Damaged Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie

Damaged Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie is the first in their new series all about billionaires, bodyguards, family issues and fanatic paparazzi and fans.

This book was so much fun! It tells the story of Maximoff Hale, son of the very famous Lily and Loren Hale. Maximoff Hale was immortalised by the world the second they heard he was chilling in his mother’s womb, therefore, the whole family needs bodyguards to protect them. The Hales, Meadows and Cobalts all have bodyguards for themselves and their children. (You can read about Lily and Loren Hale, plus Maximoff’s awesome aunts and uncles, Daisy and Ryke, Connor and Rose, in their other series called the Addicted series, but you don’t need to read it to understand this series). After Maximoff’s longest reigning bodyguard has quit on him, he needs a new bodyguard. Here steps in Farrow Keene, previously bodyguarding Maximoff’s mother, now has the job of protecting the oldest Hale son.

The only issue? Maximoff is bisexual and has had the hugest crush on Farrow since he was a teenager, watching him protect his mother. This makes the situation very awkward and uncomfortable for Maximoff, considering just how intimate this bodyguard relationship is going to get. The bodyguards literally have to wait outside your door while you get laid. Yikes.

Farrow Keene is called the loose cannon of the bodyguards, he likes to bend and twist the rules to his liking. He is a sexy alpha male, always one step ahead of Maximoff.

He comes into Maximoff’s life and turns it around. Maximoff is put on such a high pedestal by everyone, his cousins, his family and parents. Maximoff makes him realise he can connect with other people and be open with them, that he doesn’t have to close himself off to the others and have meaningless relationships. I really liked the way Krista and Becca developed their relationship, it wasn’t a slow burn and it wasn’t instant love, it was just fiery attraction which went at a very nice speed and felt very natural. The romance and sex were hot. It didn’t feel like the first time an author writing m/m. Very sexy. Their chemistry and banter were off the charts. They made me laugh so hard, classic KB banter. I highlighted so much of the book.

I [Maximoff] swig my orange juice before saying, “look what the wind threw up.” I set down my glass.

Farrow raises his apple to his mouth. “You mean blew in.”

“No,” I say firmly, palms on the pearly counter. “I mean threw up.”

As much as Maximoff and Farrow begin to feel things for each other, there’s only one other issue. Relationships are strictly prohibited between bodyguard and client.

So, keeping the relationship a secret was a very interesting to read and watching them have to hide how they felt from the Hale family, Maximoff cousins and the other bodyguards was very thrilling. Farrow’s job is all about putting himself on the line for Maximoff’s safety which is definitely something Maximoff finds hard, especially since Farrow isn’t just a bodyguard to him. I will admit there isn’t a huge plot point/conflict driving the story. What drives this story is the relationships and character development between the characters which is trademark KB and I truly adored it.

Beyond the lovely romance in the book, you get to meet the rest of Maximoff’s siblings and cousins who will most likely get books in the series if KB continues the series that far out.

My most favourite secondary characters were Sullivan Meadows and Akara Kitsuwon. I loved these two so much!!! I have no idea where it will go romantically (a girl can hope) but their BUDDYgaurd relationship was so cute. Sulli is Maximoff’s cousin and Akara is her bodyguard. Can I say, if you’ve read the Addicted Series, Sulli blowing up Akara’s phone with texts reminds me so much of Daisy and Ryke!! Sulli only shows up about after the 60% mark, so I’m hoping she will be tons more involved in book 2, Lovers Like Us, which continues Maximoff and Farrow’s story. Although book one is concluded, no CLIFFHANGER.

“We’re together. We’re doing this and neither of us wants to stop.”

Jane, Maximoff’s other cousin was also so loveable, her adorable cats and her unmovable resolve in the way she feels about her body and the way she dresses was admirable. I truly related to her struggle of not knowing what she wants for her future. Maximoff’s siblings are such interesting characters and so are the Cobalt boys and Meadows girls. I for one, am ready to see Sulli and Beckett’s best friendship, and Beckett himself, the bad boy of ballet, whaaaat?! I for one was actually glad there was some tension between certain cousins, Charlie Cobalt and Maximoff Hale. It makes the story much more interesting, like c’mon, you couldn’t expect them ALL to be buddy buddy?! That will be an interesting development to look forward to, considering their fathers are best friends.

Sulli stretches her arm behind me [Maximoff] to hold Janie’s hand. “If you need me, I’m there.”

“Thank you.” Jane breaks from my side, and the two girls share a long hug.

Just because there is a lot of extended family, doesn’t mean this will be a hard book to follow. It’s not confusing at all.

Some of the cousins are only mentioned, not shown (my environmental activists, Winona Meadows and Ben Cobalt) and some are only there for a few sentences or two (such as Tom Cobalt, the guitar superstar). The side characters that are most involved I’d say are Jane, Akara, Sulli, Oscar (Jane’s bodyguard). Then there are certain Hale family scenes which involve Luna, Kinney and Xander Hale.

Also, if you’ve read the addicted series, the parent’s get their scenes. The father scenes, involving Ryke, Loren and Connor were hilarious. I love seeing them be fathers. I saw a few people upset that there wasn’t more of the parents but there are ten books about them in the previous series?! Just read that! This series is about their kids now, I’d rather have scenes with the kids than the parents. I love the parents just as much as anyone, but it’s time for the newer generation to shine and have amazing scenes and character development.

The book whirls romance, sex, family and fame really well. There are embarrassing moments, OMFG moments and plot twists that will turn your head! It was a great first endeavour in the m/m genre for Krista and Becca. I think they did a wonderful job! I recommend you all read it! The second book is out in October, so it won’t even be a long wait! <3

Grade: A-

Barnes and Noble

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