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A Love Triangle with More Steam Than a Steamroller

Crunching Her Numbers is the debut novel of the investment-manager-turned-author Mia Sivan, and the first thing you feel after finishing this book is the wish to read her upcoming books. When you see her Goodreads page you know stories of more women of Tel Aviv are coming in - Analysing Her Assets and In Her Good Books.

But, back to Crunching Her Numbers: this is a story set in the gorgeous city of Tel Aviv. The author’s words paint a picture so scenic that you feel like you are actually in this lovely Israeli city, even though you may never have visited before. The cityscape is a big part of the narrative: this keeps the story grounded in reality rather than jumping from one bedroom to another as, sadly, many stories in the genre do.

The protagonist of the story is Raquel ‘Kelly’ Yuchtman – a single, successful, beautiful, tall and strongminded investment manager in one of the medium sized investment companies in Tel Aviv – Cohn’s Investments. Her masseuse Slava is a young ex-military Russian immigrant who walks straight out of a massage porno, it seems. But Slava is a human being, and his heart is in the right place, too. So, even though Kelly’s relation with Slava begins as a booty call, feelings, when they develop, do appear real.

Then, to complete the triangle, we have ‘Sexy PI’ (this is the name Kelly has given to his phone number on her mobile) – Ilan. Ilan is a complex character. A professional Private Investigator, a divorcee with kids and a Dom.

Kelly and Ilan work on a case and both gradually fall for each other. As their relationship develops a flavour of BDSM, we see the clear anguish of internal struggle that Kelly deals with. Being a Sub is not Kelly’s cup of tea, but gradually she discovers that she liked it. And it was because of how Ilan eased her into it; lubed and lathered; hot and bothered.

While Kelly and Ilan are mixing work with pleasure, Slava is the one who Kelly can trust to always make her laugh. This triangle ultimately resolves into an unexpected conclusion which is fitting and leaves us wanting to know more about these characters’ version of happily ever after.

Now, first things first. This is not a book about BDSM – but whatever part BDSM plays in the story is well flushed out. This new Dom-Sub relationship is used not simply as an act of sex but as a life altering event. Which it ought to be.

This book isn’t strictly erotica, although there is sex aplenty and explicit.

This book is a romance novel set with a backdrop of investment banking: from mutual funds to family funds – frauds and scams, everything has place in this book. Still the author manages to avoid getting too technical with the market jargon while maintaining the workplace dynamics of the characters.

I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed the fluidity of the prose here. The book is a heavy read, with more than 6 hours of read time. But I never felt the need, over the several sittings it took me to finish the book, to skim through the paragraphs or skip pages.

When the hot stuff is on, it is ON. While either Slava or Ilan is crunching Kelly’s numbers, the reader will either feel the warm tenderness of lovemaking or a totally red-hot passionate fornication or the surprise of discovering the amount of care that goes into a Dom-Sub relationship!

The author has evidently put a lot of care in defining the character of Kelly. She is not a run of the mill superwoman: uncompromising and proud to a fault. Kelly as a character is someone to look up to and yet, a friendly and compassionate character whom anyone would be lucky to have by their side (or under them, or over them). Till the very end of the book there never was a moment when Kelly was weak or needed saving. Even at her lowest point in life, Kelly was strong enough to pull herself back together.

Ilan’s character has a rich development. His charm doesn’t simply come from being a billionaire with six-pack abs and a hunger no woman could fulfil…Ilan is a well written character whom you can not simply love or hate, nor ignore nor even summarise in a few words.

Slava, in contrast, is the simplest of the characters. And with his background and back story, he is Kelly’s anchor, her hero that doesn’t need to compare size to be the bigger man. He knows and accepts his place. And is rewarded for it.

I got this book for free when it was on sale on Amazon as a part of a Kindle promotion, but the review is in no way sponsored. Overall, Crunching Her Numbers is a great piece of storytelling, a book I wouldn’t have minded spending my bucks on.

I recommend this to any adult reader who want something more than just erotica and can digest some not-so-well-known aspects of BDSM.

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