A Pretty Woman tale turns toxic and deadly in this provocative thriller of sex, obsession, and murder from Robyn Harding, the “master of domestic suspense” (Kathleen Barber) and the USA TODAY bestselling author of The Party and Her Pretty Face.
Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy—a wealthy, older man who will pay her for dates and even give her a monthly allowance? Lots of girls do it, Nat learns. All that’s required is to look pretty and hang on his every word. Sexual favors are optional.
Though more than thirty years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate, and within a month, they are madly in love. At least, Nat is…Gabe already has a family, whom he has no intention of leaving.
So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. But Gabe’s not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession, and, when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment, murder.
Emotionally powerful and packed with page-turning suspense, The Arrangement delves into the sordid, all-too-real world of shadowy relationships between wealthy, powerful men and the young women who are caught in their web.
The Arrangement is a dark tale in the vein of Pretty Woman with a Fatal Attraction twist. Nat is an art student in college, who is barely scraping by financially. She loses her job and needs money fast, so her friend introduces her to the world of Sugar Daddies. Basically, she would be paid arm candy for powerful men. This was perfect for her because she didn't want any kind of relationship with anyone, so how hard could it be?
I won't go super into detail because I don't want to spoil the end, but it is obvious by the synopsis that lines were blurred and things did not go as Nat planned. Gabe lied about multiple aspects of his life to Nat - he was divorced, blah blah blah. Nat finds out and spirals so out of control that she targets Gabe's daughter to be closer to him. The suspense from the point that Gabe ends his and Nat's arrangement to the end of the novel was beautifully written. Nat's unpredictable personality kept me from guessing what was going to happen and how things would end.
I loved Harding's writing style. She didn't focus specifically on the relationship between Nat and Gabe in the sense of a romance. We got to see both Nat and Gabe's points of view, so there wasn't a need to spend the time building up something false or believable. She also didn't spend pages upon pages describing every detail, letting the reader fill in the blanks how they saw fit. My only disappointment was that I feel like she could have gotten more into Gabe's mind. He genuinely was a predator, and I don't feel like that came across as much as it should have.
All in all, it was a fast-paced story that kept me rapt with suspense until the very satisfying end.
Grab a copy here.