Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. the second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. the me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don't regret it.
What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you?
Mel is living the dream. She's a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.
I knew within minutes of meeting him I was in deep, deep trouble. The power of my attraction to him blindsided me. For well over a decade I’d seen other men as nothing more than moving shadows, their features indistinct. But the intensity of his coffee-coloured eyes was impossible to ignore.
When he inadvertently confessed he found me beautiful, I felt the guilty pleasure of my stomach sink. His baffling desire for me made it a struggle to maintain my composure. It took all my self-control not to physically respond to him in the way my body yearned to, and that terrified me.
It was his eyes that undid me. Nobody had ever stared into me the way he did, as if he was hungry for me. And I craved him strongly in return.
I was shamefully turned on by how young he was. There was a raw masculine edge to his pale unshaven appearance. His tall, taut and lean body, with wild, curly brown hair that fell over his eyes when he looked down, was so incredibly sexy.
I’d never felt this physical about a man in my life, including Adam. And Adam was no bridge troll. Any woman with a heartbeat could see how handsome Adam was. He was built like a Greek god, thanks to his rigorous daily early morning routine of running, surfing and weight training. His perpetual tan contrasted with his sparkling light blue eyes, his smile was always wide and welcoming, and his wavy blond hair, only just beginning to be speckled with grey.
Adam was the object of much swooning from the staff at the hospital where he worked, mothers at our children’s schools, and our friends alike. His wealth and charming personality didn’t hurt him in that department either.
I was considered by many far too lucky to have landed him, I was sure. I definitely thought he looked great, especially when I compared him to my friend’s husbands of a similar age who had succumbed to middle age with balding heads and beer bellies. Occasionally, Adam would step out of the shower and it would make me mildly excited, but those moments were few and far between.
Although I was married to an Adonis, Greek gods had never been my type. On the flight, I had discovered what my type very much was.
It wasn’t just physically that Matt was the catalyst for my analysing Adam like this.. He was so intense! I loved that. And it made me wish Adam was that intense.
It never ceased to amaze me how serious Adam was when it came to work and sport. At home his constantly relaxed attitude infuriated me no end. It was something I’d initially found charming about him; his easy jokey manner, so different from my own. And he was a clown who made me laugh a lot. But somewhere on the flight I realised that I wanted a side serve of passion with the pleasant.
It was as if the blinkers were suddenly off and I realised I didn’t want my husband the way I wanted a stranger on a plane.
Adam was loud, extroverted, funny and immensely popular, typical of someone so affable. He was gregarious without being obnoxious. Adam was Mr Likeable. His unshakeable self-assurance and magnetism drew people to him. He had more friends than he had time to spend with them. And he was always in a good mood around me or anybody else. Always. If something played on his mind, he would disappear for a few hours to play golf on his own or go run it out in the soft sand, and then come home again, as smiley as ever. Always perfect.
On occasion it drove me crazy, this perennial cheerfulness of his. But whenever I complained about how unnatural it was, he told me to be grateful I wasn’t married to a grumpy old bastard. And I would laugh and realise he was right. Until now.
Matt had shown more hurt, anger and frustration in a few hours than I’d seen from Adam in years. And that turned me on more than anything. Everything about Matt that was different to Adam turned me on. Whereas Adam managed to make new friends going to the shops for milk, Matt had admitted he felt misunderstood by most people he met and that, through choice, he could count his friends on one hand. That turned me on.
Even their voices were different. Adam had a deep and booming baritone with a reassuring smoothness to it. The perfect doctor’s voice. Matt’s voice was low and husky, bordering on raspy. He sounded as though he had either been partying too hard or smoking too many cigarettes. It was the sexiest voice I’d ever heard.
That a man so dramatically different from my husband elicited such desire from me was wrong. Of course I knew that. But somewhere mid-air between Perth and Melbourne I was honest with myself about my feelings for Adam for the first time. I had experienced niggles of doubt through the years, and sometimes those niggles were annoyingly loud, but I had successfully shut them down. Adam’s perfect, I would tell myself. He’s perfect. Be grateful. And that had worked until I met Matt.
Tess Woods is a health professional who lives in Perth, Australia with one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Love at First Flight is her first novel.
When she isn't working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch.