Title: Damaged Heart
Author: S.C. Wynne
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 134 Pages
At a Glance: A recommended read, but be aware of an angsty ass ahead.
Reviewed By: Lynn
Blurb: Cory Johnson was just twenty when he fled Bayville, following his father’s suicide. Estranged from his abusive mother, he’s made a new life for himself as a successful lawyer in Los Angeles.
When Cory’s mother dies he grudgingly returns to his hometown to handle the estate. Rhys Tucker owns the construction company that is going to renovate Cory’s childhood home. But Cory is unaware that Rhys has harbored a crush on him since they were in high school. When Cory comes home Rhys takes that opportunity to get close to Cory. Or at least try to.
Their physical chemistry is undeniable, but will Cory ever be able to have a real relationship with Rhys after being so emotionally scarred by his past? Can a heart as damaged as Cory’s every really come home?
Review: This was my first time reading this author, and while I enjoyed the story, it was a frustrating read.
Cory left his small hometown right after high school and is now a successful lawyer living in LA. After his mother dies, he comes back home to settle her estate and renovate the house in order to sell and get out again as soon as possible.
Rhys is a younger, former classmate who’s had a crush on Cory forever. Be it old lovers, friends who become lovers, etc., I do love a story in which two people reconnect and fall in love. It’s what attracted me to Damaged Heart and made me want to read it.
As expected, they reconnect and are attracted to one another. However, the majority of the story is Rhys trying to help Cory get over his less than conventional childhood so he could learn to love and be loved in return, a fine story goal except that I felt it threw the balance of the couple off. I got that Cory had a very hard life with his parents; they were a little on the crazy side. His mother, specifically, was abusive, which made his life unbearable and left him emotionally unstable. What I didn’t get was his constant whining and indecisiveness when it came to Rhys. To put it bluntly, I just didn’t like Cory at all. I’m usually all for the damaged character, my heart goes out to them, and I’m rooting for them to get better, find love and live happily ever after. I just didn’t feel this way about Cory. I do like having his POV throughout the story. It brought more understanding about his insecurities, why he doesn’t want to let anyone in, and I liked that. It still didn’t make me like him anymore, but I had a better appreciation for his feelings.
My reasoning comes from the way he treated Rhys. I’m telling you, Rhys has the patience of a saint to put up with Cory’s rudeness and his tendency to just be an ass. I would have sucker-punched this dude about midway through the book, and said good riddance. But Rhys being his sweet, lovable self doesn’t, and by the end of the story Cory does redeem himself, just a little bit, in my eyes. He slowly comes to realize he can be happy with Rhys as long as he stops fighting his feelings and just lets it happen. I do like how the author does eventually show Cory’s progression from an angry, disillusioned young man to a man who is finally willing to take a chance on the one thing that could bring him happiness—Rhys.
Now, I really liked Rhys’s character. He was your typical good guy. He’s close to his family, had a normal upbringing, an all around good guy. The torch he’s carried for Cory after all these years tells me his feelings for him are genuine. We don’t get his POV, but the author brings his personality alive through dialogue and clear actions. There is little doubt to his motives throughout the story or of what he is thinking. If we aren’t getting his POV, this is the next best thing.
I realize there will be some characters I’m just not going to like, so it’s nothing personal. Actually, I believe the author has created characters that are true to life, even though they’ll frustrate the hell out of some readers. I will say the writing here is top notch, it was fast paced, and the words ran really smooth. The storyline kept me interested enough to see it to the end in spite of my personal feelings for Cory. I give the author a shout out for making me feel that way about a fictional character. It doesn’t happen often.
A recommended read, but be aware of an angsty ass ahead.
You can buy Damaged Heart here: