Fighting the Pull by Kristen Ashley
What’s it About?
Hale Wheeler is a billionaire using his money to change the world for the better. Elsa Cohen is married to her career as a celebrity journalist, but she wants love, marriage, children, and Hale certainly doesn’t. They go head-to-head, both denying why there are fireworks every time they meet — is it hate or love?
For celebrity journalist Elsa Cohen, an exclusive interview with billionaire Hale Wheeler would put her on the map. The only issue? They can’t stand each other and have been dodging the interview for ages.
Hale is infuriating but so, so attractive. And Elsa can’t help but fight the pull she feels whenever they’re facing off in an argument. And much to her surprise, neither can Hale. Fans of enemies-to-lovers stories like The Hating Game and Red, White & Royal Blue won’t be able to resist Kristen Ashley’s newest addition to the River Rain series, Fighting the Pull.
Fake-Dating and Surprising Revelations
Hale Wheeler has billions of dollars to his name, celebrity family members, and a soft spot for philanthropy and making tangible changes in the name of equality. His late father died, leaving his company, properties and billions to Hale. So every day Hale sits in on meetings, delegates to his assistant, attends events, and certainly has no time for anything that isn’t work.
Elsa Cohen is a celebrity journalist who has become a bit of a celebrity herself for her coverage of the rich and famous. Her own moral code is simple — keep it classy, and stay away from gossip or anything that could damage her reputation as a journalist. She’s trying to build a new name for herself by covering the kinds of stories that matter. All she needs is one interview with a big-time celebrity…
But Hale doesn’t quite trust Elsa’s profession — someone who makes a living off of celebrity news and gossip, and once shared both a damaging interview with his mother and a scandalous picture of his friend is not someone he wants to spill his secrets to. He dislikes her as much as she dislikes him.
So when Hale agrees to one interview with Elsa, she readies her questions for the moment that will change her life — in more ways than one. As they share a couch and make conversation for the camera, Elsa is faced with his on-screen ease, his ability to skirt around personal questions, and a major revelation — for her, at least.
Hale asserts that isn’t interested in marriage, kids, or any kind of relationship. Like her, Hale is invested in his work, but he doesn’t imagine a future where he’ll be settling down. And this throws Elsa off her rhythm when she realizes, against her better judgment, that she has a crush on Hale; the rude, entitled, playboy billionaire, Hale.
To make matters worse (or better, for the reader), Felicity “Fliss” Jones, Elsa’s best friend and makeup artist, has tasked Hale with being Elsa’s fake boyfriend at her family dinner after the interview. But when Hale takes his role as “boyfriend” seriously, standing up for Elsa against her critical family, they find themselves spending the evening at a restaurant, actually getting to know each other, and the night ends in a kiss. Maybe they don’t hate each other after all … or do they?
Tackles the Complexity of Relationships
From fake dating to miscommunication, and an enemies-to-lovers plot to die for, this trope-tastic read is perfect for anybody craving an angsty romance with an unbearable amount of sexual tension and plenty of heartfelt moments, too.
Kristen Ashley knows how to write romance — as evidenced by her backlog of over 80 novels — but what she does best is the emotion, the drama, and the tough stuff. What I mean by that is Fighting the Pull dives into relationships beyond the romantic. It explores the way Hale and Elsa’s parents’ strained relationships shape their own, how siblings can be complete opposites, how friends and coworkers and strangers all have their own lives beyond the surface level.
Elsa hasn’t dated since high school and has always secretly hoped her mismatched parents would break up. Hale never got over his parents’ divorce and is not ready to let his guard down in front of someone he just met. The two must learn what it means to communicate, to be in a relationship, and to be truly vulnerable in order to heal.
Tension and Real-Life Themes
Even if you haven’t read the other River Rain novels, Fighting the Pull is still a great place to jump in, since this romance is powerful enough to stand on its own. The romance and suspense that circle the other members of Hale’s family are told in the earlier novels of this binge-able series.
With insight into the harsh reality of celebrity life, the culture of fat-shaming, biological versus chosen family, being raised Jewish, and numerous other refreshing topics, Kristen Ashley has crafted a novel that’s hard to put down. You’ll be up at all hours of the night, waiting for Elsa and Hale to finally give in to their attraction, but also hoping it takes them forever so Fighting the Pull can go on for that much longer.
Publish Date: 9/12/2023
Author: Kristen Ashley
Page Count: 376 pages
Publisher: Blue Box Press