The Arrangement was a beautifully told character driven love story filled with emotion, some spectacular sexy times and most of all a whole lot of love. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures
Carter Haywood lives for the weekends—specifically the one weekend every month when he escapes real life, with all the pressures of work and caring for his special needs brother, to do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants. Sex is only a release; he’s not looking for love, a relationship or even a second night with the same man, until he walks into a bar and finds someone who makes leaving it all behind impossible. After one incredibly passionate encounter, he breaks his rule and goes back. He needs to see this man again. And again.Damaged goods. That’s all Reed Kincaide sees and hears when he looks in the mirror. Anxiety and ADHD define his life and he’s learned to keep people at a distance, never letting them get close enough to know who he really is. When Carter proposes a monthly weekend of sex without strings, it’s the ideal arrangement for him. Or so he thinks. Every month, leaving Carter proves to be more and more difficult. It’s not only the intensely hot sex they have in their hotel suite; Reed wonders about the secret life Carter refuses to share.
As months pass and they grow closer Reed finds himself falling for Carter, but he needs more than hurried hugs and farewell kisses. He wants it all. Letting Reed into his carefully constructed family life could upset Carter’s whole world, but it might be the risk he’s finally willing to take, if it means keeping Reed. Once bodies are engaged, the heart is sure to follow, and Carter and Reed discover that holding on to each other is the first step in letting go of the past.
Review copy provided for an honest review
I truly appreciate authors who bring real life situations into their books without being overly preachy about them and who understand that learning disabilities and mental health issues don’t go away when you become an adult. I may be a little touchy about this subject because of personal experiences within my family, but the thing is there are many, many adults living and working with the learning disabilities and mental health issues they’ve had all of their lives. Books like The Arrangement bring those complications of life to the forefront, they help people understand what it is like and they hopefully give people with those issues a character they can identify with and know they are not alone. In addition The Arrangement shows that anyone, no matter their difficulties, deserves kindness, respect and love and in the end that’s what makes this book so special.
On the surface Carter Haywood is a hard man; he’s driven, successful and determined to do the best job he can for his clients, but Carter is also the guardian to his 11 year old step-brother who has physical and learning delays and emotional issues. For the last three years Carter has taken care of Jackson (Jacks) and given him the best therapy, schools and care he can. Carter wants Jackson to feel safe and loved something he didn’t have from their mother and his absent father. One weekend a month, Carter leaves Jacks in the care of their neighbor and good friend and goes into the city to blow off steam and indulge in some meaningless sex with someone he knows he’ll never see again. Carter’s life experiences have taught him that he doesn’t want or need the complications that come with a relationship but when he takes Reed back to his hotel with him for one night he doesn’t realize that his life will be forever changed.
I’m going to admit that the first couple of times Carter’s attitude and brashness turned me off and I kind of wanted to slap some sense into him. Part of that was because it was so evident that Reed was hurt by Carter’s actions and didn’t deal well with them and I hurt for him. These two men enter into an arrangement where once a month they will spend the weekend together and that’s it; no phone calls, texts, contact of any sort outside of the weekend and no “getting to know you chats.” Upfront it was clear this was sex only until Reed decided he wanted more and pushed for them spending time during the weekend outside the walls of Carter’s hotel suite. I loved these outings in which we began to see a bit of Carter’s walls come tumbling down, but we also began to see how even little things would ramp up Reed’s anxiety. To be honest, they were both walking through landmines because they knew nothing about each other and so when things blew up, they blew up pretty spectacularly. Both of these men are dealing with abandonment issues along with everything else in their lives and while it took some time they managed to move into something more than “just sex” and eventually into a full fledged relationship. I liked that it took time for them to get there that they had to lay all of their baggage at each other’s feet and hope the other one could handle it and I appreciated the fact that they had to work to make things right between them. This wasn’t an easy romance, when two people have multiple issues and complicated lives you can’t expect it to be easy but I loved that they didn’t give up; sure they had moments where one or the other doubted but they always seemed to know when they needed to make a gesture to let the other one know they wanted to work towards something more.
The Arrangement was a beautifully told character driven love story filled with emotion, some spectacular sexy times and most of all a whole lot of love. This is a romance you do not want to miss!
It wasn’t the same standard room this time, Reed noticed. Carter had a suite, and Reed hadn’t ever been in a hotel room quite as large or luxurious. The outer room boasted a dining table with four chairs, a credenza with a flat-screen television, a large, comfortable-looking sofa, and two club chairs. A low light glowed from an interior room, which Reed assumed to be the bedroom. His stomach clenched tightly in response.“Uh, sure. I wasn’t working the bar, just doing some of the office work for Vernon, so he didn’t care if I left.” Still holding on to his waist, Carter walked him over to the sofa where Reed dropped his knapsack and duffel bag, then managed to break Carter’s hold on him so he could remove his jacket. On the pretense of looking around the room, Reed walked around a bit before halting by the wall of windows overlooking the congested streets of Times Square.
“It’s bizarre, you know?” He touched the cool pane of glass. “There’s so many separate worlds going on all over the city. We’re in this secluded bubble up here where we don’t even hear the sound of the traffic. Anything could happen, and no one would realize it; love, death, every day it all goes on around us and we remain oblivious.”
He sensed Carter behind him. “That’s very philosophical. Is that what you’re studying—philosophy?”
The disbelief in Carter’s voice caused Reed to smile, but he kept his gaze fixed on the glittering light show outside the window instead of turning around to meet Carter’s eyes. “No, I’m studying hospitality management. I’d like to eventually manage my own restaurant or a hotel.”
“Good. For a moment I thought you were wasting your tuition money on nonsense. You’ll never make any money studying that crap. It’s not like you can open up a philosophy store and spend your day spouting all that bullshit to people.”
Strangely enough, Carter’s obvious disdain quieted Reed’s nerves. “I don’t know; I could see myself sitting in a nice quiet space, talking to people about their lives, thinking deep thoughts.”
“Oh yeah?” Carter pressed him against the window, covering Reed with his body. He’d forgotten Carter had been naked when he entered, and Reed could feel the thrust of his cock against his ass. “Maybe you have something there ’cause I like it when you get deep.” Carter kissed behind his ear, sending shivers down Reed’s spine. “Deep inside me.”
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, my characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.