Damaged GoodsRating: 3.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Professor Jesse Ford has just left his job and his boyfriend and moved back to his hometown. He is currently living over his mother’s garage. A minor academic scandal and another failed relationship have been a hit to his self esteem. Staying focused on the book he is writing is the best way he knows how to avoid anything having to do with dating.

At the town’s local restaurant, Jesse meets Templeton, the gorgeous, tattooed rocker working the grill. Templeton has returned to town after leaving his band and abusive boyfriend. Templeton has yet to shake his insecurities and self esteem issues.

Jesse’s and Templeton’s attraction is immediate, but Jesse struggles to break his pattern of needing to fix people and Templeton thinks the educated Jesse is way out of his league.

When Templeton’s dangerous ex comes to town, Jesse’s and Templeton’s tentative relationship is tested with violence, secrets, bruised hearts, and self doubts.

We have a classic story here of opposites attracting with reserved, highly educated Jesse and high school dropout Templeton. When Jesse visits with his long time friend, Davey, we quickly learn Jesse’s story. We quickly learn everybody’s story. When Davey wants to know what is going on with Jesse and he tells him to “spill,” Jesse does exactly that even though he claims he never does that sort of thing. Everybody spillstheir stories very quickly. Templeton and Jesse also spill to each other and Jesse’s mother spills to Templeton, and this was all by Chapter Two. It was a lot of people opening up to people they barely knew very quickly. There is one secret that Templeton holds back, but we as the reader become aware.

I could not connect to any of the characters or the story on this one. Templeton spent years in an abusive relationship and we really only get to see how insecure, scared, and full of self doubt he is. His personality never quite comes through. Jesse is currently living with his mother and she is trying to make up for past mistakes. Jesse and his mother’s relationship has not evolved into adulthood and his mother talks to him like he is still a teenager and has no boundaries as she is constantly walking into Jesse’s bedroom. Her demeanor and antics did not come off as entertaining to me.

There is also an activist angle involving the local high school that takes up a good portion of the story as well as dealings with Templeton’s ex. There were long passages of narrative that did not draw me into the story but tended to pull me out further and there was angst on the page, but it never came off and grabbed me. There were a lot of different conflicts all mixed up together and nothing really stood out.

The secret that Templeton is hiding is a large plot line in the story and deals with his education. It was dealt with all the way through the story and at the end there was no resolution. Jesse is a professor, has a doctorate, and would have been a prime candidate to at least point Templeton into the right direction. Once everything is out in the open, there is no further discussion on it and we never know if the issue will be further addressed and rectified. The sex was warm, but not hot, and the epilogue felt lacking.

This story, characters, and writing just did not call out to me. It was just an average story that never sparkled to life and not one I would easily recommend.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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