The Arrangement by Cat Grant
Series: Courtland Chronicles #4
Publication Date: February 11th 2013
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Most people are lucky to find one love—Eric Courtland found two. He's spent the last decade in and out of a tempestuous relationship with his lover, Nick. But all that is nearly over when his new bride, Allison, discovers that his vows of fidelity came with an exception. Suddenly, Eric is at risk of destroying all he cares about, from his burgeoning political career, to the two loves of his life.Terrified of losing everything, Eric proposes an unconventional solution: a non-traditional arrangement that neither Allison or Nick can refuse. And despite the betrayal and jealousy that plague the birth of their new relationship, the three begin to discover new ways of achieving harmony and balance—and an intimacy beyond anything they expected.Even as their secret relationship grows, however, blackmailing political rivals and the pressures of life in the public eye create stresses that threaten to tear the three apart. In the end, Eric must decide what he's willing to sacrifice: the political ambitions he's nurtured all his life, or building a new dream with the only two people he's ever loved.
I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. I expected it to be a rather light study of a ménage à trois relationship and instead it was a more in depth look at human nature.
Nick and Eric have been on-again/off-again lovers for years, and shortly after Eric marries Ally, they’re on again. When Ally finds out, Nick and Eric suggest they try to make it work between the three of them. But jealously and pettiness threaten and it isn’t long before they realize the arrangement isn’t going to work…not unless they’re all willing to make compromises.
This novel is broken into three separate stories showcasing three separate trials the trio faces. The first is coming together as a threesome and dealing with the jealousy and feelings of inadequacy Ally and Nick face as they square off and fight to be number one in Eric’s affections.
The second shows how they cope when Eric, a US Senator, is blackmailed into coming out about his relationship with another man. Suddenly the bonds they’ve created between them is threatened and Nick and Ally suffer as Eric tries to deal with the backlash.
The third and final is when all the secrets they’ve been keeping become public. In the second they were able to keep Nick’s identity a secret, but Ally accidentally spills the beans about about Nick: Not only his full name, but also that Ally herself also sleeps with him.
While I feel this was an extremely interesting character study and a more realistic look at how a relationship between three people would really work, I had a very hard time understanding what Nick and Ally saw in Eric and why they’d want to be with him at all. He was cold and uncaring, with his focus on himself and nothing but himself. He treats Nick like a dirty little secret throughout and Ally as a brainless child. He refuses to see them as equal partners, or really to see them at all other than as bed partners. It surprised me that he was the object of their affections and the one they’d want between them.
Because of that, I had a hard time connecting with either Ally or Nick. While they weren’t terrible characters, the longer they stayed with Eric (and the more they fought over him) the less respect I had for them.
This was an extremely well written novel and deals with some of the darker issues facing a true Ménage à Trois relationship, because I didn’t care for Eric as the main object of their affections, it greatly diminished the overall reading experience.
I would recommend it for the relationship aspects that were explored, but I can’t recommend the characters themselves.
3.0 out of 5