Damaged is a somewhat dark, yet beautiful tale of two people who have been damaged by their pasts, drawn together by their present, but not sure if they will be able to make a future together.
Oliver is tortured by the loss of his wife and child. He barely manages to live, and cannot enjoy anything in life. He is bitter and often drinks and seeks out physical fights to escape his pain, if only as a temporary fix. Coming back to his hometown for his nephew’s baptism only aggravates and compounds his destructive feelings and behaviors.
Emma came from a privileged life, but found herself pregnant at 18. When her mother suggests she abort the baby, Emma leaves home and begins her new life as a single mother. While things are not easy, especially when caring for a special needs child, Emma has created a good and happy life for her and her daughter Ivy.
While both Oliver and Emma have changed significantly from when they last knew one another in high school, they are drawn to one another in ways that neither can seem to control. While the sexual chemistry is off the charts, there is more happening beneath the surface. Emma is falling fast and wants more than a sexual relationship. In the beginning, Oliver just wants an escape, but slowly finds himself wanting and needing more from Emma . . .but is afraid and unsure of how to deal with those feelings when still grieving for his wife and child.
This book is extremely touching. The characters are amazing. The author did a fantastic job of making Oliver’s pain feel very real to the reader. His struggles are easy to understand and identify with. Emma is independent and strong and everything that Oliver needs . . . he just doesn’t realize it. Her relationship with her daughter is beautiful and special. I adored watching Oliver slowly let down his barriers to this unique little girl so that she could touch his heart in ways he never expected. I also loved watching Oliver transform into the man he could be once he was able to accept and deal with the life that fate has given to him.
About the Book:
Emma Ross knew Oliver from the past, when they were younger, and he smiled. Gone for years, back to their hometown a widow, the Oliver she knew is gone. A hard man who consumes her is left in his place. A man who claims to hate her, but can’t seem to stay away.
Oliver Bentley remembers Emma as an unlikable girl, only the present Emma is nothing like her. He doesn’t want to find her desirable, but everything—from her inner strength, to her warm eyes, to the fierce love she has for her daughter, to his constant hunger for her—makes him want her more. The thing is…he doesn’t hate her at all.
For a dozen heartbeats, we study one another—long enough to turn my insides to the outside. A mischievous look takes over her face. “We’ll take your truck…if you can promise to keep your hands to yourself.”
“Are you implying I can’t?”
She steps closer, until her eyes are level with my collarbone. “I’m pretty sure you can’t.”
“I can stay away from you,” I tell her, knowing it’s a lie. Even now, it’s taking all I have to not touch her. Emma’s skin is warm, and silky, and smells sweet, like she’s been dipped in sugar.
Nodding, I walk backward, away from Emma. An invisible rope pulls taut, telling me to stay close. Out of touching distance is too far. Damn it, I can’t even fool myself. I’ve got it bad for this woman. It’s just a phase. My mouth thins. Phase, my ass.
It’s a hunger.