Damaged (Damaged #1) by H.M. Ward
New Adult contemporary romance
Paperback/eBook, 341 pages
Published April 7th 2013 by Laree Bailey Press (first published April 1st 2013)
Life sucks. And, as soon as Sidney picks up the pieces something always knocks her back onto her butt. It's never pretty, but this time is different. This time pretty isn't even the right word.
Peter is the personification of perfection. It's like he fell off his angel perch in purgatory, because let's face it--any guy that hot has got to be naughty. He was probably sent here to ruin her life.
Peter is beyond beautiful with his sexy blue eyes, dark hair, and toned body. Add in his charming wit and Peter is everything Sidney ever wanted in a man, but when things get hot and heavy Peter shows her the door. Sidney takes the walk of shame and leaves. It's the end of the worst blind date ever. Her life couldn't possibly reach higher levels of suckage, but it does.
The next morning everything comes crashing down. The insanely hot guy from last night, the one that saw her half naked, is teaching at the front of the class room.
Sydney is damaged. Something bad happened to her to make her pick up and run. Made her write off her family. The woman she has become is confining and for one night, on a double date with her college roommate, she thinks her date is the guy sitting by himself in the restaurant. The hot guy with blue eyes that light up when she sits down. For one night Sydney wants to be someone else, someone brave, someone who can let loose and have some fun. A chance meeting with a stranger sets up a string of events Sydney has no control over. Or does she?
Damaged had me from the first page. Sydney has been hurt, badly hurt, though we don't know what or how. She is trying to change, to start over, but memories have a way of breaking through barriers, no matter how strong she makes them. The scene between her and Peter in the restaurant was rife with chemistry and innuendo and yet still came across as sexy and sweet. When her evening turns disastrous and she leaves, only to run into Peter again, one wonders if there is such a thing as fate. I felt for Sydney after the apartment scene (and for Peter too, suspecting he also has a secret), and when she finds out about her boss dying, she didn't think things could get any worse. Then they did, when she discovers a certain man who rebuffed her is now her new boss. There is an intense attraction between them but acting on it is against the rules and they could both lose their positions. When Sydney learns Peter loves swing dancing as much as she does and she starts a club at school, it's a matter of time before they give into the undeniable pull.
Damaged was a fast, intense read. There were times I found some plot devices contrived (both loved swing dancing) or the writing told me more than showed me. I still enjoyed Sydney and Peter growing closer together. The cliffhanger ending didn't please me at all. Still, since I am invested in this couple, I will continue to read more of their series.
Who's kidding who? With a cover like that, I'd pick this book up in an instant just to read the jacket copy.