In this third and final installment of the Gravity series, Bowen gives us Stella Lazarus and Bear Barry. Anyone who’s read the second book will already know these characters because Stella is Hank’s sister and Bear is his best friend who has stuck around while Hank’s adjusting to his new life in a wheelchair. This book runs in parallel to book 2.
Stella’s cool—she’s a successful snowboarder, competing on the circuit with a few sponsorships, even though they don’t quite cover all her expenses. The Lazaruses are well-off, though, so she’s still out there. She wins a competition just after the book opens and is really happy. Bear is a fellow snowboarder but his career seems to be taking a nosedive—just as Stella’s winning, he’s being told that he’s being dropped from the tour. He’s pretty devastated but tries to keep his spirits up for Stella. Hank goes back to Vermont that night and leaves Stella and Bear to party.
Stella and Bear both have good reasons for getting their drinking on, and they do just that. The only catch is that they each have long had the hots for each other, even though Stella thinks Bear isn’t interested and Bear thinks she’s off-limits as his best friend’s little sister. However, the drinking muddies the water a bit and they end up having a whole lot of fun in the fancy suite Hank left for Stella to use.
But the morning brings the horrible news about Hank’s accident. They fly to Vermont immediately, their tryst sort of forgotten (but not really, of course) over the next few days. But then Stella tries to talk to him about it and he pulls the classic “just sex” excuse. They start avoiding each other even though living and working in the same town/space means that takes some real effort.
But they’ve both got other things to worry about. For one thing, Hank. But as Hank gets himself sorted out, Stella’s frustrated by her parents, who are refusing to continue to fund her career and instead expect her to work for their nonprofit. And Bear’s career is over so he needs a new one. He has an interest in filmmaking and a talent for camera work, and he strives to turn that into something that can sustain him. On the personal front, Bear also has some growing to do. He can’t seem to say the right thing—sometimes he can’t say anything at all. He’s also got to learn some self-respect along the way in order to realize that he can, actually, be with Stella.
This is another winner from Bowen, even if it doesn’t dig as deep as some of her later books do. It’s still really entertaining and has several good and long love scenes. It’s a must for any Bowen fan and especially if you’ve read Gravity #2.