Review: Lynn Van Dorn – Damage Control

Author: Lynn Van Dorn
Reviewer: Wendy
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:

Everything to lose.

Tyler’s worked hard to kick the dust of the Chicago suburbs off his heels and move on with his life as Hollywood’s newest up-and-comer, burying his demons and hiding his scars from the world. Just as everything seems to be going his way, a scandal from his past threatens everything he’s worked for. Now he’s stuck back home, where his family of lawyers can maybe help sink the scandal and find out who’s behind it.

Afraid to love.

Josh doesn’t know what to think when his ex’s little brother falls into his arms, other than that Tyler is trouble with a capital T. But when Tyler’s publicist suggests that an adoring fake boyfriend might be just the ticket to saving Tyler’s acting career, Josh doesn’t mind playing along. It’s not like he has anything else going on, and faking a relationship with someone you’ve known your entire life can’t possibly be that difficult.

A second chance for two damaged hearts.

Now they’re stuck together for the foreseeable future, and neither can deny their mounting attraction. Why should they? They’re supposed to be in love, at least out in public. But in private, when no one is watching, Tyler and Josh grow closer in a way that has nothing to do with their agreed upon arrangement. What do they do when make-believe becomes real, and how can two men with such different lives have a shared future?

Review:

I’d like to start with a piece of advice: readers need to be invested in this book for the long haul. This is a lengthy story featuring at least one MC with weighty issues and a lot of complex family dynamics, and another MC dealing with a lot of emotional baggage. In order for a relationship to develop between them that comes anywhere close to believable, they have a lot of back history to cope with and a lot of hurdles to overcome and those things take time. I could appreciate the need for a slow burn and details.

Josh was an easy character to like – always polite, and kind, and helpful. I hated what Ryan (his lifelong crush, and Tyler’s brother) did to mess him up and that Josh couldn’t seem to grow a pair big enough to move on. Tyler, on the other hand, was someone I expected to dislike because of his brash style; however, Tyler sort of snuck into my heart and each new layer of his personality that got revealed just made me love him more. The little blue elf with the snarky tongue was a big hit with me!

It’s really no wonder that Tyler ended up with some unhealthy coping mechanisms given the things he endured growing up; as it turns out, I’m actually kind of impressed with what he managed to accomplish. On the flip side, however, I will never understand parents who think they can “convert” the gay out a child they should be loving unconditionally and it made me furious to learn what Tyler endured at the hands of people who would use religion and/or righteous moral views to torture innocent young men and women for being who they are. I truly am not a vengeful person, but I can’t help hoping those types of places and the people who run them get what they have coming to them. This story struck a protective chord with me and I’d have liked to strangle a deserving person or three.

For a new author, I thought this was an amazing debut. It wasn’t necessarily perfect, but it was substantive, dealt with complex issues, took some interesting twists and turns in the plot, and had characters I became invested in. Very good!

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