REVIEW: Heavy Issues by Elle Aycart
Dear Ms. Aycart:
This is one erotic romance that I wished for less sex and far more time spent with the characters out of the bed, or out of the car, or off the bike. The book starts off with Christy getting intoxicated with her friends and wishing for a, well, male prostitute. She rips off her engagement ring and it lands on Cole Bowen who just happens to be walking by at the time. Cole has had his eye on Christy ever since she came to town but she didn’t throw off any signals and he isn’t much for the difficult pursuit. But the ring thing along with Christy’s vocal declarations of needing sex eases his path, so to speak.
Christy has a lot of issues with her body and sex. It makes sense that she would drunkenly say that she would like a stud for hire. He would be paid to please her and thus she wouldn’t be as self conscious in bed, or so she thinks. Cole has other ideas and lots of energectic sex ensues and while it is graphic, I was somewhat dismayed. Cole treats Christy without much regard. She has serious image issues and pleaded for him to take it slower, easier, not so obvious. But he ignores her, splaying her in front of the mirror, making sure the lights are on bright, and so forth. I understood that I was supposed to appreciate how much Cole loved Christy’s body but when she is pleading with him, particularly their first time, to dial it down a little. I had a hard time believing that Christy was even aroused if she was so concerned about her body, let alone dripping with so much moisture that they could fill a kidddie pool (that is my descriptor and not in the book but yes, she is very very very wet all of the time).
When we eventually do see the couple upright and engaged in non sexual activity, I am pleasantly surprised at how funny and genuine the characters come off.
Christy’s issues with food are well articulated. Food is like a drug to her, and a bad one. She’s conquered it but like an alocholic, always tempted by it. People don’t observe her limits, constantly pushing food on her. She’s eventually taken to telling people she has a gluten allergy. The scene in the restaurant where her food allergy and her engagement ring leads to a series of erroneous assumptions had me literally laughing out loud.
Both Christy and Cole have mommy issues and those, too, are interesting and thoughtful. Christy has accepted her mother’s poor parenting with resignation but Cole’s pain over his mother’s abandonment festered and affected his ability to have a loving adult relationship. But so little time is spent teasing out the characters and their backstory that at times they are like rock em sock em robots whose sole misison is to fuck rather than fight.
The emotional conflicts were more enticing than the sexual ones. Cole struggled to let Christy in even when he accepted that he might have strong feelings for her but I felt more should have been done to address Cole’s need for control which served as a counterweight to Christy’s issues toward her weight because Cole’s need to be directing and controlling the action arises out of his need to maintain the correct emotional distance.
There is not much internal contemplation and much of the character reveal is done through infodumps, but it is not a criticism, just a point of reference for readers. I enjoyed this story but I felt like it could have used a few less sex scenes and more emotional development. C+