Title: Flying by Megan Hart
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Ever hear of wanderlust?
Every other weekend, Stella buys a ticket on the next flight out of town and leaves her life behind. Home is a place with too many memories, and departure is the sweetest possible distraction.
As soon as she arrives at her destination, Stella visits the airport bar. She orders a drink and waits for the right guy to come along. A bored businessman, a backpacker, a baggage handler just off shift. If he’s into a hot, no-strings hookup, he’s perfect. Each time is a thrilling escape from reality that gives the term layover a whole new meaning.
When Stella meets the enigmatic Matthew in Chicago one weekend, she hits some serious turbulence. Something about him tells her she’s not the only one running from the past. The connection between them is explosive, and for the first time, one taste is not enough for Stella. But returning to find a gorgeous man waiting for her is the easy part—facing the reason she’s there is a whole other matter….
Flying by Megan Hart is a complex romance that is incredibly erotic but it is also full of deep emotions. This multi-layered story is very compelling and although it takes most of the novel to uncover the characters’ secrets, it is well worth the wait.
Twice a month, Stella dons a different persona and flies off to a new city where she indulges in very hot and exciting no-string flings with random men she picks up at airport bars. Back home, she is a single mom who lives a relatively normal life with her teenage son Tristan. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Stella uses her encounters to escape her painful past but a chance meeting when she is traveling for business leads to a surprisingly normal relationship with Matthew. Stella quickly becomes emotionally invested in the blossoming romance, but their long distance relationship is troubled almost from the beginning.
Stella is an extremely complicated character and she is initially very hard to read. She keeps a very tight rein on her emotions but that does not mean she does not feel things strongly. She and her ex-husband have a somewhat contentious relationship and she is also frequently at odds with Tristan. Stella’s twice monthly trips offer her an escape from her conflicted home life and on these adventures, she unapologetically embraces her sexuality. It soon becomes apparent that she is trying to flee more than the strife at home which leaves the reader wondering what is really the impetus for Stella’s need to lose herself in anonymous sex.
The turning point for Stella is meeting Matthew. She does not hide who she is and in fact, she finds it very easy to open up to him. Unfortunately Matthew is not as forthcoming and he remains shrouded in mystery almost until the novel’s end. While this is not the main source of friction between them, it does add to their increasingly troubled relationship which soon feels the strain of Matthew’s inability to resist his ex-wife demands and his increasingly disrespectful treatment of Stella.
As is often the case with Megan Hart’s novels, Stella’s romance with Matthew is secondary to her coming to terms with a tragic event from her past. Once she makes peace with this tragedy, she is finally able to repair her fractured relationships with her son and her ex-husband. The ending of Flying is realistic and while not a traditional happily ever after, it is emotionally satisfying for both the reader and Stella.
Another outstanding novel that I highly recommend to readers who do not mind an honest portrayal of life’s messier moments.