When lives fall apart, each of us react in a different way. For some of us, we sink into addictions. Drugs, alcohol, shopping. Anything that dulls the pain. Others of us turn to religion, finding solace in God’s plan. Maybe we pull our family in closer, or maybe we become activists. Our responses are entirely individual.
Stella’s life has taken a bad turn. She has suffered some personal losses, and now, divorced and the mother of a teenager, she takes off every other weekend, flying to a different city. She does not go on tours or see the sights. She sits in an airport bar, meets a man – always a stranger, never someone known to her – and goes to spend some time with him.
In these anonymous hookups, she finds physical release and emotional escape. It’s a good plan for her, one that works fairly effortlessly.
Until, that is, she meets Matthew.
Their “relationship” begins on a different basis than Stella’s other interludes, and that immediately establishes this as something unique for her. She finds herself caring about him, and this scares her, for Matthew not only is unexpected, his presence is not entirely wanted or needed. And he has his own personal issues and crises.
I enjoy Megan Hart’s writing a great deal, especially the way she writes about the sexy times. Intimacy sometimes can be strictly physical, and Hart asks us to consider that and not judge a woman for needing an outlet. Stella can’t face the reality of her life without enjoying – even if temporarily – a connection with someone else. Preferably a physical connection. Preferably an anonymous physical connection.
As delicious as the headboard rockin’ is, there are some weaknesses to the story.
Stella stops her airport interludes, and the apparent permanence of that stoppage is unexplained; they were something Stella needed, and when circumstances arise that would make her need them again, we don’t have a satisfactory answer for why she doesn’t turn to the one thing she knows brings her comfort.
Her ex-husband is straight out of Central Casting for “embittered ex,” and nothing about him surprises or interests us. The redemptions for some of the characters seem easy and a bit too pat.
Still, though, this is an enjoyable book, and Hart’s writing will keep you turning the pages.