Emotional, heartfelt, tender, funny, sexy, and addictive! Heavy Issues
is one of the biggest surprise reads of the year for me.
Christy Sheridan takes a sabbatical from her job as a computer programmer and leaves L.A. for small town Alden. She needs a change after catching her fiance cheating on her, and constant badgering she's receiving from her mother. While in Alden, she takes a job updating the town's library by bringing it into the 20th century. That's where she meets Cole Bowen, who's company is restoring the building. After six months, she's certain he isn't interested in her; the man goes out of his way to avoid her. It's fine with Christy, though, because the girl is through with relationships.
Cole is anything but uninterested with Christy. The problem is she has complicated written all over her, and Cole Bowen does NOT do complicated women. He's fighting a losing battle with his attraction to her. When he witnesses her drunken vow to move on with her life, he's done fighting the inevitable and moves in with his patented Bowen charm. I was laughing my butt off when he attempted to get her to go out with him! Talk about a misunderstanding! Once they clear things up, Cole manages to strike up a deal with her--he'll give her all the pleasure one girl could want, and in exchange, she pretends to date him during the town's month-long anniversary festivities to keep the marriage-minded Alden women at bay.
Obviously, what begins as a fake relationship transpires into a real one. But here's where the heavy issues
really begin. Christy is an addict. Her addiction isn't to drugs or alcohol. No, her drug of choice is food. She has battled the monster, having dropped from 200 lbs down to 130, and is very self-conscious about her body and addiction. Cole is a very dominant man. His sexual desires are raw, rough, and leaves her no chance for modesty. She is so fearful of his rejection that she tells him about her issues with food, explains about the marks and jiggle it has left her body with. Honestly, Christy has a skewed sense of body image--just as any person who has suffered through an eating addiction. Cole listens, tries his best to understand, asks questions, even takes her grocery shopping after his failed attempt at stocking his fridge with food for her. But what I love about Cole is how he refuses to let Christy believe her own lies. He does his damndest to tell her how beautiful she is, how much he desires her, and he doesn't let her hide from him. Not ever!
Cole isn't without his own issues. He has a severe fear of abandonment that is the cause for his warped view of women. It probably doesn't help that Alden is swarming with a pack of greedy bitches looking to bag a Bowen husband. He falls in love with Christy long before he admits it to himself. Cole fights it so much that, after a while, I wanted to knock him in the head! Dude, just give it up. But, ultimately, he needed to work through his mama issues before he could accept what Christy had to offer, and to fully give himself to her.
Ms. Aycart knows how to write not only a scorching hot romance, but an emotional journey to happiness. I'm sure there must be other books that touch of the aftermath of eating disorders, but I've never read one, and I give Ms. Aycart my respect for tackling the taboo subject of compulsive overeating. It's often misunderstood, but I thought she did a remarkable job of getting the emotions and reasons behind it through in the book. One of the most heart-aching scenes was when Cole forced Christy to look at herself--really look--and see what he sees in her.
It was wonderful seeing James & Tate (the H/h from the first book, More than Meets the Ink) again! I really hope we don't have to wait forever before Max, the 3rd Bowen brother, gets his book! Oh, and I want to see Tate's sister, Elle, hook-up with Jack. Please, Ms. Aycart, write faster!!