Mayberry has a gift of making seemingly ordinary, sometimes not particularly likeable people into romance characters whom readers care about and applaud. This book is a case in point.
Melbourne, Australia, bookstore owner Maggie Hendricks feels as if she’s been missing out on something essential in her life. Fortunately one of her friends suggests a way to fill that void.
Twenty-seven-year-old Maggie has never climaxed even though she’s had a number of boyfriends and isn’t by any means a virgin. She’s beginning to think there’s something clinically wrong with her and is considering a visit to a doctor when a member of her reading group touts the prowess of a tattoo artist who gave her friend more than a tattoo.
Maggie figures if this artist with the amazing physical attributes and lax attitude about having sex with customers can’t give her an orgasm, then it’s a clear sign she must make a doctor’s appointment. So dressing in her sexiest undies and prepping herself with a few stiff drinks, she books a meeting with Brazilian-born Eduardo at Brothers Ink.
Instead of Eduardo, unfortunately, she gets his twin brother Rafel who despises his brother’s penchant for having sex with customers. But when humiliated Maggie flees the tattoo parlor, Rafel tracks her down, feels sorry for her, and promises her an orgasm or two.
I hate to admit it, but at this point I nearly abandoned the book even though Mayberry wrote it. How could she possibly salvage this plot? Maggie struck me as pathetic and the epitome of first world hubris. Eduardo and Rafel seemed the kind of braggadocio males that give men the world over a bad name. And all three of them painted a picture of immaturity and shallowness.
Having read a number of Mayberry books, I wonder how I could have had so little faith as I read on only because this was a review book. Had I learned nothing about Mayberry as a writer?
While I didn’t love Maggie at the end of the book, I certainly understood her. She’s a bundle of doubts about herself, wrapped up in wanting to be like everyone else, or at least the everyone else who’s having a fabulous sex life. She’s well-meaning and sweet, if a bit naive about sex and men, and perhaps the world in general.
Rafel is a little bit more problematic. He thinks he’s still in love with his last girlfriend Lena who three years ago left him to make a name for herself in New York City. Given that this is how Rafel is feeling, why is he wining, dining, and ready to have sex with Maggie, especially since he knows that Maggie isn’t the fling type of girl?
When Lena returns having been disappointed that the Big Apple didn’t embrace her, Rafel must make a choice between the two women. But after he has put so much time and effort in coming to know Maggie, Rafel’s choice isn’t much of a cliff-hanger.
While I came to know and like both Maggie and Rafel, I wasn’t thrilled by either of them. Maybe I just don’t understand how an orgasm might be a life-affirming event for any adult.