The Arrangement

The Arrangement

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Overview

A Pretty Woman tale turns toxic and deadly in this provocative and riveting 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. She begins drinking heavily and stalking him: watching him at work, spying on his wife, even befriending his daughter, who is not much younger than she is. But when a body is found near Gabe’s posh Upper East Side apartment and the police tie her to the murder weapon, she can’t help but think she must have gone too far—she just can’t remember anything that happened that night.

Emotionally powerful and packed with page-turning suspense, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781508280187
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Amanda Dolan is a professional actor in the MFA program at Brown University. Her credits include Richard III, Macbeth, Falsettos, The Rocky Horror Show, Hair, and The Who’s Tommy.



Robyn Harding’s novels include The Party and Her Pretty Face, and she has written and executive produced an independent film. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and two children.

Read an Excerpt

The Arrangement


  • The first thing Nat noticed when she awoke was the taste in her mouth: metallic, burnt, chemical. Jesus . . . What had she drunk last night? The pounding in her head answered: too much. She reached for the glass of water sitting on the floor next to her mattress. The tepid liquid soothed her parched throat but made her stomach churn and roll. She flopped back down, willing the nausea to abate. She didn’t want to vomit into her overflowing wastebasket. And she didn’t want to stumble through the apartment to the tiny bathroom she shared with her two roommates. Her insides were just starting to settle when she noticed Miguel, sprawled on his back, snoring softly beside her.

    Shit.

    Nat must have been really wasted to have brought her coworker home. Again. She had made a vow not to hook up with Miguel anymore. Not because he wasn’t sweet, and funny, and hot—he was. But he was also a little in love with her, and she didn’t want that to turn into a lot in love with her. They were just twenty-one, both students who worked at the same bar. A relationship with Miguel would be complicated, was bound to get messy. Nat had already been involved in one toxic, twisted, ultimately catastrophic relationship. She wasn’t going to do complicated and messy again.

    She lay there, for a moment, observing her sleeping partner. Next to Miguel’s warm, brown back, Nat’s naked body looked fish-belly pale. Her father’s Gaelic genes, the dismal winter weather, and her poor diet were to blame. When Nat was properly nourished and getting adequate sunshine, her skin was peaches and cream, in pleasing contrast to her thick dark hair. When she was perpetually bundled in a winter coat, hat, and scarf, subsisting on packaged ramen and frozen pierogies, her pallor became ghostly, her hair a flat, mousy brown. She needed sunshine, citrus fruit, and protein. But Mother Nature, and her bank account, were conspiring against her.

    The third thing she noticed that morning—after the toxic taste in her mouth, the pounding in her head, and the bartender in her bed—was the noise from the kitchen. A cupboard door banged aggressively. Pots and pans crashed together as they were dropped into the sink. Her roommates were pissed about something and were relaying it in their usual passive-aggressive manner.

    “I’m so fucking over this.”

    The muffled voice belonged to Mara, an angular, ginger-haired NYU student. She was getting her master’s in economics. Or was it political science? Something dry, dull, cerebral—at least to an art student like Nat. Mara was intense and easily irritated and borderline OCD. What normal college student organized her canned goods by expiration date? Cleaned the fridge and sink twice a week with a bleach solution? Carried her toiletries back and forth from her bedroom to the bathroom, because, if left there, they’d be contaminated, with . . . what? Mildew? Urine? Feces?

    “You were right,” Toni grumbled, loud enough for Nat to hear, “we shouldn’t have let an artist move in with us.” The jab smarted. Toni and Nat had been friendly when Nat first rented the spare room in the Bushwick apartment, a couple years ago. Unlike Mara, Toni was funny, messy, normal. Nat had felt an instant affinity for the girl with the bright smile, dark skin, and thick mass of braided hair. The pair had stayed up late drinking wine on a few occasions, had bonded over their love of salacious reality television and their adulation of Mariah Carey. But they’d grown apart recently. Toni was a fourth-year nursing student now, who kept long and grueling hours. Apparently, she no longer had time for trash TV. Or a sense of humor.

    There was another bang, a jar being slammed onto the countertop, and more cursing from one of the roomies. Nat knew she had to get up, had to apologize, had to make things right. The rent for her tiny bedroom in the rundown apartment was straining her budget, and she was already on unofficial probation after breaking Mara’s Crock-Pot. A note had been slipped under her door after she’d attempted to cook a frozen pot roast and cracked the ceramic vessel.

    If you can’t respect my appliances and use them as per instructions, I’m going to have to reconsider your tenancy.

    Mara’s name was on the lease, which gave her the power to choose her roommates. It was obvious she wanted rid of the messy, hard-partying art student in the third bedroom. Nat wasn’t even sure what she had done to anger them this time, but she hoped it wouldn’t constitute a second strike. Her Bushwick home was affordable (just), safe (relatively), and accessible (forty-two minutes by subway) to the Manhattan campus of the School of Visual Arts. Nat had to get out there and kiss some roommate ass.

    Ignoring her throbbing head and roiling belly, she dragged herself out of bed. Miguel didn’t stir. How could he sleep through the ruckus? Nat’s yellowing terry-cloth robe hung from a hook on the door, and she grabbed it, wrapping the musty garment around her. She noted then that she was still wearing panties. Maybe she and Miguel hadn’t had sex? She felt disgusted with herself for not remembering. The night’s events were hazy, blurry, jumbled. She’d gone to her job at Donnelly’s bar after her illustration class. Her lover had slipped her a few shots of vodka to get her through her waitressing shift. After closing, they’d shared a bottle of wine, and maybe a few Paralyzers. Or had they been White Russians? She definitely had to cut back on her drinking.

    She stumbled into the kitchen and spotted the offending mess. A couple of pots were stacked in the sink. An open jar of tomato sauce, its contents dripping down the side, sat in a red ring on the table. It came to her in a flash of remembrance: pasta. She and Miguel had been hungry when they got home. Nat had made them rigatoni with jarred marinara. They’d sat at the tiny kitchen table and ate. And then Miguel was touching her, and kissing her, and they’d ended up in bed. Clearly, they had not halted their foreplay to wash the dishes.

    “Sorry, guys. I’ll clean this up.”

    Mara whirled around, her ubiquitous bleach spray in hand. “You should have cleaned up last night.”

    “I know. I screwed up.”

    Toni, pouring coffee from a French press into a chipped mug, didn’t look up. “If you’re hungry at four A.M., go to a diner.”

    Nat remembered Miguel’s suggestion to that effect. But she barely had enough money to cover her next tuition installment, and it wasn’t looking good for her rent. Even a burger would have broken the budget. Miguel would have paid, she knew, but his finances had to be tight, too. She hadn’t wanted to feel beholden to him, so she had offered to cook. And then, they’d ended up in bed.

    “Toni and I aren’t comfortable with all the guys you’ve been bringing home,” Mara said, attacking the tomato sauce on the table as if she were cleaning up a chemical spill.

    Nat felt her cheeks flush, a combination of humiliation and anger. All the guys? She could count on one hand the number of men she’d brought home since she’d been living there. Nat was not promiscuous; she was twenty-one. And her roommates weren’t exactly virgins. Mara had had a fling with one of her TAs just last year. And Toni used to have noisy sex with a hot computer science student, back when she drank wine and watched The Bachelor, and laughed, on occasion. Both her roommates needed to lighten up, probably needed to get laid.

    Nat kept her voice calm. “I don’t bring home many guys.”

    Toni smirked. “Really? Isn’t there a guy in your bed right now?”

    “No,” Nat lied.

    “We heard his voice last night,” Mara sniped.

    “It’s not what you think,” Nat retorted. “A friend from work walked me home. Friday nights are crazy at the bar, and we were hungry and exhausted, I made us some pasta and invited him to crash.”

    It might have been true. She was still wearing her panties, after all.

    She watched the other women exchange a look. Was it doubt? Skepticism? Or guilt? Yes, that’s what it was. They felt bad for accusing her when they didn’t have all the facts. Nat hammered the nail in.

    “I’d appreciate not being slut-shamed when I was only helping out a colleague.”

    “Sorry,” mumbled Toni, dunking her lips into her coffee.

    Mara kept scrubbing, probably formulating an articulate apology.

    That’s when Miguel walked into the kitchen—rumpled from sleep, hungover, handsome. And stark naked.

    “Is everything okay out here?” he said, hands inadequately covering his crotch. “I heard banging. . . .”

    Nat observed the expression on her roommates’ faces. This time, it could not be misconstrued.

    Validation. And disapproval.

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Arrangement 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
    cloggiedownunder 3 months ago
    The Arrangement is the third novel by Canadian author, Robyn Harding. Twenty-one-year-old Visual Arts student, Natalie Murphy is in trouble: her roommates want her to pay what she owes or they’ll throw her out; the portion of her tuition fees not covered by her scholarship is due; and her bar job barely pays enough for rent, let alone food. How does her fellow student, Ava manage so well? Ava is always well-dressed and groomed, and she seems to have money to spend. When Nat sees Ava’s Chelsea apartment, she’s intrigued. But then Ava reveals her secret: no way, Nat could never do that! Or could she? When Nat meets Gabe Turnmill (via the Sugarbabies website), she’s surprised. He’s quite attractive (for his age), rich (of course!) and he’s really kind to her. She intends to meet for a drink, take her money and draw a line there, but by their third date, she wonders if there is more between them than this financial arrangement. When Gabe offers to make the arrangement more permanent, Nat agrees. No strings. It seems to be working out so well: Nat understands that Gabe’s daughter and his work always come first, although she’s beginning to think he may have feelings for her, which she reciprocates. But from the prologue, the reader knows that something goes horribly wrong: someone has died and Nat has been arrested for murder. With dual narratives from Natalie and Gabriel giving both perspectives, this is such an intriguing look into the world of Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies! The. From the very start, few of the characters are really likeable, so what keeps the pages turning is more a fascination with how things will unravel, and how badly. Certainly, Natalie is a selfish self-centred young woman who manages to rationalise her actions to ease a guilty conscience. Does she deserve what happens to her? Harding’s characters are believable, despite their lack of appeal, and the dialogue is natural; the plot is clever and the red herrings well-placed; if some of the details in the final resolution feel a tiny bit contrived, that can be forgiven for the excellent twist in the tail. Undeniably a page-turner. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Australia.
    Nanna51 6 days ago
    Natalie, a young, starving art student, meets Ava, a fellow student who is living the good life. When Nat explores how Ava is able to do so well in life, she finds out that Ava has a “sugar daddy” and thus has all she needs and more. When Natalie goes on the site to set up her profile to meet someone, she is a little perturbed about the whole thing but resigned that this is the only way out of the hole of debt that she finds herself in. When she meets rich attorney Gabe, Nat locks onto him like sonar on a target. Although Gabe has a wife and daughter, he has not been faithful at all and Natalie is just one in a long series of younger women whom he pursues to satisfy his own needs. The story devolves into a series of twists that are somewhat intriguing and at times very predictable. The plot was moderately interesting, but the fact that ALL of the characters were broken made the book not so great a read for me. I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in them although I looked hard. The Natalie who was a sympathetic character at the beginning becomes a really feisty and deceptive manipulator, not likable at all. Fans of mystery, suspense and thrillers may enjoy this book. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
    Bridgett Deem Nelson 28 days ago
    Welcome to the Sugar Bowl, bishes! I'm just going to come out and say it...this is such a compulsively readable story. I could hardly put it down. There is just something about that sugar daddy/sugar baby relationship which utterly fascinates. Unfortunately, the writing is less than stellar, the characters are lacking in just about every way possible, there is zero chemistry between sugar daddy (Gabe) and sugar baby (Natalie), and if I'm being entirely honest, which I always am in my book reviews, the story line is predictable. I knew about halfway through the book who our murderer and victim were going to be; unfortunately, I was proven correct. Robyn Harding has a great concept here, and she developed a fun, fast-paced novel. Like so many other books I've read recently, this book begins by giving us a glimpse into the future, then takes us back in time so we can witness all the juicy, gory details leading to the underwhelming climax. If you're expecting tawdry, however, you've got the wrong book. While sex is implied, I can't recall any overtly graphic scenes. Trigger warning: Physical violence against women **Thanks to the publisher for my digital ARC. All opinions are my own.
    Denice_L 3 months ago
    I can never understand how some people say a movie is better than a book. There is no way anyone could make this book into a movie and have it more suspenseful or engrossing! The story line is not original, but the story definitely is. Two people make a Arrangement, accepting the costs of the decision and forgetting there are always consequences. As the tension builds you will not be able to stop reading, so make plans to stay up late or get up early.
    Anonymous 3 months ago
    Such a great book! I highly recommend it!
    JReppy 4 months ago
    "The Arrangement" was a good book -- 3.5 stars. I have seen it described as a cross between Pretty Woman and Fatal Attraction -- there is some truth to that, but the book is more complex than that. The main character, Natalie, is a struggling art student in New York who cannot pay the bills and has roommates that are not particularly fond of her behavior/lifestyle. She admits to a fellow student/friend that she is struggling financially and the friend, Ava, suggests getting a "sugar daddy" -- she is a "sugar baby". Natalie is not sure about this idea, but when her financial situation worsens, she takes the plunge. She learns quickly that there is much more involved than she expects when the first "date" does not go well at all. In the acknowledgements section, the author stated that in writing the book, she contacted some actual "sugar babies" to learn about the lifestyle, motivations, etc. I think that the research helped. The set-up and interactions feel realistic, not contrived, as might happen with an author just imaging or inventing this type of transactional relationship. Natalie does meet a "good" "sugar daddy", Gabe and things go well for a while, but her creepy ex-boyfriend stalker from small-town Washington shows up in New York trying to find her, she is "outed" online as a "sugar baby", and her roommates kick her out. Gabe acts as her hero, further solidifying in Natalie's mind that the relationship is more than just "an arrangement." However, when Gabe decides to end "the arrangement", the story becomes dark, as Natalie becomes unbalanced and starts acting more like a stalker (which is ironic considering she had her own stalker), with her mental state worsening as she realizes that Gabe had not been completely honest about his family life and as she goes to extreme lengths to re-establish the relationship, threatening to bring down Gabe if she does not get what she wants. Of course, Gabe is powerful and resourceful and not about to let anyone ruin his life. This results in some rather tragic events. However, the author has some rather interesting twists in the end of the story, reframing who knew what when and where certain people's loyalties truly laid. I received a copy of the e-book via NetGalley.
    Anonymous 4 months ago
    Genre: Mystery & Thrillers Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press Publication Date: July 30, 2019 Mini-Review I would only recommend this book to a starving high school or college girl who is considering entering a sugar daddy/sugar baby relationship because they have seen the movie “Pretty Woman” and believes that film was true to life. The mystery isn’t until the very end of the book. It feels like the author does a one-eighty. Suddenly you are reading a murder-mystery. Other reviewers enjoyed this novel. You may too. But I am surprised that I made it to the last page. I do give the author some credit for researching and interviewing real-life sugar babies. Still, the whole story has a feel of teenage drama, ending with a predictable twist.
    Anonymous 5 months ago
    My first Robyn Harding novel, I have heard very positive things about her novels from many people and they weren't wrong. Great read can't wait to read more from her.
    Nycol 5 months ago
    Engrossing and unputdownable, I devoured The Arrangement by Robyn Harding in 24 hours! Natalie, a struggling art student living in New York City loses her job and becomes a Sugar Baby. Is a girl like Nat ready for the life of a Sugar Baby? Are the Sugar Daddies ready for a girl like Nat? Told from multiple points of view, this book has deceit, murder, sex, and a boatload of mystery that will keep you guessing up to the final page. I love Harding’s writing style. She magically threads a tangled web all while crafting great characters. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
    SammyReadsBooks 5 months ago
    3.5 stars rounded up. Natalie is a struggling art student in Manhattan. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates that she doesn’t get along with, barely able to pay her rent and other bills. She has no money for food and loses her job. She’s desperate. When she notices that her art school classmate has designer clothes and a great apartment in Chelsea, she asks her how. That’s when her friend tells her about being a Sugar Baby. There’s a website where older men or Sugar Daddies will meet younger woman, Sugar Babies, and pay them for dates and other things if they are interested. Although she is skeptical and a little turned off by the idea, Nat decides to just go on a few meet-ups for $500 each so she can pay her bills. Nat meets Gabe through the Sugar Babies website, and they immediately hit it off. Gabe is a corporate lawyer who has a wife and daughter in the Hamptons, but an apartment in the city so it’s easy to make these Sugar Babies believe he’s divorced when in fact he isn’t. He lies to Nat as well and asks her to make their arrangement official – regular dinners and Broadway shows throughout the week and sleepovers, maybe even a getaway. Nat develops feelings for Gabe and believes that he has them for her as well. When he decides to end their arrangement, Nat becomes obsessed with him. She’s will do anything to get him back, even befriend his 18 year old daughter. Things take a turn for the worse when Gabe is murdered and Nat is arrested. She doesn’t remember shooting him in the face, but she was in a downward spiral, drinking out of control, after he ended things. Could she have murdered him? The Arrangement by Robyn Harding is an interesting concept. I didn’t know much about the Sugar Baby lifestyle prior to reading this except what I’ve seen on Law & Order: SVU! I think that I would have liked this book better if the characters weren’t all so unlikable. Nat started off okay. She seemed like any other struggling college kid, but then her character became a complete psycho. Gabe was just an awful person. He was misogynistic and a complete narcissist. He had no care for the Sugar Babies that he paid for. They were another business transaction for him, and he didn’t care if he hurt them or his family at all. I had one other big issue with this book. When using Facebook, if you block someone you can’t see their profile, but Nat was able to see her ex-boyfriend’s profile even though she blocked him. The author should have researched better and hopefully will fix this before the book is released. Overall, I found the story interesting and the author definitely kept me wanting to read more. It was a hard book to put down. I did figure out the big twist, but it didn’t make me want to stop reading. I just wish I felt more for the main characters. Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
    Kaceeey 5 months ago
    If you enjoy a story-line where you love to hate the lead character...this is the perfect read for you! Natalie recently moved across country from the west coast to the bright lights of Broadway. That’s right, New York City! She’s pursuing her dream of becoming an artist and has just been accepted to an Art College in the heart of the city. But it comes at great sacrifice - it means living dollar to dollar. And now, after losing her job and being evicted by her uncaring roommates, Natalie is desperate to make enough money to stay in New York. Just how desperate is she? Enough to become a sugar baby? To find herself a sugar daddy to look after all her expenses? What could possibly go wrong with a well thought-out plan like that? What if it becomes far more complicated than Natalie ever imagined? Leaving one person dead! Oh my gosh! I was absolutely enthralled with this book! Natalie was such a fabulous character! I loved her and was rooting for her. But Wait! Now I loath her and hope she gets what she deserves. Hold on... the tides are about to turn again! You go girl!! My head was spinning. Be prepared! This book is going to take you on a true roller-coaster ride! I only wish the ending would have been on par with the rest of the book. It seemed to come apart at 93%. WHY!!?? The ending was too hurried! As though there was a big rush to wrap things up in the final 7% with a bow on top! NO! I want more!! Until this point it was a five star read. One star knocked off for the wrap up! A fun, crazy buddy read with Susanne! Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Threshold Pocket Books. and Robyn Harding for an ARC to read and review.
    cindyrnet 5 months ago
    Natalie goes to New York. Has trouble paying the bills. Finds out about SUGAR DADDIES. Falls in love. Services no longer needed, she becomes angry....vengeful. Daddy regrets arrangement. Makes plan to erase evidence of said arrangement. Daddy ends up dead and Nat is in trouble. there you go, that is a rough outline of this story. However, the writing is pretty good. Flows easily most of the time. There are a few areas where maybe too much explaining goes on and others where there is not enough.. I really did enjoy this book. Very entertaining.
    Momma_Becky 5 months ago
    The Arrangement pulls us into the world of sugar daddies and sugar babies, and no matter how you color it, it still boils down to being paid for dates/sex. Pretty sure that's still considered prostitution. Nevertheless, Robyn Harding has created an intriguing story with Natalie and Gabe. The blurb mentions Pretty Woman, but I was reminded more of a Fatal Attraction situation. Minus the boiling bunny, but you get the gist. Also, the more I read, the more I realized that there really aren't many likable characters in this one. I felt sorry for Nat in the beginning. She's young, impressionable, and broke, and she doesn't think she has anyone to turn to. It's easy to see how Gabe takes advantage of her, but as things progress, she's not exactly innocent either. There is a decent twist toward the end, it isn't hard to figure out, but it's still pretty good. All things considered, I wouldn't consider The Arrangement a thriller, at least not until the last handful of chapters, but it is an interesting and entertaining story nonetheless.
    MarionMS 6 months ago
    This is a fun, fast-paced read filled with emotions and suspense. It provides a look into a world (the Sugar Bowl) that many people may not be aware of, and if they are, they may not be familiar with the ends and outs. Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies. Gabe, the Sugar Daddy, starts out as a halfway likeable character, but he quickly becomes the character that you love to hate. Unfortunately, Natalie is not too far behind. Gabe seeks companions to provide him with sexual pleasure while Natalie is looking for a way to make ends meet. Things progress as normal for a while, but then all hell breaks loose. It is then that we find that not all is as it seems, and that there are many layers to these characters. I loved this book from the very first page. It drew me in and kept me turning the pages. My only dilemma was that I was torn between wanting to know what happened next and not wanting the book to end. Thank you to NetGalley, publishers Gallery/Scout Press and the author for an advance copy and the opportunity to review this book.
    Nursebookie 6 months ago
    I absolutely love an amazing in-depth story that is emotionally packed full of thrill that makes this book a page turner. Harding brilliantly nailed the sugar daddy, sugar baby relationship between Natalie, a struggling NYC art student, and Gabe a wealthy and powerful man who unbeknownst to Natalie is married and refuses to shake his so-called "perfect family". Harding built a world that is believable in this story and keeps you intrigued page by page, Natalie is young, naïve and in a desperate situation to survive who thought she had found a way to make it. I love how Harding skillfully creates the web with issues of obsession, one sided love, deception and murder with Natalie in the midst of all this, I highly recommend this book for its highly believable circumstances, its 'unputdownability', and the complex characters that are caught in a twisted path.
    Alix Maza 6 months ago
    I really really liked this darker read! Ever since I’ve seen rave reviews about it all over IG I knew I had to read it. So when I came home to find that @gallerybooks had sent me a copy I was ecstatic! I DEVOURED it. Like I planned to only get 50 pages read one night at 2:30 A.M. and 150 pages later I finally went to sleep. This tale is dark and definitely deals with moral and ethical standards. The characters were people I felt you could encounter on your walk down the street. You will be thinking ‘this will not end well’ then furiously turn pages to find out what happens next. Even as Nat (the main character) does A LOT of stupid things you still root for her! Gabe is totally infuriating and charming at the same time and can I be Celeste when I grow up? Seriously, now that is a capable woman. The chapters weren’t too long, but they weren’t super short either. They didn’t always end in a cliffhanger so you feel comfortable stopping. And Harding named the chapters which I haven’t seen since my elementary school days. I really should stop talking now because I will spoil the ending. Short review: this book is twisted, probably morally messed up and such a good read!
    HollyLovesBooks4 6 months ago
    This is a fast-reading book about a young, college aged woman who is living in a big city and barely scraping by, looking for a way to make some money for living expenses and school. She is introduced to the option of hooking up with a "Sugar Daddy" who she winds up falling hard for and as her love deepens, he suddenly breaks it off with her. She also discovers that he is married and has a family and is never going to leave that life for her. She becomes obsessed with him because of his refusal to see her and the story gets interesting from there. This book was okay for me. I found parts of it predictable. I also have found that I really do not enjoy the whole stalker trope or obsession trope, but that's just me. #minorityopinion I was not a fan of "You" for this reason, but that was a highly talked about book that was made into a series, so what do I know? Not my favorite but okay too. #TheArrangement #NetGalley GalleryThresholdPocketBooks #GalleryScoutPress
    BlondeswithBooks 6 months ago
    Wow- what a page turner! This is the first book I have read from Robyn Harding and now I feel the need to read more from her. Natalie, a young art student is struggling in New York- living paycheck to paycheck with two roommates who merely tolerate her. When she gets fired from her job and falls behind on bills, she is introduced into the world of sugar daddies/sugar babies. Natalie goes into her first meeting with a potential daddy telling herself she will not go on more than just a few dates to make some money and then she will walk away. What she doesn’t expect is to make a connection with Gabe, a man 30 years older than her and to fall in love. Natalie may have fallen for him, but has Gabe truly fallen for her? She isn’t his first sugar baby and he has a wife and daughter that aren’t privy to this secret world he indulges in. When he abruptly ends things- it not only breaks Natalie’s heart but sends her over the edge. How far will Gabe go to protect his family from his secrets and from Natalie’s deranged behavior? This book was so riveting and entertaining. And holy smokes, what a killer ending!
    LauraMHartman 6 months ago
    Small town girl Natalie is out of her element. It is her choice, but life is harder and more expensive in New York City than she could have imagined. Loving the freedom and following her dream of art school is the best part of her life. Unfortunately money is a big problem. She lives with two roommates but is way behind on her portion of the rent. She loses the job that is barely keeping her head above water and turning the alcohol isn’t helping. One of her friends at school offers Nat a solution to her situation. Ava has a posh apartment, stylish clothes, makeup and hair. When she reveals to Nat that she is a sugar baby, Ava tells Natalie that she dates men for money. Quickly explaining to Nat that sugar babies can just date older men, no sex has to be involved – unless it is her choice. At first Nat is repelled by the idea of dating men for money, but the amount of cash the sugar daddy pays for a dinner date could catch her up on the money she owes her roommates. After much deliberation, she decides that she will go on a date or two, get the cash and get out. The only problem is she really likes Gabe, her sugar daddy. Falling for Gabe was easy for Nat; he is gorgeous, smart and rich. She starts to depend on the lifestyle and wants more than dinner and going to the theater. Things quickly begin to unravel. Soon she finds out he has secrets. Just how far will Nat go to have Gabe to herself? She is convinced they love each other and are destined to be together. But his family may not agree. In the prologue of this fast paced novel, Natalie is calling her estranged father from the police station stating she has killed someone and needs his help. So the reader knows from the beginning that someone dies. It is a delicious bit of information that was always in the back of my mind. Who will die and why? While this isn’t a mystery, the element of the unknown is a fabulous addition to the complex plot. The Arrangement is the perfect glimpse into a life most of us will never see – or want to ever be a part of. Ms. Harding explains in Acknowledgments the depth of research she did before writing The Arrangement. Doing her homework on the subject is what brought this book alive, and made the characters real. It is the first book I’ve read from this author and I highly recommend it. DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman
    bookluvr35SL 6 months ago
    Natalie is a young art student in New York, struggling to make ends meet, trying to balance her school work with her job as a waitress at a local bar, and trying to avoid making her roommates any more angry at her than they already were. When a fellow art student suggests Natalie sign up on a website to get a sugar daddy to help her pay for college and other expenses, Natalie balks at first. Then she gets fired from her waitressing job and her roommates threaten to evict her. So Natalie signs up. She meets a man that wants to see her on a regular basis and even though theirs is just supposed to be a business arrangement, Natalie does the one thing she was never supposed to do......she falls in love. I could not put this book down. I had to keep turning the pages to see how it would end. This is definitely going down as one of my all time favorite books. I highly recommend it!
    Persephonereads 6 months ago
    5 out of 5 stars I want to thank Netgalley and Gallery/Scout Press for allowing me to read an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Nat is in a terrible position. She is a broke art student struggling to pay her bills as well as trying to work things out with her two roommates who are not fond of her. One day after class she goes for a drink with the beautiful Ava who seems to be living a great life in NYC while Nat lives in a crowded apartment in Brooklyn Ava lets Nat in on a secret, she is a sugar baby. At first Nat equates sugar baby with prostitution but Ava says you only have to do what you want. You go on this site, meet up and usually get 500 dollars for a drink or coffee date. It's that simple. Nat still is not interested until she loses her job and is informed by her roommates that she owes them money. Desperate she decides to give it a go. When Nat meets Gabe, a divorced Dad of an 18 year old daughter she thinks she has really lucked out. Gabe is a good 30 years older than her 21 but he is handsome, seems nice and didn't expect much from her. In fact when she drinks too much at the meet up he is kind enough to have his driver escort therm back to her place where he drops her off and leaves her money in her coat. He didn't even try anything. Gabe has a secret though. He is married and his wife lives in the country. He only spends weekends and feels that his wife and daughter do not appreciate him. Nat seems like she will be the perfect sugar baby. She is different than the other girls he has had arrangements with. I had so much fun reading this novel. It is a quick but entertaining read.This twisted tale of an arrangement gone wrong will captivate you and leave wanting to read more by Robyn Harding.
    carolintallay 6 months ago
    Natalie, a lost child from the beginning! Her father leaves her and her Mother when she is very young; she now feels rejected from an early age. She grows up, meets an alarming, control freak as a first boyfriend; she must get away from him; after all, her mother's new husband, and young children cannot be bothered by Natalie's problems of a stalker from her hometown, nor are they concerned about helping with her College tuition! Off she flies from Washington State to New York City, and art school. It becomes too much for her, working, paying rent to two roommates who could care less; after all, Natalie has turned promiscuous, alcoholic, and her room is always like a pigstye! She meets Ava in art class, who introduced her to a better way of living; get a Sugar Daddy, no more working long hours, just be at the call of a wealthy man, who will give her cash, a lot of it; for any type of sexual games, no matter the age, or shape of the Sugar Daddy! Gabe, a powerful attorney, had been madly in love with his College girlfriend, a passionate defense lawyer, then a helicopter mom, good offset to his greed in the Corporate World, they are the opposites attract, and it works! Until one day, his wife Celeste has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there goes the sexual side of their marriage, and once she is well, all Celeste wants to do, is stay in their beautiful home in the suburbs with their only child, Violette. Gabe, handsome, powerful, stays in his penthouse in the City during the week, satisfies his sexual needs with Sugarbabies; the kiss off comes with one gold, and diamond necklace! He meets Natalie through the internet, the author makes you believe it could be, he might be willing to give up his cold wife, and his daughter, who no longer looks upon him, as Prince Charming; he is a toad after all! What makes me angry about this book, is no one helps Natalie with her true gift of being an artist! I feel that she has been used by everyone, except Oleg, even he lets her down in the end! I read Celeste as a cold hearted witch! She knows her husband has been cheating for years! Natalie is not the first! I don't see her as this fairy godmother at the end of the book, I see her as the self righteous hypocrite that she is! Gabe, does he get what he deserves? Probably, but, the real killer, gets away with it! I find the injustice of a filthy rich woman who put her child before her husband, as despicable as if she had murdered him herself! This is a depressing book, most of the characters are self destructive, and do not deserve my pity, except Natalie! She needed help, and no one truly cared until it was too late! I recommend! Thank you Netgalley! carolintallahassee.com
    GGGeiss 6 months ago
    The Arrangement did not wow me. I found the dialogue repetitive. How many times can the same rhetoric be said over and over again? Natalie was a conundrum to me. Sometimes she acted naive and innocent and other times savvy. Her character developed from a nascent college art student to a psychopath. I disliked all of the characters and found much of this story to be a little far fetched. Thank you Netgalley and Gallery/Scout Press for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
    CCinME 6 months ago
    Really well done and original! Interesting exploration into the Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy life and it's fallout. Plenty of twisty interest and complicated characters. It's a whodunit with many suspects and twists through to the end.
    bamcooks 6 months ago
    This thriller is about an interesting social phenomena: the 'sugar' arrangement, where much older, wealthy men support beautiful young women in exchange for companionship and/or sex--the sugar daddy-sugar baby arrangement. They find each other through sugar dating sites online. In their profiles, the men describe what they are looking for and when contacted, what they are willing to pay for such services. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, as this novel illustrates! Natalie is an art student in NYC, struggling to pay the rent and eat, when she first learns about the sugar arrangement through a fellow classmate who seems to be well off. Nat finds the idea both appalling yet tempting. When her financial situation worsens, she decides to give it a try and soon meets a wealthy lawyer named Gabe Turnmill who claims he is divorced with a daughter in high school. As their relationship develops, he does eventually make Nat an offer for an arrangement. Does a man like that believe a girl can give her body but not her heart? Or is he so cold and arrogant that he doesn't really care? Soon the rather narcissistic Gabe finds himself in a messy situation that calls for drastic measures. Who will win and who will lose? Author Robyn Harding says she became interested in this topic and did some online research, interviewing a few sugar babies about the benefits and pitfalls of these sorts of arrangements. It definitely can hurt everyone involved, ruin relationships, reputations and lives. I found the topic to be very interesting and emotional, a new wrinkle on highly-paid escort services with women treated as objects. I received an arc of this new thriller from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.