Anxiety is a funny, infuriating beast. There are some stories about how anxiety has worked in my life that make me laugh; others are so filled with pain that I rarely talk about them.
Then there are the stranger episodes, like the classes when I was a PhD student & suddenly found that my voice would not stay steady & assertive; it waved & rollicked & I would very clearly run out of breath when making statements.
Sometimes I found a workaround: I would sign up for one of the first class presentations, rehearse over & over, & my eventual presentation success in front of my peers might help me most past that anxiety.
Sometimes that didn’t work, & I wondered if everyone else wondered why I—a person who chatted so comfortably with them before or after class—had a persistent attack of anxiety that to me—at least—had no clear origin except the *sudden*, demanding rise of nerves in my own body.
Roan Parrish’s Better Than People has a hero who suffers from what I (a nonprofessional) would term social anxiety. It’s extremely difficult for Simon to talk to most people except his grandmother; his inability to communicate like he wants leaves him feeling frustrated & upset.
Simon loves dogs enough though that he signs up to walk those of a stranger. Jack, said stranger, is an artist who no longer creates because of his own pain...& a dog owner who can’t walk his dogs because of his broken leg.
There’s so much about this steamy romance that hit me in the heart, starting with Parrish’s realistic portrayal of the anxieties Simon & Jack have to deal with; how there often is no anxiety “cure.” Parrish portrays a partner’s relation to anxiety beautifully; she builds up the conflict between the leads with sensitivity.
There are a couple of moments in Simon & Jack’s couple-dom that feel somewhat rushed to me, but if you’re looking for a romance that will give you all the feelings, that deals with anxiety with a level of success that I don’t think I’ve seen before, & that’s very satisfying in the kiss-related department, I recommend Better than People.
Better Than People is out 08/25. Thanks to Harlequin Publicity Team & Harlequin Books for the complimentary finished copy. All opinions provided are my own.
#Sponsored #HarlequinPublicityTeam #HarlequinBooks #CarinaPress #CarinaAdores #RoanParrish #ContemporaryRomance #OppositesAttract
Give me that HEA, please.
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