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The Mathematics of Change 

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The aching and terrible excitement of Carol's affair with her graduate school professor has settled, fifteen years later, into the frustrated complacency of faculty wife responsibilities and motherhood. Carol wants more, but can't have more. She can't have as much, surely, as her best friend, the painfully enigmatic Mitch, who keeps their long-ago erotic relationship irritatingly compartmentalized and spends too much time in her secret lair of an engineering lab. She can't have what the gorgeous new faculty member Abby has -- a publishing career, slinky dresses, and a way of prying out vulnerable and damaging confessions from even causal acquaintances. Mitch knows Carol wants more, but she also knows it can't come from her. She's grappling with the terror that comes from knowing she could have everything. Her lab is on the verge of a breakthrough, and then there's Reginald: warm, funny, British, impossibly long-distance, compelling. Except, she's not really talking to Reginald, unless she can't help it. Meanwhile, Carol is talking to her too much and desperately yanking their past out of the mothballs, and Abby's primary scholarship seems to be predatory and tempting advances. Mitch could have more than she ever thought possible, but she can't work out the math.

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