- By: Lynn Van Dorn
- Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
- Series: North Shore Stories, Book 1
- Length: 18 hrs and 58 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
- Release date: 09-30-19
- Language: English
- Publisher: Lynn Van Dorn
- Genre/ Trope(s): Gay Romance; Contemporary; Fake Boyfriend; Family Drama; Friends to Lovers
- SteaMMy Swordplay: 4 out of 5⚔
- Sharonica-Stars: 5+ out of 5✨
- GoodReads AVG: 4.30🌟
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?
MMy Thoughts and Review:
I typically run from edgy, angsty, dramatic tales. This is simply due to the fact that I am old, have lived my own drama and don’t want to read about the same types of drama in my books…or movies…or TV series. I want the rest of my days filled with sMMexy men loving other sMMexy men, unicorns, rainbows, butterflies, and other fluffy things. 💖🌈💖
Something about Damage Control drew me in, however. I knew I could trust Van Dorn to take me on a crazy wild journey, but I was still apprehensive because of the trigger warnings hitting too close to home and again, I have lived my own drama.
What sets this book apart and above most in its genre is the character authenticity and transparency. Our MC, Tyler for example is seen by his family as spoiled, crass, attention seeking at the best of times, and attention seeking to the detriment of his health at the worst. However, these same family members protect, work for and with Tyler always striving to show they care. These characteristics are things many of us see in our own family dynamics. We might not like each other, and sometimes the dislike may even mimic hate. But, at our base level, there is always a piece no matter how small that still loves our family.
Underneath all the family push and pull are secrets. Secrets that are years in the making and within the Chadwick family these secrets effect everyone to some degree, but no one is more effected by all these secrets than Tyler.
After a chance meeting, turned into an almost drowning, Tyler and his long time crush who FYI used to secretly date his brother, Josh gets roped into pretending to be Tyler’s doting boyfriend. Now, do not think for a second this is a typical “fake boyfriend” trope. Do that, and you will be sorely disappointed. It is just one of the MANY themes that are present in this spectacular story.
Now that Tyler has his fake BF, Josh to help combat the sex tape scandal (forgot to mention that, sorry) everything should be hunky dory. Alas, this is an epic family drama not some pretentious novella, so there is more…so much more. There are angry and homophobic parents who rage, then shame, then guilt, then rage some more. There are siblings who believe they know best and meddle any chance they get. Best friends who call or text at three a.m. just to make sure you are okay and haven’t put anyone in a strangle hold, or jumped off the dock with rocks in your pockets.
If that weren’t enough, there’s paparazzi everywhere snapping photos, yelling absurd questions just to get a rise, and tabloids writing stories so far from the truth it sounds more appealing to believe it than what’s actually happening. Nasty internet memes made from the sex tape, more homophobic slurs spread across the world wide web and the side of Tyler’s house. Prank calls at two a.m. and a neurotic fake boyfriend who has cleaning frenzies when he is stressed. And a crazy ex who may still be stalking Tyler and upping the ante to things like slashed tires, and screaming at Josh that, “Tyler belongs to him!” Cray-cray… Right?!?!😂
Amidst all the crazy two broken and battered souls mesh together and find peace and comfort in each other. Josh and Tyler have the perfect blend of calm and frantic, messy and spotless that somehow brings balance to their chaotic world. Even when doubts rise, they push through, they don’t run or show cowardice regarding who they are to each other in their moments together. They stick together and friendship turns to something more. Much more.
If you haven’t been able to tell let me say plainly, I absolutely loved this audiobook! In my opinion an audio book wins or loses its audience solely based on the narration. If a narrator lacks spirit, and inflection it will show.
Michael Ferraiuolo was superb in his role as narrator. Each character had a voice unique to their personality (I loved Josh’s mom’s accent!). Even each thought was in the character’s voice and not the narrator’s actual voice. Bravo, Sir! Bravo! 👏
Even though I am one of those who needs to be mindful of triggers. (I am not ashamed to say, I am a survivor!) This book spoke to me on so many levels. So, be mindful of the triggers, and if you feel brave this is a journey you won’t regret! 💖👬💖
Possible triggers: mentions underage rape, torture, branding (conversion therapy); suicide attempt; cutting
5+ jumping-off-the-cliff-together-stars ✨✨✨✨✨+
I received a complimentary Advanced Reader Copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving an honest and unbiased review. 💋
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