“You’re pretty, for a fat girl.” That’s nothing Claire Howard hasn’t heard before, and there’s part of her that doesn’t care, that thinks it’s okay to love herself just the way she is. Then there’s that other voice in her head, the one that plays on a constant loop that gets louder whenever people scrutinize her dinner order, snicker when she needs a belt extender on a plane, and outright laugh when they see her with her the kind of man they don’t think fat girls deserve. It reminds her that existing while fat is the worst thing in the world. It’s worse than being ignorant, bigoted or cruel-at least according to society’s standards. Even when she has the attentions of two men who are the embodiment of fantasy. But it’s not their love that matters, it’s her own. Fat is a brand that’s been seared into every aspect of her life-even her heart. Can Claire love herself enough to reach past the labels for her own happiness?
“You’re a woman who is comfortable in her own sexuality. That necessarily means you must be labeled, categorized and filed away for everyone’s safety.”
Rebecca “Bex” Foxworth likes that description of herself. It makes her sound strong, dangerous, and powerful—like she’s standing against some grand injustice by using her body as she sees fit. That’s how her friend Claire Howard sees her and if Claire has taught her anything, it’s that labels are defined by the people who wear them, and not the other way around.
But SLUT is more than a label to Bex: it’s her armor. It protects her from ever having to share her true self. The loop in her head tells her she’s innately flawed and wholly unworthy. Why else would her parents insist she go under the knife for a new nose, a new body, and plastic perfection?
That’s something Thornton Henry Edgeleaf would never understand. Thornton is perfect, in every way—handsome, worldly, passionate—with just one unforgivable flaw: he’s utterly sincere. It makes Bex want to run screaming, back into the familiar, indifferent arms of men who won’t fail to dismiss and mistreat her. But nothing’s as easy as it used to be…