Title: Damaged (Tattered Social Club Series #2)
Author: Pauline Allan
Publisher: Sinful Escapes Publishing
Release Date: April 22, 2019
Genre(s): Gay love story
Page Count: 236 pages
Reviewed by: Tosha
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Behind a face scarred from a million shards of memories never buried, Ben LaCroix hides among the thousand heartbeats in the city where he escapes the same nightmare of phantoms crawling out of the deep waters in the murky bayou. With steady hands, one laced with healed skin grafts and the other smooth, he creates elaborate artwork for the customers at the Tattered Social Club. The concerns of his Tattered brothers lingers in the untouchable corners of his mind, but he can’t stop drowning hope at the bottom of a bottle. Never able to make up for his sins, he utilizes the gifts he learned during those sweltering teenage summers building houses with his father.
With secrets of his own, Luke Dupree, moved to build a new life for himself and his son. Running from a destructive past, he vows to keep his son safe and never let another man control his life. Never once regretting saving Ben’s life, he doesn’t forget the hateful words spoken from the hospital bed of his once best friend. The soul-wrenching sight of the raw scars lacing that beautiful face didn’t change the love in his heart until Ben destroyed any chance for a future between them. That devotion is dead now. As dead as the lungs he’d breathed life into that horrible night. A damaged, crushingly beautiful life he’d been forced to walk away from.
Ben has to make a choice. Ignoring the annoying passion they still share makes his scars ache, and this isn’t a damn fairytale after all. The nice guy doesn’t get the prince because the prince died on a blood-soaked lawn. Hollow thoughts are all that’s left. He’s going to stay the course. Fight the craving for the only man who kept his heart in a cage. He’d keep busy to forget. He’d take his granddad’s advice. Idle hands make for…yeah, Grandad was wrong. The devil’s work has already been done.
This is one of those books that has an on going storyline to it but it also can be read as a standalone as well. Now let me explain…this is a book about a group of men that all have something in their past that keeps them from finding their true happy. Each of the men are as close as family but each are missing something in their lives. These men came together in the tattoo parlor most of them work for. With each book you are able to see how these men are able to overcome whatever demon they are fighting while growing their friendships to one another. When they find the one person that helps them to find their happy, they are added to the makeshift family. And these men will do anything to protect their family and their community. That being said the story continues on the front of there is a serial arsonist burning down the community around them. And so far the person has yet to be caught.
This book is Ben’s story. Ben has many demons in his past that he just cannot get over. Instead of facing them head on he self medicates by drinking way too much. Each day he still questions why his old supposed best friend saved his life in the fire that destroyed Ben’s life and left him scarred on the outside as well as the inside. Ben swears if he ever sees Luke again he will make him pay for saving him.
Luke is in the process of changing to a new firehouse and looking for a new home for him and his son Beau. Now that Luke is in the fight of his life for his son against his ex-husband, Luke has to make sure all his ducks are in a row. That means hopefully being able to buy the home he has his eye on. Luke never expected the house to be owned by his former best friend Ben. He was the last person Luke expected to come face to face with again.
Let’s just say the first time these two set eyes on one another again, all of the frustration of the past came to a head and these two will never be the same again. Luke has been in love with Ben since they were young but nothing really ever came of it because Ben is a runner and he is good at doing that when things get real. This is something Luke does not have time for because Beau is what is important.
Though neither man thought they could get over things from the past, fate had a different plan for these two. Something always seemed to throw them together and when Ben finds out about Beau, it is just another unexpected surprise that will bring these two together. Can two men with so many demons in their past learn to forgive each other and to forgive themselves as well?
This was such a great read. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book and how much I am looking forward to the next book when it comes out. I do believe this is the first book I have read by Pauline Allan but it will definitely not be the last. I look forward to the next book when it comes out.