Books have always been my escape. When I was a kid, I’d stay up way too late and drift into worlds that seemed so much richer and more interesting than my own. When I grew up and could have been doing stuff like wearing crop tops and smoking cloves as a form of rebellion, I stuck with prose. Sure, frenching a dude with a soul patch at some all-ages club is edgy, but it lacked the appeal of all the heaving-breasts and turgid members awaiting me in the romance novels upon which I glutted myself.
Even though I’m now well past the legal drinking age, I’m far more likely to drown my sorrows in the pages of a book than I am in a bucket of red wine (though I’ll be real, I have been known to combine the two).
When my bedfellow Dom and I decided to part ways last week, I needed a hardcore escape. I found it in the firm-but-tender embrace of the Walker Security series by Lisa Renee Jones. Deep Under, the fourth book, is the cure for all that ails you — and because of my breakup, I’m living, breathing proof.
Here’s how it saved me after my breakup:
1. It’s like indulging in a pure, delicious escapist treat — with zero calories.
I dove into this book when most women would be downing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and belting along to “All By Myself,” and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been known to hurl a boring book across the room (sorry, Henry James), but I kept my grip on this one. From the first moments of meeting Myla at her new job, I knew all bets were off. The ice cream could wait.
2. I ached for the female protagonist.
Jones does this totally brilliant thing with this tome. We meet Myla on a day much like any other, remarkable only because she’s starting a new job. But when we meet her again, a year has passed, and she’s now the proverbial kept woman of a man we knew she was terrified of mere pages before.
Myla’s like a modern-day Lauren Bacall character ripped from film noir. She’s smart and beautiful and in desperate need of help.
3. It taught me what I really want(need?)in a man.
What is sexier than love at first sight? Love BEFORE first sight. The instant Kyle gets a glimpse of Myla on some grainy security footage, he’s all in. After eight months of dating, I couldn’t even get my dude to admit he was my boyfriend.
God? It’s Becca. I’d like a Kyle, please?
4. The drama made my breakup seem like nada.
All Myla wanted was to earn some cash at her new job in the hopes of one day pursuing her dreams. Instead, she winds up trapped in a terrifying relationship with a dude who runs an equally terrifying drug cartel.
Oh, what’s that you say, Becca? You and your dude decided to go your separate ways? Cool.
5. I was able to enjoy an alpha men fantasy for a change (with no judgment).
In life, we are taught to find emotionally available, actualized dudes who will help us talk through our woes and respect us as equal partners. But in books like this one, we can indulge in our basic instincts and fantasize about a tough-as-nails alpha male dominating the scene (and also us).
6. This ain’t your mama’s romance novel — it kept me distracted when my life was falling apart.
When I first got into reading romance novels, I had to pilfer them from my mother or the library of oversized print books kept by the nuns at my convent school. These were mostly regency era books about manners and corsets and discreet-if-passionate boning. Deep Under is equal parts suspense AND sexy times. It’s modern romance at its absolute best.
7. These characters aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
You know that feeling of utter despair when you finish a book you love? Like, you’d give anything to jump back into those characters’ lives, but you aren’t ready to repeat your read just yet? WELL FRET NOT MY LOVE CHILDREN. The Walker Brothers story is. An. Entire. Series. It’s like a bag of Dove chocolates you can eat in one sitting (without worrying about your ass expanding).
Nothing sticks it to your ex after a breakup more than defying the norms and actually dropping an lb or two.