Rating: 4 stars
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When Correctional Officer Zane Davis meets the new social worker Brett Emerson, he wants Brett immediately, sure that the social worker is gay. There is something about the sweet man with no fashion sense that draws Zane in, but Zane has already tried dating someone at work, and that hadn’t turned out so well. Zane doesn’t do commitment, and his bisexual status keeps him interested in all types of people. But for some reason he can’t seem to get Brett out of his mind.
Taking a chance, Zane asks Brett to have dinner with him after work, only to discover that Brett is engaged…to a woman. When Zane is propositioned by a woman in a bar to have a threesome with her and her fiancé, Zane is all in. When he finds out that the man is Brett, even better. Now maybe he can get the man out of his head. But the threesome doesn’t happen, leaving things awkward between Brett and Zane until Brett explains his past, and his fear of intimacy with a man.
If friendship is all Zane can have with Brett, he’s willing to do anything he can to keep it. But when Brett’s fiancé leaves him, a budding romance begins. A slowly budding romance. Brett has a lot of fears to overcome, and Zane promises to wait for him, to take things at Brett’s pace. But Zane has never been one for patience, and certainly hasn’t ever been a one-man kind of guy. But when rumors and danger threaten to ruin his reputation and his career, Zane turns to Brett, who supports him without question. And Zane finds that maybe being a one-man type of guy is what he was missing in his life.
Damaged is the second book in Ethan Stone’s Uniformity series. I liked this book. I met both Zane and Brett in Compromised and I was excited to finally get to read their story. The man-whore and the geek – it was bound to be a good story. And it was. I didn’t like it quite as much as I liked the first book, but I liked it nonetheless.
Again in the Uniformity series we visit the world of the correctional system. Criminals, gangs, dirty officers, good officers, and social workers. It’s a world in itself. A world where one doesn’t know from one moment to the next whether they are safe. It’s a fickle world, a dog-eat-dog world. It’s dirty and scary and intriguing. I love the way Stone draws this world. It’s believable and terrifying. It’s perfect.
I loved Zane from the minute I met him in the first book. Yeah, he’s a man-whore, but at least he knows it. He has a fear of commitment that holds him back from what he really wants. He’s a good man with morals, and for the most part he’s completely honest. What he’s not honest about is his sexuality, certain that he would lose all credibility at work if he were to out himself. His saving grace and his rock comes in the form of the unassuming Brett.
Brett has a dark past of his own and it has scarred his present. In this story he works through his issues with the help of Zane. What I love about Brett’s character is that he is broken, but he is strong enough to move on with his life. He didn’t really move on before Zane, but after befriending Zane he grows exponentially. But his progression happens slowly and in the end all of his issues are not completely worked out, but it wouldn’t be realistic if they were. I really appreciated the pacing of Brett’s healing.
This story is a sweet love story of healing and growth on both men’s parts. It also has a little bit of mystery and drama added in, which makes the story even better. I like the tension of the story, whether it is sexual tension or job-related tension. It all works very well together. The story is good.
Overall, Damaged is a really good story with lovable characters, an exciting and mysterious world, and storyline is sexy and exciting. I liked it and I’m hoping that this is not the last book in the series. I recommend Damaged by Ethan Stone.