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SPOILER ALERT!

Ruined

Ruined (A Barnes Brothers novel) - Shiloh Walker

I'm disappointed.  After reading and liking a lot of Shiloh Walker's books, I'm not sure I really cared for this one.  It's a lot of angst and generally stupid behavior.  Especially on the part of the heroine.

 

It has the same basic premise as one of her earlier books, "Her Best Friend's Lover" - girl sleeps with best friend guy while he seems perfectly sober, but is basically blackout drunk - so much so that he can't remember he slept with her in the morning.  And, of course, some arc happens that causes her to leave before he wakes up in the morning.  So, he never knows.  She gets pregnant and lets him believe the father is someone else.

 

In this case, Sebastian is 27 and Marin is 35.  They're both actors and have known each other forever.  Sebastian asks Marin out and she refuses giving him the excuse that he is not in the same place as she is with her wants related to her career and her life.  He basically admits he's had a thing for her for a while, but accepts her refusal.  That same evening, he goes out for dinner, runs in to the previous love of his life, Monica, and ends up getting between her and the man Monica left Sebastian for.  The man, Hanson (I think was his name), comes after her with a knife and gun.

 

Monica ends up dead.

Hanson ends up dead.

Sebastian is left with a large facial scar and lots of emotional issues.

 

Sebastian withdraws from life.  He stops acting.  He pushes his friends and family away.  He starts drinking heavily.  The only person he allows in a little is Marin.  She visits his house - brings him food, pours out his alcohol, etc.

 

One day, about a year later, after he seems to be tackling his demons, Marin shows up at his house with a manuscript to try to draw him back in to acting, but finds him drinking and watching online videos of the stabbing/shooting of Hanson/Monica and his part in it.  He's pretty far gone.  But she convinces him to dump the alcohol and then he touches her and again admits he's had a thing for her for a while and she gives in.

 

They have unprotected sex.  He passes out.  He comes to and they have unprotected sex again and then he calls her "Monica".  She runs out because she thinks he's stuck on Monica.  Despite having said multiple times that he's had a thing for her (Marin) for some time.

 

She gets pregnant.  She doesn't tell him.  She works on set acting opposite Sebastian for a movie.  She "dates" another actor, Dash, who is also acting in the same movie.  Sebastian finds out she's pregnant and thinks Dash is the father.  Marin does nothing to disabuse him of this idea.

 

Sebastian does his best to avoid Marin.  Sebastian lets another actress, Evie, hang on him, kiss him, etc., in front of Marin.  Marin supposedly "tries" to talk to him to tell him about the pregnancy, but she doesn't really.  There's no real effort on her part to "make" him listen because she's hurt that he called her Monica after sex and she's jealous over Evie.  Previously, Marin went to Sebastian's house whenever she felt like it.  But, now, suddenly, it's impossible for her to get over there.  So, no real effort to speak the truth, as far as I'm concerned.

 

She doesn't actually tell him that he's the father until the situation on the movie set is so bad that Sebastian attacks Dash and the director has to halt production to deal with their drama.  Sebastian thinks that Dash is stepping out on Marin and not being there for the pregnancy, so he calls Dash repeatedly over a period of time to give him a hard time.  And he attacked Dash because he thought Dash made Marin cry.  Keep in mind, Marin is a 36 year old woman.  And she's just letting all of this play out without saying a single word.  Not only does she suck for not informing Sebastian that he's going to be a father (whether he loves her not, he should be told), but she's a selfish and inconsiderate friend for allowing Sebastian to harass Dash because she has lied by omission.

 

So, it's stated that Marin never hooked up with Dash - she tells Sebastian in no uncertain terms.  But, it's never stated whether Sebastian hooked up with Evie.  In fact, Evie disappears after Marin tells Sebastian the baby is his.  It's like she went *poof* from the earth - Sebastian never contacts her to explain why he isn't seeing her again, etc.

 

Honestly, I didn't find this story romantic.  They didn't spend any happy time together.  Even during the last 5% when stuff was "resolved", it didn't seem all that happy.