Damaged Goods (Ravenswood #1.5) by Talia Hibbert
Publication: June 14th, 2018
Genre: NA Romance
They fell in love fifteen years ago and never quite fell out again…
Laura Burne arrives in Beesley-on-Sea searching for peace, happiness, and safety—not for the teenage sweetheart, she left behind. And yet, one moonlit night on the beach, she finds him anyway.
Samir may be a man now, but he’s still sexy as sin, still sweet as pie, and still determined to take care of her. The problem is, while he’s remained the same, Laura’s life is forever changed—and not just by the unborn child she carries.
She’s on the run from her own personal monster. Her baby’s father. Her husband. There isn’t a man alive who’d take on those complications. So Laura has to remember that just because Samir protects her, and makes her smile, and watches her with something close to hunger in his eyes, it doesn’t mean he wants her…
Which is a shame. Because, against all reason and all goddamn common sense, Laura just might want him.
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**Trigger warnings: abuse
Laura Burne was married to that scum bag Daniel Burne who mentally, emotionally, and started to physically abuse her. She had to get out but he was the towns golden boy and the only people who believed her were Trevor Burne, her father-in-law, and Ruth, Daniel’s first victim. She is fleeing Ravenswood and heading to her childhood paradise Beesley-on-Sea. Samir Bianchi is happily brooding by the sea when an inconsiderate person comes on the beach and interrupts his wonderful brooding time. Said stranger bulldozes right into him and his word is turned upside down. His childhood sweetheart literally bulldozed right into him but she is now plus one. Samir is not sure what she is doing back but he is determined to help her back on her feet. Laura wants to completely forget the man she is divorcing and get her life together for her unborn child. I had one issue with this book. IT WAS TOO SHORT. I wanted to know every single aspect and detail of their life after the book ended. This story was way too sweet honestly. Like it isn’t fair how disgustingly beautiful it was. It was a punch right in the heart because that is what both of these wonderful souls deserved. As always, Hibbert handled the heavy topic of abuse exceptionally. I was so happy that we got to see Laura really come into herself again and find the happiness she deserved. The depth in this story was incredible and I just don’t know how Hibbert does it. This was a novella but we still get the depth in the plot, characters, romance, and writing. It is to the point that I just know miss Hibbert only writes gold and is something mere mortals wish they could do.
Laura is a woman who truly has grown. She was a victim of Daniels lies and deceit and was the ringleader of the hate towards Daniel’s first victim Ruth from A Girl Like Her. She was mean, vindictive, and horrible. When the novel starts we see her broken, afraid, and humble (NOT by the abuse but because she learned the truth about what happened to Ruth). As I said abuse doesn’t need to happen for someone to be humble. When I say she became humble I mean she realized how horrible she treated people for a horrendous man like Daniel. She learned from that and learned to treat people better. Her growth in the novel is inspiring. She went from broken and afraid to a woman who knew that she deserved the best and wanted to protect her child. She could love and be loved. She could make her own choices and didn’t need to doubt herself or her choices. Samir is sexy and such a kind-hearted man. He is a protector and smart. He cares not only for Laura but even her unborn child. He can cook and he always makes sure that he never loses his temper in front of her. Samir is just an amazing guy people. I always say it takes special people to love children that are not their own. To love and care for a child like they are your own is so admirable to me. He is not just a great man but a great human.
I will just be here. No. Not there on the bed. Over here. On the floor. In my puddle of feels. Just thinking about life and where my husband is. Ok maybe not that excessive but definitely thinking about life. Laura and Samir why oh why do you do this to my heart? Why must you be so tender and kind to one another? Why oh why must you be so loving and sweet? Be still my beating heart. I mean every kiss and touch was so tender. Even when they sealed the deed. Everything was so soft and fluffy. How? Why? Ugh. Read the book you fools. READ IT.
But Laura was herself now, not some pathetic, wounded creature lashing out at anyone who passed by, wielding preemptive cruelty as a shield.
When she laughed, something inside him slotted into place. As if making her laugh was part of his life’s work, somehow. As if this was what he should’ve been doing all along.
Here it was again, that thunderclap feeling of, “You’re for me, aren’t you?” No less intense in adulthood than it had been during his teenage years… and beneath it lay a tingling undercurrent of something that felt powerful as a riptide, and just as dangerous.
She laced her fingers through his, slowly, methodically, as if it was important that they do this completely and successfully. Once she had him, their palms locked together, that single point of contact anchoring him, she lapsed into silence again.
“I’m wondering why I… why you still make me feel like this.” “Like what?” She spoke so softly, he barely heard her. “Perfect.”
…The way he made her feel like a goddess and a woman all at once.
“Good. I want to complicate things with you. I want us tied together in a knot so indecipherable, people look at us and can’t imagine how we’d ever come apart.”
“You know you can tell me the truth,” he said softly. “You don’t have to keep me happy. There are no consequences with me.”
“I love you. I love everything about you. I love the way you smile at me like I’m the only person in the room.”
“Good. Don’t ever be afraid of me, Laura. I’m yours.”
He found her tits, heavy and unconfined, giving one a barely-there squeeze. She moaned in frustration as his mouth left hers. “Perfect,” he murmured. “So perfect.”
He stared down at her swollen, stretch-marked belly as if it were dessert. His gaze settled on her tender, reddened breasts, the stretch-marks even brighter than they were on her stomach—and his cheeks flushed darker, his teeth sinking into his lower lip. “Jesus,” he groaned. “God. You are so f****** sexy.”
Because he most definitely desired her. She believed it beyond the feel of his hardness or the words on his lips. She believed it because his hands were shaking, and because he bent his head over her chest with a noise that sounded like a growl…
Laura couldn’t worry about a damn thing. Not with her son lying on her chest and the love of her life holding her hand. Not when she’d stumbled headfirst into a happiness that she’d once thought she’d never deserve.
But he couldn’t time travel. He couldn’t tell himself that. And in the end, it didn’t matter. Happiness had been one hell of a surprise.