Trying to get away from the monotony of her everyday life after the death of her sister and taking on the care of her infant nephew, Mandy joins an online dating service. Her interest is captured by a man who seems to have multiple profiles, in each one he is dressed as a different historical figure, taking on a new persona with each change of clothes. When she receives an offer to meet with him she accepts, and this begins a meeting once a month where neither exchange their real names or life circumstances, but where they pretend to be other people. They dress up from different time periods, make up backgrounds and begin a relationship based on role-playing and fantasy.
Ruthie Knox continues to amaze me. This is a short story, only 66 pages, but the emotion and depth of feeling I got out of those 66 pages had me wishing it would go on and on. Mandy and her fantasy lover have already been meeting for a while at the start of this story so they have an established sexual relationship. Mandy plans her outfits and takes such care with the details of each new character she plays that her meetings become more to her than just a physical release. She starts to open up to her mystery man about the particulars of her life, always in the guise of her newest character, changing names and circumstances so he won’t realize she’s becoming more emotionally involved with him. There are reasons these two have chosen to keep their personal lives separate from this relationship and as the story moves along those reasons are revealed.
In some short stories the development of sexual relationship between the H/h might seem rushed or abrupt, this isn’t the case with Big Boy. The reader is introduced to this couple after they have already been “together” for quite a while and with flashbacks of those previous dates they learn how Mandy and Tyler developed from strangers to sexual intimacy. This story felt so real to me. The chemistry between these two strangers meeting on the train for a bit of escapism from their everyday lives jumped off the page. Since this is told from Mandy’s POV all of her stresses, dreams and emotions are right there on the page, but Tyler is a mystery right up until the end. I couldn’t wait to find out what made him tick. Once he opens up and exposes himself to Mandy everything makes sense. Their HEA was perfect.
This is the best short story I think I’ve ever read. Ever. I absolutely adored every single thing about it. If I hadn’t already been a fan of this author before, I would be after reading this gem. I will most definitely be recommending Big Boy to as many people as I can. Final Grade: A
He’s the Man with No Name. He’s nobody. He’s every single man I walk past, every corner I walk around, every thought in my head.