AS A frontline paramedic turned telephone dispatcher for the Boston police department Alix Rayne is accustomed to remaining cool under pressure. Managing life-threatening situations is second nature for this attractive, vibrant, 30-something woman.
On her way out to meet a blind date one evening Alix stumbles onto a stranger on the brink of death in an alleyway, having mixed too much alcohol with an overdose of drugs. Using her professional training to assess and then respond to the emergency she calls for an ambulance and is relieved to learn later that the patient, Joe, has survived his transfer to hospital.
Alix recognises something special in the friend accompanying Joe, Smith Reid, and hesitates for only a split second before accepting an invitation from him to dinner as his way of thanking her for her help. After a pleasant meal they agree to meet again for a full day out in the city.
The pair’s budding relationship is complicated, however, by the constant dropping in and equally rapid vanishing of Alix’s partner, entrepreneurial airline owner Dylan Cole. Alix and Dylan’s romance had exploded three years earlier after they met by chance in a favourite restaurant.
Now, Alix is never entirely sure when Dylan will let himself into their apartment, appearing without notice and then departing just as quickly, leaving her alone again in the bed they share part time. Moving forward with Smith is impossible while Dylan remains in her life, yet Alix is certainly far from ready to have him leave.
Told in chapters from the perspectives of the three central players – Alix, Dylan and Smith – Marni Mann’s novel unfolds over a roughly three-year period as the story moves back and forth skilfully at a comfortably engaging, entertaining pace that never loses its way despite the frequent back-and-forth time shifts.