Mallory is not the best at life. She’s frequently late to work and struggles with face-to-face interaction, preferring to spend her time online. These are significant problems for a rental agent.
With her boss running out of patience, Mallory has to do everything she can to impress her latest client – the beautiful, sophisticated Corinne. As she summons previously-untouched reserves of professionalism, Mallory begins to suspect that a beautiful rental property is not the only thing Corinne has her eye on. This was not exactly what I was expecting. I thought it was a romance novel, but it’s actually a short story (or an underweight novella) that is at least half erotica. There is romance, of a sort, and the book is not solely focused on sex, but I was a little surprised when I got to what I thought was a few chapters in to the slowly-building tension only to find that it was quite explicit and also there was no more book.
With that caveat in mind, I’d like to stress that I did enjoy those initial sections – I would have perfectly happily kept reading a longer, slower-burn story about those characters. The characterisation is convincing, and the early stages of their relationship are compelling. You agonise with Mallory in her insecurities, and Push Me, Pull Me is one of those rare romances that manages to make flirting work well from the outset without sliding into awkwardness.
And then all of the tension and potential fizzles out as the sex starts. I’m not against erotica per se, but it’s not the same thing as romance – it has different rules and different aims. The focus switches from emotions to actions, the happy ending drops several levels of idealism and finality. It’s a little jarring to start reading one and end up in the other.
As a romance, this book is cut short, failing to live up to the promise of the opening or the genre. I think that’s a shame – I bought fully into the set-up, and I’m still a little disappointed that I didn’t get to read the rest of the romance. I thought it was well-written but truncated and not in the genre it should have been.
I received a copy of this through NetGalley; this has not affected the impartiality of my review.