 pages it says it is. It really didn’t. I thought the chapter headings were repetitive and extraneous. I think if the author was going to go for something clever the headings needed to be unique from chapter to chapter. There were funny moments and heartbreaking ones, rage-inducing themes and triggery descriptions of off-page abuse and non-con/dub-con encounters for one of the MCs, so please bear those things in mind.
It wasn’t the best book I’ve read lately, and I think there are plenty of people out there who might not have the patience to stick it out through some of the back-and-forth crapola, but I ultimately enjoyed the ride. I think, had the relationship been written any ‘faster’, it would have been a mistake. Relationships are work. Relationships between people with this kind of baggage are truly slogs until things get easier … and then they’re still work. The book did a good job of conveying that. These guys needed all the page time they could get to end up where they did.
Well, they ended up with slightly tarnished sparkly rainbows, which is exactly the way real life can be. All in all, I enjoyed the adventure. I’m not sure if Van Dorn is a debut author—although I can’t find any other titles in her repertoire—and if it is her first book, it was an excellent first effort. I would absolutely read anything forthcoming. I would especially love to see Ryan get a story, because that guy … oh that guy has some comeuppance coming even though I think he’s redeemable at heart. Someone needs to serve him up a little karma and twist him up in knots. So … here’s hoping!
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