Beyond Repair: The Charlotte Stein Crush Continues
by Madeline Iva
Girl in beach house winds up with a dripping wet famous movie star on her carpet.
Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
Movie star tried to o.d. and failed, and our heroine needs to tend to him – fix him up, and help him find some peace. Oh, but she has secrets, big secrets, and her need for peace is as great as his.
Thus we start off the story BEYOND REPAIR by Charlotte Stein.
Sweet gods of erotic romance, thank you for Charlotte Stein.
You’d never ever know it, but having been reassured as a tween that I was really quite hideous, as a young woman I fell upon the briars of insecurity and bled a-plenty. Would I ever confess to a guy that I liked him? No. I’d sooner cut off my big toe. Then start hacking away at the other one.
I lived that experience but as a writer I now understand how horribly difficult it is to convey it in fiction–without wanting to smack the heroine upside the head. Who wants to read about someone who constantly shoots herself down? Blerg! How she does it I don’t know, but Charlotte Stein perfectly nails this kind of character. We are hanging onto her journey every second of the way.
If for some strange reason, you’d never read an erotic romance before, I’d recommend starting with Stein’s book RESTRAINT. Then I’d follow it up with this book, BEYOND REPAIR. Then I’d recommend reading everything else she’s ever written.
Both RESTRAINT and BEYOND REPAIR qualify as New Adult erotic romance –and I have to say I don’t mind the innocent breath of fresh air that Stein manages to pair with some unrestrained hot sex. Because her characters have grown up enduring an ugly mean world, they have also internalized that ugly, and they think they are beyond being loved or being beautiful.
There’s only one remedy for such a situation. Boy sees girl, boy is deeply attracted to girl, and boy tells girl immediately so she knows where she stands. This is what an insecure girl needs. Insta-acceptance. Having no composure around men, she’s not ready for the sophisticated game where a guy shows interest and then hangs back and waits for the woman to make a positive playful sign herself. Insecure girls have no game. They are play challenged. Flirting? What’s that? Insecure girls need to step onto the rock solid security of acceptance and live there for awhile basking in the sincere affections of a good guy. It’s a kind of romance therapy that heals the soul from the inside out.
It’s a kind of all-in behavior that also is compatible with uninhibited sex. Because the insecure girl’s own inner jail often protects her from experience, when she does finally start having sex, she’s often passionate and curious, and lacking all caution.
In BEYOND REPAIR, Stein is also talking about people who look for their fantasies in movies. Our heroine is deeply startled to meet her fantasy in real life. Yet it turns out she’s had her own brush with notoriety. She understands someone trying to escape attention, and how soul crushing it is to have a multi-billion dollar industry sucking the life out of one.
So here’s to the funny world of funny super-fans. Below is an homage to Mel, from the TV show FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS—played by the brilliant Kristen Schaal. Mel is a lone super-fan/ stalker who follows around a geeky New Zealand music duo.
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