Stella Lane is a successful and prosperous econometrician in Silicon Valley. She’s obsessed with math and works long hours, but struggles with interpersonal relationships, especially dating men. She also has Asperger’s, so she’s definitely not a typical romance protagonist. Her mother’s desire for grandchildren prompts her to decide she will need to practice having sex in order to be more attractive to potential partners.
Stella hires male escort Michael Larsen for an extended program of practical sexual lessons that are humorous with their dispassionate checklists. There’s an immediate attraction between the pair and yet each thinks that other would not be interested in a real relationship. Stella’s social anxiety makes her feel that someone like Michael would not be interested in her if she wasn’t paying him. Michael is embarrassed by being relatively poor to Stella and carries they weight of his absent father, a philanderer and con artist, who he fears he may be too much like. Over time they expand their arrangement into a pseudo-dating relationship, and have a remarkable level of emotional intimacy, and yet still can’t see the possibility that their love is very real (until the end, of course!).
It’s refreshing to see these characters sort through some very ordinary problems of social anxiety and self-identity. They are both constantly described as being incredibly hot, though, so I guess they’re extraordinary in that way. This book has a lot of lot of sex, but also a lot of talking. It’s very good in dealing with issues of consent in relationship, which alone, makes it worth a read.