Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Pages/Word Count: 183 Pages
At a Glance: Damaged Goods deviates from the rest of the Men of London series. It’s a sweet and romantic story about building trust, and the novelty of young first love.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Touched by tragedy, love is an elusive dream never to be realised by eighteen-year-old Jax Grady–until he discovers his secret admirer and receives the sweetest gift he could ever desire.
THE SWEETEST GIFT
Tragedy and horror shaped Jackson Grady’s life, leaving him orphaned and scarred. At eighteen he’s ready to claim his future, but who could love his disfigured face and damaged soul? Definitely not a big, burly, beautiful Irish Traveller who is entirely the stuff of dreams.
Dare Rowan didn’t mean to become obsessed with the blue-eyed man he first saw across a field, but that porcelain skin and innocent air demanded another meeting. Jax has the face of a wounded angel, and the rest of the young man is as heart-breakingly perfect. Jax is beautiful in every way and teaching him about love and life will be something Dare will embrace. Like unwrapping and savouring the candy at the shop where he works, Dare will show this young man everything Jax desired but never thought he’d have, and take Jax to new highs while he holds him through the lows. Between them, they’ll find out just how sweet life can be.
Review: Let me just start by saying that I am a HUGE Men of London fan. Like, seriously fangirl fan. That being said, this addition kinda threw me for a loop. I liked it—didn’t love it—but I understood it. Let me explain.
This book is about Jackson Grady (Jax to his friends), who was mutilated in a horrible encounter with his step-brother which left him almost completely blind and disfigured… or damaged goods in his opinion. He’s young, you have to remember that. He is only eighteen, so when he acts eighteen you can’t get frustrated with him. Underneath the scars and the issues is an incredibly sweet young man who has had it rough in life and really deserves someone to love him.
I think this is where Susan Mac Nicol really deviates from the rest of the series. This is a sweet and romantic story about building trust, and the novelty of young first love. The other MoL stories are a little grittier, a lot raunchier and filled with a whole lot more angst, but not more love; in that respect this book fits right in. This is the story that Jax needed to have. He’s had enough of the bad and he needed a break from all that with his story. And don’t worry that it is a boring story, this is Susan Mac Nicol after all. She keeps us entertained with spot-on secondary characters, first class writing and a plot that sucks you in.
Dare Rowan grew up an Irish Traveler. He’s used to the slurs, the discrimination and the hateful looks. What he sees in Jax is a beautiful man he longs to take care of and make whole. Dare is a caregiver; he looks after all the people in his life and is the perfect counterpoint to Jax. Dare is only about twenty-five, and he has never been in love before. He comes from a loving family and frankly, his little brother steals the scene every time he appears.
Most of the MoL stories are standalones, but I wouldn’t say that about this one. We meet Jax for the first time in Feat of Clay (my personal favorite of this series), and the establishment of him as a character is really in that book. Jax is featured extensively in Feat of Clay as he forges a relationship with Tate and Clay, who are the focus of that book. Damaged Goods features Tate and Clay just as extensively, and so reading the two as a pair really allows you to get the whole story and its characterizations. Honestly, you don’t have to but it would help.
This book is about old fashioned courtship. There is no penetrative sex even though, hello, Jax is eighteen so yeah, there is plenty of frottage going on… repeatedly. But it works. It works because the characters are so young and just starting their lives in the first blush of new love, new lives and new friendships. Was it what I have come to expect from the MoL series? Hmm… maybe not, but that does not take away the fact that it is a wonderful story and the story that these men—Jax and Dare—needed to tell.
I am still sitting on pins and needles for Mango and Ryan’s story, Hard Climate, coming in July of 2016. Squee! I cannot wait!
You can buy Damaged Goods here: