Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Damaged (Outlaws #1) by Nina D'Angelo

"Before Stephanie Carovella had nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, she was damaged." Stephanie Carovella has been running from her past all her life. The survivor of a brutal attack, which left her best friend dead, she has carefully built a protective wall around herself, but she knows sooner or later her past is going to catch up with her. It's why she doesn't want to fall in love. It's why she doesn't want to let anyone get too close. Dominic Delaney works hard and plays just as hard. He's a love 'em and leave 'em guy who doesn't believe in forever until Stephanie walks into Outlaws. She is wild, unpredictable and dangerous as hell, yet, he's drawn to her. He needs to know the secrets behind her eyes. He can't walk away. A sexy, tattooed womanizer, Dominic Delaney's everything Stephanie wants to avoid. She knows she should stay the hell away from him, but he makes her want to stop running. Sometimes, even the Damaged deserve to fall in love. * Please note you do not need to have read the Stephanie Carovella series to read this novel. This is a stand-alone novel.

Overall Rating:  3 Rockin’ ★★★

Dominic had worked hard for the last six years to turn his bar into a successful business.  When he left his family and job as a marketing executive behind in San Antonio and moved to LA his parents had thought him crazy.  He had succeeded without backing or support from any one.
Sweeping his gaze around the crowded bar, a smile slid across his face.  After working his ass off for the past six years, he no longer had anything to prove to his family, - or himself.
For the last month she had walked into Outlaws and he had watched her and wondered about who she was.  She always stayed by herself and ordered the same drink.  He was intrigued by her and found himself wanting to know more about her. Stephanie knew she should stay away from Dominic; he was dangerous to her because he seemed to see right into her soul.  She had a boyfriend and it was just a matter of time before Ben ran into Dominic.  So what if she could imagine herself with him it just was not happening.
“Look, Stephanie, just because I said I wanted to make love to you doesn’t mean I’m going to.  Or that I’m going to try.  I get that you have a boyfriend.  I have a girlfriend, and I’m content with my life.  I don’t need any complications.”  “What are you suggesting?”she asked, arching her eyebrow.  “Why don’t we try being friends?” he pressed.
Dominic knows that he should walk away that Stephanie is trouble.  Not only is she trouble but there is something that has damaged her deeply.  Stephanie knows that she should walk away from Dominic because he is the one that would stand by her side and never let her go.  She knows that she will not be able to say good-bye to him and walk away like she could with Ben.  They both find themselves holding out and saying we’ll deal with this tomorrow.
He’d easily become an addiction she couldn’t afford.  They were both kidding themselves if they believed they could have a one-night stand and then walk away…Tomorrow.  Tomorrow she would walk away from him and not look back.
Now all Stephanie has to do is convince her roommates that she is just friends with Dominic.  It’s not that she has a good record with being just friends with guys when they usually turn into her next boyfriend.   When her roommates ask for an introduction to Mr. Gorgeous, what’s a girl to do? Say no of course!
“Yes, and now you’re lovers.  Before Ben, there was Dylan.  And before Dylan, there was Patrick, Sean, Michael and Alex.  All of whom started off just as friends before they quickly became lovers,” Gena said, grinning at her friend.  “Face it, Stephanie, you suck at just being friend with guys.”
Dom has to convince his best friend Tyler that he is just friends with Stephanie.  Tyler knows that Dom is into one-night stands and girlfriends don’t last more than six months.  So what makes this girl so different since she obviously isn’t his normal type?  Yes she is drop dead beautiful and smart but there is something about her that is different.
Tyler whistled softly.  “And you want to nail her?”  Dominic scowled furiously.   “No,” he spat out.  Groaning softly, he dropped his head into his hands.  “Yes…I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter.  Not only does she have a boyfriend, but she friend-zoned me last night.” 
Stephanie finally explains what happened to her best friend Katrina and how she had escaped from the killer.  She confesses to Dominic that she knows that the killer will come back for her and she will be waiting to take him out. Stephanie blames herself for the death of her friend and has horrendous nightmares about what happened.  She can no longer sleep and fights giving in to the need because she knows that the nightmares will find her.  Dominic is the first person that she has shared everything that happened to her and Katrina.  She also knows that the killer is still stalking her and her friends, she can feel it.
“…Please, just promise me.” “I promise,” Angel vowed, shaken by Stephanie’s request.  It was almost as if Stephanie knew something bad was coming, something that would change their lives forever.  It scared the hell out of her…”Katrina was only one of his victims.  He wants all of us.  He didn’t just stalk Katrina, Angel. He stalked all of us…”
Can Dominic save his damaged girl?  Will Stephanie let him completely into her heart?  How can he protect her from the stalker/killer? Is there someone else watching over her?

Hero –Dominic Delaney: 3 stars
Heroine –Stephanie Carolvella: 3 stars
Steam: 3 stars 
Plot: 3 stars 
Cliffhanger: Yes

Would I recommend this book: Yes! This is a fantastic mystery, love story introduction to the Stephanie Carovella series. 

Would I read other books by this author: Yes! I have to read the other books now that I have finished the prequel. 

***Received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review***

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