I’m no expert, since I only dip into the genre now and again, but it seems to me the old saying, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” definitely applies to today’s erotica. The erotica of the past was really light on storyline, developed characters, and pretty much everything but sex, sex, sex. This makes a book like this one remarkably refreshing and interesting. It deals with body image and an unglamorous, little publicized eating disorder.
When computer specialist Christy, out for drinks with her friends, laughingly says she’s going to look for a sex-for-hire stud who wants no attachments but gives maximum pleasure, little does she know that Cole Bowen overhears her and is more than a little interested.
Former Marine and demolitions expert Cole has been surreptitiously watching her since she arrived in the community five months before, but never asked her out because he thought she was engaged—which she was before she moved from Los Angeles to Boston.
When she throws her engagement ring away, Cole accidentally catches it and thinks this is a good excuse to hook up with her. It takes some talking on his part, but they finally arrange a deal: he gives her stellar sex while she gives him a commitment-free date to all the community and family events he needs to attend.
What starts out cut and dried quickly becomes more complicated as Christy confesses her weight problem and addiction to sugar and carbs. On his part, Cole bares his soul about when his mother left the family when he was ten. Both have self-esteem issues to overcome, and Aycart doesn’t make light of the issues nor present a quick fix for them.
Cole, because of his past, must control every situation he’s in, especially his dealings with women, even women like Christy whom he comes to like and admire. For her part, the now slim Christy, while letting Cole take charge, can’t move away from the feeling that she’s fat and inadequate, no matter what Cole does to dissuade her.
Aycart understands Christy’s reasons for overeating, and when the character explains her past to Cole the author makes Christy a realist. Christy doesn’t blame others for her problems and does give credit to the people who pulled her out of her dependence and addiction to food. She is a wonderful mix of strong, determined woman and dependent, subservient girlfriend, shocked that someone like Cole could be attracted to her.
Cole, for his part, is often so overbearing as to be almost unlikeable, a real love-‘em and leave ‘em type. But his assurance that Christy is definitely his kind of woman helps her shore up her poor self-image. Also, as his alpha-male machismo façade is pulled apart by his growing dependence on Christy and his swagger begins to stumble, he becomes totally believable and loveable.
And then, oh, yes, there’s sex, sex, sex. I did say this was erotica, right?
I wish, however, the balance between the sex and the mutual regard for reasons other than sex was a little more often shown and not told. Aycart often says in retrospect that Cole and Christy enjoyed themselves on their pseudo-dates, but I want to enjoy their growing closeness at these times too.
Often, reading this book is just like enjoying a good contemporary romance novel. Then more graphic sex occurs. So if a contemporary fan wants to delve into the erotica pool for the first time, this book might be a good place to start.